14 "Million Dollar Cars" sell at six auctions in eight days
It's not all that long ago, that a car selling at auction for more than the magical million dollar mark would bring a round of applause, recognizing the significance of the sale. The continuing rise in values of top tier collectible cars has now seen more than 1300 cars fetch more than a million dollars, with hundreds more sold each year. Monterey Car Week is the highlight of the collector car year with more than eighty million dollar cars sold in each of the last two years, but this year the onslaught of elite automobiles has continued onwards with 14 sold in six different auctions in the last eight days: one at Silverstone Auctions' Salon Prive auction at Blenheim Palace on September 4, two at Bonham's inaugural Château de Chantilly auction in Paris on September 5, one at Bonham's Beaulieu sale at the British National Motor Museum on September 5, one at Auction America's Auburn sale on September 5, four at RM-Sotheby's London auction on September 7, and a further five cars at Bonham's Goodwood Revival sale on September 12.
1958 Ferrari 250 GT "Tour de France"
September 7, London - £4,760,000 ($7,273,054)
Appearing for the first time ever at a public auction, this 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione "Tour de France" was expected to sell well above $5 million and it didn't disappoint. Only 77 of Ferrari's "Tour de France" models were ever built, with every one sold in the last five years fetching more than $3,000,000 and the three most recent highlights being a 1956 model which sold for £4,872,000 ($7,862,554) in London last September, a similar car which fetched $6,710,000 during Monterey Car Week in 2012, and Alfonso de Portago's original 1956 Tour de France winner setting a record for the model a few weeks ago at $13,200,000.
This particular car has a period racing history, and an interesting and colorful past, having been separated from its original motor when a Chevy V8 was installed. Decades later, enthusiasts recognizing the importance of the car subsequently installed a 250 GT motor, and in the early nineties, the original motor was purchased and the car restored. Since then it has been campaigned in all the prestigious European Classic events under the ownership of Matthias Ficht. The car fetched £4,760,000 ($7,273,054) at RM-Sotheby's London sale on September 7 (2015).
1972 Maserati Boomerang cut
September 5, Château de Chantilly - €3,335,000 ($3,718,529)
Already the subject of a feature article on this site, the Maserati Boomerang is a unique, fully functional concept car and one of the best recognized car of the seventies thanks to the worldwide publicity it created at the 1971 Turin Motor Show. Beyond being fully functional, it's also road registered, so it's not surprising that the instantly recognizable one-off is appreciating at a substantial rate. It has only once before sold at public auction when it was sold by Christies in Paris in 2005 and fetched €781,250 (US$1,007,005). A decade later, it fetched €3,335,000 ($3,718,529) at Bonham's first Chantilly sale.
1964 Ferrari 250 GT/L Berlinetta "Lusso"
September 7, London - £1,232,000 ($1,882,438)
This car was one of the last Lussos manufactured, being the 338th of only 350 made. The Ferrari 250 GT/L was first seen at the Paris Motor Show in October 1962, fitting between the sporting 250 GT SWB and its more luxurious sibling, the 250 GTE 2+2, combining the best features of both. The Lusso was designed by Pininfarina and built by Scaglietti, with the bodies being made out of steel and the doors, bonnet, and boot lids out of aluminum. Gt?Ls usually sell in the $1.6 million to $2.5 million range, with RM having set the record for the Lusso model at $4.51 million at Monterey in 2008. This Lusso sold for £1,232,000 ($1,882,438).
1965 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible
September 12, Goodwood (UK) - £1,087,900 ($1,678,483)
On September 18, 1964, iconic British automobile magazine Autocar wrote of the Aston Martin DB5: "More and more cars today reach the magical "ton" but those which can do it with the same ease and rapidity of the Aston can be counted on the fingers of one hand. High-speed stability and safety is not cheap to engineer, and with few people to pay the price, production costs are never reduced by the quantity of the work. The DB5 therefore fills a unique corner of the market, a corner at the top end both in the way it performs and the price one pays for the privilege."
One of only 123 DB5 convertibles made, this car was comprehensively rebuilt in 2005, and has been in its present ownership since. It sold for £1,087,900 ($1,678,483)
1968 Aston Martin DB6 Vantage Volante
September 4, Blenheim Palace - £1,012,500 ($1,538,484)
The DB6 Volante was first seen at the 1965 London Motor Show, the original short-chassis DB6 marked the first occasion the evocative "Volante" name (a derivation of the Italian word for "flying") was used for a soft-top Aston Martin, a naming convention in place for all of the company's GT convertibles to this day.
The last thirty-seven DB5 chassis were used in conjunction with some DB6 design cues to build the first run of short-chassis Volantes between October 1965 and October 1966, after which, the model adopted the longer DB6 chassis in October 1966. A mere 140 DB6 based Volantes were manufactured, and of these only 29 were specified with the more powerful Vantage engine. This car is an original, UK-supplied DB6 Vantage Volante.
Just as the DB5 was immortalized by the James Bond films, the DB6 Volante became the focus of world attention when Prince William drove his new bride to their wedding reception in his father's DB6 Mk II Volante, which had been Prince Charles' 21st birthday present from Her Majesty the Queen in 1969.
This 1968 Aston Martin DB6 Vantage Volante sold at Silverstone Auctions' Salon Prive sale at Blenheim Palace on Friday 4th September. Estimated to sell for between £825,000 and £925,000, the car sold for £1,012,500 (US$1,538,484) including buyers premium.
1938 Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet
September 5, Château de Chantilly - €1,265,000 ( $1,410,477)
A car with a complete history from new, this Bugatti Type 57 two-three seater drophead coupe was created by respected Belgian coachbuilder Albert D'Ieteren, and was once owned by famous French artist, André Derain, one of the leaders of the Fauvism movement along with Henri Matisse. It sold in Paris at Bonham's new Château de Chantilly sale for €1,265,000 ( $1,410,477).
1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe by Murphy
September 5, Auburn - $1,402,500
Auctions America began its extensive catalogue entry for this car with an excerpt from J.L. Elbert's book Duesenberg: The Mightiest American Motor Car: "It was a time of solid brass castings and engine-turned aluminum and stainless steel, of natural cowhide and quartered Circassian walnut, of hand-striped canework and whitewall tires white on both sides. Truly it was an honest day for product. Die-castings and synthetics are ubiquitous now. Veneered things are for the many. Those solid things were for the few. Here is a roaring saga out of the opulent Newport era – the Life and Times of an elegant motor car showpiece tailored for that few. Any car, deliberately designed to socially outrank others among patricians and at the same time competitively outdrive (89-mph in second gear) among playboys, would have to have been some automobile. That, Duesenberg was."
Appropriately auctioned in Duesenberg's home town, the history of this car is well covered in the auction description, and at $1,402,500, it was "well bought."
1992 Ferrari F40
September 7, London - £845,600 ($1,292,037)
Launched in 1987, the Ferrari F40 was the first road legal production car to break the 200 mph with a top speed of 201.4 mph (324 km/h), making it the world's fastest production car. 1987 was also Enzo Ferrari's 90th birthday, and it was 40 years since he built his first Ferrari automobile so the evolution of the 288 GTO destined for a racing class that was made defunct became a special supercar and the last one "il Commendatore" would see launched.
Only 1,311 F40s were produced between 1987 and 1996, and as they come to auction, they now invariably fetch more than a $1,000,000 as can be seen from a list of the most recent sales of the model. Ironically, the last time an F40 failed to breast the tape at seven figures it was the car formerly owned by vintage rock and roller Rod Stewart. The following list does not include the F40 LM-spec cars, which tend to fetch slightly more than their less race-oriented brethren.
Monterey, August, 2015 - 1992 Ferrari F40 - $1,375,000
Monterey, August, 2015 - 1989 Ferrari F40 - $1,265,000
Monterey, August, 2015 - 1990 Ferrari F40 - $1,237,500
Villa Erba, May, 2015 - 1991 Ferrari F40 - € 1,008,000 ($1,109,796)
Amelia Island, March, 2015 - 1991 Ferrari F40 - $1,622,500
Paris, February, 2015 - 1990 Ferrari F40 - € 1,176,000 ($1,331,138)
Arizona, January, 2015 - 1990 Ferrari F40 - $1,265,000
Goodwood , September, 2014 - 1991 Ferrari F40 - £634,300 ($1,031,182)
London, September 2014 - 1989 Ferrari F40 - £761,600 ($1,229,089)
Pebble Beach, August, 2014 - 1990 Ferrari F40 - $1,320,000
California, August, 2014 - 1990 Ferrari F40 - $990,000
Monterey, August, 2014 - 1991 Ferrari F40 - $1,430,000
Goodwood , June, 2014 - 1990 Ferrari F40 - £617,500 ($1,051,726)
Paris, February, 2014 - 1990 Ferrari F40 - € 515,200 ($696,447)
Arizona, January, 2014 - 1990 Ferrari F40 - $935,000
Monterey, August, 2013 - 1990 Ferrari F40 - $1,325,000
Monterey, August, 2013 - 1990 Ferrari F40 - $1,155,000
Hence it's not surprising that RM-Sotheby's 1992 Ferrari F40 fetched £845,600 ($1,292,037)
1965 Aston Martin DB5 Vantage
September 7, London - £784,000 ($1,197,915)
Anyone with refined petroleum running through their veins will recognize the silver Aston Martin DB5 as one of the most successful celluloid product placements in history, with all the right brand values emphasized in the James Bond film Goldfinger. This DB5 is one of the 65 DB5 Vantages produced with the higher 390 horsepower engine, and one of approximately 40 produced as a right-hand drive model. Though its history is not well recorded, this example spent most of its existence in Germany, and was sold in highly original condition for £784,000.
1965 Bentley S3 Continental Flying Spur by Mulliner
September 12, Goodwood (UK) - £763,100 ($1,177,360)
Formerly the property of Rolling Stones Keith Richards, the car he dubbed "Blue Lena" was named after American Jazz singer Lena Horne. Richards is generally regarded as one of the finest guitar players in the world, and his open tunings helped form the distinctive sound which has enabled the band to retain iconic musical status for half a century. When the Rolling Stones first achieved success during the ‘swinging sixties’, their first badges of success were luxury cars, with Mick Jagger buying an Aston Martin DB6, Brian Jones a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud and Richards buying this Bentley S3 Continental Flying Spur, specially modified with a secret compartment for the carrying of the illicit substances with which he became synonymous. In his autobiography, Richards wrote: Having this car was already heading for trouble, breaking the rules of the establishment, driving a car I was definitely not born into. "Blue Lena" had carried us on many an acid-fuelled journey.
The car played a significant role in Richards’ life, most famously during the period the band decamped to live in Tangiers in Morocco following the infamous police "drugs bust" of Keith's home "Redlands" in Wilmington, Surrey where the Stones and their guests, including Mick Jagger's then girlfriend, Marianne Faithful, were staying.
From the auction description: No arrests were made at the time but Richards, Jagger and their art-dealer friend Robert Fraser were subsequently charged with drugs offences. To avoid the attentions of a rapacious British media, which had been fed information about the arrests by the police, the band and its entourage moved to Tangier in Morocco to await the trial. Jagger and Faithful flew direct but Keith and Brian Jones decided to travel with 'Blue Lena', which was flown from England to France aboard a British United Air Ferries 'Carvair'. Keith's chauffeur Tom Keylock, who would become the Stones' chief 'fixer', then drove them to Morocco, with Keith sitting up front to change the 45s on the little Philips record player. Brian Jones and his then girlfriend, actress Anita Pallenberg, sat in the back with Deborah Dixon, a Texan friend they had collected in Paris.
Jones was taken ill with pneumonia during the trip and was transferred to Toulouse hospital, remaining there while the others continued the journey into Spain. Leaving a nightclub in Barcelona one night, they found themselves in a near-riot situation, with people throwing things at the Bentley. Luckily the police intervened to rescue them. Having spent a night in police custody, and after the Bentley's windscreen had been repaired, they continued the journey but without Deborah, who had had enough excitement and wanted to return to Paris. It was there, in the back of 'Blue Lena', that romance blossomed between Keith and Anita. The couple would go on to have three children and remain together until 1980.
There’s more about the history of this car in the auction description and no doubt much more that can’t be written, but it is almost as much rock and popular culture memorabilia as an automobile, as Richards is one of the definitive wild men of rock and roll.
Music journalist Nick Kent attached to Richards Lord Byron's epithet of "mad, bad, and dangerous to know," while journalist Peter Hitchens wrote of Richards that he is "a capering streak of living gristle who ought to be exhibited as a warning to the young of what drugs can do to you even if you're lucky enough not to choke on your own vomit."
Blue Lean sold for £763,100 ($1,177,360).
1935 Aston Martin Ulster 2/4-Seater Tourer
September 12, Goodwood (UK) - £740,700 ($1,142,800)
One of the rare Aston Martin Ulster (just 31 Ulsters were built, including the 10 team cars), this is one of only four Special Order 2/4 seat models sold to the public. The entire history of this car is well documented, including an extensive period racing history which was highlighted with its win in the 1936 Stanley Cup at Donington. Since then it has enhanced it's track record in historic racing and rallying. It ultimately sold for £740,700 ($1,142,800).
1929 Bentley 4½-litre Sports Saloon by H J Mulliner
September 5, Beaulieu (UK) - £695,900 ($1,054,621)
The pick of the offerings at this year's Beaulieu National Motor Museum sale, Lot 171 is a car that has been in single family ownership since 1935, and by rare circumstance has been maintained in near perfect original condition. Sold with a seized motor but in astonishing condition otherwise, Bonhams sold the car for £695,900 ($1,054,621), once more confirming that unmolested time capsules with all the paperwork still exist.
1960 Scarab-Offenhauser Intercontinental/F1
September 12, Goodwood (UK) - £673,500 ($1,039,120)
From the auction description: In recent years front-engined Formula 1 car competition at Historic and Vintage level has seen the full flowering of a fabulous and brave American motor racing project that has been recalled with great pride and nostalgic pleasure by generations of road-racing enthusiasts.
Where front-running success in such Historic races had for long years been the preserve of Italian Maserati 250Fs, then Ferrari Dino 246s and the British BRM Type 25s, the almost all-American Scarab-Offenhausers have in recent years re-written the form book on both sides of the Atlantic, driven most notably and successfully by respected marque exponents Don Orosco and Julian Bronson.
Here we at Bonhams are delighted to be able offer not just one of Mr Orosco's Grand Prix racing Scarabs, but two the example comprising this lot (Lot 330) being the surviving and wonderfully well-restored original team car chassis '001', and the second (Lot 331) - a painstaking largely original-parts re-assembly of chassis '002' which was severely damaged at Silverstone in 1961.
Lot 330 sold for £673,500 ($1,039,120) and Lot 331 sold for £328,540 ($506,893).
1956 Fiat-Bartoletti Racing Car Transporter
September 12, Goodwood (UK) - £656,700 ($1,013,199)
Accurately described on the auction block as "arguably the most historically significant race car transporter of all-time", this 1956 Fiat-Bartoletti Tipo 642 Diesel-Engined Racing Car Transporter has seen more racing action than you'd think would be possible, and will almost certainly be back at work again soon.
Fully-restored, this vehicle was originally built for the Maserati factory Formula One team and was the transporter during the 1957 World Championship-winning season during which Juan Manuel Fangio took the title, and it would also have taken Fangio's Piccolo 250F (chassis '2533') to it's last race at Reims in 1958. It was subsequently acquired and used by Lance Reventlow for his 'Team America' Scarab Grand Prix team in 1960-61.
Purpose-built transporters were still rare in this period and upon completion of duties with Scarab, it was then purchased and used by Carroll Shelby's Cobra operation for its FIA Grand Touring Car World Championship-winning efforts of 1964-65.
From the auction description: This transporter's amazing pure-blood, thoroughbred, motor racing pedigree at World-class International level was then perpetuated as the leading British Ford GT-programme team of Alan Mann Racing, based in Byfleet, England, hauled its cars and associated men and materiel around the World Championship battle zones of Europe.
Ultimately this Fiat-Bartoletti 642 was taken-on by leading Ferrari privateer David Piper and liveried in his bright tone of 'BP green' to carry his Ferrari 275 LM and 'P-car' sports-prototypes through the later 1960s until, in 1969-70, it was acquired by Steve McQueen's Solar Productions team to feature prominently under ever-changing team liveries in what has now become perhaps the ultimate motor race enthusiast cult movie 'Le Mans'.
Many thought this vehicle would sell for much more than its final price of £656,700 ($1,013,199 including commissions), so it was well bought and being fully restored and in near new condition again, it is very likely to be seen in the paddock in period racing again in the future.
1995 Bugatti EB110 Super Sport
September 7, London - £627,200 ($958,332)
This car fell just short of becoming a million dollar car, but it is a significant car nonetheless, as its price is the highest yet paid at auction for the rare EB110 which represented the second coming of the Bugatti marque. The first resurrection of the stellar Bugatti trademark saw a genuine supercar created at enormous expense, but limited edition supercars are difficult to engineer at a profit, and after just four years of production (1991 to 1995) and just 139 cars produced, the Italian Bugatti (Bugatti Automobili S.p.A.) went into bankruptcy. Of those 139, only 33 were Super Sport models featuring the quad-turbo, 610 hp, 3.5 liter DOHC V-12 engine. Given the quality and rarity of the EB110, and the spectacular first and third iterations of the Bugatti company, the EB110 will certainly become a million dollar car sooner or later, with this car setting a world record for the marque at £627,200 ($958,332).
The action continues ...
Quite a few potential million dollar cars will be offered at auction over the next few weeks, some of them in the most unlikely of places.
The most exciting auction of veteran European automobiles for many years takes place in the unlikely venue of Ebeltoft in Denmark, where the single-owner Frederiksen Collection (lots listing - video preview) will be auctioned on September 26.