Pebble Beach Preview – records set to fall as the rare car market heats up
Once a year, the world's most monied automotive enthusiasts converge on California's Monterey Peninsula for a week-long festival of automotive celebration, culminating in the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. This year, the accompanying rare car auctions look set to provide some major entertainment. We look at the main cars slated to cross the auctioneers block and the state of the collectible car market with analysis of the top 100 most valuable cars sold at auction.
So important has the Pebble Beach festival become, that many of the world's most prestigious car companies show prototypes there for the first time, alongside their most elegant cars of yesteryear.
This year Mercedes-Benz is showing its recently-restored 540K Streamliner and its 1914 Grand Prix cars, Jaguar its Lightweight E-type prototype and US-Spec F-Type Project 7, McLaren will show off its new 650S Sprint, Range Rover will show its brutal new Sport SVR, BMW its new i8 Concours Edition, Bentley its new Continental GT3-R and Lexus and Aston Martin will unveil new crafted bespoke services.
The cavalcade of prototypes being unveiled, and indeed the main Concours D'Elegance, will almost be sideshows to the auctions, which will take place on the peninsula over the next few days. Though, as the gravitas of the Pebble Beach Concours event has drawn the world's four most important collector car auction houses to stage events alongside the festival, and with the rare car marketplace approaching boiling point, the throng of hyper-wealthy attendees will spend upwards of US$400 million on rare automobiles across the four auctions.
Gooding & Co holds the official Pebble Beach auction (August 16 -17), but RM Auctions' Annual Monterey Sale (August 15 -16), Bonhams annual Quail Lodge Auction (August 14 -15) and Mecum's Monterey Sale (August 14 -16) have hundreds of rare cars on offer this week, and so valuable are some of the cars on offer that auction records are certain to be smashed.
The auction action gets underway on Thursday night at 5 pm when Bonhams will sell 10 cars from the Maranello Rosso collection, and the fireworks will continue all weekend. Gizmag's Angus MacKenzie will be in attendance to report on the events and we'll be publishing our Top 100 Most Expensive Cars blockbuster next week, updated and analyzed with the weekend's sales included.
Gizmag has been reporting on the major happenings in the rare car and motorcycle marketplaces for more than a decade and a few months back we began compiling a database of the most valuable automobiles ever to sell at auction so we could analyze, learn and write about the marketplace with some insight.
Analysis of the top 100 most valuable cars ever sold at auction is highly illustrative of the marques which populate the stratosphere of automotive collectables, the auction houses which handle them, and the growing robustness of the automotive collectibles marketplace.
The leading Marques in the "top 100" - Ferrari dominates
Forty-five of the top one hundred cars ever sold at auction are Ferraris – that's 45 percent – an astonishing result for a relatively small Italian company amongst tens of thousands of other manufacturers that have produced automobiles across the last century and a quarter. Ferrari has always punched way above its weight, but at the very top of the list, Ferrari is even more dominant, with seven (70 percent) of the top 10 most valuable, 13 (65 percent) of the top 20, and 28 (56 percent) of the top 50. A week from now, we expect that trend to be even more evident.
Mercedes-Benz is next with 12 cars in the top 100 (12 percent), then a host of time-honored and much loved marques vie for the third step of the podium – Bugatti and Bentley with five cars each, and Jaguar, Duesenberg, Talbot-Lago and Alfa Romeo with four apiece.
Ford could arguably be amongst those contenders for third place if you count its involvement in several Shelby cars on the list and the 1966 TV-series Batmobile, which began life in 1955 as a Lincoln Futura (Ford) concept car, was transformed into the bespoke wheels for the Caped Crusader and sold for $4,620,000 a few years back.
Bear in mind also that this "most valuable marques" list comprises only those cars which have come to auction and is ordered solely by the price paid on the day of the sale (i.e. we have not adjusted for inflation).
If the Bugatti Royale Berline de Voyager (sold in 1986 for $6,500,000) or the Bugatti Royale Kellner Coupe (sold in 1987 for $9,800,000) crossed the auction block today, they would immediately be vaulted to the top of the listing.
The individual models with most appearances in the "top 100"
While one marque stood out above all others in our analysis, one model stands out among the 45 Ferraris in the Top 100: the California Spyder. All told, Ferrari produced a total of just 106 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyders, 56 of them on the short wheelbase chassis and 50 with the longer wheel base.
Of those 106 California Spyders, 12 are in the top 100 most valuable auction cars with another in 104th place. That is, the Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder alone makes up more than 10 percent of the top 100 most expensive cars ever sold at auction at this point in time (August 12, 2014).
That's no coincidence. When it comes to automobiles, there's a genuine need to be a lot more than a pretty face to make it into the top 100 most expensive of all time, and the Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder delivers the performance and balance to make it one of the great driver's cars.
We could go on at length about the virtues of the Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder but its most significant achievement in this regard is its fifth place OUTRIGHT in the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans. After 24 hours of the world's toughest road race, the North American Racing Team (NART) Ferrari California Spyder driven by Bob Grossman and Fernand Tavano had covered 3964.5 km (2,463.4 mi) at an average speed of 165.2 km/h (102.6 mph). That's not a bad average speed for a 1959 road car and indicates just how close it was to a full blown race car at the time.
The other stand-out overly-representative model in the top 100 auction car listing is the Mercedes Benz 540K. Introduced a decade after the merger between DMG and Benz in 1926, the 5.4-litre 540K ("K" for "Kompressor" – German for "supercharger") is similar in many respects to the previous 500K model, but with even more power: 115 hp (85.7 kW) naturally aspirated, and 180 hp (134.2 kW) with the blower engaged. A 12 inch (30 cm) increase in wheelbase gave the company's master coachbuilders at Sindelfingen an even larger canvas upon which to create even more elegant lines. Just 419 540K chassis were built before production ended in 1940. Eleven cataloged body styles were created for the 540K, each one a masterpiece of the coachbuilder’s art.
Which country makes the most cars in the "top 100"?
Most of the cars on the most valuable top 100 list have a clearly identifiable nationality. Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Maserati are Italian, Mercedes-Benz, Horch and Porsche are German, Ford, General Motors, Shelby and Duesenberg (not to mention the Batmobile) are American, Bugatti, Delahaye and Talbot-Lago are French and Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Jaguar are British.
Right? Wrong! Bugatti and Bentley are now owned by Germany's Volkswagen, which also owns several other famous non-German marques, such as Italy's Lamborghini and Ducati, Spain's SEAT and the Czech Skoda brands. Jaguar is now owned by Tata, an Indian company that most famously made the world's cheapest car, only to subsequently find that no-one don't really wants to claim cheapness among their personal brand values – your car is in many ways your most expensive suit. Rolls-Royce is now also owned by a German company: BMW.
While cars from SEAT and Skoda will probably never appear on the "top 100" list, the Malaysian-owned Lotus and German-owned Lamborghini could quite conceivably win a spot or two in the future, and as our list grows to become the top 1,000 over the next few years, cars from the now Chinese-owned Volvo, MG and Saab might also claim spots. It seems inevitable that Japan's Toyota, Lexus, Honda and Acura will also eventually claim spots in the top 100, not to mention France's Nissan and Infiniti. As globalization takes hold, famous marques will be bought and sold across national boundaries, cars will be designed by multi-national teams in design centers in geographically disparate locations (though with deep, broad and amazingly insightful market research driving decision-making), and they will continue to be manufactured where it is most cost effective to do so. Ultimately, the supposed nationality of automobiles may only be relevant to their smoke-and-mirrors marketing departments, and to the masses to whom they market the company's wares.
Hence, the nationality of a vehicle will eventually be irrelevant, but for the purposes of our analysis, we've allocated Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Jaguar to the United Kingdom and Bugatti to France.
With such a strong showing from Ferrari, it was only natural that the Italian automotive industry would dominate the national tallies, with 45 Ferraris, four Alfa Romeos and a Maserati giving the Italian automotive industry exactly half of the top 100 most valuable cars ever sold at auction.
Behind Italy, Germany (15 cars in the top 100) narrowly nudges out the UK (14), France (11), and the US (10). Surprisingly, only five nationalities make up the top 100 cars and there are no other nationalities on the radar yet. Our bet is that the first car from a country other than the current five to enter this hallowed ground will be associated with a celebrity, a movie or perhaps a computer game. Value, much like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
At the present time though, 90 percent of the world's most valuable cars were created in a very small geographic area in Europe, and a week from now that percentage will have increased, because the collector car market is approaching boiling point and getting hotter for the hottest marque (Ferrari).
The rare automobile market is HOT!
A look at when the top 100 cars were sold indicates that the marketplace is getting progressively more bullish with 30 of the top 50 cars (60 percent) sold in the last two years (since August 1, 2012), and 44 of the top 100 sold in that same time-frame. We'll be addressing why this is happening next week with the full Top 100 listing, but suffice to say that with the global number of High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) growing at roughly 10 percent per annum, and the number of collector cars remaining static, the fundamental laws of supply and demand are at play.
Rare automobiles are now a legitimate alternative asset class, and unlike most financial investments which manifest as numbers on a spreadsheet, cars are an investment where appreciation is more than just financial terminology. They are an investment of passion which pays big dividends on a daily basis.
The Leading Auction Houses
Those extremely valuable cars that do make it to market via the auction system are currently funneled through just a handful of hyper–elite auction houses, with RM Auctions heading the list (36 of the top 100 in its own right and a further eight in conjunction with Sotheby's) for 44 percent, and 45 percent if you count the sale of the aforementioned 1931 Bugatti Royale Berline de Voyager by Kruse International, which was purchased and absorbed by RM in 2010.
RM Auctions also accounts for five of the top ten (50 percent) most valuable auction cars ever sold, and 11 of the top 20 (55 percent).
Gooding & Company with 30 percent of the top 100 is the other major player – add RM and Gooding together and they account for three of every four cars (75 percent) on this list. Of the 44 cars added to this list in the last 24 months, RM accounts for 21 (47.7 percent) and Gooding 15 (34.1 percent) for a total of 81.8 percent of recent sales between them.
Bonhams rounds out the big three with 14 percent of the cars on the list, but exceptionally rare and valuable cars tend to go Bonhams' way – it sold the cars currently in first and third place on the list. Between them, the big three account for 88 percent of the top 100.
Other auction houses to have sold a "top 100" car include Sotheby's (eight, all in conjunction with RM), Christie's (4), Barrett-Jackson (3), Mecum Auctions (3), and Artcurial (1). Accordingly, the four auction houses in action this coming week on the Monterey Peninsula have sold 91 percent of the world's most expensive auctioned cars.
The United States is the home of the prestige car market.
There are more High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) in the United States than any other country – a lot more. Wealth is being democratized globally (albeit slowly), and other countries are beginning to catch up with the number of HNWIs, but right now the United States is the home of the collectibles market in almost every genre (art, stamps, coins, wine, etc.), and rare automobiles are no exception.Seventy-two of the top 100 cars sold at auction (72 percent) were sold in the US, with the UK (12), Italy (8), France (4), Monaco (3) and Germany (1) making up the remainder. A week from now, that percentage is likely to be much higher because so many important cars are crossing the block in Carmel and the near vicinity.
The most valuable car by far to reach auction this weekend is the 1962-63 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta to be sold by Bonhams on Thursday evening, August 14.
1962-63 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta
Auctioneer's Estimate: Available upon request
This Ferrari 250 GT "Omologato" will almost certainly set a world record when it crosses the auction block a few days from now.
Here's why! The first paragraphs of the official auction page sum it up nicely:
The GTO was developed to contest the 1962 3-liter class FIA GT World Championship series of classical endurance racing events. Selective production at Maranello and in the Scaglietti body plant in Modena ran on through the 1963 FIA GT World Championship and – sure enough – the Ferrari 250 GTO won the World title both seasons in succession.
That's only half the story though and we'll get to the allure of the GTO after we've explained the basics.
The Ferrari 250 GTO was a GT car produced in limited quantities by Ferrari from 1962 to 1964 for homologation into the FIA's Group 3 Grand Touring Car category – GTO stands for "Gran Turismo Omologato," Italian for "Grand Touring Homologated."
Thirty-six cars were made in 1962 and 1963, and in 1964 a "Series II" was introduced, which had a slightly different look. Three such cars were made, and four older "Series I" were given a "Series II" body. It brought the total of GTOs produced to 39. Since then, the conflicting issues of supply and demand have conspired to drive the price ever upwards.
When new, the GTO commanded an US$18,000 purchase price in the US, and buyers had to be personally approved by Enzo Ferrari and his dealer for North America, Luigi Chinetti.
In 2004, Sports Car International placed the 250 GTO eighth on a list of Top Sports Cars of the 1960s, and nominated it the top sports car of all time. Similarly, Motor Trend Classic placed the 250 GTO first on a list of the "Greatest Ferraris of all time."
GTOs almost never come up at auction. They change hands privately and they keep pushing the unofficial world record price for an automobile ever skyward. As the people that own them are watching their beloved cars appreciate in value, the amount of money required to get them to even consider parting with their cars has grown dramatically.
Though there is no "official" way of verifying this, (while auction prices are publicly available, private sales are not necessarily reported), the phenomenal figures achieved by private sales of GTOs are increasingly being reported in the media.
According to media reports, in February 2012, a 1964 Ferrari 250 GTO became the most expensive car ever sold, fetching $32 million. Then, just a few months later, a 1962 GTO sold for $35 million.
Then more media reports indicate that a 1963 GTO sold this time last year for $52 million. Hence the current record for a car at auction of $31 million, achieved in 2013 for Juan Manuel Fangio's Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow, is likely to be comprehensively gazzumped when the RM Auctions hammer falls later this week.
The owners of GTOs are hyper-enthusiasts and hyper-wealthy. Owners include Fashion designer Ralph Lauren, American communications magnate Craig McCaw, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, S. Rob Walton (Walmart Chairman), Jon Shirley (former Microsoft president), Baron Bamford (knighted at 45 years of age and owner of JCB a multinational), Greg Whitten (former chief software architect at Microsoft), Christopher Cox (former chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) and Baron Laidlaw (105th richest person in the UK).
A few years ago, UK radio and TV personality Chris Evans wrote a rather prophetic newspaper article entitled, "Why the Ferrari 250 GTO is the best possible investment."
Evans subsequently purchased a GTO, then sold it for a reported $18 million a few years later, enabling him to replenish the cash reserves and subsequently pick up the world's most expensive car ever to sell at auction (a Ferrari California Spider once owned by Hollywood actor James Coburn) a few years back.
The GTO will be sold on Thursday night at a special auction to be held by Bonhams. So sought after is the model that it might double the existing auction car record set this time last year.
The other most significant cars at auction this week
In addition to the GTO, there are several other cars which might eclipse the current auction record before the week is out.1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale by Scaglietti
Auctioneer's Estimate: Available Upon Request
We've already written up the 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale to be auctioned by RM Auctions. The hand-built 275 GTB/C incorporated lightweight aluminum bodywork and a Tipo 563 chassis.
As a successor to Ferrari’s 250 GTO, the Speciale ran a lightweight, 3.3 liter V12 that, with the help of six Weber carburetors, managed to produce 320 hp (238.6 kW). That impressive bit of power was put to the road via a 5-speed manual transaxle gearbox that worked in conjunction with a four-wheel independent suspension set up, and disc brakes on all corners.
1966 Ferrari 365 P Berlinetta Speciale (Tre Posti)
Auctioneer's Estimate: Available upon request
Known as Tre Posti due to its groundbreaking front three-seat layout, this exceptional prototype Ferrari represents the intersection of three great names working at the height of their careers: Enzo Ferrari, Sergio Pininfarina, and Luigi Chinetti.
The Tre Posti prototype coupe was based on the racing Ferrari 365 P2. One of the most distinguishing features and a central element of the design was the Ferrari’s three-seat cockpit layout, which places the driver in the center of the car, slightly in front of the passenger seats flanking each side. It is surely among the most remarkable layouts ever created for an automobile.
Tre Posti also boasts a lavish interior with a seamlessly integrated chrome roll bar, competition pedal box, and gated shifter, which are further hints at the Tre Posti’s thoroughbred bloodline. In addition, the Ferrari is enhanced with numerous unique characteristics, including an expansive moon roof with state-of-the-art bronze-tinted glass and other signature Pininfarina styling cues, such as covered headlamps, classic egg-crate grille and sweeping rear sails.
Constructed at the height of the P car program in 1966, the 365 P Berlinetta Speciale was the first mid-engine 12-cylinder Ferrari designed specifically for use as a road car.
According to Pininfarina, the 365 P Berlinetta Speciale has the distinction of being the last car made by the firm for a private client. Before it was purchased by Chinetti Motors, this car was unveiled at the 53rd International Paris Motor Show as the key Pininanfarina show car.
A global tour in 1966 and 1967 followed, including engagements at key auto shows in Brussels, London and Los Angeles. Dubbed “a world-wide novelty” in a Pininfarina press release from October 16, 1966, Tre Posti was met with great fanfare on the show circuit and was prominently featured in numerous magazines and publications. Since its delivery to Chinetti Motors in 1967, the car has only been sold twice to important Ferrari clients but returned to Chinetti family ownership in 1969, where it has remained ever since.
Gooding & Co President David Gooding, says of the car: "The Tre Posti stands alone. This work of automotive art represents the ultimate in 1960s sports car design. In my opinion, Tre Posti is an extraordinary coachbuilt tour de force and by all respects one of the most important and valuable Ferraris ever designed. Its competition underpinnings and special provenance make it one of the finest Ferraris in existence."
The Tre Posti is presented in wonderfully original condition for this auction, has just 7,900 km (4,909 mi) on the clock, has never before been offered at public sale and is so rare that anything could happen when the elite collectors get into the heat of battle in a bidding war. That's why the official auctioneer's estimate has been left blank. The credibility of the elite auction houses is sacrosanct and valuing something this rare is nigh on impossible. That's also watching these hyper-rare cars sold at auction is a very exciting prospect.
1995 McLaren F1
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$12,000,000 - US$14,000,000
The McLaren F1 is a modern day supercar that became an instant collectible when it was released in 1994.
Though it is of remarkably recent vintage for a collectible, it seems destined for the automotive Pantheon. At the same Gooding & Co Pebble Beach auction last year, a McLaren F1 sold for $8,470,000, and this car, the only white F1 on the planet, will almost certainly fetch more.
McLaren subsequently developed a racing version of the F1 road car to run in the FIA GT1 category in the 1995 season. Despite a design and development period of just three months, the F1 GTR swept all before it, winning not only the 1995 GT1 Championship, but also the 24 Heures du Mans on debut.
McLaren not only won, but dominated the rain-soaked endurance race, finishing in 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 13th places.
Just how collectible the F1 would become was not entirely evident at the time the cars were available, but it's stocks grew quite quickly.
In 1998, with a total of 106 of all variants built and its production run complete, the McLaren F1 went on to achieve its greatest feat outside competitive motorsport. McLaren development and race driver Andy Wallace took XP5, the fifth and final prototype F1 with some 45,000 hard test miles (72,420 km) on the clock, to the Ehra-Lessien proving ground in Germany and on 31st March 1998 set a world record for a production car of 240.1 mph (386.4 km/h).
Several production cars have since gone faster (the Koenigsegg Agera R, the Bugatti Veyron, the SSC Ultimate Aero TT, the Hennessey Venom GT and the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport), but the McLaren F1 remains the fastest naturally-aspirated (i.e. not turbo-charged or super-charged) production car to this day. There are many "firsts" which make the McLaren F1 road car very special, but the biggest was that, unlike previous supercars, it was not constructed primarily of metal (or wood).
In 1981, McLaren became the first team in Formula 1 to use a carbon fiber chassis and in 1988 it used those techniques to create the most successful Formula 1 car in history – the McLaren MP4/4.
Having completed just a handful of laps in the new MP4/4 at the beginning of 1988, Alain Prost reportedly told Team Principle Ron Dennis that he knew the car would win the World Championship. The car won 15 of 16 races in the hands of Prost and Ayrton Senna.
The construction techniques refined in Formula One were developed to create the carbon monocoque for the McLaren F1 with the resulting structure weighing just 100 kg (220 lb) whilst offering the highest levels of strength and safety. The bare carbon fiber passenger doors weighed just 7 kg (15.4 lb) each, including the weight of the side intrusion beam.
The F1 defined the McLaren road car DNA: low weight, low polar moment of inertia, clever packaging, superb quality and innovative design, resulting in an outstanding driving experience.
The F1 bristles with innovative design features, such as; the central driving position (like the Tre Posti above), which ensures superb visibility and no compromise on control positions for the driver; the pannier side lockers providing unprecedented levels of luggage capacity in a car of this type; and the patented suspension system to provide both control and ride quality.
The McLaren F1 was launched at a price of £540,000 in 1994 - at an exchange rate of 1.5355, that price of US$829,170 represents an excellent investment by comparison to the $8,470,000 paid for the 1997 model at Pebble Beach in 2013 and the price the Gooding auction car will surely fetch. For a recent road car, that type of appreciation is unprecedented.
Over the course of the next four years (1994-98), just 64 F1 road cars were produced, plus five F1 LM and three F1 GT road cars. There were also 28 F1 GTR race cars and six prototypes produced.
The word was out long before the 2013 Pebble Beach sale that the McLaren F1 was going to become a benchmark in automobile investment – one of those cars which would become so cherished by collectors and drive values ever skyward.
A 1997 McLaren F1 recently deposed from the Top 100 list was sold at RM Auctions' Automobiles of London sale in October, 2008 for £2,530,000 (US$4,058,120).
There were those who thought the price paid was one of those irrational behaviours which auctions regularly throw up, and there were those who thought it indicative that the modern day supercar had been recognized. The latter is now known to be true, and already that investment is proving to be spectacularly successful.
A 1995 McLaren F1 was sold by Gooding & Co at the same Pebble Beach venue in 2010 for $3,575,000 and it seems certain that other McLaren F1s will appear over the coming years.
So newsworthy are the F1s that reports of private sales are surfacing. The UK Sun reported an F1 sold privately for £3,500,000 (US$5,580,000) in November 2012.
Jalopnik recently reported that an F1 (chassis #28), which McLaren built for Michael Andretti to secure "his early departure from their F1 team," had changed hands yet again, for a reported $10.5 million.
1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$13,000,000 - US$15,000,000
This Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider features the highly attractive covered-headlight treatment, which Scaglietti applied to just 37 of the 56 examples built. It is also one of a limited number of SWB California Spiders that came factory-equipped with an optional hardtop. This car has been displayed at such world-renowned events as Concorso Italiano, Monterey Vintage Ferrari Concours and Cavallino Classic, as well as participating in important rallies such as the Colorado Grand and the Copperstate 1000. Accompanied by a Ferrari Classiche certification, it will most likely push its way into the top 20 most valuable cars ever sold at auction, and top 10 is also a possibility.
1953 Ferrari 250 Mille Miglia Berlinetta
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$9,000,000 - US$12,000,000
The Ferrari 250 Mille Miglia was tailor-made to compete in the marque long-distance races, using the new 3-liter V12 engine, a longer wheelbase chassis and the artistry of Carrozzeria Pinin Farina which created the two-seat closed-cabin bodywork. The new model was launched at the 1953 Geneva Salon as the Ferrari 250 MM (for Mille Miglia).
In May 1954, Road & Track tested a Ferrari 250 MM and recorded 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) time of 5.1 seconds, and 0-100 mph (161 km/h) in 13.7. "Never before have I accelerated so rapidly, traveled so fast, or decelerated so suddenly," wrote R&T's Technical Editor.
The Ferrari 250 MM on offer is an outstanding example of Ferrari's first 3-liter V12-engined Gran Turismo family – launching the line that over the following decade would spawn the 250 Tour de France, 250 GT SWB and 250 GTO models. It was the 17th of 31 Ferrari 250 MMs to be built overall, and the 11th of the 250 MM Pinin Farina Berlinettas.
It was sold in America and the first race outing of the new Ferrari was the Sports Car Club of America San Francisco Region's 3rd Annual Members' Madera race meeting on September 20 that year. New owner Bill Devin finished third in the novice event before handing the car over to fast-rising Santa Monica driver Phil Hill, who won the main event of the day. Phil Hill would go on to win the Formula 1 Drivers' World Championship as a works Ferrari team member in 1961. Plenty of wonderful history with this car, which also includes Count Vittorio Zanon in its resume.
1954 Ferrari 375 Mille Miglia Spider
Auctioneer's Estimate: Available Upon Request
A second Ferrari Mille Miglia model, a 1954 model 375 Spider, will be sold during the Pebble Beach Week, via Mecum Auctions. A purpose-built internet site has been created for the auction car, and the 375 MM Spider holds a special place in motorsport folklore thanks to its exploits in the infamous Carrera Panamericana.
For those unfamiliar with the Carrera Panamericana, it was a road race run on public roads in Mexico from 1950 to 1954. To picture the event, think of famous road races such as the Mille Miglia or Targa Florio on both steroids and LSD. The race was twice as long as the Mille Miglia, and with no separation from the public.
The original Carrera Panamericana (it has now been revived in somewhat tamer and saner form) is arguably the fastest and most dangerous road race ever held on public roads, well beyond the African runnings of the Paris-Dakar, an event we previously labelled the world's most dangerous sporting event when it was still being run in Africa.
The 1950-54 Carrera Panamericana comprehensively trumps the Paris-Dakar as the world's most dangerous regularly staged motor race EVER! In five runnings of the Carrera Panamericana, 27 competitors were killed along with an unknown but substantial number of spectators and race officials.
When the race began in 1950, average speed for the 3,000+ km (1,864+ mi) course was 142 km/h (88 mph), but by the fifth running, average speeds (remember this was on public roads, indeed, a national highway, and organizer resources to separate the public from the racing were so thin that "collateral damage" was almost guaranteed) had climbed dramatically to an average speed of 173.7 km/h (107.96 mph).
The auction car is a sister car to THE CAR in which Umberto Maglioli famously averaged 222 km/h (138 mph) for the final 365 km (227 mi) stage of the 1953 Carrera Panamericana to ensure Ferrari won the 1953 World Sports Car Championship – an all-time record for a public road stage that will undoubtedly stand forever, at least in the bizarre circumstance of having the public using the same roads while the race is in progress.
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 by Scaglietti (ex-Steve McQueen)
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$8,000,000 - $12,000,000
Delivered new to Hollywood and motoring icon Steve McQueen on the set of the movie Bullitt and owned by McQueen for more than four years, the car was subsequently owned by Guy Williams, of Zorro and Lost in Space fame.
Restored by Ferrari Classiche to McQueen’s original specification, the car is Classiche certified, spent time in Ferrari's museum exhibit "From Cinecittà to Hollywood" and is currently owned by former F1, Indy, and Le Mans racer Vern Schuppan.
This car might surprise everyone with the price it fetches. Former McQueen cars and bikes populate the top 10 lists of cars, movie memorabilia, movie cars, and motorcycles. There are a handful of celebrities who have the "midas touch" and Steve McQueen is most certainly one of them.
So beloved by the baby boomer generation is McQueen that the race suit he wore as Michael Delaney in the film Le Mans was sold at auction by memorabilia specialist Profiles in History for an astonishing $984,000 – almost as much as the 1971 Porsche 911S which he drove for the first three minutes and 40 seconds of the 1971 film.
The standard Porsche 911S was sold for $1.37 million at this very same RM Monterey auction in 2011 – that's a premium of approximately 1,000 percent over a similar model McQueen hadn't driven. Unlike the 911S which was nothing more than a nice example of a relatively common car, this 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 is top shelf.
More than a third of century after his death, McQueen is still referred to by GQ magazine as "the king of cool", and the massive fees paid for the use of his image still rank him in Forbes' annual top 10 dead celebrity earners.
Expect the unexpected with this auction.
1965 Ford GT40 Roadster Prototype
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$8,000,000 - US$10,000,000
Ford's GT40 dominated endurance racing in the mid sixties, but it was also considered as a roadster for public sale. This car is the first of six GT40 prototype roadsters built, the eighth of only 12 GT40 prototypes and the only roadster to remain in as-built condition. It was driven by Ken Miles, Carroll Shelby, Jim Clark, and other legends (see historic images on the official auction page). Ronnie Spain, GT40 historian and author of GT 40: An Individual History and Race Record wrote: "GT/108 is one of the finest, and certainly rarest, examples of the Ford GT40 in existence. Its rarity value is stamped all over its history."
1939 Alfa Romeo Tipo 256 Cabriolet Sportivo
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$5,000,000 - US$7,000,000
New regulations for European sports car racing in 1939 moved the focus to normally aspirated, production-based sports cars and Alfa Romeo responded by developing a special competition variant of the 2.5-liter, six-cylinder Tipo 256. Development was undertaken by Alfa Romeo’s works racing teams – Alfa Corse in Milan and Scuderia Ferrari in Modena.
The Tipo 256 was unveiled at the 1939 Berlin Motor Show and hence became the last competition Alfa Romeo built prior to WWII. Though very few were ever built, it is an important model in that it represents the final collaboration between Alfa Romeo and Scuderia Ferrari – the two titans of sports car racing before WWII. This car has a remarkable history.
1955 Aston Martin DB3S
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$5,000,000 - US$7,000,000
In 1951, Aston Martin unveiled the DB3, designed by Professor Eberan-Eberhorst, the Austrian engineer who helped develop the legendary Auto Union GP cars of the 1930s. Frank Feeley penned the DB3’s open bodywork, and the twin-cam engine was derived from the Lagonda LB6 by Willie Watson, under the direction of W.O. Bentley. The subsequent DB3s was a smaller, lighter, and faster version with an all-new chassis design, a David Brown-built final drive, numerous weight-saving measures, and curvaceous bodywork, distinguished by cutaway front wings and dramatically peaked fenders.
When Aston Martin finally retired the DB3s, it had served as a frontline sports racing car for four seasons, during which the Works team won 15 of the 35 races entered – a superb record considering that it was often pitted against much larger cars from Ferrari, Jaguar, and Mercedes-Benz. Not only was the DB3s a success in competition, it was also revered by its drivers who found the Aston Martin to be a particularly enjoyable and well-balanced machine.
In total, Aston Martin built just 36 DB3s chassis, 16 of which were retained for the Works team. Building on the success of the Works cars, Aston Martin constructed 20 production DB3s chassis. Except for a few coupes, the customer cars were similarly equipped, finished in Feeley’s gorgeous second-series body style and sold to private customers beginning in May 1955.
The Aston Martin offered here, DB3s/111, was constructed at the factory race shop and debuted on the Aston Martin stand at the 1955 Earls Court Motor show.
1964 Ferrari 250 LM by Scaglietti
Auctioneer's Estimate: $8,500,000 - $12,500,000
Like the Ferrari GTO, (the car it replaced), the LM is another model which is destined for public recognition due to the prices it commands on the auction block. Ferrari won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1960, 1961, 1962 and 1963 and at the Paris Automobile Show in October 1963 it showed the replacement for the GTO – the 250 LM. Though it had been intended to compete in the GT category, only 32 units were ever built and 100 were needed for homologation, so it had to compete in the prototype class. It nonetheless lived up to its name and won Le Mans outright in 1965 at the hands of the NART driving combination of Masten Gregory, Ed Hugus and Jochen Rindt.
A 1964 Ferrari 250 LM was sold by RM Auctions in 2013 for US $14.3 million and this car might well command more by the time the hammer falls a few days from now.
1969 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Comp
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$5,500,000 - US$7,000,000
Based on factory records, this Daytona began life as a European-spec road car, but in April 1971 it became much more. A significant piece of Ferrari racing history, this Daytona’s story truly begins when it was serviced at the Ferrari Factory Assistenza Clienti and then sent to Autofficina Sport Auto in Modena, where it was prepared for competition use.
During its prestigious racing career, this car was campaigned by the North American Racing Team (NART) in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1971, where it achieved 5th Overall and won the Index of Thermal Efficiency. Following this Daytona’s outstanding result at Le Mans, Ferrari recognized the model’s potential as a GT-class winner and developed three series of purpose-built Daytonas for endurance racing. Following its triumph with the NART team, the car went on to be successfully campaigned by Baker Motors at Sebring, Daytona, and Watkins Glen.
Today, this car is presented in its original 1971 NART Le Mans livery. Considering its remarkable race record, documented provenance, and extraordinary versatility, this 365 GTB/4 Daytona Competizione is an indisputable piece of Ferrari racing history and a worthy addition to any collection.
1948 Tucker 48
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$1,400,000 - US$1,600,000
From Wikipedia: "The Tucker 48 was an advanced automobile conceived by Preston Tucker and briefly produced in Chicago in 1948. Only 51 cars were made before the company folded on March 3, 1949, due to negative publicity initiated by the news media, a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and a heavily publicized stock fraud trial (in which allegations were proven baseless in court with a full acquittal). Speculation exists that the Big Three automakers and Michigan senator Homer S. Ferguson also had a role in the Tucker Corporation's demise. The 1988 movie, Tucker: The Man and His Dream is based on Tucker's spirit and the saga surrounding the car's production. The film's director, Francis Ford Coppola, is himself a Tucker owner and displays his vehicle on the grounds of his winery. Coppola's friend and protégé, filmmaker George Lucas, is another notable owner."
From the auctioneer's description, "the Tucker 48 remains a rolling symbol of the American dream and one of the most advanced early post-war automobiles."
While the Tucker 48 pictured above will be auctioned by RM Auctions, a second Tucker 48 (pictured below) will cross the auctioneer's block during the Pebble Beach celebration at the Gooding & Co auction.
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$1,300,000 - US$1,700,000
The Gooding & Co car was the third Tucker 48 built and the first with rubber-sandwich suspension. It is also the first Tucker equipped with a revised front bumper providing improved frontal protection and redesigned rear fenders providing easier rear-wheel removal.
1958 Ferrari 250 GT Series 1 Cabriolet
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$6,500,000 - US$8,500,000
This Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet S1 Pinin Farina is a very early example, being only the eighth of some 40 units built overall. Its chassis was delivered to the Pinin Farina plant on September 9, 1957, and upon its completion with this strikingly handsome body it was exhibited at the 39th Salone dell'Automobile in Turin from October 30-November 10 that year. After a well-documented life in South America, the 250 GT was acquired by Italian enthusiast Fabrizio Violati and inducted into his Collezione Maranello Rosso in San Marino.
1937 BMW 328 Roadster
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$1,000,000 - US$1,200,000
BMW's emergence as a manufacturer of fine sporting motor cars can be traced back to the annual Eifelrennen event held at the Nürburgring on June 14th, 1936, when Ernst Henne beat a field that included 1.5-liter monoposto racing cars driving the prototype of what would become one of the most iconic sports cars of all time – the legendary 328. The fact that this overwhelming victory had been achieved only eight years after BMW's establishment as an automobile manufacturer is all the more remarkable.
The most advanced sports car of its day, the 328 remained competitive for years after the war, a state of affairs that only served to further enhance its reputation, which was out of all proportion to the limited number produced. Between 1936 and 1939 only 426 BMW 328s were made, of which fewer than 200 are believed to exist today.
1966 Ferrari 275GTB
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$2,600,000 - US$3,200,000
A perhaps apocryphal story ascribes Enzo Ferrari's motivation in replacing the 250GT Lusso with the 275 GTB to his belief that the Lusso was too beautiful to properly convey the image of Ferrari.
Like many Ferrari stories, it may be less than fully accurate, but contributes to the myth that surrounds the marque. Its logic, however, is supported by the judgment of history. The aggressive 275 GTB is today more coveted by collectors than the Lusso, even though the Lusso's design has endured the test of time to be generally agreed as among the most pure and beautiful products of the collaboration between Ferrari and Pininfarina.
The fifth from last Ferrari 275GTB, this 1966 model occupies a very interesting position in the 275GTB build sequence, combining a number of desirable production attributes. Additionally documented with original SEFAC paperwork and export sheets, this exhaustively restored example reaches an uncommon bar of Maranello excellence.
1970 Porsche 908/03 Spyder
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$1,800,000 - US$2,300,000
Based upon the ultra-lightweight, stubby, utterly spartan Porsche 909 prototype, the 3-liter flat-8 engined Typ908/3 was even shorter than the already abbreviated 908/02, and weighed a mere 500 kg (1,100 lb) – an astonishing figure for a long-distance endurance racer. The Porsche works team of 1970-71 used the "908/03-002" offered here purely for extensive testing and development proving during that period. It was blasted round their tight little test circuit at Weissach and slithered round and round the skidpan complex there. It was hammered over the rough-road, launched at the inclines, and was even rigged with road registration plates and tested on public roads to gain experience for Sicilian Targa Florio.
In the hands of its present vendor, "002" as offered here has been campaigned widely and frequently in US vintage racing events over the past 14 years. Its winning record is almost unrivalled. With a capable driver strapped into its cockpit it has been a case of "it starts – it wins."
1938 Bugatti Type 57 Stelvio
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$1,100,000 - US$1,300,000
The Type 57 Bugatti, introduced in 1934, marked Jean Bugatti's emergence as Bugatti's leader and creative force. Several Type 57s are among the most valuable cars in the world.
This elegant example of the desirable Stelvio Cabriolet has enjoyed careful ownership by only a handful of keepers in the last six and a half decades. Sold first in November, 1938 as a bare chassis to British Bugatti distributor Col. Charles Sorel of London, the French coachbuilder Carrosserie Gangloff was selected to build the Stelvio body.
The bulk of the car's post-WWII ownership was in the care of Bob Roberts, the founder of the British Midland Motors Museum. The car would remain in the Roberts family in the UK for half a century before finding its way across the Atlantic.
Carefully maintained and sparingly driven by its last two keepers, this supremely sophisticated and attractive machine is perhaps the archetypal Bugatti road car – a practical sports car incorporating speed, style, and grace, and the best of pre-war French master coachwork.
1973 Ferrari 365GTS/4 Daytona Spider
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$ 2.6 million - 3.2 million
The ultimate expression of Ferrari's fabulous line of V12 front-engined sports cars, the 365GTB/4 debuted at the Paris Salon in 1968, soon gaining the unofficial name "Daytona" in honor of the sweeping 1, 2, 3 finish by the Ferrari 330P4 sports prototype at that circuit in 1967.
Pininfarina's Leonardo Fioravanti, later the famed carrozzeria's director of research and development, was responsible for the influential shark-nosed styling, creating a package that restated the traditional "long bonnet, small cabin, short tail" look in a manner suggesting muscular horsepower, while retaining all the elegance associated with the Italian coachbuilder's work for Maranello.
Although there had been no official open-top versions of its predecessor, the favorable reception of Luigi Chinetti's 275GTB-based NART Spider no doubt influenced Ferrari's decision to produce a convertible Daytona. Again the work of Pininfarina, the latter was first seen at the Paris Salon in 1969, deliveries commencing in 1971. Although the rear end had been extensively reworked, so successful was Pininfarina's surgery that it was hard to credit that the Daytona had not initially been conceived as a Spider.
The most powerful two-seater, road-going GT and the world's fastest production car at the time of its launch, the Daytona was capable of over 170 mph (274 km/h) and is surely destined to remain a top-ranking supercar for eternity. Some 1,400 Berlinetta coupe models and just 123 Spider convertibles had been made when production ceased in 1973.
What's more, the auction car has a sterling history, which is detailed in the Official Auction Description and Images.
1970 Brabham-Cosworth Ford BT33 Formula 1
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$1,000,000 - US$1,400,000
Sir Jack Brabham is the only person to have won the Formula One world championship driving one of his own cars. In 1970, he won the last of 14 F1 races driving this car – a BT33 which also scored four podium finishes that year.
Sir Jack retired from racing at the end of that momentous season, in which, while driving this same Brabham BT33, chassis "2," he had come within a whisker of winning two other Grands Prix and challenging seriously for a fourth World Championship crown.
It was in this car that Sir Jack led Jochen Rindt's Lotus until the last corner of the last lap in the Monaco Grand Prix, only to slide off into the barrier. It was also in this car that Sir Jack had broken Jochen Rindt's challenge in the groundbreaking new Lotus 72 to lead the British Grand Prix into the last corner, when the car ran out of fuel and did not complete the race. Had he won both of those races, he would have won a fourth drivers title.
Since 1998, this car (BT33-2) has been exquisitely well-maintained in race-ready trim by its current vendor – an exceedingly well-respected veteran personality within the vintage racing world. At one most prominent US vintage event, Elkhart Lake's Road America in 2002, both Sir Jack himself and Ron Tauranac were on hand, taking off their sports jackets to pitch-in enthusiastically beside the owner and his crew to fix a minor problem. The owner today recalls that weekend spent in the company of Brabham and Tauranac as perhaps the pinnacle of his vintage racing career.
To acquire "BT33-2" today is to share that association with true greatness. The car is immaculate. Its provenance is impeccable. Its historic record and its significance are obvious. A sister BT33 has dominated the Monaco Historic Grand Prix in the hands of its owner-driver Duncan Dayton, managing what Sir Jack himself failed to achieve in 1970 by leading out of the last corner instead of only into it.
1967 Toyota 2000GT
Auctioneer's Estimate: $700,000 - $900,000
This is a car destined for the collector market from the moment it was shown at the 1965 Tokyo Motor Show, demonstrating that the staid and conservative Japanese Auto industry could produce beautiful, limited edition drivers cars too.
Only 351 2000GTs were released to the public – 233 MF10s, 109 MF10Ls, and nine MF12Ls – all apparently sold at zero profit, such was the cost of manufacture. In 1967, the 2000GT was $1,000 more than both the Jaguar E-Type and Porsche 911, and over $2,500 more than a Corvette.
Reflecting the growing appreciation of the model by collectors, last year RM Auctions sold three MF10s, one for $935,000, one for $968,000, and one for $1,155,000, the latter becoming the most expensive Japanese car ever to sell at auction.
The 2000GT design originated from motorcycle manufacturer Yamaha, and was pitched to Nissan, which declined. Toyota accepted Yamaha's subsequent proposal and the six-cylinder engine is based on a Toyota Crown motor developed by Yamaha to produce 150 hp (111.8 kW) using a DOHC configuration and triple Solex twin-choke side-draft carburettors and driving through a five-speed fully-synchromesh manual transmission with overdrive.
It's light weight of just 1,088 kg (2,399 lb), a 49/51 weight distribution, four-wheel independent suspension, and four-wheel power-assisted Dunlop disc brakes resulted in an automobile that began to change the image of Japanese automobiles, along with some judicious product placement in the 1967 James Bond film, You Only Live Twice.
James Crowe, who tested the car for Road & Track magazine at the time praised it as being "highly refined in handling and driving, and one of the most exciting cars we have ever driven … an impressive car in which to sit or ride, or simply admire."
Times change and so do perceptions of value. It's not all that long ago that you could pick up a Ferrari GTO for chump change – now they're worth a king's ransom.
Toyota is now the world's largest auto maker. The value of the limited numbers of Toyota's 1967 2000GT will inevitably reflect those changes at some point, if the appreciation from the 1967 price tag of $7,200 to more than 100 times that amount today isn't already an indication.
Note the prophetic words on the bottom right hand corner of the 1967 brochure: "The image of tomorrow from Toyota today."
2000 Ferrari F1-2000
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$1,750,000 - US$2,500,000
It's a late model Formula One car with an exquisite 770 hp (574.1 kW) V-10 driving through a seven-speed semi-automatic sequential gearbox with a body made almost entirely of carbon fiber, but that's not a true reflection of what it represents. While it is not as ground-breaking and wasn't as dominant, it has similar stature to the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow, which currently sits atop the most valuable cars ever sold at auction.
This is the car in which Michael Schumacher (with 91 wins, the world's winningest F1 driver in history) won the 2000 Brazilian F1 Grand Prix on the way to winning the first of his five consecutive drivers championships with Ferrari, as well as winning Ferrari's first drivers title for 21 years. This is a car used by one of the world's greatest ever drivers to create a new dynasty of success for Ferrari, the maker of the world's most collectable cars and the world's most successful F1 constructor.
There aren't many big boys toys that can tickle your adrenalin glands at 200 mph (322 km/h) and appreciate in value better than the NASDAQ-100 at the same time, but this car is one of them. It is offered prepped and ready for further use in Ferrari’s F1 Clienti program, or you can admire it as a work of mechanical artistry and an appreciating financial asset. Official Auction Description and Images
1931 Bentley 8-Litre Sports Coupe Cabriolet by Barker
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$3,750,000 - US$4,750,000
This car is powerful, beautiful, and absolutely unique, being the only original two-passenger roadster built on an 8-liter chassis. A one-off, bespoke "boattail" design by Barker, with authenticity verified by vintage Bentley authority Clare Hay
1980 BMW M1 AHG Studie
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$600,000 - US$800,000
The M1 was the most exotic BMW street car ever built. It was a limited-production, virtually hand-built car that was essentially a homologation special, and it featured a tube frame and utilized state-of-the-art technology underneath the radical Giugiaro-designed body. The road going M1 was built on the race-spec chassis, which was fitted with unequal length lateral links, alloy uprights, concentric coil springs and anti-roll bars in the front and rear.
Just 456 examples were built, including a number of race-prepared cars for rallying and the BMW M1 Procar Championship. This car is one of only 10 examples created by AHG, has been uprated to 350 hp (260.9 kW), and comes with M1 Procar-style bodywork and BMW Motorsport tri-color livery. It's original and unrestored, with less than 7,000 km (4,350 mi) on the odomoter. This has to be a keeper given the price.
1969 Lamborghini Miura P400 S by Bertone
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$1,000,000 - US$1,400,000
The Lamborghini Miura, named after Don Eduardo Miura Fernández, the legendary breeder of fierce Spanish fighting bulls, was the very embodiment of the "supercar" moniker. Prior to the arrival of the Miura in 1967, many sports cars certainly offered high levels of performance and handling. The Miura, however, was the first to be built around the criteria that defined our modern concept of the supercar – tremendous speed and jaw-dropping design coupled with technical innovation, resulting in a wallet-wilting price tag to which only the wealthiest could aspire.
By 1967, the latest version of the 370 bhp 3,929 cc DOHC mid-mounted alloy Lamborghini V-12 engine was used for the entirely new and radical Miura. This Miura was first shown to a stunned public in March 1966 at the Geneva Salon, and its sinuous body was penned by Bertone designer Marcello Gandini, who was just 22 years of age at the time. The Miura development team also included two brilliant engineers who would gain fame in their own rights, Gian Paulo Dallara and Paolo Stanzini.
A desirable early P400 S in wonderful colors, restored by marque specialists.
1986 March 86C Indianapolis
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$1,750,000 - US$2,500,000
One of those racing cars which has such a fascinating history that it deserves a story in its own right. This 1986 March 86C won the 1986 Indianapolis 500 and the 1986 CART IndyCar Championship in the hands of Bobby Rahal. Back then, Rahal was a young driver with a lot of promise, and the car had been designed by a young race engineer with a lot of promise – Adrian Newey. Newey has since gone on to become the most successful racing car designer in history and this was his first championship winning design.
1927 Bugatti Type 35 Grand Prix
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$2,800,000-3,500,000
The Bugatti Type 35 Grand Prix is probably the most successful racing car of all time, having dominated racing in the late 1920s and early 1930s, with over 1,000 wins in a variety of competitions throughout Europe. It has been said that the Type 35 averaged 14 race wins per week and, by the close of 1926, the model had already set 47 individual speed records. The Type 35 took the Grand Prix World Championship in 1926, won the Monaco Grand Prix three times, and the Targa Florio five times, with drivers such as Nuvolari, Varzi, Divo, Costantini, Benoist, Chiron, Dreyfus, and Williams all contributing to the legend of the Type 35.
This particular car on offer during Goodings' Pebble Beach Auction boasts ownership by famed Parisian actress, dancer, acrobat and race car driver, Hellé Nice, one of the first female race car drivers in the sport and one famous for her colourful life which made her a celebrity both on the track and off.
1928 Bugatti Type 37A Grand Prix
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$600,000 - $800,000
Introduced in 1926, the Bugatti Type 37 was purpose-built for well-heeled gentlemen racers, combining the SOHC three-valve, four-cylinder engine of the Type 40 with a chassis based on that of the Type 35 competition car. Successful from launch, the Type 37 provided race car performance at road car cost and was quite capable of being driven to and from race meetings. The normally aspirated Type 37 developed 60 bhp, and the supercharged Type 37A produced 90 bhp, perfectly suited to the multitude of “Voiturette” races of the period. Production continued until 1930, with 268 built, including 67 factory-supercharged Type 37As, such as this example.
This 1928 Bugatti Type 37A was purchased new on June 16, 1928, by Baron Philippe de Rothschild of the world-famous investment banking family. An avid race car driver during the late 1920s, the Baron was a confirmed Bugatti enthusiast and often raced under the pseudonym “George Philippe” for anonymity.
1956 Maserati 250F
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$4,000,000 - $6,000,000
This remarkable Maserati was triumphant in its inaugural outing in the hands of Stirling Moss in the 1956 Italian Grand Prix at Autodromo Nazionale Monza. Moss beat Juan Manuel Fangio (Lancia-Ferrari) by 5.7 seconds to take the win, but Fangio won his fourth drivers' title through his second place.
As documented by included paperwork from the Maserati archives, on November 16, 1956, the car was then sold to American racing team owner Tony Parravano and subsequently became part of the collection owned by Sir Anthony Bamford, then a who’s who of Italian competition machinery aficionados. This car has been in good hands since the very beginnings of its life and has been lavished with the utmost care throughout. It will likely become one of the top 100 most valuable cars ever sold at auction during this sale.
1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$1,350,000 - $1,750,000
The Duesenberg Model J was, without question, the ultimate luxury automobile of its day. The brainchild of industrialist E.L. Cord, the magnificent Model J was the crown jewel of a vast business empire, an engineering marvel, and the automotive expression of American optimism during the Roaring Twenties. Unveiled at the 1929 New York Auto Salon, the Duesenberg was aimed at a rarified clientele who could afford a $20,000 car at a time when most motorists were fortunate to own a $500 Model A Ford.
Admired, respected, and coveted by knowledgeable collectors and Duesenberg authorities, this unrestored Model J is one of the most charismatic examples in existence, possessing a rich history, known provenance, and elegant open coachwork by Murphy, J-173.
1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$3,500,000 - US$4,500,000
Auctions throw up the most remarkable cars, and this is one of them – one of the first two Gullwing 300 SL Mercedes-Benz cars to leave the factory.
The development of the road-going 300 SL dates to 1951 with the construction of the revolutionary, lightweight W194 sports car series that was intended solely for racing, which was in turn developed from the W196 Silver Arrows Grand Prix cars. These Mercedes-Benz achieved numerous victories and podium finishes as works entries at such grueling races as the Mille Miglia, the Carrera Panamericana, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, marking Mercedes-Benz’s return to racing in the postwar era with globally recognized, high-profile wins. An upmarket passenger car based on these exotic and successful racers was developed and aimed squarely at US buyers with the goal of using this success in competition to raise the profile of the entire Mercedes-Benz product line in the States.
The public unveiling of the 300 SL Gullwing at the New York International Motor Sports Show in 1954 was, like the car itself, unprecedented. Sales success in the US for the race-bred 300 SL was absolutely crucial to both Mercedes-Benz as well as importer Max Hofman, who had made a 1,000-unit sales commitment to the company, which enabled the project to proceed.
Using his influence, Hoffman arranged for his friend, noted racer Briggs Cunningham, to receive a Gullwing as early as possible so he could compete with it at popular racing venues and reinforce the "Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday' adage.
According to factory records, 4500003 (the car to be auctioned) was one of a pair of 300 SLs invoiced from Sindelfingen on August 23, 1954, making them the first production 300 SL Gullwings to leave the factory, weeks ahead of the next completed cars.
1956 Ferrari 250 Europa GT
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$2,500,000 - $3,000,000
In January 1956, this Ferrari Europa GT was delivered to Jacques Swaters’ famed Garage Francorchamps in Belgium and, later that month, the striking Pinin Farina-bodied Ferrari was a prominent display on Garage Francorchamps' Brussels Motor Show stand.
It is the very last 250 Europa GT built, and has a well-recorded pedigree of period Auto Show and competition history. Fully documented by Ferrari historian Marcel Massini, the car has since been restored to concours quality by the respected marque specialists.
1959 Ferrari 250 GT Series I Cabriolet
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$4,500,000 - US$6,000,000
This 250 GT Series I Cabriolet (chassis 1475 GT), is the very last example built. As such, this is a virtually unique example in terms of its coachwork and mechanical specification. Given its late build, this body displays clear evidence of the transition from the ornate designs of the late 1950s to the clean, modern styling that characterised Pinin Farina coachwork in the early 1960s. It is also one of only four examples built with the open headlamp treatment, and one of only two featuring the tall vertical tail lights that were later incorporated into Pinin Farina’s 250 GT Coupe and Series II Cabriolet. Series I Pinin Farina Cabriolets are among the top tier of collector cars.
1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta
Auctioneer's Estimate: Available upon request
This exceptionally original 250 GT SWB Berlinetta, chassis 3113 GT has a rich, well-documented history and provenance and has benefited from exceptional stewardship and its outstanding presentation reflects the care and attention it has continued to receive. With less than 35,000 original miles (56,330 km), this Ferrari was driven sparingly and, with the exception of an appearance at the inaugural Santa Fe Concorso, it has not been seen on the show circuit.
1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso
Auctioneer's Estimate: Available upon request
Recently discovered in a New york garage after decades in static storage, this sensational 250 GT Lusso is a well-preserved and largely original example. As a result of its extended storage, this Lusso has seen very little use in its 51 years; and today, the odometer displays just over 20,350 miles (32,740 km). Though its black paintwork shows its age, and its lacquer is checked and cracking in areas, the Lusso’s interior is very well preserved with beautifully patinated red leather upholstery and matching carpets. With a carefully executed, sympathetic mechanical recommissioning, this magnificent Lusso could almost certainly be driven and enjoyed in its present condition, making it all the more enticing.
1963 Shelby Cobra 289
Auctioneer's Estimate: US$1,300,000 - US$1,500,000
The AC Cobra is one of the all-time great classic sports cars, and early AC Cobras remain some of the most iconic and collectible cars ever made. This car was shipped to Los Angeles on May 2, ultimately ending up at Shelby's headquarters. After completion at Shelby American in August 1963, it was consigned to the Sales Promotion Division of Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan.
Remarkably, a half century later, the car has just 11,300 miles (18,185 km) on the clock and retains the wonderful factory paint and interior with exceptional patina. This is an exceedingly original and well preserved Cobra, with a a factory hard top and luggage tray,