Automobiles as Art at RM Sotheby’s Petersen Auction

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Petersen RM Sotheby's Ferrari 458 Engine on stand

OK, so you might not be able to bid on that vintage sports car. But check out these unique automotive art pieces coming to the Dec. 8 auction.

This year, RM Sotheby’s annual Southern California automotive auction will be held on December 8 at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. As you might imagine, the lots offer a stunning array of rare finds and amazing feats of automotive artistry.

“For the past five years, RM Sotheby’s has hosted its Southern California event in Santa Monica,” says the auction house in a press statement. “Moving to the Petersen Automotive Museum in L.A. proper for 2018, the caliber of the event will be akin to RM Sotheby’s groundbreaking New York collector car auctions, held biennially at Sotheby’s global headquarters in Manhattan.”

However, not all of us can pony up the bucks to take home that vintage Porsche or sexy McClaren. But we have found a few items on the docket that might give you a taste of the Petersen, and satisfy your inner gearhead.

Ferrari F2000 Rear Wing End Plate

Petersen RM Sotheby's Ferrari Rear Wing Plate

Formula 1 seven-time champ Michael Schumacher has offered up this rear wing plate from his first World Drivers’ Championship in 2000. The F2000 rear wing end plate is emblazoned with Schumacher’s signature, and includes documents certifying its authenticity. A bold and awesome collectors item for any motor sport fan.

Ferrari Enzo 1:5 Scale Model 

Petersen RM Sotheby's Ferrari Enzo Scale Model

Incredible details make this 1:5 scale model a remarkable piece. The display model of the Ferrari Enzo is true to the limited-edition 2002 12-cylinder sports car. Measuring a little over 36-in. long the model is finished in the Enzo’s Rosso Corsa with visible engine detail, full leather interior, and detailed wheels including brake calipers, rubber tires, and exhaust pipes. Whatever you do, do not let anyone call this a toy.

BMW Tôles Froissées Art

Petersen RM Sotheby's BMW sculpture

Created by artist Natale, this piece of art is inspired by the classic BMW. The artist used the iconic BWM roundel as the centerpiece of this modern art creation.

Carburetor Sculpture

Petersen RM Sotheby's Carburetor Sculpture

For some of us, cars are already a work a art. French mechanically-inclined artist NYS Hervé created “Carpuraptor” simply using the carburetor as inspiration. The sculpture is 3.5 feet and includes nice details to hail the MVP of the internal combustion engine.

Ferrari 458 Engine with Stand

Petersen RM Sotheby's Ferrari 458 Engine on stand

There may be no item sexier than this Ferrari engine. The Ferrari 458 engine is pure savagery. The 4.5-liter V-8 was able to create a jaw-dropping 9,000 rpm and 562 horsepower.

Petersen RM Sotheby's Ferrari 458 Engine on stand

It won many awards and broke many records. The 458 was the last mid-mounted, naturally aspirated V8 used in production Ferraris. This mounted engine is perfection.

‘Body Heat: Crashing the Modern’ Installation 

Petersen RM Sothebys Auction "Body Heat"

So, this probably won’t be a fit for everyone. But it is an interesting piece of automotive-meets-neon art. The piece features a 1973 Volvo P1800, painted aluminum, canvas, wood, film, and neon. Artist Lili Lakich worked with artist Juan Larios to create the scene. Using her own car, Lakich was inspired by the idea that the only way she’d get shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York was to literally crash her car inside.

The auction kicks off on December 8, and will also include collectors items from Steve McQueen, art from Ed Roth and Von Dutch, and of course, a fleet of dream cars.

Photos: RM Sotheby’s 

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Longtime automotive journalist S.J. Bryan has been covering the automotive industry for over five years and is an editor with Ford Truck Enthusiasts and regular contributor to F-150 Online, Harley-Davidson Forums, and The Mustang Source, among other popular auto sites.

Bryan first discovered her passion for all things automotive while riding in her parent's 1968 Ford Mustang. The automotive expert cut her teeth growing up riding on Harleys, and her first car was a Chevy Nova. Despite her lead foot, Bryan has yet to receive a speeding ticket.

The award-winning former playwright was first published at age 18. She has worked extensively as a writer and editor for a number of lifestyle and pop culture publications. The diehard gearhead is a big fan of American muscle cars, sixth-gen Ford trucks, and Oxford commas.

S.J. can be reached at [email protected].

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