RM Sotheby’s has closed yet another record auction with Online Only: The European Sale featuring the Petitjean Collection, which opened for bidding on 3 June and closed this week across 10–11 June. Overall, Online Only: The European Sale featuring the Petitjean Collection amassed €19,246,540, making it RM Sotheby’s highest-grossing online collector car auction thus far. Headlining the results was a stunning Limited Edition 2020 Porsche 935 ‘Martini’, which sold for a final €1.32 million after a flurry of late bidding before the lot closed.
With close to 1,000 registered bidders, the sell-through rate was a staggering 91 percent across all lots offered with bidders registered from 48 countries across the globe, demonstrating RM Sotheby’s unrivalled ability to connect buyers and sellers throughout the world. This also represents the highest number of registered bidders for any RM Sotheby’s Online Only sale to date, 41 percent of which were first-time clientele.
Lots offered in the two-day auction were originally set for RM Sotheby’s second annual Essen auction, which was cancelled alongside the Techno Classica Essen motor show due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the change of sale format, The European Sale became the auction house’s first-ever European car auction held via its proprietary online platform and has achieved remarkable results. Lots saw an average of 25 bids, up to a high of 70 for a single offering.
Maarten ten Holder, Head of Europe, RM Sotheby’s, says: “As our first Online Only sale with a European market focus, we are absolutely delighted with this remarkable result. Not only is the sale total exceptional, but to have achieved a 91% sell-through is a major achievement. Moving a long-planned live sale onto an Online Only format was a major effort from our team, but we’ve conclusively proven that we can conduct highly successful Online Only sales on both sides of the Atlantic.”
With strong prices achieved across all categories of the collector car market, one of the sale’s undoubted headline lots was the 1939 Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet by Gangloff with one-off special cabriolet coachwork by Lucien Schlatter and powered by Bugatti’s fabulous eight-cylinder, grand prix derived engine. This classic pre-war ‘Grand Routier’ and was the pinnacle of high-performance touring cars of the era and attracted much attention from bidders, eventually selling for an excellent €770,000.
Lot 399, the 1997 RUF CTR2 Sport brought game-changing performance to the 993-generation 911 Turbo platform, and this particular example was the very first of its kind, one of just two built for the 1997 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. This provenance meant it would be a firm favorite with enthusiast collectors, and it didn’t disappoint, achieving a sale price of €682,000. Other notable sales included a beautifully maintained 1967 Aston Martin DB6 Volante at a final €627,000 and a mechanically restored 1981 Lancia 037 Stradale at €451,000.
The Petitjean Collection, a spectacular group of nearly 100 cars and a selection of collectibles assembled by lifelong enthusiast and ex-racing driver, Monsieur Marcel Petitjean, was offered entirely without reserve during the Wednesday sale session and alone generated €7.3 million at the final reckoning. Results for the Collection were led by the 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster, which sold for a final €759,000. Delivered new to France, the 300 SL was one of fewer than 30 examples specified with factory Rudge wheels from new and has resided in the Petitjean Collection since 1976.
“It was a noteworthy auction on many levels and perhaps most importantly, it continued to reinforce that the collector car market is very much alive and well, and clients and enthusiasts continue to display the enthusiasm for the hobby we were seeing before the onset of the pandemic. We look forward to interacting with our clients both in-person and via our Online Only platform as the calendar year progresses”, said Auction Manager and Car Specialist, Augustin Sabatié-Garat.
The group of eight Lamborghini models through the years offered from the Petitjean Collection drew significant pre-sale interest, translating to strong results in the auction. Leading the group was an early thin-gauge-chassis 1968 Lamborghini Miura P400 which brought a final €715,000. The first Miura delivered to Paris, the car had been owned by M. Petitjean since 1979. Also selling well was the 1979 Lamborghini Countach LP400 S, which sold well within estimate at €451,000. One of just 50 first-series LP400 S examples built, the car was offered from 33 years of ownership in the Collection.
The 1964 Porsche 904 GTS was another top lot of the sale, achieving a final €693,000. Offered from 27 years of single ownership, the 904 GTS was the first of a line of mid-engined Porsche sports cars that finished with the lauded 917 and was also the final design penned by F A Porsche for his family’s firm. Following appropriate preparation, the car sold today would be highly eligible for many top historic racing events.