May seems to be the automobile auction month in the Principality of Monaco – during the same weekend there was ‘Legende et Passion Monaco’ by Coys of Kensington, RM Sotheby’s Monaco, and Bonhams ‘Les Grandes Marques à Monaco’ auction – and as you would expect, some of the world’s most desirable collectors cars were featured in the catalogues. Some were overpriced, some perhaps not in as mint condition as the sales description suggested, but as most people will know, buying a car from an auction is always ‘at your own risk’. Some customers do get their hands on great bargains that in the end might very well turn out to be as good as promised.
We didn’t attend the Coys of Kensington ‘Legende et Passion Monaco 2018‘ auction on the 11th of May as bidders, but more out of curiosity to see what was on offer. So rather than walking around with critical eyes, we walked around daydreaming of a giant garage full of classic cars. One of the most interesting cars from the catalogue – and also a classic we would one day really love to have on our driveway (although if you ask my other half it needs to be blue…) – was an absolutely stunning yellow Renault Alpine A110, which had unfortunately not made it to the auction house in the Espace Fontvieille. Some of my other favourites were the 1988 Porsche 959 Comfort, the 2010 Porsche 997 GT2 RS, the 2011 Porsche 997 GT3 RS, a 1967 Lamborghini Miura P 400, and admittedly I still think the 1989 Ferrari Testarossa is one of the most beautiful cars Ferrari ever designed. Given the choice I would favour a F355 because it’s more usable as a ‘road trip classic’ (Harry Metcalfe might disagree), but the Testarossa is a real head-turner with its distinctive side air vents and wide body.
The RM Sotheby’s auction was being held in the light-filled Grimaldi Forum, with the cars in the Bonhams auction on display in an even more exclusive location, the historic Villa La Vigie that was once upon a time the home of Karl Lagerfeld. Compared to the other venues the Espace Fontvieille building felt too dark and moody – especially as a setting for stunning cars which at least would benefit from better lighting. What might work well for a concert might not be ideal for a car auction – so my only feedback would be that Coys of Kensington would do better to find a more exclusive location for the future – although I know finding the perfect large space is a challenge in Monaco, especially if the Grimaldi Forum is already reserved.
The Legende et Passion Monaco auction results have not been published yet – Coys of Kensington told me that they are working on getting them published online. The 959 Comfort clearly did not find a buyer, because this car was again listed in the Blenheim Palace auction, held on the 30th of June. Perhaps this particular car wasn’t a best-in-show example as it was unsold, but it’s still interesting that a classic this rare and desirable – only 337 were originally built from 1986 to 1988, and in 1992/1993 Porsche manufactured an additional eight cars from leftover spare parts in the factory – didn’t find a new home with an enthusiast at the first auction round. What sounds more fun, €800,000 on the bank account or a road trip in a 959?
Nevertheless it was very enjoyable to have a stroll and admire beautiful machines – enjoy some photos of the selection.