Sophisticated Selection Part I: RM Sotheby’s Specialists Share Highlights From The Elkhart Collection

With over 240 vehicles to choose from, it helps to have an educated guide narrow your choice—RM Sotheby’s team of expert Specialists offer five selections from Elkhart.

Forest Casey |

Just before he died, while touring on a victory lap through Europe, jazz legend John Coltrane described the evolution of his live performance: “I played all the notes I could play, I played all the chords I could play. I better start singing.” And though it may seem like an odd analogy, for vintage car fans, one flip through the digital catalogue for RM Sotheby’s upcoming Elkhart Collection will leave you with the same impression—seemingly every single corner of car culture is represented, from microcars to hypercars, Willys Jeeps to “Jolly”-style Renaults and everything in-between. An epic arrangement, hitting all the notes.

Clearly, we need a trained eye to help highlight the best examples, so we turned to RM Sotheby’s team of Specialists—here are their top picks from one of our most encyclopedic auctions to date:

1953 Fiat 8V Supersonic by Ghia offered at RM Sotheby's The Elkhart Collection live auction 2020

1953 Fiat 8V Supersonic by Ghia

 

Estimate: $1,750,000 - $2,200,000 USD | Offered Without Reserve

 

May as well start off with the ultimate specialist—RM Sotheby’s namesake founder and current Chairman & CEO, Rob Myers. The Jet-Age, Savonuzzi-styled, Supersonic was his choice. Why? “Because of my past,” Myers said, then recounted a trip 25 years ago, when an anonymous collector opened the door of his collection in Switzerland and Myers encountered one of the rare Ghia-built specials in person for the first time. The memory stuck with Myers: “This beautiful car has always intrigued me. It’s got fantastic styling and shape.”

 

 

1998 Ferrari 550 Maranello offered at RM Sotheby's The Elkhart Collection live auction 2020

1998 Ferrari 550 Maranello

 

Estimate: $100,000 - $125,000 USD | Offered Without Reserve

 

Jarrett Rothmeier, Head of RM’s Financial Services, and our in-house Ferrari expert had this choice: “The late 1990s was a very important time for Ferrari, with the recent arrival of Michael Schumacher in Formula One and the golden age of Luca di Montezemolo nearing its peak. The 550 Maranello, being the last front-engine V-12 only available with a manual transmission, proved to be one of the best-engineered products out of Maranello in that era and has become an important collector car that is still known globally for its reliability and performance. Additionally, the very first Ferrari I was ever given a ride in, around the age of 15, was a 550 Maranello. That ride set in motion a life-long passion with Ferrari, and my goal is to one day have one in my personal garage.”

 

 

1967 Toyota 2000GT offered at RM Sotheby's The Elkhart Collection live auction 2020

1967 Toyota 2000GT

 

Estimate: $700,000 - $850,000 USD | Offered Without Reserve

 

Our next highlight is from an unlikely source—a Japanese supercar selected by RM Sotheby’s man in the Netherlands, Tonnie Van der Velden, who grew up in a passionate car family. He relates this story, “When I was eight years old, my mother came home with a Toyota 1000, and I was so upset because a Japanese car in the family was absolutely a no go.” Over time, Van der Velden’s opinion matured, “Actually the car was not that bad, and she enjoyed it for a few years. Sixteen years later, I bought a Renault Turbo I. While talking with the seller, he mentioned that the scrapyard down the road had a Toyota 2000GT—an all original, untouched Belgian car—and said the owner offered to sell it that week.”

Naturally, Van der Velden didn’t wait long, “So I went there with him and bought the car. The quality of that car and other 2000GT I have seen since are without equal. Every time I see one, I am impressed how nicely they are built…”

 

 

1955 Cooper-Jaguar T38 Mk II offered at RM Sotheby's The Elkhart Collection live auction 2020

1955 Cooper-Jaguar T38 Mk II

 

Estimate: $2,000,000 - $2,500,000 USD | Offered Without Reserve

 

A leap back across the pond, to RM Sotheby’s UK division and vintage racing Specialist Michael Squire, with this race-ready pick: “John Cooper didn’t intend to build the Cooper-Jaguar until Jaguar’s own Works driver, Peter Whitehead, was so impressed by his engineering that he thought Cooper could do a better job than Jaguar! You are roughly twenty times more likely to see a D-Type than a T38 like ‘HOT 95,’ and it has many of the innovative components that made the D-Type so brilliant. Not only is it searingly quick, but it has one of the prettiest bodies to appear at a race meeting during the 1950s. This T38 has a lovely period history with Sir Patrick Head’s father, and it has been restored and maintained by some of the best workshops in England. The sister car has spent the last few years embarrassing everyone in historic racing over here, so it would be great to see ‘HOT 95’ attempting to do this too!”

 

 

1935 Auburn Eight Supercharged Speedster offered at RM Sotheby's The Elkhart Collection live auction 2020

1935 Auburn Eight Supercharged Speedster

 

Estimate: $700,000 - $800,000 USD | Offered Without Reserve

 

No stranger to classic cars or Concours, Colorado-based RM Sotheby’s Specialist Roger Willbanks had this highlight: “Gordon Buehrig conceived one of the greatest automotive designs in history with the 1935-1936 Auburn Speedster. The shape of this car is both flawless and timeless, and one that I fell in love with when I first saw it as a youngster. No detail was overlooked, from the shapely pontoon fenders that expose dramatic supercharged exhaust flex-pipes, the steeply raked Vee-windshield and grille provide the illusion of speed even when standing still, the curvature of the dash as it sweeps down into the doors, a fully disappearing top, and finished off with a streamlined boattail shape matched to tapered and lengthened rear fenders. And to top it all off, an 851/852 Supercharged Auburn Speedster drives as good as it looks!”


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