Auction Preview: Bonhams Scottsdale 2017

If size matters, then disregard that Bonhams is only offering about 100 cars in Scottsdale this year. That’s slightly fewer than 2016. Consider instead that of all the big Arizona catalogue sales, Bonhams has the best chance of an eight-figure sale. Besides the potential for one massive sale, Bonhams’ auction also features some of the week’s most exciting consignments.

Last year, Bonhams’ big cars were a McLaren P1 at $2.09 million and a Mercedes 300SL Roadster at $1.485 million. This year’s sale showcases half a dozen cars that should easily bring more, so Bonhams expects to beat 2016’s $17.73 million in total sales.

The British auction house also learned a hard lesson in supply and demand last year, as their Scottsdale sale was overloaded with Porsche 911s that mainly fetched below-market prices. This year, their offerings are more diverse, with everything from a Ferrari 250 California Spider and a 2010 Spyker to a ’77 Honda Civic and a Ford Bronco. Following are the 10 cars that we’ll be keeping an eye on.

1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider
Presale estimate: N/A
Hagerty Price Guide: $9,900,000 - $12,500,000
Lot 64Ω
Bonhams’ star car for Scottsdale, and a serious contender for top sale of the week, is the ‘60 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider. While it has the less desirable open headlights, any short wheelbase Cal Spider in this condition can carry an eight-figure price tag. Chassis 2277 GT is the 11th of just 56 SWB cars built and was shown at the Brussels Motor Show in 1960. It then sold to its first owner in Italy and eventually, it is believed, appeared in the 1968 film Sissignore, in which it appears in a chase scene driven at high speed alongside a Lamborghini Miura. It then passed through several owners on both sides of the Atlantic, the most recent in 2006, and has had consistent restoration work along the way.

1963 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight
Presale estimate: $7,500,000 - $9,000,000
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
Lot 24
Jaguar recently built six continuation Lightweight E-Types to original specs, and although the cars had a $1.5 million price tag, they had no problem selling. It’s one of the most desirable models in the company’s long and illustrious history, and it has been many years since a real example sold publicly. The Lightweights were extensively modified from the standard car, with alloy bodywork, Lucas fuel injection, wide angle cylinder head, dry sump lubrication and beefed up suspension. Jaguar was able to scalpel 500 pounds of weight and extract about 300hp out of the 3.8-liter XK straight-six.

While it was quick, the Lightweight E-Type entered GT racing concurrently with Ferrari 250 GTOs, AC Cobras and Aston Martin DB4 GTs. It was competitive, but not all-conquering. Chassis S850667, on offer from Bonhams, is actually one of the more successful examples. The 10th of 12 Lightweights built, it boasts just three owners from new, mostly original condition and the 1963 Australian GT Championship to its credit. These cars tend to remain under long-term ownership, so this is a very rare opportunity for Jaguar collectors and its pre-sale estimate is not unreasonable.

1952 Ferrari 340 America Spider Competizione
Presale estimate: $7,500,000 - $9,000,000
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
Lot 44Ω
Many 1950s Ferrari racing cars have a seriously impressive resume, and the 340 America Spider is no exception. It raced at the Mille Miglia, Le Mans, Targa Florio, and although it didn’t score any major victories, it was piloted by well-known drivers Piero Taruffi and Maurice Trintignant. One of three 340 Americas built to Competizione specifications with dual-sprung rear suspension and a more highly tuned engine, it’s a highly desirable early Ferrari racer and could be one of Scottsdale’s top sales.

1964 Porsche 904 GTS
Presale estimate: N/A
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
Lot 88Ω
Also called the Carrera GTS, the 904 was the last of Porsche’s line of four-cylinder sports racers, although a few 904s eventually received six and even eight-cylinder engines. Bonhams’ example originally sold in Florida and had a brief but fairly successful racing career in SCCA, USRRC and hill climb events. Today, the car remains in mostly original condition, and although its original four-cam Carrera engine was pulled at some point, the motor was found and reinstalled by its current owner in Denmark. Great Porsches abound in Scottsdale this year, but this car is arguably the most significant.

1928 Mercedes-Benz Type S 26/120/180 Supercharged Sports Tourer
Presale estimate: $5,000,000 - $6,000,000
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
Lot 54Ω
The supercharged 6.8-liter Type S Mercedes was one of the quickest and most expensive cars of its day, and only 174 were built between 1927 and 1930. Bonhams’ example is a U.S. delivery car and one of a handful sporting coachwork by Erdmann & Rossi of Berlin. Its earliest history is unknown, but it was clearly prized throughout its life as it still wears original coachwork and has its original engine. After refurbishment in the 1990s this Type S won multiple awards at the Pebble Beach Concours in 1996.

1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Supercharged Gran Sport Spider
Presale estimate: $2,800,000 - $3,400,000
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
Lot 30Ω
Sold new in Switzerland, this Alfa 6C 1750 doesn’t have much period race history of note. But it does have a fully documented ownership history, and as one of Alfa Romeo’s most successful prewar sports cars, it’s eligible for a host of great vintage driving events, including the Mille Miglia. Bonhams sold a very similar car in Scottsdale, 2014, for $3,080,000.

1955 Austin-Healey 100 S
Presale estimate: $500,000 - $800,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $730,000 - $1,200,000
Lot 68
The car at the top of the list for most Healey aficionados is the 100S. It’s a lightened and highly modified version of the 100 with disc brakes, a special cylinder head and host of other improvements. Just 50 were built, and Bonhams’ example is the 20th produced. It enjoyed a competitive career in West Coast SCCA events from 1955-58 with numerous class wins. It eventually received a 283-cid Chevy V-8 and Corvette rear end and crashed at Riverside International Raceway (Calif.) before winding up in Colorado, where a 17-year-old bought it. His license was ultimately suspended after getting too many speeding tickets. It raced with the V-8 engine well into the mid-1960s, but in the mid-2000s was restored to original specs, although the original drivetrain could not be found. That is a knock to its value, which explains Bonhams’ conservative estimate.

1989 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC 6.0 AMG
Presale estimate: $125,000 - $140,000
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
Lot 92
With the 560 SEC, AMG applied their tried and true formula of adding big power to an already big Mercedes. Engine displacement grew to a full 6.0 liters and it received a special twin-cam cylinder head to produce 385hp, a huge number in the 1980s and only 5hp shy of a Ferrari Testarossa. Visually, the AMG version was distinguished from the regular 560 by wide bodywork, larger wheels and a different interior. The AMG cost over twice the standard car at $200,000. As interest in newer collector cars grows and AMG has practically become a household name, the value of earlier hot-rodded Mercedes-Benzes like this probably have nowhere to go but up.

1969 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Convertible
Presale estimate: $550,000 - $650,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $529,000 - $875,000
Lot 20
Bonhams isn’t where you’d normally expect to find a Corvette, but this is a matching numbers L88 and therefore one of the model’s rarest and most valuable iterations. This one wears an award-winning restoration by a specialist. Anyone shopping for an L88 is spoiled for choice in Arizona this year. In total, there are four available, including this car and a ’67 convertible over at Barrett-Jackson.

1973 BMW 3.0 CSL Batmobile
Presale estimate: $325,000 - $375,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $129,000 - $300,000
Lot 40
It only takes one look at the winged BMW 3.0 CSL to understand why it’s nicknamed “Batmobile.” The most coveted version of the E9 chassis and one of the company’s most famous models, the 3.0 CSL was a homologation special built for the European Touring Car Championship. In addition to using aluminum for some of its body panels, Perspex side windows and other lightening measures, BMW also added a chin spoiler, roof spoiler and shocking rear wing. All E9s have appreciated over the past few years, and the CSL offered by Bonhams is a particularly good example of the period’s most valuable BMW. That said, Bonhams pre-sale estimate is still remarkably high, but we’ll see if bidders agree.