The Craziest Cars Sold by RM Auctions
On the weekend of 22 June, 2019, RM Auctions celebrated its 40th birthday in the town where it started almost half a century ago. The importance of the company to its home town is captured in the words of Darrin Canniff, the mayor of Chatham-Kent: "RM choosing to celebrate with all of Chatham-Kent is a world-class move by a world-class company" (Source)
We took some time to trace the history of the company and present some of the craziest prices paid for cars on its auction floors.
The History of RM Auctions
Today, RM Auctions is synonymous with crazy prices paid for vintages cars and for grossing $500 million in annual sales, but it comes from humble beginnings. The man who started the company, Rob Meyers, was only 16 years old when he was handed a run down 1959 Edsel to restore in the family garage by his father. After a successful restoration, he drove it to his high school in his hometown of Chatham, Ontario, Canada. He would later trade it for a Triumph motorcycle (Source).
Following the restoration, requests for renewals and custom paint jobs from friends began to increase. Rob Myers set up his first restoration shop in a single garage in 1976 in Chatham (Source). He then began to experiment with the buying and selling of cars at auctions in the 1980s as his business grew.
RM Auctions was born, taking his initials as its name, when he purchased an auction company in Toronto in 1991 (Source).
Myers, who has never worked for anyone else, has gone on to build a company its owners now call the “world’s largest collector car auction house.” Headquartered in the agricultural area of southern Ontario, the auction house attracts car collectors from all over the world. They are attracted by its legendary offerings, ranging from vintage masterpieces to more modern works.
The Partnership with Sotheby’s
RM Auction’s place in the auction turf has attracted one of the world’s leading auction firms, Sotheby’s. In February 2015, Sotheby’s announced that it had acquired a 25% stake in RM Auctions. Sotheby’s had earlier teamed up with the classic car auctioneering firm on a successful auction in New York in 2013.
The New York auction, dubbed the Art of The Automobile, was organized by the two auction houses as a kind of experiment in presenting cars as art objects. It was a success with 31 cars sold at the event, fetching more than $62 million. The highlight of the auction was a red 1964 Ferrari 250 LM that sold for $14.3 million.
The Craziest Prices Paid For Cars
From its earliest days, RM Auctions seemed poised to address a growing global demand for top-grade collectibles. From exotic models to antique automotive beauties, it has continued to organize a series of marquee auctions in different parts of the world. Right before it entered into a deal to partner with Sotheby’s, it had recorded $593 million in combined global sales. We look at some of the vehicles behind these crazy figures.
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO: the Most Expensive Car on Auction
The1962 Ferrari 250 GTO is named by CNBC, the financial and business global news network, as the most expensive car ever sold at an auction. It sold for a stunning $48 million. The sale was part of a Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance held By RM Auctions in California in August 2013 (Source).
The sale beat all previous records as heavyweight bidders tried to close in on several A-list classic cars. It was the third GTO to roll off the assembly line and one of only 36 250 GTOs made by the Italian manufacturer. Reports indicate that Ferrari introduced the vehicle as a response to the Jaguar R-type which had made its first appearance in 1961.
1956 Ferrari 290 MM, Chassis 0626: The Model That Never Crashed
This race car holds a special place in Ferrari founder, Enzo Ferrari’s heart. His engineers persuaded him to mount a V12 engine on the car instead of the usual 4 and 6-cylinder engines. Several races later, Ferrari reclaimed the World Sportscar Championship in 1956.
The model, mainly the Chassis 0626, gained a worldwide reputation for never having crashed, a rarity in the world of motor racing. In December 2015, it was sold for $28,500,000 at RM Sotheby’s in New York (Source).
1967 Ferrari 275GTB/4*S NART Spider: "The Most Satisfying Sports Car"
In August 2013, one of only 10 Ferrari NART Spiders ever manufactured was sold at an RM Auction in Monterey, California. The hammer fell on a final $27,500,000 bid, making it one of the most expensive road cars ever to sell on an auction at the time. This kind of a price tag is not surprising if you consider that it was once labeled “the most satisfying sports car in the world” (Source) by Road and Track Magazine.
1964 Ferrari 250 LM: Car Number 24
Scarcely had Sotheby’s teamed up with RM auctions for a marquee auction in New York in 2003 than the pair smashed the then-record for the most expensive car sold at an auction at the time. The gleaming 1964 Ferrari 250LM, the 24th member of a 32-car manufacturing line, fetched a record $14,300,000 at the auction (Source).
1968 Ford GT40 Gulf/Mirage: The First Car to Roll out of the Assembly Line
On the 17th of August, 2012, this iconic car was snapped up for a record $11 million at an RM auction in Monterey. It was one of a handful of lightweight GT40s built for the Gulf racing team at the time. According to the serial number, it was the first car to roll out of the assembly line in 1968.
Forty years on, Meyer doesn't seem to be losing steam. Reports say that he is not just a seller of classics; he is also an avid buyer. Even though Meyer had once announced that he would be taking a break from purchasing more cars (because he didn't have space to put them), he was recently seen in the market, paying for a Lamborghini Countach. The car is an early 16th birthday gift for his newborn first grandchild (Source).