There they sat, on the tenth floor of 1334 York Avenue on the Upper East Side: Juan Manuel Fangio’s Ferrari, Janis Joplin’s Porsche and 29 other rare classic cars awaiting auction last Thursday in a showroom at the top of RM Sotheby’s New York City headquarters. Standing in a room filled with cars of this caliber is like standing in a MoMA for gearheads; when those fine automobiles finally went to the auction block, the cars at RM Sotheby’s sold for a combined $73 million.
The 1956 Ferrari 290MM that Fangio drove in the Mille Miglia went for $28.05 million, making it the most expensive car sold this year. Second-most expensive was a Zagato-designed Aston Martin DB4/GT — one of only 19 — that auctioned for $14.3 million. A Ferrari 250 GT sold for $5.72 million, and an essentially brand-new Lamborghini Miura SV went for $2.42 million. Janis Joplin’s Porsche 356 Convertible — which spent the last 20 years of its life in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum — went for $1.75 million, more than three times what it was expected to sell for. So while there is a special appeal about the brilliant cars of today, it’s evident in the combined eight-figure price tag that classic metal still possesses an undeniable majesty.