Selling 70 Years of History


Photos by Andrew Miterko

RM Sotheby’s and Porsche Cars North America collaborated to bring together more than 60 desirable Porsche models from various collections, plus a plethora of collectibles and a multitude of memorabilia. A four-cam 356 B Carrera GT/GTL engine sat next to a 356 A chassis originally used by Hoffman Motors technicians for training purposes. RM Sotheby’s staff set more incredible models against the curved wall of glass: A pre-production development prototype 959, a 1973 Carrera RS 2.7 prototype finished in Signal Yellow, a ’75 3.0 RSR, and a 956 just past that. Opposite them, they lined up two split window 356s – a coupe and cabriolet alongside a Fjord Green Speedster, a one-of-three 911 writing desk, a Carrera RS 2.7 Touring, and the highly controversial barn find 356 A “Super” Speedster that took the center of the floor. Project Gold – the one-of-one 993 Turbo produced by Porsche Classic and Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of Porsche was set in front of the monitors that displayed the video of it’s production over the year and a half build process. Outside, the rest of the offerings were displayed along the patio that overlooks the PEC track and throughout the courtyard below.

Throughout the building spectators and specialists mingled and speculated about which vehicles might fetch what numbers; they discussed options and significance. Some performed pre-purchase inspections for clients; others are took in the automotive history stationed throughout the compound.

With the auction set for Saturday, Porsche and RM/Sotheby’s scheduled events to keep guests excited. A welcome reception honored Jeff Zwart and celebrated his newest book release; there was a Carrera GT Symposium and Recommission reveal, and finally they staged a gala with a solo musical performance by John Oates alongside his Rod Emory- built 356.

The newly-commissioned Carrera GT lay in waiting beneath a black car cover. Pete Stout led the conversation between Tony Hatter, Uwe Makrutski, and Alex Fabig from development and testing phases of the iconic supercar, to design, and finally detailing the process of recommissioning the vehicle to the client’s special requests. When the black cover came off, the owner and the crowd saw the bespoke-Oak Green CGT for the first time. It displayed gold accents with silver-plated wheel lips (due to the magnesium construction of the CGT’s five spoke wheels) and burgundy leather seats with houndstooth inserts. Black diamond stitched leather lines the “frunk” as requested by the owner since he wanted no plastic parts to be visible. Makrutski explained the carbon monocoque was sanded in three-hour sessions so the employee who was refinishing the carbon structure didn’t become fatigued and make a mistake. This could ultimately result in removing too much material and disrupting the integrity of the carbon fiber weave.

Jonathan Oates, musician and Porsche driver, told his Porsche story incorporating a slideshow of Porsches he’s owned and raced throughout the years. While recounting his experience piloting Gunnar Jeannette’s Pink Pig Porsche tractor (complete with trailer full of mini pink piglet tractors), Ramsey Potts interrupted to present Oates a gift from Gunnar – an acoustic guitar painted to the iconic pink pig scheme. Oates played it through his set and Friday closed out with a standing ovation from the audience.

Saturday was Auction day. RM/Sotheby’s staff positioned the Porsches three rows wide as they awaited their moment to cross the auction block. Memorabilia was first up. The lots of sales literature, posters, signs, and other collectibles quickly surpassed their estimates. One lot of sales materials sold for nearly triple its high estimate. Once the vehicles joined the show, the Paris-Dakar 959 rolled up to the block and nearly instantly hit the 2 million dollar mark. In a single bid, the price jumped to 3 million, and kept climbing north of 5 million dollars. The fierce bidding battle finally ends with the final bid weighing in at a staggering $5,945,000 [including all RM fees.]

The 1958 356 A “Super” Speedster that had been the subject of debate, with spectators and collectors alike weighing the value of the heavily-patina’d Speedster sitting amongst the group of much more pristine examples, ultimately exceeded the high estimate by double with the hammer sounding at $307,500.

The majority of the fleet passed through the block, some reaching their reserves and others falling short and retiring to the parking garage to await another sale. At this, some spectators moved inside; the remainder of the crowd sat huddled beneath fleece blankets to shelter themselves from the gusts of wind swirling around the bowl-like courtyard. The auctioneer – Ramsey Potts – announced the highly-anticipated opening bid of Project Gold and bids- both in person and over the phone – quickly escalated through the million-dollar mark.

Two young bidders fed off each other’s excitement while Potts shouted each subsequent bid. Auction attendees pressed closer to glass around PEC’s lobby to maintain a clear line of sight to the oversized monitor that displayed the current bid. The bidding war continued until the gavel hit the block at 3.1 million dollars (with a final sale price of $3,415,000) – a number that far surpassed nearly everyone’s speculations.

Then the Porsche Junior diesel tractor made it’s way across the block, closing out the auction, driving through the tunnel, and literally chugging off into the sunset.

At the end of the weekend, RM Sotheby’s announce it had sold $25,800,000.

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