Although Monterey Car Week is well-known for its insanely gorgeous concours cars and out-of-this-world auction prices—and Bonhams’ top sale at Monterey a year ago was indeed one of those Monopoly money cars—it’s clear that Bonhams isn’t focused solely on offering the next big thing. The next cool thing? For sure. And if bidding reaches eight figures, then so be it.
“Bonhams consistently consigns cars that are unusual and interesting, even if they aren’t the most valuable,” says Hagerty auction editor Andrew Newton, “and they typically have a wide range of automobiles, from early motorcars to newer exotics and everything in between.”
This year is no different. Coming off a 2017 Monterey showing that included a $15.62 million 1995 McLaren F1 Coupe and overall sales of $53.4M, Bonhams’ 2018 headliner is a 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta with eight-figure potential. Nothing else in the Bonhams catalogue will come close to reaching that lofty height.
No doubt the star of Bonhams’ 2018 Quail Lodge Auction, this 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta (s/n 3337 GT) possesses a Ferrari Classiche-certified original chassis, body, engine, transmission, and axle, along with a long list of awards. It is presented in its original color of Shell Grey (Grigio Conchiglia, in Italian) with lipstick red leather. Without a doubt, this is one of those eye-popping, pinch-me-I’m-dreaming cars that can be difficult to put an estimate on. So Bonhams didn’t, at least publicly. It isn’t the only SWB in Monterey or the most desirable, but SWBs are special race-bred cars that led to the creation of the 250 GTO, so we’ll be shocked if bidding doesn’t reach eight figures.
Rare, unusual, and beautifully styled, this 1956 Fina Sport Convertible won the Philadelphia Autorama Concours d’Elegance when new, and 62 years later it has been freshly and flawlessly restored. When Perry Fina announced the Cadillac V-8-powered Sport Convertible in ’56, he described it as “an exclusive car… handcrafted with exquisite care… to please the man of discriminating taste.” With an original price tag of $14,000—that’s almost $129,000 today— it also required a man of considerable means. To say that it has no equal is not hyperbole; this car is the marque’s sole surviving restored example.
We didn’t include this beauty among the top race cars to watch at Monterey, but we certainly could have. The rare-bodied racer was a DNF in its first Mille Miglia in 1948, but in 1949 it placed second in Sicily’s famed Targa Florio and third behind two Ferraris in its return to the Mille Miglia. Although Alfa built and raced larger displacement cars like the 6C2500 to great success, it gradually began shifting to smaller cars to stay in business. So in addition to its race history, this car also represents the end of an era.
Hailed by Mercedes-Benz as “the car for the connoisseur” upon its introduction at the Paris Salon in October 1937, the 540K is known for its clever engineering, high performance (5.4-liter supercharged straight-eight engine), and breathtaking good looks. And with coachwork by Mayfair, this one carries a particularly desirable body style. Bonhams describes it as “a flamboyant, rakish two-seater roadster echoing the famed SSK of Count Trossi, with fender skirts and a plethora of louvers.” It’s an extraordinary car indeed, and it should spark some spirited bidding.
If you’ve never seen a RUF before but are headed to Monterey, it may seem like they are everywhere on the peninsula. That’s because this 2009 RUF CTR3 is one of two custom RUF Porsches in Bonhams’ lineup, and three more are being offered by RM Sotheby’s. The German-built CTR3 is powered by a 700-hp 3746cc Twin-Turbo six-cylinder engine and is one of only three in special Chroma Flash Hologram Matte paint. Believe it or not, these aren’t auction regulars, and with only 1562 miles on the clock, this beauty definitely stands out at Monterey.