By on November 23, 2016

RM Sotheby's Milan Auction Header, Images: RM Auctions, Inc.

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, Image: RM Auctions, Inc.

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, Images: RM Auctions, Inc.

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 Fanalone, Images: RM Auctions, Inc.

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, Images: RM Auctions, Inc.

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.]

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10 Comments on “Across The Block: RM Sotheby’s, Milan...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    That Dustbuster would sell for a lot more if the hood was closed.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I did well fading you last week. And really nailed the Samba. I need to study Jag prices more.

    I think the yellow will hold the Cosworth back. I’m still tempted to say 15k, but I’m going to go low: 8k.

    I wouldn’t think Indy cars have as much demand in Europe. Especially ones sponsored with a (then) US brand and without the engine that makes it even slightly of interest to Italians. 20k.

    I think you’re too low on the Lancia. 43k.

    I’ll say someone will want the TranSport and a couple people will assume no one else will bid on it and have a mini war. 2k.

    Sotheby’s doesn’t have the most diverse staff, it would appear.

    Boy, I’m really starting to appreciate the looks of the Maserati Mexico.

  • avatar
    moff90

    That Indycar may seem cheap, but remember you have to add the Buyer Premium (12%) to the hammer price, and on top of that, there’s also the VAT (22%).

    Another reason for the low estimates, courtesy of the FAQ page :

    “The items were seized by the government about three years ago. Therefore, the cars have generally been undriven for at least that amount of time, although they were maintained in covered, locked private storage. We recommend a general service be conducted on all lots prior to road use.”

  • avatar
    spreadsheet monkey

    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.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    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.)


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