Fast Five With RM Sotheby’s London-based Specialist Will Smith

Our third installment in a behind-the-scenes series, this time showing off RM Sotheby’s European division.

Forest Casey

When we caught up with Will Smith this week, he was deep in preparations for RM Sotheby’s upcoming London Fall auction, which has just been announced as an online only sale taking place on 31 October, 2020. Smith served as the Auction Manager last year, overseeing the event as it changed locations to the Olympia Exhibition Centre, a storied, Victorian-era venue that first hosted the British Motor Show in 1905. With a personal collection running from a mid-century Mini to a 1980s Alpina and a step-nose Alfa Romeo racer, Smith has a diverse array of vehicular interests. Clearly, Smith shows an appreciation of history and a love of vintage automobiles, so we thought we’d introduce him to our Fast Five questions to find out more:

RM Sotheby's, Car Specialist, Will Smith



1. What was your first car? Any memorable early drives? 


First car was a LHD 1972 BMW 2002 Tii (pictured below). I had plenty of memorable drives in the car, as it was my first rear-wheel-drive road experience! I learned a huge amount about how to control a classic car, especially in the wet. It had a great factory spec with LSD and dog-leg ZF gearbox! 

{Ed: We had to ask if Smith still had the 2002:}

Sadly, no. I bought the Tii in 2008 and sold it to a lovely chap from Belgium in 2010.

RM Sotheby's, Car Specialist, Will Smith



2. Do you have a car you wish you bought early on? The "one that got away"? 


The one that got away was 17,000 miles from new BMW 2002 Turbo (perhaps you can see a theme here…). It was a perfect car and I still regret walking away from the deal. I think the car was £40,000 at the time and would be worth double that today. Oh well....

RM Sotheby's, Car Specialist, Will Smith



3. You've been at RM since 2017, do any auction highlights stick out in your mind?


Presenting the Poster Car collection in Paris 2020 was a highlight for me. Not only was that the last live auction we conducted in Europe, but we did a superb job for the client and they were delighted with the results. It also showed how effective RM Sotheby’s is at working with great collections, especially when a client trusts our judgment on how best to market, present and value their precious cars. 


RM Sotheby's, Car Specialist, Will Smith



4. Where do you believe the classic car world is heading? Noticing any surprising trends?


The market is constantly evolving, but more recently we've seen a completely new generation of classic car buyers at our auctions and online auctions. They are having a huge impact on the popularity of 1980s, 1990s, and even classics from the 2000s that were previously overlooked. Just look at the prices of Fiat Pandas! It gives me faith in the future of our industry that a new generation is coming through.


RM Sotheby's, Car Specialist, Will Smith



5. You’ve had some exposure to some great cars at an early age, any advice for those just starting out in the classic car world?


My advice to anyone starting out in the business is: Don't be scared to be bold and take chances. You can learn the intricacies and finer details on the job. So long as you have passion and honesty, you can go a long way! Apply for as much work experience as possible and work out what area of the industry suits you. Then go for it!  


Learn more about Will on his profile!

RM Sotheby's, Car Specialist, Will Smith