Las Vegas: RM like Verstappen

  • 22 November 2023
  • 3 min read
  • 8 images
Las Vegas: RM like Verstappen image

Photo credit: RM Sotheby’s

Cliff Goodall’s view

In Las Vegas, the RM Sotheby’s auction was as dazzling as the Formula 1 Grand Prix itself. James Corden, the celebrated host of his namesake late-night show and an award-winning actor, lent his charisma to the event. The cars, though limited to just 32, represented an immense collective value of $67,600,000, equivalent to $2,112,500 per car. A noteworthy aspect of this high-calibre auction was that 78% of the cars, each valued below $2.5 million, were offered without reserve, adding a thrilling unpredictability to the proceedings.

RM Sotheby’s Las Vegas, 17th November 2023 RM Sotheby’s Las Vegas, 17th November 2023 The auction in Las Vegas concluded with remarkable success. With a turnover of $52,741,500 and 85% of the cars sold, bringing in 80% of the pre-sale estimate, this auction ranks among the most successful of the year, with Mercedes models taking centre stage.

The top lot was the 2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 W04. In the world of Formula 1, a car’s history can be its most valuable asset, and this car was no exception: it was the first Mercedes-AMG to win an F1 race (the 2013 Hungarian GP) and was driven by Lewis Hamilton. Because of its limited success and the fact that it didn’t win the World Championship, which Sebastian Vettel claimed in his Red Bull, the car’s initial valuation of $10m-$15m was viewed sceptically. However, “what happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas,” and it sold for $18,815,000, setting a new world record for a 21st-century car and making it the third most expensive car of 2023.

Las Vegas: RM like Verstappen - 12013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 W04 sold for $18,815,000 (€17,235,480)

The spotlight also shone on two Mercedes-Benz CLK GTRs, the “Silver Arrows” of the sale. The first, a 1999 coupe, was the seventh of 26 made for Le Mans homologation (20 coupes and 6 spiders), with only 7,015km from three previous owners and an appearance at Amelia Island. Its valuation hovered between $8m and $9m.

Las Vegas: RM like Verstappen - 21999 Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR Coupe went unsold at $7,000,000 (€6,412,350)

The GTR Roadster, from the same collection, was even more desirable: with four owners and having been stationary since at least 2018, it was priced between $10.5m and $13m. A similar coupe model failed to sell in 2021 despite a high bid of $7m, and the last one sold was in 2012 for $1.1m. The only Roadster offered in the past two decades was in 2015, fetching around $2.3m. The outcome? The coupe remained unsold at $7m, while the Roadster sold for $10,235,000, both showing a notable increase in value over time.

Las Vegas: RM like Verstappen - 32002 Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR Roadster sold for $10,235,000 (€9,375,770)

Speaking of excellent revaluation, the 2022 Ferrari 812 Competizione also did pretty well at the event. This particular model was the first ever offered at an auction, warranting close attention. It featured a matte black exterior over an Alcantara Nero interior with yellow contrast stitching and a contrasting yellow stripe, only 354 miles on the clock, and $150,000 worth of accessories. The retail price for a standard model is around $700,000, climbing to approximately $850,000 with these extras. So, what justified its estimate of $1.65m-$1.95m? The answer lies in the lengthy waiting period, often spanning years, and the prestige of ownership. Ferrari’s stringent allocation process and the restrictions on resale add to its allure. Would a millionaire dare to risk Ferrari’s – or Porsche’s – blacklist for a quick profit? The car sold for $1,765,000, a price that would surely raise eyebrows, particularly if it landed in the hands of someone already on the blacklist…

Las Vegas: RM like Verstappen - 42022 Ferrari 812 Competizione sold for $1,765,000 (€1,616,850)

The auction also saw impressive results for two Lexus LFAs, one a standard version and the other the coveted “Nürburgring” edition. The 2012 standard model, in a vibrant pearl yellow over black interior, came with Tumi suitcases and a construction book. The Nürburgring edition, also from 2012 and one of only seven made for the American market, was presented in striking 9K5 Orange and equipped with identical accessories.

Las Vegas: RM like Verstappen - 52012 Lexus LFA sold for $940,000 (€861,000)

Both cars had minimal mileage: 112 miles for the yellow car and 143 for the orange one. Their estimated values were between $900,000 and $1.2 million for the standard model, and $1.8 million to $2.4 million for the Nürburgring edition. Both cars sold within these estimates, fetching $940,000 and $1,875,000 respectively, setting new records and eclipsing the previous highs of $819,000 and $1.6 million.

Las Vegas: RM like Verstappen - 62012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring Package sold for $1,875,000 (€1,717,600)

Finally, it’s worth mentioning a 1984 Lamborghini Countach 5000S. Originally delivered new to Ralph Lauren, this this striking Rosso over Nero leather car screamed “excess” from every angle. A few years after its initial purchase, it was acquired by the current seller, having covered just 17,413 km. Recently, this model has typically been valued between $575,000 and $625,000. Considering its illustrious past and low mileage, the estimate of $700,000-$900,000 wasn’t unreasonable. The final sale price? A solid $830,000.

Las Vegas: RM like Verstappen - 71984 Lamborghini Countach 5000 S sold for $830,000 (€760,300)