Bugatti Joins $5.2 Million Mercedes; La Tache Tops Sale

2008 Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4
A 2008 Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4. With a top speed of more than 250 mph, the supercar was sold without reserve by the Dutch collector Wim Zegwaard at RM Auctions in London on Oct. 31, 2012. It sold for 579,600 pounds ($935,126). Source: Photographer: Simon Clay/RM Auctions via Bloomberg

A Bugatti Veyron will be among lots at a collectible car auction that also includes a 1955 Mercedes-Benz Gullwing estimated at as much as $5.2 million.

The Mercedes, one of just 29 alloy-bodied 300SL models, is formally valued at 3.2 million pounds in a sale of 90 cars and motorcycles by RM Auctions in Battersea, London, on Oct. 31.

Prices of the rarest 1950s and 1960s cars by marques such as Mercedes and Ferrari are on the rise, dealers said. Some of the most recent luxury models are struggling to appreciate.

“The Veyron is completely crazy,” said Adrian Hamilton, chairman of the Hampshire-based dealer Duncan Hamilton & Co., which has bought and sold several examples. “If you drive flat out, it runs out of petrol in 16 minutes. It costs a fortune to maintain. Yet a car like that may never be created again. It could potentially be a reasonable investment, depending how many miles are on the clock.”

The 2008 Veyron EB 16.4, with a top speed of more than 250 miles per hour, is being sold without reserve and has less than 700 kilometers (435 miles) on its odometer. The Veyron had an original price of $1.5 million to $2 million, dealers said, and this one is estimated to fetch between 440,000 pounds ($715,000) and 560,000 pounds. It is one of 22 European- and U.S.-made cars entered by the Dutch collector Wim Zegwaard.

Wine Auction

A case of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti La Tache 2005 fetched a top price of $45,938 at a Sotheby’s wine auction in New York that registered the company’s highest-ever levels of buying from Latin American clients.

The case of La Tache, estimated at $30,000 to $40,000 at the Sept. 15 event, was bought by a U.S.-based collector, the New York-based company said.

The sale raised $3 million with fees -- matching the high estimate, based on hammer prices -- with 92 percent of 1,147 lots successful. Burgundies from the Domaine de la Romanee-Conti generated four of the 10 top prices.

Two cases of Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1982 sold between the high and low estimates, for $39,813 each, both to the U.S. trade, underlining the decline in value of Asia’s favorite trophy Bordeaux. A 12-bottle lot of this same Lafite vintage sold for $133,584 at Sotheby’s, Hong Kong, in October 2010.

Cork Street

Cork Street’s status as one of London’s destination gallery districts is being threatened by two proposed real-estate developments, dealers said.

Plans are being drawn up by the Pollen Estate and Native Land to redevelop parts of the Mayfair street, which houses 20 galleries specializing in modern and contemporary art. About half the dealerships would be affected.

The Pollen Estate’s proposals for numbers 5 to 9 will provide new office, retail and art gallery spaces behind existing facades.

Native Land plans to demolish the block containing numbers 22 to 27 -- including the street’s oldest dealership, the Mayor Gallery, founded in 1925 -- to build a residential development designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, the architects of the Candy brothers’ One Hyde Park.

Fred Mayor staged Joan Miro’s first solo exhibition in the U.K. in 1933. Peggy Guggenheim opened her first commercial gallery, at 30 Cork Street in 1938.

“We’re fully aware of the reputation the area has for galleries,” Dan Clarke, development manager for the Native Land project, said in an interview. “Our plans will add about 30 to 40 percent more gallery space than there is at the moment.”

Formal Applications

Neither developer has yet made a formal planning application to Westminster Council. The redevelopment of 5-9 Cork Street is scheduled for completion in late 2016 or in 2017, the Pollen Estate said in an e-mail yesterday.

“The Estate is keen to preserve and build on Cork Street’s reputation as a gallery location by providing higher quality space with an improved frontage,” the Pollen Estate said in an e-mail. “Gallery owners affected by the proposals are being consulted to give them a first-hand opportunity to comment.”

“If we leave the street, we won’t be able to afford to come back,” Simon Tarrant, sales manager of Alpha Gallery, said in an interview. “Rents may be four or five times higher. We’re small independent galleries and can’t compete with major retailers.”

A petition opposing the redevelopment of Cork Street has attracted more than 6,000 signatures. The campaign is seeking 10,000 by Sept. 30, allowing it to make a formal objection to the U.K. Parliament.

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