Pope's Lamborghini (yes, really!) sells for €809,375 in Monaco

The headline Ferrari Tour De France failed to raise the required €7m, but the RM Sotheby's sale still saw 57 cars go for €22.8m (£20.1m) – including the Papal Huracán...

By far the longest bidding battle at this year’s Monaco auctions took place at the RM Sotheby’s Sale in the Grimaldi Forum. In the end, there were just two contestants countering each other’s bids, the prize being a Pope Francis donated and signed 2018 Lamborghini Huracan RWD coupé in Papal White with gold pinstriping.

Eventually, and to huge applause, the dashing Popemobile was secured with a most generous bid of €715,000, amounting to an ever more saintly €809,375 with premium (£712,250). All proceeds will benefit four charities selected by his Holiness.

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Also virtually as-new with a mere 840km exposure to planet earth was a 2015 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse with numerous Transformers-themed custom features. It boosted auction performance to €1,720,625 with premium (£1,514,150), more than €200,000 over estimate.

The star car though, a 1957 Ferrari 250 GT Competizione Tour De France with 1958 Spa and Reims race history, failed to excite bidding to anywhere near the €7m-plus sought, running out of road with €6,200,000 on the big screen.

It was left therefore to a Bob Smith-restored 1966 275 GTB (below), a steel-bodied ‘Long Nose’ with matching numbers engine on triple carbs, to top the leader board. A €1,850,000 best bid under the hammer equated to €2,142,500 (£1,885,400) post-sale. According to the auctioneers, Ferrari Classiche certification was ‘in progress’, which has become not just helpful if dispersing a Prancing Horse, but prudent when there may now be more bears than bulls in the market for an investor grade collector car.

Another big bucks Ferrari to change hands was an Italian-restored 1962 250 GT S2 Cabriolet (below), Classiche-certified and the 172nd of 200 produced. It was hammered for a mid-estimate €1,500,000 to cost the buyers €1,692,500 with premium (£1,489,400).

One of 74 ‘Low Roof’ 250 GT Coupés by Boano from 1957, eligible for the Mille Miglia and Tour Auto, fetched a within-forecast €848,750 (£746,900). A less-than-10,000km from new 2006 575 Superamerica, one of only 43 manuals, and with the desirable HGCT package too, cantered to an €860,000 conclusion (£756,800 with premium), more than €250,000 over the guide.

A 2011 599 GTO with Hermès-inspired interior from the Ferrari Tailor Made Division was also successfully transacted for €680,000 (£598,400) and a Dino 246 GTS driven 31,000km from new in 1974 made a well over top estimate €533,750 (£469,700).

The personal 308 GTS of works driver Gilles Villeneuve from 1978 until his death in 1982 was sold without reserve for €269,375 (£237,050). A 1971 Dino 246 GT previously owned by another works driver, René Arnoux, made the required €263,750 (£232,100) and a just under guide €185,000 (£162,800) was accepted for the 360 Challenge Stradale delivered new to Jean Todt in 2003.

Top priced Porsche here was the 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Lightweight (above), factory-built in 1973 with ST wheelarches and RS 3.0 rear spoiler built for Finnish race and rally driver Leo Kinnunen. Seemingly highly original after 63,213km, it sold for a below estimate €1,242,500 (£1,093,400). Whereas a 2018 Geneva Show displayed and still as-new RUF CTR3 Clubsport raised €1,107,500 (£974,600).

Michael Schumacher coming second in the 1992 Spanish GP boosted the auction sale of a Benetton B192 F1 with period-correct LPE Ford HB engine and spares package to €815,000 (£717,200). A substantially complete 1999 Jordan 199 Mugen-Honda driven by Heinz-Harald Frentzen to second and third places in Australia and Brazil meanwhile found €241,250 (£212,300).

Frank Sytner had come to see the BMW 635 CSi Group A race car that he drove in BTCC and ETCC during the 1983 and 1984 seasons sell, which it did for €297,500 (£261,800). That was just under the €300,000 or more that had been estimated pre-sale.

Slightly more had also been expected for a 1937 SS100 Jaguar 2½-Litre Roadster with UK V5C and registration, for which €246,875 including premium (£217,250) was accepted. The highest priced British road car in the conference centre was a US-supplied early (1962) E-type S1 3.8 Roadster, restored and mint, that sold for €230,000 (£202,400).

An open 1959 MGA Twin Cam, reportedly prepped in the MG Comps Department, had been retro-evented on three continents and was acquired for €43,125 (£37,950), less than half what had been forecast.

Manufactured in 1972 for Japanese export, but now rather sad looking, an Aston Martin V8 EE ‘garage find’ with DBS badging and seriously distressed seats was taken on for €31,080 euros (£27,350), €9000 below the guide. An extensively restored 1967 Austin Mini Moke with UK V5 was landed for €17,250 (£15,188), also less than expected.

Perhaps the most extraordinary valuation of all though was the €290,000 bid under the hammer for the first car lot, an admittedly authentically revived 1960 Chevrolet Corvette 283/270 (above) with original engine fed by dual carbs.

Guide-priced at 90,000-120,000 euros, the NCRS Top Flight Award Winner in 2009 and still perfect show stopper cost the buyer €331,250 (£291,500) with premium. This was Monaco after all, where a thimble of coffee can cost considerably more than a pint of the finest real ale at my local!

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