These Forgotten Exotics Were Driven by Disruption
Photography Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
When RM Sotheby’s announced the jaw-dropping lineup to its final sale of 2015, Driven By Disruption, it was easy to overlook the amount of quality lots offered. After all, when a driven-by-Juan-Manuel-Fangio Ferrari is among the selections, it’s difficult to focus on much else.
Driven By Disruption is in effect a curated selection of machines grouped together precisely because they’re all so different. And importantly, history has proven they’re all disruptive in their own way.
We’ve chosen five of the arguably lesser-known vehicles from the event, vehicles that offer something unique in the car world. Each of the examples here has been touched by brilliance, be it styling, engineering, or history, and each represents a fine example of its breed. So if you’re looking to drive something a bit different on your next tour, maybe it’s time to add a Mangusta to the garage?
Introduced in the early ’50s, nearly a decade before the Shelby Cobra hit the scene, the 2.0-litre Fiat V8-powered and Motto-bodied 208S Spider is an absolute rarity. This example is one of the finest in the world, says RM Sotheby’s, and was notably owned by a Cold War-era F-100 Super Sabre pilot before earning awards decades later at both Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este and Amelia Island concours.
Its 125 horsepower may seem slight, but the 208S Spider was a proven race-winning machine—even Steve McQueen counted among its fans.
Often referred to in shorthand as “the Spanish Ferrari,” this 160-plus mph sporting GT was the product of a short-lived but headline-grabbing partnership between Spain’s Pegaso and Italy’s Touring carrozzeria.
Under its sleek hood is an engine decades ahead of its time: a four-cam, all-alloy V8 with dry sump lubrication and, as RM Sotheby’s notes, a five-speed rear transaxle. This was space aged-stuff back then—Ferrari ended up nearly 10 years behind Pegaso in adopting this technology for its series road cars.
To call this Aston Martin a “forgotten exotic” is somewhat of a stretch, but the Zagato-bodied DB4GT represents in many ways the perfect combination of British engineering and Italian design…if only buyers knew it at the time.
The Zagato-bodied cars are approximately 110 lbs lighter and 12 horsepower more powerful than a standard DB4GT, and notably more slippery through the wind. Built to take on Ferrari and the rest of the world at Le Mans, these cars are now so special and cherished that they rarely change hands—this is the first offered for sale in nearly a decade.
After all, only 19 were made, making this beautiful, Ferrari-beating GT racing car a complete rarity, moreso than even its on-track rival, the Ferrari 250 GTO.
Housing an American engine within an Italian design is always a hybrid we can get behind, especially when the result is as mesmerizing as the De Tomaso Mangusta. It’s basically a late-’60s supercar, thanks to a 271 horsepower 302 cu.in. Ford V8 and mid-engined layout.
But whereas a Ford GT40 was designed first as a racer to haunt Ferraris at circuits, the Mangusta is much more similar to a modern supercar and designed by racers, for the road. And as a particularly fitting selection for this sale, its lines are some of the earliest work from Giorgetto Giugiaro—since named the Car Designer of the Century.
Ford was late to the Group B party, and as a result, its RS200 was not only destined to be retired from competition early due to rule changes, but it’d stand as one of the most groundbreaking road cars ever built. Homologation rules meant Ford had to sell 200 road legal examples, and this particular one is believed to have been the last customer car delivered.
History has shown us that the car is really the ultimate go-anywhere supercar. It’s all-wheel drive, mid-engined, and pushes out a contemporary 250 horsepower from its 1.8-litre turbocharged Cosworth 4-cylinder engine. Ford had acquired the Italian coachbuilders Ghia a decade previous, and it’s believed the in-house carrozzeria penned the car’s blunt, brutal shape.
RM Sotheby’s Driven By Disruption sale
For more information, including a full lot listing, please visit the RM Sotheby’s website. If you’re unable to attend, a live streaming feed and the ability to bid online is also available at the link above.
- Location: New York
- Auction date: Thursday, December 10
- Preview date(s): December 5–10