The RM-Sotheby's Villa Erba sale is slated for later this month during the weekend of the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d’Este. The event will be held on the banks of Lake Como in Northern Italy and will be headlined by one of the most acclaimed and storied cars in the world.
This 1928, Mercedes-Benz 680s Torpedo Roadster by Corrosserie J. Saoutchik was Mercedes-Benz’s display car during the New York Auto Show of 1929. It was a time in history that was characterized by a rapidly growing world where the American economy was experiencing a boom and had doubled in size during the previous decade. Then, the car was considered to be the ultimate luxury statement when it came to automobiles. This was during what was dubbed 'the roaring twenties' when millions of Americans entered an era of newly-acquired prosperity.
Designed by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Fritz Nallinger and Hans Nibel, the car’s body was built by Carrosserie Jacques Saoutchik’s Paris-based coach-building company. At the time, it was one of the fastest road cars in the whole world, with its 6.8 supercharged engine capable of generating 180 horsepower.
The car also joined the world-acclaimed Mercedes-Benz S/SS/SSK line that defined the merger of Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz’s two auto companies. This line was among the cars that reached the penultimate rounds during the nominations for the Car of the Century award in 1999, which is quite an achievement.
The interior of the car bore all the hallmarks of the most extravagant of the famous French luxury car makers. The exotic reptile skins in the interior lining and seat coverings were yet another example of Saoutchik's proclivity for exotic reptile skins.
During its later life, the car gained fame for being awarded a perfect score of 100 points at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance of 2012, on its way to winning the highly contested Best of Show trophy in the event.
It also won other accolades such as the Mercedes-Benz Star of Excellence at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance (in 2014), First in Class during the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este (in 2013) and the Restoration of the Year award at the International Historic Motoring Awards (in 2012).
Already, the car is listed among the top hundred most valuable cars in the world, after being sold for $8,250,000 in the Monterey Car Week of 2013. It had also been in the top 100 ten years ago, after selling for $3,645,000 during the 2006 Monterey Car Week.
Therefore, it will be a valuable yardstick for the collectible car market that a vehicle of such impeccable credentials will exchange hands. The car has completed the Grand Slam of car excellence from the time it sold for 8.25 million, and it is most probably worth more than it was in 2013. However, the marketplace can be fickle and there are many cases of cars being sold for less a few years later. But I reckon RM-Sothebys is anticipating another entry in the exclusive club of cars that have sold for $10 million or more.
The official estimate for this car is from 6.5 to 8 million euros (US $7.1 to 8.7 million). The event is streamed live online, and it makes for fascinating viewing.