October 26, 2020
A trio of historic 1950s Alfo Romeo concept cars are about to hit the auction block and RM Sotheby's, automotive partner to the namesake auction house, says they're expected to sell for as much as $20 million.
For those unfamiliar with the world of classic cars, Ian Kelleher, chief marketing officer at RM Sotheby's, explained why these vehicles are so exciting.
"These weren't just wild designs that were not functional," Kelleher told Cheddar. "They all have engines. They all actually will exceed 125 miles-an-hour at speed."
The lineup of cars Kelleher was specifically referring to were the Alfa Romeo BAT 5, 7, and 9 concept models. The Italian carmaker wanted to develop an appealing, more aerodynamic vehicle for consumers in the 1950s.
Alfa Romeo Berlina Aerodinamica Tecnica Concepts cars the B.A.T. 5, 7 & 9, a trio of automotive sculptural designs, is on display during a press preview of the upcoming Contemporary Art Evening Auction at Sotheby's on October 23, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
"Each year they looked to improve upon a previous design," said Kelleher. "What makes all of these special, going from year to year, was that they were designed in the most forward-thinking way possible."
The CMO pointed to the BAT 7 in particular, with its giant aerodynamic fins in the rear, as one of the most "wild" of the designs. The culmination of the upgrades led to the BAT 9, the most "roadworthy" of the model lineage according to Kelleher.
"Individually each one was a work of art. Individually each one was an improvement on the last one, but when you look at all three together it takes on a whole new meaning," he said.
With the vehicles hardly seen in the public in the past three decades, Kelleher expressed that the auction house predicts an enthusiastic response for the sale of the roadsters on Wednesday, October 28.
"We estimate the trio, the triptych shall we say, of the cars to sell between $14 and $20 million," said Kelleher. "It's the first time they've ever been offered at auction as a triptych. It's the first time they've been seen like this in an atmosphere where they could be purchased effectively."
Note: Patrick Drahi, Chairman of the Board of Cheddar's parent company Altice USA, is also the owner of Sotheby's.