There are marvelous cars in this year’s Monterey auctions, filling the eight-figure vacuum of the past six months. At Paris in February, the car that dominated the auctions’ presale publicity was Ferrari 250/275 LM s/n 0816—the 1964 Le Mans winner driven by Jean Guichet and Nino Vaccarella. It was withdrawn by the heirs of Pierre Bardinon two weeks before the auction. The Ferrari crowded out the competition in Paris, and since that time no auction car has had even a no-sale result above $10 million.
But that’s all about to change in Monterey, where the inventory of eight-figure cars is unprecedented. If even a few of them sell, it will change the year’s collector car market profile in 2018.
RM Sotheby’s is offering Ferrari 250 GTO s/n 3413 GT, the third GTO built, driven to victory by Edoardo Lualdi-Gabardi in the Italian GT Championship in 1962. It also was class winner in the Targa Florio in 1963 and ’64. RM Sotheby’s low estimate is $45 million, and for a pure car (original chassis, engine, gearbox, and axle, rebodied by Scaglietti in Series II GTO style in 1964 for the Targa Florio), it is worth all of that and more. It’s also a ticket to pretty much any event that its next owner wants to attend, including the next GTO Tour in 2022.
RM Sotheby’s has also announced the offering of the Aston Martin DP215, a GT prototype that raced at Le Mans in 1963 and is reputedly the fastest front-engined car ever clocked on the Mulsanne Straight. It is estimated at $20–$25 million. Bonhams just sold DP215’s predecessor Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato MP209 (better known by its British registration 2 VEV) at the Goodwood Festival of Speed for £9,000,000 hammer, £10,081,500 with commission. That’s $13.4 million, the first car sold in 2018 for an eight-figure price and a good omen for the rarer and faster DP215.
RM Sotheby’s also will offer one of the three Ford GT40 Mk IIs that crossed the finish line at Le Mans in 1966 in formation, s/n P/1016. A Holman & Moody entry driven by Ronnie Bucknum and NASCAR racer Dick Hutcherson, it finished third behind the Shelby American-entered Mk IIs and was a Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance People’s Choice winner in 2003. It’s estimated to sell for $9–$12 million.
Gooding & Company’s lead consignment is different in character but imbued with history: Duesenberg SSJ s/n 2594, engine J-563. It is Gary Cooper’s twin to Clark Gable’s SSJ s/n 2595, engine J-567, J-563. Both had La Grande Speedster coachwork. Gooding & Company estimates it at more than $10 million. Its performance, rarity, sleek speedster coachwork, and a litany of important owners—including D. Cameron Peck, Briggs Cunningham, and Miles Collier—makes it worth that and more.
Bonhams’ Quail Lodge Auction features 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta s/n 3337 GT, a Ferrari Classiche-certified original chassis, body, engine, transmission, and axle car with a host of awards from Pebble Beach to Ferrari Club of America. It has its original colors, Grigio Conchiglia (Shell Grey, the best color to show its sublime combination of Pininfarina and Scaglietti body lines) over lipstick red leather. Bonhams doesn’t hazard a guess about value, but it’s so pure, so correct, so documented that it would be a major steal if it doesn’t reach eight figures.
Ferrari built a precious few competition-configured alloy-bodied 275 GTBs, and Gooding & Company is offering one, s/n 09063, raced for Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team at Nassau in 1966 by Pedro Rodriguez, as well as at the Daytona 24 Hours in 1967, ’69 and ’70. Its provenance includes Harley Cluxton, Dr. Ron Finger, Albert Obrist, and Bernie Ecclestone. While Gooding & Company hasn’t put an estimate on it yet, it sold its counterpart, s/n 09051, at Pebble Beach last year for $14.5 million.
RM Sotheby’s recently announced the addition of another Ferrari 250 GT SWB. The newest eight-figure car is alloy-bodied in-competition configuration s/n 2163 GT. Built in 1960 as an early example of the new short wheelbase design, it has a replacement high performance engine (Tipo 168 from 1615 GT, a LWB Competition California Spyder), is Ferrari Classiche Red Book-certified with this engine of the correct period and type, and is estimated at $9.5–$13 million.
There is still time for more eight-figure entries at Monterey, but just those announced so far add up to well over $100 million. Should the stars and planets align sympathetically, $150 million just for these seven cars is possible. That would be 45 percent of the entire 2017 Monterey transactions from six auctions.