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The Petrolhead Corner

The Monterey Edition – The Insane Rise of the McLaren F1, a Real Bond DB5 and the Porsche Type 64 Auction Disaster

The good, the bad and the insane of the 2019 Monterey Car Week. The Petrolhead Corner is up!

| By Brice Goulard | 4 min read |

Saturday it is, meaning your weekly dosage of fuel-infused news is up on MONOCHROME. Last week was the Monterey car week, the most important car-related event of the year in the US. Alongside the shows and gatherings, several auction houses present some of the most incredible cars for sale… But one always creates more buzz than the others: RM Sotheby’s. But this year, it managed to get the good, the bad and the insane at the same time, in one single auction room. True story!

The insane – The rise of the McLaren F1

McLaren has officially joined Ferrari and Bugatti in the Hall of Fame of collectable cars, with its iconic supercar, the F1. Still, the main difference here is that we’re not talking 1930s or 1960s classic automobiles, nor a couple of rare examples (OK, the F1 is still a very rare car). No, the McLaren F1 is a child of the 1990s and, as such, still is a modern car – and officially the most desirable modern car of the lot.

McLaren F1 ‘LM specification’ RM Sothebys

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Conceived by genius engineer Gordon Murray, the F1 was a compendium of all the best possible solutions of the time, with its 620bhp V12 engine, its carbon-fibre conception and its unusual 3-seater architecture. Produced in only 106 examples, it was said to be the finest driving machine yet built – and still is amongst the most impressive machines ever made. Scarcity and pedigree have created its iconic status, reinforced by the ever-escalating results at auctions.

During the 2019 Monterey Car Week, RM hammered away a McLaren F1 ‘LM specification’ (so-to-say, one of the most desirable configurations, with a high-downforce aerodynamic body kit and an unrestricted 680bhp V12) for $19.8 million, including buyer’s premium… Experts say that the best examples of the F1 could even fetch over $30 million in the coming years and, in this instance, it would become the worthy successor of the 250 GTO (which is said to soon break the $100 million barrier).

You can read the full story on Classic Driver here.

The Good – James Bond 007 “Thunderball” Aston Martin DB5 sets a new Record

The Aston Martin DB5 is, without doubt, the most iconic Aston of them all. But what made it famous isn’t only its utter elegance or its great L6 engine, it’s its multiple appearances on the silver screen, driven by Mister Bond. Who hasn’t dreamt of riding this masterpiece of English engineering and playing with the rockets hidden behind the headlights…? Personally, I plead guilty.

James Bond 007 "Thunderball" Aston Martin DB5

Owning a standard DB5 would already be something. Owning one of the Bond-Spec DB5 continuation cars would be even better. But owning THE one-and-only 1965 James Bond Aston Martin DB5 from the movie Thunderball, that would be spectacular… Well, that was the opportunity offered by RM Sotheby’s at Monterey, with the sale of what the auction house named “The most famous car in the world”.

The present 1965 example of the Aston Martin DB5, originally commissioned and used in the promotion of the James Bond movie Thunderball and complete with working Bond gadgets, achieved $6,385,000 last week, setting a new record for the most valuable DB5 sold at auction. And we can easily understand why.

You can read the full story on Petrolicious here.

The Bad – The Porsche Type 64 Auction Disaster

Last but not least, the sad and almost incredible story of the Porsche Type 64… This is one of those stories that you could simply not imagine happening… but did. Remember the drama surrounding the sale of Bansky’s paint, when “Sotheby’s Gets Banksy’ed at Contemporary Art Auction in London” – when Banksy’s Girl with Balloon self-destructed just as the final hammer signalled the end of an evening of auctions in London? That’s about the same here, again with Sotheby’s, but without even someone external creating the situation.

As we recently reported, RM offered at auction what is supposedly the first-ever car to bear the name Porsche, the Type 64. These cars, created pre-WWII, were racing studies built by Dr Ferdinand Porsche for a 1939 Berlin-Paris race that was cancelled. Altogether, only three examples were produced and one of them has surfaced recently. The auctioned example of the Type 64 was owned and driven by Dr Ferdinand Porsche and his son Ferry Porsche themselves and served as a base for the creation of the 356, after WWII.

So what happened during the sale? Consensus was clear: the car could easily fetch over $20 million, becoming the most expensive Porsche ever auctioned. And then came the mess (a real, dirty mess). The fault: apparently a bit too much excitement, some noise in the room, the auctioneer’s accent (his native language is Dutch) and increments that were mistakenly displayed on the screen.

The opening bid was $13 million dollars, but screens displayed $30 million. Followed by $14 million (displayed $40 million) and so on until the auctioneer realized the trouble and put the brakes on the proceedings when the bid hit $17 million, but the screen showed $70 million… “Crowd’s reaction immediately changed from cheers to jeers,” said Forbes and there were no more bids. The worst is that the reserve price – or minimum required by the seller – wasn’t fetched, meaning that the car remains unsold.

If you want to see how this happened, check the video below:

You can read the full story on Forbes here.

Images courtesy of Aston Martin and RM Sotheby’s and Classic Driver.

3 responses

  1. No serious bidder would be stopped from owning a car like this if he was intent on getting it. The screwup would not have kept him from getting it home. It was just over priced.

  2. Because the value of these cars is largely based on a sold fantasy and the aura of prestige of being the highest bidder, it’s no surprise that this legitimately important Porsche didn’t sell. The fantasy bubble was burst, the fever was broken, and the buyers shrugged it off. Lesson to be learned by the auction house: WHEN YOU’RE SELLING GOODS WORTH FANTASY MILLIONS, PROPER ELOCUTION IN ENGLISH IS REQUIRED, NOT OPTIONAL.

  3. It’s hardly surprising that the auction was stopped. No matter how rich you are, if you have earned your own money you know the value of it and you wouldn’t just throw an uncertain amount into an auction.

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