Thursday, February 29, 2024

Five of the Best – The Quattroruote Collection

Highlights from the forthcoming auction of the Quattroruote Collection of cars


On 14th May, RM Sotheby’s will offer thirty-nine cars that have formed part of the Quattroruote Collection at their auction in Monaco.


Quattroruote magazine was established in 1956 by Gianni Mazzocchi, the founder of the Editoriale Domus Publishing company, and became one of the most famous names in Italian motoring journalism. In line with his interest, Mazzocchi began to purchase what he believed to be the most historically significant cars from each era in the 1950s and here below we choose five of our favourites from the part of his collection that will be sold:


1931 Austin 7 four-seater tourer – £11,600 to £15,500 ($16,900 to $22,600 or €15,000 to €20,000)

Five of the Best – The Quattroruote Collection – Monaco – RM Sotheby’s auction – 14th May 2016A rare beast in Italy and first registered there in 1934 in Genoa, this iconic car is presented in scarlet and black. Described as being “simply but durably constructed” and in “very presentable cosmetic order”, this fine example has been in the collection since circa 1965.


1939 Bugatti Type 57 cabriolet by Gangloff – £387,000 to £465,000 ($564,000 to $677,000 or €500,000 to €600,000)

Five of the Best – The Quattroruote Collection – Monaco – RM Sotheby’s auction – 14th May 2016

Displayed new at the 16th Salon International de l’Automobile in Geneva, Switzerland in early 1939, this Bugatti was sold to the Quattroruote Collection in 1964 and still has its original engine. It was used as the company demonstrator of Bugatti racing legend Jean-Pierre Wimille and built as a “special cabriolet” by Gangloff as a one-off. It is especially stylish and features low headlamps blended into the front fenders and a sharply raked windshield.


1951 Fiat 500 C ‘Topolino’ – £7,800 to £10,900 ($11,300 to $15,800 or €10,000 to €14,000)

Five of the Best – The Quattroruote Collection – Monaco – RM Sotheby’s auction – 14th May 2016This ‘Little Mouse’ has a wheelbase of just 200cm and has had just two recorded owners from new. Restored to its original condition and featuring a ‘sunshine roof’, this “indestructible” car is described as “one of the most important and popular Italian automobiles ever made” and “a vehicle that became a legend in its own time”.


1964 Citroën DS 19 – £17,100 to £20,100 ($24,800 to $29,400 or €22,000 to €26,000)

Five of the Best – The Quattroruote Collection – Monaco – RM Sotheby’s auction – 14th May 2016Part of the collection for twenty-seven years and “extremely cosmetically well preserved for its age”, this “advanced today as it was when new” DS 19 was delivered new in Milan in 1964. It is suggested by RM Sotheby’s that “an example belongs in every collection that determines to present the history of the automobile, as few motoring creations have ever been so earth shattering, before or since”.


1978 Mercedes-Benz 280 TE estate – £4,600 to £6,200 ($6,800 to $9,000 or €6,000 to €8,000)

Five of the Best – The Quattroruote Collection – Monaco – RM Sotheby’s auction – 14th May 2016Probably the best preserved example surviving, given most were “driven into the ground by their owners”, this German workhorse was the first mass-produced estate produced by Mercedes-Benz. It has been owned by Editoriale Domus since new and is still on its original Milanese registration, 33806E MI.


All lots are offered without reserve.



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    1. The wonderful Citroen DS. With its remarkable pneumatic suspension and swivel lights. I had one for a couple of years and, such was their rarity, we would always flash our lights and wave at other Citroen owners. Huge fun!

    2. Great cars all of them and all iconic in their own way, it is a pleasure to see such a diverse collection and a living record of how cars have developed over the decades.

    3. My first car was a Fiat Topolino, a delightful little car, which was stolen and never recovered. I then had an Austin Chummy convertible, like the one in the photo, great fun in London but driving it to Henley felt like driving it to Monaco. I replaced it with a J2 MG, and then I bought an Austin Seven Special, but I wanted a better one, so I found a rolling Chummy chassis and made my own Austin Seven Special. It was quite good too, I wonder where it is now…


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