We’re not sure if we should consider this situation trying to steal someone’s thunder or, as is done in the NFL, trying to ice the kicker. In August, RM Sotheby’s announced that in December in New York it will auction a 1-of-12, white 1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary that starred in Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Resplendent in Bianco Polo, the auction star was one of two cars used in the film. Notably, it was the undamaged car. The second Bianco Polo 25th Anniversary Countach was damaged rather badly as part of filming, victim of the main character driving under severe influence. We said of the second car, “The location and current condition of the other Countach are unknown, but as far as we can tell, no one has attempted to restore or auction it in the years since filming.” We now know the location and condition of the other Countach: Bonhams announced it will auction the other star car this month as part of the festivities around the season-ending Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Lamborghini in the same condition as when it was hauled off the set.
In the listing description, Bonham’s calls its offering the “Hero Car.” Then it makes quite a bit of noise about its Lamborghini having been on screen for “approximately 3 minutes and 11 seconds” in the company of Leonardo DiCaprio as opposed to RM Sotheby’s unhurt car being on screen for approximately 16 seconds, part of which was shot by a second unit filming a stunt driver, not DiCaprio. This, we suppose, is like concours judges arguing over whether patina and original condition imbue more value than restored to original condition. Except we’re arguing about a famous, crashed Countach potentially being worth as much or more than a famous, uncrashed Countach.
The auction houses set their pre-sale estimates in the identical range, $1.5M to $2M. Bonhams’ put some sweeteners in the lot, though: A certificate of authenticity, DiCaprio’s costume as character Jordan Belfort, the director’s chair and a clapboard signed by Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Margot Robbie, two hoodies like the kind the film crew wore, and two DVDs of the film. Frankly, the strangest twist in this drama might be someone spending $2 million on a wrecked Lamborghini and having to declare two DVDs to customs on the way home.
It’s not the star associations alone that justify the estimates. For some backstory, even though the real Jordan Belfort said he was driving a Mercedes on the cinematic night in question, Scorsese upped the stakes with a Lamborghini. The director tried using a replica, but apparently the imitation stallion didn’t crumple like the real deal. So Scorsese didn’t just buy a Countach, he bought the Silver Anniversary editions. Lamborghini sold 658 units around the world, only 23 in Bianco/Bianco reported to have made the crossing to America. Hagerty values an example in good condition at $440,000.
Bonhams’ On the Grid: The Abu Dhabi Auction happens November 25. Two weeks later, RM Sotheby’s will hold its New York auction. Our guess is one bidder will attempt to win both. That’s what a wolf would do.