Years of Firsts and Milestones

RM Sotheby’s most memorable highlights, from both the auction room to the restoration shop.

Ian Kelleher

RM Sotheby’s has consistently raised the bar as the leading auction house in the sale of high-end collector cars both at auction and through private transactions. As the largest global player in the industry, the RM brand has achieved more record results than most all our competitors combined, all while building on the client relationships that represent the cornerstone of our success.

It is that very group of clients that truly drives this industry, and we’re proud to work day in and day out to keep raising the bar through the myriad of services offered by the RM team.

In my 20 years as a member of the RM Sotheby’s team, one of the things I am most fond of has been seeing the longevity of these client relationships flourish from generation to generation, father to son and daughter, all while the ever-evolving market caters to the tastes and desires of new enthusiasts entering the space. The beauty of our company is that it is built to support those changes, and as we move forward into the next 40 years, we’ll continue to support the advances that allow our passionate staff to grow side by side with the collectors of tomorrow.

In the pages that follow, you’ll find a selection of some of RM’s most memorable highlights, both at auction and through restoration. What I learned in putting this list together is that distilling this down to just 40 moments is incredibly difficult, as there are countless cars not included on the list that are just as special and memorable, and it makes me a proud member of the RM team to have been there to witness virtually every single one of them.


1958 F.M.R. Tg 500 'Tiger'

Sold for $322,000 at The Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum 2013

“Handle with Fun,” the most expensive microcar sold at auction, from the singularly unique collection of Bruce Weiner—smiles for miles.


1938 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS Teardrop Cabriolet by Figoni et Falaschi

Sold for $7,150,000 at New York 2013

The only known example and one of the most beautiful auction displays ever executed, the Teardrop Cabriolet was even more impressive in person.


1912 Oldsmobile Limited

Sold for $3,300,000 at The Milhous Collection 2012

Big Brass achieves an outstanding result at the amazing collection sale of the Milhous brothers in 2012.


1962 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato

Sold for $14,300,000 at New York 2015

Another amazing Aston, another world record.

This time the lightweight Zagato Coupe captured all attention at the Sotheby’s New York auction.


1931 Bentley 4 1/2-Litre Supercharged Two-Seater Sports in the style of Vanden Plas

Sold for $4,015,000 at Monterey 2015

A smashing result for a true “Bentley Boys” sports car.


1929 Stutz Model M Supercharged Coupe by Lancefield

Sold for $1,705,000 at Amelia Island 2017

Undoubtedly one of the coolest American classics on the planet and one of the most hotly contested bidding wars we’ve seen


1962 Ferrari 330 TRI/LM Testa Rossa

Sold for $6,490,000 at Monterey 2002

The 1962 Le Mans winner made maximum impact at the Monterey auction in 2002.


1956 Ferrari 290 MM by Scaglietti

Sold for $22,005,000 at The Petersen Automotive Museum 2018

One of the top ten most valuable cars ever sold at auction and the star of the first-ever auction held at the newly redesigned Petersen Automotive Museum.


1903 Ford Model A Rear-Entry Tonneau

Sold for $693,000 at Arizona 2007

The oldest known Ford production car is sold at auction, proving Brighton Era brilliance to the fullest extent.


1923 Miller 122 Supercharged

Sold for $2,035,000 at Joe's Garage: The MacPherson Collection 2008

A groundbreaking result for one of the purest and most special vintage American race cars in existence.


1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster

Sold for $3,300,000 at Arizona 2002

The ex–Jack Warner Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster remains one of the most important and pinnacle examples of the marque and model.


1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder

Sold for €7.040.000 at Ferrari-Leggenda E Passione 2008

Formerly owned by Oscar-winning actor James Coburn.

RM sets a new world record for the most valuable motor car ever sold at auction in the 2008 iteration of the Ferrari Factory auction.


1970 Porsche 911S Steve McQueen Le Mans Movie Car

Sold for $1,375,000 at Monterey 2011

Steve McQueen’s 911S achieves a world-record price at the 2011 Monterey auction, the initial instance of the fabled “McQueen factor.”


1930 Cadillac V-16 Convertible Sedan by Murphy

Sold for $1,925,000 at The Andrews Collection 2015

A benchmark sale for one of the most important Cadillac V-16s ever on offer at The Paul and Chris Andrews Collection.


1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow

Sold for $3,740,000 at New York 2015

Streamlined styling and a world-class restoration helped set a new auction record for the most impressive Silver Arrow in existence.


1964 Ferrari 250 LM by Carrozzeria Scaglietti

Sold for $14,300,000 at New York 2013

The highlight result from the watershed Art of the Automobile held in New York City in partnership with Sotheby’s. An auction event executed without duplication or comparison, it singlehandedly reshaped the landscape of high-end global automobile auctions.


1934 Ford Model 40 Special Speedster

Sold for $1,760,000 at Amelia Island 2008

A wonderful moment in auction history as RM offers the famous Edsel Ford Speedster on behalf of one of motoring’s true gentleman greats, Mr. Bill Warner.


1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lugo Spider by Touring

Sold for $19,800,000 at Monterey 2016

Sold on behalf of longtime enthusiasts  Sam and Emily Mann, the car that originally smashed the record for any  pre-war car at auction.


1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Town Cabriolet

Sold for $4,400,000 at Monterey 2007

A tremendous example of the full suite of RM’s world-class services, a car both restored and then sold at auction on behalf of father-and-son collectors Paul and Chris Andrews. The Ethel Mars Duesenbergs will always remain a true top ten in the world of the greatest Duesenbergs ever built.


1953 Jaguar C-Type Works Lightweight

Sold for $13,200,000 at Monterey 2015

A market leader in the sale of competition Jaguars, whether C or D, RM Sotheby’s sets the bar with another outstanding record.


2018 Porsche 911 Turbo Classic Series "Project Gold"

Sold for $3,415,000 at
The Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction

The culmination of an outstanding partnership between Porsche of North America and RM Sotheby’s in celebration of the 70th Anniversary of Porsche, sold at the groundbreaking auction

event held at the PEC Atlanta in 2018.


1998 McLaren F1 'LM-Specification'

Sold for $13,750,000 at Monterey 2015

The ultimate spec McLaren and perhaps one of the most widely followed public sales of any modern car. The cornerstone of the Pinnacle Portfolio auction and one of the most exciting cars ever manufactured.


1966 Ford GT40 Mk II

Sold for $9,795,000 at Monterey 2018

Almost overshadowed by its auction companions, the 3rd-place Le Mans finisher sold for an impressive $9,795,000 at Monterey 2018.


1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe

Sold for $4,500,000
at Monterey 2000

RM’s entry into the millennium was marked by this exciting sale, which helped solidify the RM Monterey auction as the place to sell high-end important sports, GT and racing cars.


1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype

Sold for $21,455,000 at Monterey 2018

Sold on behalf of father-and-son collectors and racing enthusiasts, the DP215 became one of the most expensive British cars at auction while exciting the crowd in Monterey.


1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 by Scaglietti

Sold for $10,175,000 at Monterey 2014

The “Steve McQueen factor” exhibits its impressive influence as collectors from around the world bid competitively for the icon’s famous Ferrari.


1968 Ford GT40 Gulf/Mirage Lightweight Racing Car

Sold for $11,000,000 at Monterey 2012

RM continues to reshape the landscape with the record-setting Le Mans GT40, a result that would stand until the CSX 2000 was sold in Monterey several years later.


1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa

Sold for €9.020.000

at Ferrari-Leggenda E Passione 2009

RM smashes its past world-record price for a motor car sold at auction with the iconic Ferrari Testarossa at the 2009 Ferrari Factory auction.


1955 Jaguar D-Type

Sold for $21,780,000 at Monterey 2016

RM Sotheby’s smashes the previous world record for any British automobile with the Le Mans D-Type.


1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale by Scaglietti

Sold for $26,400,000 at Monterey 2014

The Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale ranked as one of the fiercest and most desired race cars of the brand, and for 2014 it led the way for what would be the highest-grossing collector car auction of all time.


1956 Aston Martin DBR1

Sold for $22,550,000 at Monterey 2017

A defining moment for both Aston Martin and RM Sotheby’s as the famed DBR1, chassis no. 1, became the most valuable British car ever sold at auction.


1963 Ferrari 275 P

RM Sotheby’s Private Sales Division was launched with a major unveil at the Monterey auction headlined and highlighted by the two-time Le Mans–winning Ferrari 275P, and within weeks it was successfully sold.


1960 Maserati Tipo 60/61 “Birdcage”

Sold for $1,000,000 at Amelia Island 1999

RM Auctions hammers its first million-dollar car—an annual occurrence that today has become almost commonplace at the Monterey Auction.


1965 Aston Martin DB5 Coupe

Sold for $2,090,000 at Arizona 2006

Shaken, not Stirred: “The Most Famous Car in the World” took center stage in the global collector-car world as all eyes were on the James Bond Aston Martin DB5 for its smashing result.


2001 Ferrari F2001

Sold for $7,504,000 at Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Sale 2017

A defining moment in auction history as Michael Schumacher’s Monaco Grand Prix–winning Ferrari is sold during the Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening sale—the most successful collision of the genres at auction, resulting in unparalleled attention and media coverage.


1967 Ferrari GTB/4*S N.A.R.T. Spider by Scaglietti

Sold for $27,500,000 at Monterey 2013

Despite being the most valuable road-going car sold at auction, what made this a true moment in RM history was bearing witness to the generosity of its gentleman owner, Eddie Smith Sr., who donated the full sale proceeds to a charity near and dear to his heart.


1962 Shelby 260 Cobra "CSX 2000"

Sold for $13,750,000 at Monterey 2015

The very first Shelby Cobra, owned by Carroll Shelby, still wearing decades of patina, the original interior and the charm of the most famous American racing driver of all time. A momentous occasion and a true celebration of American sports-car history.


1962 Ferrari 250 GTO by Scaglietti

Sold for $48,405,000 at Monterey 2018

A defining moment in automotive auction history as RM Sotheby’s offers and sells the iconic Ferrari 250 GTO for a world-record price, smashing and subsequently establishing the new world record for any motor car at auction.