Also last August, RM Sotheby’s—the separate auction house for car sales, created when Sotheby’s bought
25 percent of RM Auctions in 2015—sold
a 1962 Ferrari GTO at an RM Sotheby’s auction in Monterey, California, for $48.4 million, the most ever paid at auction for an classic car. Art reporter Judd Tully noted
that it had been backed by a financial guarantee, just like marquee lots at a contemporary fair.
The Bridge fair, which ran from Friday through Sunday, was founded by retired commodities trader Robert Rubin, who is uniquely well-equipped to straddle the world of car collecting and art collecting: He buys both luxury items, simultaneously a gearhead
and a good pal
of the artist
. He also had the perfect location for it: a golf course on a plot of land southwest of Sag Harbor that he purchased
in the 1980s—this despite playing the game for just a few years and pronouncing
Jack Nicklaus’s last name “Nick-o-laus.” The golf course, which he opened in 2002, is also called The Bridge, and the fair serves as a bit of promotion for the expensive and exclusive club. When it opened, the original one-time membership fees were $500,000
; a source at the fair said that today, they’ve been upped to $1 million.
Rubin first founded The Bridge as car fair in 2016. Sensing an opportunity, he teamed
up with Max Levai and Pascal Spengemann of Marlborough Contemporary, along with Suzanne Butler of Canada gallery, to add blue-chip galleries to the mix in 2017, creating what was perhaps the first art fair and car fair combo. In 2018, despite local expos such as Art Hamptons and Art Southampton canceling
their editions, Rubin soldiered ahead
“The addition of the art fair to the car show added a new dimension to the party—with double the galleries, and more cars, it should be even more fun,” Rubin said in a release announcing the 2018 fair. Last year, there were six galleries, and this year, there were 12.
A visitor to the fair checks in and is taken by van down a winding road deep into the 513-acre tract of land, and up a hill where an overpass bears the logo “CHEVRON GASOLINES”—a remnant of the site’s former use as, funnily enough, a racetrack. On the green—beyond a 40,000-square-foot, glass-lined modernist clubhouse
designed by Roger Ferris of Roger Ferris & Partners—were hundreds of cars flanked by auto enthusiasts donning white as if the dress codes of Labor Day need not apply. At the front were vintage European makes, a petite Bugatti with bug-eyed headlights next to an Aston Martin seemingly airdropped in from an early Bond movie. There was a line of Porsches with colors that popped against the green grass: ruby, lemondrop, aquamarine. Then the American muscle cars, the Cameros and Stingrays and Corvettes, added even more machismo to a dude-heavy day.