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The Many Motorcars of the Monterey Auction Week

Submitted by on August 21, 2014


Image: Bonhams

Over the past seven days, in a pretty little town reminiscent of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs‘ Swallow Falls, US$400 million changed hands in exchange for 750-odd classic cars.

They went under the hammer during the traditional run of Monterey auctions congregating around the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and among them was a collection of great historic race cars. We’re here to look at three of the biggest, three of the most interesting, and three which we’d hop into and take historic racing this weekend.


Image: Bonhams

The biggest: 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Coupe sells for $38,115,000

This rare and coveted Ferrari was offered at no reserve at Bonhams’ Quail Lodge Sale, which meant that if nobody was paying attention you may have been able to pick it up for the price of a cheeseburger.

The car collector market was very much paying attention, however, and had record-setting expectations for this car. It didn’t quite meet the numbers some were predicting, potentially pushing beyond the reported $52 million mark seen privately, but still brought in a healthy record-setting price. It flew by the standing record for the most valuable car sold at auction by some $8 million and went for $38,115,000.

Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale

Image: RM Auctions

And then: 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale Coupe sold for $26,400,000

This car is number one of just three Works Berlinetta Competizione cars and has it all – looks, performance, rarity and history. Bidding on it at RM Auctions’ Monterey Sale opened at $15,000,000 and climbed to $26,400,000.

1961 Ferrari 250 GT California SWB Spyder

Image copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company, by Mike Maez

Rounding out the big three: 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California SWB Spider sold for 15,180,000

This highly-desirable covered-headlight car came equipped with an optional hardtop from the factory and set a new benchmark for Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spiders, selling for $15,180,000 at Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auction.

Exciting cars and interesting moments aren’t just made from record-breaking sales, however. Let’s dig a little deeper and discover some of the most interesting things to come out of the week.

Ferrari 333 SP

Photography by Darin Schnabel, thanks to RM Auctions

Because it didn’t sell: 1998 Ferrari 333 SP

This storied and high profile car is a stunner. It’s the only Ferrari to win both the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring, signifies Ferrari’s return to sportscar racing after a two decade hiatus and boasts a third in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for good measure.

But at a high bid of $3,400,000, it’s one of a handful of significant Ferraris which were passed in.

Want to know more about this 333 SP’s history? Read: The Winningest Ferrari 333 SP

Because of how: 1957 Buick Caballero Estate Wagon

We’re a few steps separated from our usual fare of brutal Group C downforce-and-horsepower monsters, but this Buick did a good job of grabbing our attention.

It’s gorgeous, and rare to boot, but it’s the story of its sale, thanks to Road & Track, that grabbed our attention. Mostly because it sold twice on the same night!

The car was restored for free by Jay Leno’s Big Dog Garage in an effort to raise money for the George W. Bush Military Service Initiative. When the gavel came down it had sold for an exceptionally-robust $300,000.

Its new owner then walked onto the stage and donated the car directly back to David Gooding, who turned around and auctioned it a second time, eventually selling it to the original second-place bidder for a further $280,000.

1965 Ford GT40 Roadster Prototype

Image: RM Auctions

Because it de-throned the Ferraris.. again: 1965 Ford GT40 Roadster Prototype

Ferraris made up nine of the ten most valuable cars sold during the Monterey auctions. Much like Ford and the GT40s in the ’60s, however, this Ford GT40 Roadster Prototype was there to mix things up and break the Ferrari Domination.

It was the first of six GT40 Roasters built and the eighth of twelve GT40 prototypes. It’s also the only surviving original GT40 Roadster.

Carroll Shelby himself spent time behind the wheel in it, as did the likes of Jim Clark and Ken Miles.

If you were planning to pick it up at RM Auctions’ sale you’d have needed to beat the final bid of $6,930,000 – the seventh most valuable car sold last week.

It’s Thursday and the weekend’s coming up fast, which means that it’s time to get down to business. Let’s take a look at three historic racers which sold for numbers mere mortals have a hope of attaining, and which we’d like to take out racing this weekend.


Image: Bonhams

Because when it comes to historic racing, it’s hard to go past Porsche: 1958 PORSCHE 356A Coupe La Carrera Panamericana Rally Car with Coachwork by Reutter

Pushed around by the 1715cc overhead valve flat-four from a 912, stuck to the road by four-wheel independent suspension and stopped by four-wheel disks, this little 356A is prepared as a rally car and ready to rock. We know it’s good for it, because it’s done the La Carrera Panamericana three times.

It sold for $55,000, making it something that we wouldn’t be afraid to get out and use.

1981 AAR Eagle Indianapolis

Image: RM Auctions

Because this Eagle flew in the Indy 500: 1981 AAR Eagle Indianapolis

Campaigned originally in CART, this car debuted at Watkings Glen in ’81 with Herm Johnson at the wheel. It went on to round out the year with trips to Mexico City and Phoenix.

In 1982 it raced at Phoenix and Atlanta, retiring from its period racing career in style at the 1982 Indianapolis 500, where Herm Johnson qualified 14th and finished ninth.

The mid-’90s saw it return to racing with Bob Pond Racing running it in historics. It picked up a second place and then a first at the final round of the American IndyCar series, proving its historic muscle.

Going for $38,500, it’s a quick car with some history to boot.

1974 Chevrolet Corvette IMSA Race Car

Image: Mecum

Because we still have a shot: 1974 Chevrolet Corvette IMSA Race Car

Competing in 20 IMSA races from 1973 to 1981, including seven trips to Sebring and the Daytona 24-Hour, this magic muscle car has some serious experience under those panels.

It didn’t sell on auction day and currently sits at a high bid of $62,000, meaning it’s available to pick up and head out in time for the weekend!

Images via Bonhams, Gooding & Company, RM Auctions and Mecum.


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