Some of the greatest cars auctioned from RM Auctions

Not everyday do we come across things which are auctioned or are in the process of getting auctioned. The best things that we know are auctioned include the likes of houses, bungalows, real estate and also cars. Yes, the cars or bikes which are brought on finance and the owners cannot repay them on time are confiscated by the banks and then after some time are auctioned off. Well, RM Auctions is not a small thing. It is an auction house dedicated to auctioning only automobiles. For the car collector industry, it is quite a boon and with its more than 3 decades experience in auctioning cars, it is but natural that people would turn up to RM Auctions. For more details one can actually visit their website Last May, RM Auctions sold off some real memorable cars. Unfortunately none of them are Indian cars and hence there would a disparity since we are putting up this post on Indiandrives. Read on to know more about the various high fundoo cars that were auctioned.

Chevrolet Testudo from 1963 :

Carrozzeria Bertone had Giorgetto Giugiaro joining him in 1959 and the latter had already designed close to 3 cars namely Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint, ASA 1200 GT Coupe and also Giulia Sprint. In 1963, Gordon Keeble, BMW 3200CS and also the Iso Rivolta were designed by them jointly. However this very talented designer could never enough get a hang of his own creation which he had secretly nurtured over the years. It so happened that even GM were on the lookout for a new and sportier version of their Chevrolet Corvair- the rear engined innovative piece. Pininfarina and Bertone both had received orders for making something innovative for GM and needless to say when GM were developing the concepts SS and Monza GT, Giugiaro set about working on the Bertone version. No modification was made to the Corvair Monza chassis as it was strengthened and shortened for the additional stiffness. Chevy’s 6 cylinder 81 Bhp air-cooled engine was also used and was installed at the rear of this car. The end car had a body shell which was a subtle reminder of how a turtle looks like. In Latin turtles are called as Testudo and hence the nomenclature for this car. The head lamps of this car are of the pop up types and the novelty is that they rotated upwards.  The warparound window from the rear of the Testudo was later on copied for different future models ranging from Porsche to even a Lamborghini. This Chevrolet Testudo was sold at a price of Rs 2 crores at the auction.

Lancia Stratos Zero from 1970 :

The Marzal was the first attempt by an Italian design house in 1960 as far as concept designing went. The Marzal was a 4 seater concept car which redefined the shape of the automobiles and brought in back the sweeping curves, sharp edges and even the wedge shaped profile with matt black finishing. Just after a year with the same design concept in mind, the Alfa Romeo Carabo was introduced. The latter was a cutting edge thing as far as design philosophy goes. The stunner, however, was when Bertone actually unveiled the Lancia Stratos at the Turin Motor Show. A car which was only 84 cms tall and 358 cms long with decent seating space for two and mated with a 1.6 liter engine making 115 Bhp is really a revelation. In due course of time, this car came to be named as the Lancia Stratos model. Later on Bertone and Gandini improvised on their own design and came up with such an automobile design that at first glance seemed like it was hewn of a single block of metal. Futuristic is what one can term the looks of this car and hence even after 4 decades, this design was so stunning that it was auctioned at Rs 4.6 crores. The futuristic look featured the likes of ultrathin head lamps which had the best illumination at that time. The rubber boots provided for this car were also of the fatter types. The dual exhausts had an offset pattern to them which was to the side of the gearbox. Since those days didn’t have the LED configuration lamps ideas, the best illumination combination for this car was derived from a set of ten lamps which were of the 55W configuration. For the rear end, there were bulbs, in all numbering 84, which would light up simultaneously and even featured as turn indicators. Michael Robinson, Bertone’s current design chief says that this was the car which actually made him think about a career in car designing. We are sure that not only he but also other artists too have been inspired by this masterpiece.

Lamborghini Marzal from 1967 :

There has to be something Indian in this whole post apart from the writer and it comes from the city where Sonia Gandhi grew up, Orbassano. Many development as also automotive design studios abound here. Marcello Gandini recollects a strange thing which happened to him near the petrol pump located there. He and one of his colleague had visited the petrol pump to fill in petrol for their new concept car and the attendant instead of filling in fuel was busy ogling at the car that they had arrived in. In the end, Gandini had to fill in fuel himself since the attendant was so smitten by the car that he kept circling the car the entire time. The car is the Lamborghini Marzal. It was built fuelled by a desire to create a concept car which can seat 4 people in reasonable comfort and also have easy access. For powertrain, there was the V12 engine from Miura and chassis was also borrowed from it. Gandini had to make several modifications including chopping off the engine into half and rotating it by 180 degrees, so that it could be shoehorned into the rear of the Marzal. Practicality, stunning looks and superb proportions did the trick for this car and from its 2 liter engine, it produced 175 Bhp of power and was capable of achieving 225 kmph given the right kind of road. What more could one ask for? It was auctioned at a price of R 9 crores.

Lamborghini Bravo from the 1974 :

The Porsche 911 had taken over by then and it was but natural that Lamborghini should develop something similar to it. In came the Urraco with its 2.5 liter V8 engine. This was in 1970. However, rival Ferrari was qquick to counter this with a 3.0 liter engine with V8 configuration namely the 308 GT4. 250 Bhp was what the next updated Lambo developed from its 3 liter heart and in celebration of this new addition, Bertone brought in the Bravo concept and this was limited to the cockpit. The V8 engine from the Lamborghini got some more soup at 300 Bhp and the new Bravo was about 50 cms shorter than than the Urraco. Ahead of the front axle was the base of the windscreen. To match the inclinations of the side windows, the rear and front wings were twisted. Some graphics were also included in the equation and the upwards pointing tail pipes became a real rage. This masterpiece was auctioned off for a relatively lower Rs 3.53 crores price tag.

Lamborghini Athon from 1980 :

1970 saw the departure of Gandini from Bertone and then the general question arose if Bertone would actually be able to deliver the cutting edge designs that they were known for. A Frenchman, Marc Deschamps replaced him and slipping into Gandini’s XL sized boots wasn’t so easy for this bloke. However, as they say “The show has to go on”, Bertone trained the new guy and together, they wanted to show the world that Bertone was still the same without Gandini. The base for Deschamps’ first concept with Bertone was with a transverse midmounted DOHC engine which boasted of 2996 cc producing 260 Bhp with 4 twin choke Webers. A 5 speed manual transmission ensured that 0-100 kmph came up in only 6.8 seconds. Maximum speed was of 243 kmph. Lamborghini’s Silhouette was chosen as the base for modifications and in came the Lamborghini Athon at the 1980 Turin Motor Show. Fans of Lamborghini noticed no difference in the design elements from Gandini and Deschamps and this was maybe a good or bad thing for the new young designer. The Athon, however, had unusual proportions for a race car with its cab forward design and also tall and long rear deck which hid the mid engined configuration that this car came with. There were even dummy air filter boxes on its top surface to complete the pseudo look of this car. The price that this one went for was only Rs 2.1 crores and this was the auction amount paid.

Lancia Sibilo from 1978 :

This has got to be the most impractical car created for practical purposes. It was initially designed to tackle the rally terrain of the 1970s. The Lancia Stratos had a very sharp turn-in angle which coupled with its 2180 mm wheelbase made for a good handling machine. However, this package too had its own demerits primarily with the short driver (it disliked tall drivers)and the co-passenger sitting in a cozy manner in the front with the splayed out seating arrangement. Deliveries of this vehicle began only in 1973 even though the car was launched in 1972. Most of these cars were sold to the world rally championship homologation requirements. However, just as it started, production came to an abrupt end in 1974, rendering it as a collectors special item. However, the cars in existence were used extensively for rallying and it completely dominated the rallying world from between 1974-76. It became a sort of legend and it was only in 1978 that the then Stratos designer Marcello Gandini used one of the unsold cars for further modification. Keeping practicality in mind, the chassis of this car was lengthened and also the wheelbase got an increment of 100mm. The entire layout as also the mechanicals of this car remained the same as the Stratos. A 2.4 liter V6 engine from the Ferrari midship was plonked in and the engine’s power was boosted to 190 Bhp and a 5 speed manual transmission was also mated to it along with all wheel discs.

The geometric wedge shape of the earlier car was expanded by taking the Bravo’s radical themes. The glasshouse was blended into the bodywork to form a fully integral, almost seamless volume. The side glass and windscreen were flush fitted with the joints and carefully painted to give for smooth uninterrupted surfaces. There were no drop down windows and the side panels were clear plastics with circular openings on each side that popped inwards. They were then slid forward on runners. Instead of being separate to the body, the bumpers were also made an integral part of the whole equation and just a crease and orange pinstrip hinted at their volume. This car was the cheapest one sold at the auction and the cost was Rs 57 lakhs.

While, all these cars wouldn’t have a good recollection from the usual readers, automobile fanatics would definitely remember them and infact would dream about either getting their hands on them or even driving them. Well, if only wishes were horses!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.