Across The Block: RM Sotheby's, Milan

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
across the block rm sotheby s milan

Our annual feast of dead bird, fine pigskin, family arguments, cheap electronics, and roughly 200 (of 600) good episodes of The Simpsons is upon us. And once again, we take a glimpse into the wild world of classic car auctions, sure to be another magnificent family tradition.

Due to the holiday weekend here in the States, this week we look east to Milan for RM Sotheby’s Duemila Ruote 2016, an auction featuring over 400 collectibles — all at no reserve. I loved looking through this catalog. The exotics are awesome, of course, but the relatively pedestrian cars that we just don’t see here are what catch my eye.

Or, with one example, turn my stomach.

Note: I’ll be listing all prices in Euro, as the dollar is very close to a 1:1 match currently (1 EUR:1.06 USD at this writing) and it simplifies matters for those clicking between TTAC and the auction site.

1986 Ford Sierra RS Cosworth

Yeah, we love Fords here, particularly the hot ones. I still lust for a Merkur XR4Ti, but were I to partake, I’d know it wasn’t what it could be.

This Sierra RS Cosworth is the real thing. With a hot turbocharged Cossie twincam, it makes the 2.3-powered Merkur look like a CVH-equipped Escort with a missing plug wire. With a pair of fixed-back racing seats, we’d guess it has seen some use on a tarmac rally or otherwise properly hooned. Still, forbidden fruit is sweet, and this price seems quite reasonable.

RM estimate: 10,000-12,000 EUR

My guess: 14,000 EUR

1990 March 90C-Alfa Romeo

This blew my mind. That a Indy 500 car from my youth could potentially be this inexpensive, especially with an engine, is remarkable. That it’s one of the rare Alfa Romeo-engined cars is even more cool.

No, the Alfa-powered car was never a winner, but I typically see former CART racers sell for well over $75,000 when fitted with an engine. At this price, one would assume it was merely a rolling chassis.

RM estimate: 20,000-30,000 EUR

My guess: 45,000 EUR

1970 Lancia Fulvia 1.6HF

Frustratingly, RM Sotheby’s doesn’t list details for their auction lots, limiting perusal to a few photos. This spectacular Fulvia looks to have been tuned a bit beyond the typical historic rally car it is — the modern tires, for example, look a bit out-of-place — but otherwise this front-wheel drive, multi-headlamp beast is stellar.

I want it.

RM estimate: 35,000-40,000 EUR

My guess: 30,000 EUR

1991 Pontiac Trans Sport

Wait, what?

I’m calling this one as a joke. It’s the last car listed in the catalog, likely to close out the day on Sunday. That someone in Italy kept a GM Dustbuster minivan this clean for 25 years is amazing, but I can’t imagine the RM Sotheby’s crowd will deem this worthy of a raised paddle.

RM estimate: 1,500-3,000 EUR

My guess: 400 EUR and/or a wheel of cheese

Last Week’s Results

I had a better week, assuming I can be either 20-percent high or low on the guesses. After all, as long as my name is on the byline, I can make up the rules. Right?

Still, I was about 20-percent high on the E-Type, and 20-percent low on the Samba. It all evens out. Except that last car. Just forget about it completely.

2000 Corbin Sparrow

My guess: $5000

Selling price: $3750

1963 Jaguar E-Type Roadster

My guess: $145,000

Selling price: $115,000

1959 Volkswagen Samba

My guess: $85,000

Selling price: $106,000

2001 Qvale Mangusta

My guess (clearly someone put something in my coffee): $45,000

Selling price: $14,000

Friends, continue to tear into my guesses, but take a look at the other cars offered this weekend. What might look good rolling off a boat and into your garage?

[Images: RM Auctions, Inc.]

Join the conversation
4 of 10 comments
  • Spreadsheet monkey Spreadsheet monkey on Nov 25, 2016

    Great choices. I think the Sierra Cosworth will sell for at least 20,000 EUR. If the auction was in the UK and not Italy, it would sell for even more.

    • See 1 previous
    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Nov 28, 2016

      @OldManPants I don't like the color OR the wheels on that Sierra. And the utility lamps someone bolted to the hood don't work either. I'm gonna say 8k EUR.

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Nov 28, 2016

    I love that Trans Sport, just look at it. Pontiac had such nice wheels, and red was always a preferable color for them. (Though it falls down seven days a week to the original Silhouette.)

  • Leonard Ostrander Pet peeve: Drivers who swerve to the left to make a right turn and vice versa. They take up as much space as possible for as long as possible as though they're driving trailer trucks or school busses. It's a Kia people, not a Kenworth! Oh, and use your turn signals if you ever figure out where you're going.
  • Master Baiter This is horrible. Delaying this ban will raise the Earth's temperature by 0.00000001°C in the year 2100.
  • Alan Buy a Skoda Superb.
  • Alan In Australia only hairdressers would buy this Monaro as its known as. Real men had 4 door sedans and well hung men drive 4x4 dual cab utes with bullbars and towbars. I personally think this is butt ugly. Later iterations of the Commodore were far better looking.
  • Jeff As a few commenters on prior articles on this site about the UAW strike mentioned many of the lower tiered suppliers could go bankrupt and some could possibly go out of business if the strike is prolonged. Decades ago Ford and GM owned many of their own suppliers but as we all know over the years manufacturers have been outsourcing more parts and with just in time supply there is little room for any interruptions to production including strikes, natural disasters, and anything unforeseen that could happen. When the strike ends there will be delays in production due to parts shortages. It costs suppliers money to just keep making parts and stockpiling them especially when many parts have razor thin profit margins.