Even in a field of exceptional automobiles, there are a select few that rise to the rank of Masterwork. From the very first glimpse—whether on the concours green, on a museum plinth, or even in the pages of an enthusiast magazine—these are the cars that you remember forever, melding as they do exquisite design, ingenious engineering, and remarkable craftsmanship in an utterly spectacular manner. These special machines are coveted by their caretakers, only rarely becoming available for public acquisition. So it is with immense pride that RM Sotheby’s presents Masterworks of Design, a collection of 46 significant one-off and limited-production motorcars now offered out of long-term private ownership.
Prominently featured in the collection is what is arguably one of the finest examples of a Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster extant, sure to entice collectors throughout the world. Built for the King of Afghanistan, this 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster by Sindelfingen is the ultimate long-tail, covered-spare variant, a low-mileage example presented in incredibly original condition.
While the 540 K Special Roadster’s significance cannot be understated, headlining the collection is one of the most legendary pre-war coachbuilt cars ever constructed: The 1924 Hispano-Suiza H6C "Tulipwood" Torpedo by Nieuport. The sole example produced, commissioned by aperitif heir and gentleman racer André Dubonnet for the 1924 Targa Florio, it is undoubtedly the most famous Hispano-Suiza in the world.
The 46 lots on offer encompass the grandest and most exclusive marques in automotive history, including Bugattis, Isotta Fraschinis, Rolls-Royces, Alfa Romeos, and more, clothed by such fabled coachbuilders as Saoutchik, Gangloff, Figoni, and Zagato. Each of these automobiles has spent considerable time, in many cases over three decades, in private ownership. They will no doubt be treasured by their next owners for years to come—making this a truly once-in-a-generation opportunity to call one of these unforgettable Masterworks of Design your own.
Please note that these automobiles have largely been on long-term static display and will require some recommissioning prior to extended road use.