An all-new setting can bring a fresh feeling to a traditional event, even when the space itself is ancient. In this case, it was the introduction of Marlborough House, a three-hundred-year-old mansion in the City of Westminster, to host one of RM Sotheby’s longest-running auctions on our European schedule. With guiding principles established from its founder and patron, Sarah Churchill, confidant of Queen Anne and the Duchess of Marlborough, the Grade 1 listed mansion established there was designed to be “strong, plain and convenient, and good.” A royal understatement, to be sure.
Certainly, the Duchess of Marlborough’s stately grounds could be said to have exceeded all expectations. Generously accommodating a giant canopy with room to browse the carefully curated offerings in the sale, auctiongoers were able to view fifty automobile lots and four items of automobilia. With RM Sotheby’s signature quality on display in full force, the auction began with an incredible showpiece for any Italian sports car aficionado, the Ferrari Art Edition designed by Marc Newson for TASCHEN, no. 44 of 250 made, which brought an impressive £38,400.
Three hard-to-find lots of Ferrari accessories later and the first automobile of the evening would have been a headliner for nearly any other auction house: A 1974 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow that brought nearly ten times over its high estimate. Registered to its first owner Freddie Mercury, the legendary Queen frontman and beloved icon for Brits everywhere, this was no ordinary Rolls-Royce, as the spirited bidding proved. As all proceeds went to go fund Superhumans Center, a charity established to provide aid in Ukraine, the exemplary result was more than just a hometown crowd reacting to a rockstar’s car.
After a series of youngtimer sports cars, the main event of the evening began, with an assortment of eighteen driver-focused supercars dubbed The Gran Turismo Collection. Range-topping models from Bugatti, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Jaguar were up for the highest bidder. A veritable hypercar occupied the top-end of the auction’s results: The 2022 Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+, the fastest of all the Chiron versions with a capability of 304 mph, achieved £4,195,625. A trio of the most desirable Ferrari models in recent memory followed as a 1991 Ferrari F40, 2003 Ferrari Enzo, and 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari proved to be the biggest Maranello stars of the night. The three cars sold for £1,411,250, £1,917,500, and £1,973,750, respectively. A supercar considered a classic among such other modern offerings, a 1971 Lamborghini Miura SV by Bertone, also brought an excellent £2,058,125.
Immediately after the conclusion of The Gran Turismo Collection, a figure familiar to any arcade veteran of the late 1980s crossed the block: An exceedingly rare 1990 Ferrari Testarossa Pininfarina Spider ‘Special Production’ which was ordered new alongside other cars customized for the Brunei Royal Family sold for an impressive £1,467,500. With a trio of Challenge-spec Ferrari sports-racers selling subsequently, London’s love of purpose-built luxury vehicles remained undiminished.