Million-dollar cars top RM Monterey auction

MONTEREY, Calif. — On an unusually balmy mid-August evening, collector cars awaiting the RM Auction gavel were spread around and inside the Portola Hotel and Spa here.

Pedestrians could enjoy viewing some which were protected by barriers and staff at an entrance to the hotel. Others, also guarded,  sat on a large patio adjacent to the hotel where persons with proper identification could inspect them more closely.

The loudest of those was a chartreuse 1967 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV Conversion. Its engine compartment was open and the powerplant sometimes roaring for onlookers.

A short distance away a quieter, taller and more stately 1915 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Limousine was parked. It was in the company of a closer contemporary: a 1925 Renault 40CV Cabriolet de Ville.

All three of these cars sold in RM’s August 17-18 Monterey sale, an event the international auction house said was its best-ever in terms of total sales: $95.7 million.

The star of the sales tally was the GT40 Gulf/Mirage Lightweight 1968 Ford racing car. It sold August 17 for a cool $11 million. In addition to having its own racing history, the GT40 served as a camera car for the movie “LeMans,” with Steve McQueen.

RM reported that when the final bid was accepted, there was a standing ovation.

On Saturday, Ferraris stole the limelight, with a 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder bringing $8,580,000. A 1956 Ferrari 250 GT WLB Berlinetta “Tour de France” sold for $6,710,000.

The auction house said there were 13 sales of over $1 million on Saturday alone and 20 million-plus-dollar sales in the two days.

RM said an impressive 89 percent of cars offered at auction sold. The grand total this year was a staggering $95.7 million.