RM Sotheby's, the world's largest collector car auction house for investment-quality automobiles, continued its strong sales run in Monterey, California, generating an impressive $117,925,0001 in sales at its flagship sale during the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance weekend. Highlighted by a terrific roster of fresh-to-the-market, blue-chip automobiles, the two-day event bore witness to the top two sales of this year's Monterey auction week and established multiple new auction benchmarks. Illustrating the powerful partnership and international reach of RM and Sotheby's, bidders from 27 countries were represented.
Due to construction at the event venue, the RM sale strategically presented a smaller offering this year (a total of just 100 cars versus the 150 vehicles presented in 2015, including 25 from the Pinnacle Portfolio), though the quality of entries remained at an all-time high, with 21 vehicles commanding million-dollar-plus results, including three vehicles achieving eight figures. In total, 82% of auction vehicles exchanged hands with continuing interest in the auction cars and several post-block transactions.
One of the most exciting auction moments of the weekend came when the 1956 Le Mans-winning Jaguar D-Type, XKD 501, roared onto the stage before a packed audience during the Friday (August 19) sale session. The first D-Type supplied by Jaguar to a privateer team, XKD 501 was sold new to the famed Scottish racing team, Ecurie Ecosse, who campaigned it to victory at the grueling 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans. Offered in Monterey following almost two decades in one of America's leading collections, the coveted Jaguar was the subject of an intense and passionate 15-minute bidding contest between four determined collectors before selling for a final $21.78 million. The impressive result not only ranks the car as the most valuable vehicle sold during this year's Monterey auctions, but also represents a world-record price for any British car sold at auction, eclipsing the previous record by more than $7 million.
The sale of the legendary D-Type was closely followed on Friday by an American legend: CSX 2000, the very first Shelby Cobra. One of the most anticipated lots of this year's Monterey week—and indeed, offered in recent memory—the iconic Shelby was constructed and kept from new by Carroll Shelby and never left his care. Offered in Monterey by the Carroll Hall Shelby Trust, it entered the auction room on Friday (driven by Carroll Shelby's grandson, Aaron Shelby) to a sea of camera flashes and loud applause before climbing to a strong $13.75 million—a new benchmark for an American car at auction.
The energy continued in the RM auction tent on Saturday evening, led by the presentation of the 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Touring Spider from the esteemed Sam & Emily Mann Collection. A symphony of fabulously intricate engineering, thrilling power and sinful beauty, chassis no. 412041 was the first Alfa "2.9" to be offered for public sale this century, an occasion that captured the attention of some of the world's leading collectors. Dazzling under the auction lights, bidding on the stunning Alfa opened at $14 million, quickly jumping in $500,000 increments before selling for a final $19.8 million (inclusive of buyer's premium). The second highest price paid for an automobile during this year's Monterey auctions, the remarkable result represents a record for any pre-war automobile at auction and, along with the D-Type, secures the Alfa a spot on the list of most valuable cars ever sold at auction.