May heralds the start of Europe’s classic-car concours season, and the one that gets the ball rolling is regarded by many as the best there is – the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, a decidedly select happening staged on the glittering shore of Lake Como. So evocative is the occasion that anyone who doesn’t own a classic vehicle when they arrive invariably leaves wishing they did – and means its official auction house, RM Sotheby’s, attracts an enthusiastic crowd when it stages its traditional Saturday evening sale.
The event revolves around a core of around 50 blue-chip classic cars and a handful of concept vehicles, vying for trophies awarded by an expert judging panel. The Saturday auction (bids can be placed online and by phone, as well as in person) this year comprises 44 cars, a single-owner collection of 20 motorcycles and, befitting the location, a 1961 Riva Tritone motorboat. The motorcycles include a 1928 Brough Superior known as Moby Dick, which could attract bids of up to €700,000, while a 1957 Gilera 500/4 race bike – the last of 15 ever built – is tipped to fetch up to €450,000. A 1919 Indian Power Plus board-track racer should fetch €50,000-€70,000.
The cars are the stars, however, with the line-up set to include no fewer than 15 Ferraris with a combined value of over €13.7m. Among them is a 1965 275 GTS – the 10th of 200 made (estimate €1.6-€1.8m); a 1964 250 GT/L Berlinetta Lusso (€1.4-€1.6m) and a 1990 F40 with just 18,600km on the clock (€850,000-€950,000).
Fans of the marque’s modern-day efforts may bid for a 2004 Enzo (€1.9-€2.2m) and even a 2014 LaFerrari, which originally sold for around €1m but is now likely to fetch three times as much. The latter is part of a holy trinity of hybrid-powered hypercars up for grabs, the other two being a 2016 McLaren P1 GTR (€3.2-€3.6m) and a 2015 Porsche 918 Weissach Spyder (€1.2-€1.4m).
The lot expected to prove the most expensive is a 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Torpedo Sport that could fetch up to €8m, and there’s also a Porsche 911 Carrera RSR going under the hammer that is billed as being brand new despite dating from 1993: one of just 51 Carrera RSRs made, the race-derived but road-legal car has clocked up just 10km and is still covered with its factory-applied Cosmoline protective coating. Hidden away in a private collection for almost 25 years, it’s expected to fetch up to €2.2m.