Nestled in the shadow of the rolling hills of California’s central coast, low-lying Monterey was awash in cool sea breezes that seemed to encourage the hotly contested auctions and mile-high prices. We sat through it all to bring you the nine top sales of 2019’s Monterey auction week. Step up the rungs of this list and ascend the ladder of automotive awesome that stacked up this summer in California.
1958 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France: $5.10M
Unlike the more-recognized and track-focused 250 GTO, the Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France had two wheels planted firmly on the track and the other two on the street. A stunner on the street and a beast on the track, this Tour-de-France-spec 250 GT was the only one delivered to Sweden out of the total 78 produced. Following its tours in France and Sweden, chassis no. 0903GT nestled in boxes in the early ’70s until 2006. Once in 2006 and again in 2010, two different collectors commissioned comprehensive restorations, which netted this 250 GT a first-in-class at the 2013 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Its newest owner snagged the keys for $5.1M at Gooding & Company’s Monterey Auction, skimming below the low estimate of $5.5M.
1960 Porsche 718 RS 60 Werks: $5.12M
Porsche RS 60 chassis #718-044 witnessed a lot of Porsche motorsport history. Fresh from the factory, it rolled straight onto the starting grid of the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans. Across two continents and one chain of islands in 1961, this 718 carried the flag of Porsche Works to Sebring and Nürburgring and Bahamas Speed Week, singing a sensational tune from its single rear exhaust. This car also felt the guiding hands of Dan Gurney, Jo Bonnier, and Graham Hill, who all drove it.
As one of only four factory-raced 718s (chassis numbers 041–044), the car received Porsche-Works perks held back from the 14 other 718s sold to and raced by private teams. RM Sotheby’s lists “separate left and right front torsion bars, integrated driving lamps, and a flat-black dashboard mounted with an exposed fuse box.” In addition, the 718-044 chassis was outfitted for the car’s endurance-focused mission with larger-diameter tubing and reinforcements targeted to bolster torsional rigidity.
Chassis no. 718-044’s slim silver body gleams with its stellar racing pedigree, which netted a final price of $5.12M at RM Sotheby’s auction last week, outstripping its single-seater cousin from 1959, which went unsold by Bonhams at $3.7M.
1975 Ferrari 312T F1 raced by Niki Lauda: $6.0M
Gooding & Company treated this, the first 312T to rumble across the auction block, to full fanfare ahead of its final $6.0M sale price. Following a luxurious, gape-mouth 1862 Ghia the petite F1 car looked toy-like; but the bidding that took the Lauda-driven Ferrari to the top nine sales at Monterey this year was serious stakes.
The 312T can now add a successful auction to its five Lauda-driven poles positions and French Grand Prix victory underneath the hands of the Austrian driver.
1965 Aston Martin DB5 “Bond car”: $6.38M
This one-of-two DB5s equipped for the promotional tour following Thunderball and Goldfingersold for nearly 6 times the value of a standard DB5—and, to be fair, much about this Silver Birch DB5 differs from a standard model. For instance, the machine guns, which stuck their snubbed noses from behind the hinged headlights under the Monterey skies last week. This DB5 is just a DB5… if you think James Bond was just a spy.
Chassis no. 2008/R basked in elegant British styling and marque mystique in addition to its pop culture street credentials, and rose closest of all nine top sales to its high bid estimate to become the most expensive DB5 ever sold at auction.
1958 Ferrari 250 GT Series I Cabriolet: $6.8M
Parallel to the original price structure, this 250 GT cabriolet priced above its Tour-de-France-spec coupe sibling also sold by Gooding & Company at its 2019 Monterey auction. Since Ferrari targeted the forty Series I Cabriolets at a discerning slice of its clientele, chassis no. 0789 GT and its fellows were slowly pieced to perfection in Pinin Farina’s shop to accomodate special orders.
First owned by playboy prince Alessandro “Dado” Ruspoli, who spent most of his time in a 16th century castle (you guessed it, Castello Ruspoli), this 250 GT cabriolet has maintained its exclusive presence on fabulously manicured lawns. It took first in class at the ’94 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and won Best Open Car at the 2004 Amelia Island Concours—and now holds the title of most expensive 250 GT Cabriolet at auction.
1965 Ford GT40 prototype roadster: $7.65M
If its Cobra-spec, 289-cubic-inch V-8 and bulging fenders hadn’t already made you proud to be an American, this particular GT40’s affiliation with racing history legends certainly impressed the bidding crowd at RM’s Monterey auction—clearing its Hagerty Price Guide value with a final sale of $7.65M. This classic, blue-striped Ford GT prototype roadster carried away the title of highest auction price for any Ford GT 40 roadster.
In addition, its unique provenance as a prototype and not as a dedicated, race-rotation track car puts it among the top three most expensive Ford GTs ever auctioned. Rather than touring the world with the Le Mans team, this prototype roadster traveled around the tracks of the world as a promotional vehicle, with stints from drivers such as Carroll Shelby, Ken Miles, and Jim Clark—and one illustrious passenger, Henry Ford II.
1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB: $8.14M
This steel-bodied, road-going example of the 250 GT pays homage to its 250 GT Tour de France predecessor (see the first car on this list), but allows its privileged owner contemplate that racing mystique in sublime touring comfort on public streets. This car was refinished in 2009 in the original Grigio-Argento-over-Rosso color scheme (that’s grey over red, for us uncultured barbarians). It’s worth noting that four other 250 GTs have sold above this $8.14M example in the past four years.
1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider: $9.9M
Trim, slim, and elegant in Italian grey, this long-wheel-base 250 GT has enjoyed a healthy active lifestyle in keeping with its weekday-cruiser, weekend-racer mentality. Its V-12 heart was exercised in the SCCA circuit in the early ’60s while the many lucky owners enjoyed some direct sunlight in it, thanks to its desirable convertible spec. With a final sale price of $9.9M, this 250 GT LWB California took home rights to the highest-ever sale price for a non-alloy 250 California, beating a $9.5M Ferrari 250 California from the following model year sold two years ago by RM in Italy.
Lest the enchanting details of this second-most-expensive car at the 2019 Monterey Car Week go unnoticed, we’d like to note the covered headlights, Abarth exhaust, and Veglia instrument panel. Talk about an Italian charmer.
1994 McLaren F1 “LM-spec”: $19.8M
Here it is—the most expensive car sold at the Monterey auctions in 2019. The black-winged, silver wonder stole the spotlight with that classic raked profile to snag the title of most expensive McLaren ever sold at auction. This one-of-two F1s kitted out after initial production to LM specification crowns a list stuffed with V-12 beauties.
Now take a deep breath, flip back through the pictures, and enjoy the views of these automotive superstars.