11 eye-popping race cars to watch at Monterey 2019

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1954 Maserati A6GCS RM Sotheby’s

From historic to iconic to electric, there will be plenty of race cars to bid on in California next week, and some have the potential to reach eight figures. Here are 11 race cars to watch at Monterey Car Week.

1953 Aston Martin DB3S Works

1953 Aston Martin DB3S
1953 Aston Martin DB3S RM Sotheby's

RM Sotheby’s, Lot 129

Estimate: $8,750,000–$10,500,000

RM Sotheby’s is featuring this ex-Works racer as part of its exclusive Aston Martin-only day on Thursday, August 15. The DB3S was raced by Peter Collins, Reg Parnell, Roy Salvadori, and Eric Thompson at Le Mans, Sebring, Buenos Aires, Spa, and the Mille Miglia. Later sold to Collins for cheap, based on an agreement that he would lend it back for races, the Aston could reach eight figures.

1959 Porsche 718 RSK Center-Seat Spyder

1959 Porsche 718 RSK front 3/4
Bonhams

Bonhams, Lot 144

Estimate: N/A

This Porsche 718 RSK is the inspiration for the current 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman. While all three share a mid-engine configuration, this racer (#718-028) has a center seat. Delivered new to Belgian driver Christian Goethals, 718-028 won its first race, the 1959 Leopoldville Grand Prix in what was then known as the Belgian Congo. Although Bonhams has not disclosed an estimate, the RSK could sell for upwards of $3.5 million.

1962 Ferrari 196 SP by Fantuzzi

1962 Ferrari 196 SP by Fantuzzi
1962 Ferrari 196 SP by Fantuzzi RM Sotheby's

RM Sotheby’s, Lot 244

Estimate: $8,000,000–$10,000,000 

Ferrari was a little late to the mid-engine revolution, but as this 1962 Ferrari 196 SP by Fantuzzi proves, it got the formula just right. With only half the expected 12 cylinders, the 1983-cc V-6 196 SP #0806 raced at Sebring and the Nürburgring under the NART and Scuderia Ferrari banners, respectively. With that kind of racing pedigree, it could reach $10M.

1975 Ferrari 312T

1975 Ferrari 312T
1975 Ferrari 312T Gooding & Company

Gooding & Company, Lot 031

Estimate: $6,000,000–$8,000,000

If this one looks familiar, it’s because we’ve written about it before—and for good reason. In 1975, Niki Lauda helped Ferrari end its draught of F1 world championships with this car. During the season, Lauda scored nine pole positions and won five races. Some of those victories came in this car (#022). It’s one of several Ferraris that we’ll be watching closely.

1954 Maserati A6GCS

1954 Maserati A6GCS
1954 Maserati A6GCS RM Sotheby’s

RM Sotheby’s, Lot 230

Estimate: $3,250,000–$3,750,000

In the mid-1950s, Maserati race cars were among the best in the world, and this ex-Works racer (#2078) helped to uphold that standard. Raced in Italy and Ireland, where it took several class wins, it later raced in Argentina, where it spent the next couple of decades. More recently, #2078 was a Gran Turismo Award winner at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

1978 BMW 320i Turbo IMSA

1978 BMW 320i Turbo IMSA
1978 BMW 320i Turbo IMSA RM Sotheby's

RM Sotheby’s, Lot 217

Estimate: $750,000–$950,000

The 1970s saw the proliferation of the turbo in the racing world. Porsche was the first, with its 917/30- and later 911-based racers, but BMW was not far behind. It turned its humble Neue Klasse M10 four-cylinder of the 2002, and later 320i, into a turbocharged monster. This 1978 BMW 320i Turbo raced in the IMSA series in 1978–79 and boasts 600 hp. 

1931 Studebaker Special Indy Car

1931 Studebaker Special Indy Car
1931 Studebaker Special Indy Car Gooding & Company

Gooding & Company, Lot 115

Estimate: $500,000–$750,000

Responding to the new “stock-block” rules introduced at the Indianapolis 500 in 1930, this 1931 Studebaker Special (#P-5375) was built by Studebaker’s director of testing George Hunt and famous Bonneville record holder Ab Jenkins. Entered at Indy three times, with its best result being sixth in 1932, it also raced and won at Pikes Peak in 1931. Powered by a 205-hp, 336-cubic-inch inline eight-cylinder engine, it is arguably the coolest-looking race car at Monterey.

1988–90 Peerless GTP Corvette Lola-Chassised IMSA/Group C

1988–90 Peerless GTP Corvette Lola-Chassised IMSA/Group C
1988–90 Peerless GTP Corvette Lola-Chassised IMSA/Group C Bonhams

Bonhams, Lot 172

Estimate: $425,000–$525,000

While 1970s sports car racing saw the triumph of turbochargers over cubic inches, by the 1980s big displacement was making a comeback. This 1988–90 Peerless GTP Corvette Lola-Chassised IMSA/Group C features a 10.2-liter four-cam/32-valve V-8 rated at 956 hp. Raced in IMSA in the 1987–88 seasons, with a Donovan 6.0-liter V-8, its best showing was fourth at Columbus. In 1990, however, it received the (Eagle) 10.2-liter upgrade in preparation for Le Mans 24 Hours. Sadly, chassis HU8811-01 was a DNS.

1956 Cooper-Climax 1.5 Liter T-39 “Bobtail” Sports-Racing

1956 Cooper-Climax 1.5 Liter T-39 ‘Bobtail’ Sports-Racing
1956 Cooper-Climax 1.5 Liter T-39 ‘Bobtail’ Sports-Racing Bonhams

Bonhams, Lot 177

Estimate: $190,000–$230,000

Cooper was one of the first marques to field a mid-engine configuration in post-war racing. In 1946, using a single-cylinder 500-cc motorcycle engine, its chain drive made more sense when the engine was behind the driver. Ten years later, this gorgeous 1956 Cooper-Climax 1.5 Liter T-39 “Bobtail” represents a major improvement from that first cycle-fender single-seater. Along with the location of the engine, #CS11-12-56 also retains the central driving position of that original car, but now it has a 1.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 108 hp.

1995 Lola T95-00 Menard-Buick Indy Car

1995 Lola T95-00 Menard-Buick Indy Car
1995 Lola T95-00 Menard-Buick Indy Car Mecum

Mecum, Lot F131

Estimate: $250,000–$300,000

Featuring the turbocharged Buick-Menard V-6, Scott Brayton drove this 1995 Lola T95-00 to pole position in that year’s Indianapolis 500 with a four-lap average of 231.604 mph. Despite his excellent starting position, Brayton’s car (#6032) struggled on race day and finished 17th. Tragically, Brayton died the following year in a practice-session crash while driving a similar Lola.

2019 Chevrolet E-COPO Camaro Drag Car

2019 Chevrolet E-COPO Camaro Drag Car
2019 Chevrolet E-COPO Camaro Drag Car Russo and Steele

Russo and Steele, Lot F445

Estimate: N/A

Electric vehicles are a natural fit at the drag strip. With 100 percent of the torque available from 0 rpm, vehicles running on batteries produce exceptional quarter-mile times. In 2018, Chevrolet produced this E-COPO Camaro Drag Car for SEMA, and it ran a 9.51-second quarter-mile at 140+ mph.

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