The 8 most expensive cars crossing the block at Amelia Island 2020
Let’s face it, for all the oddball cars and potential great deals out there at auction, we’re fascinated by the high-end automobiles that most of us can only dream of owning. Will they meet the reserve? How high will they go? Will they blow past the high estimate? Why or why not? It makes for entertaining viewing.
So, whether you can afford to place a bid or not, here are eight vehicles with the highest estimates at the Amelia Island auctions March 5–7, starting with a two-way tie at #7 and working our way to #1.
1938 Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet by D’leteren
RM Sotheby’s, Lot 241
One of six classic Bugattis on offer at Amelia Island this year, the 1938 Type 57 Cabriolet (chassis #57589) is one of the few examples built in the three-seat Aravis-inspired body style and the only one handsomely sculpted by D’Ieteren of Belgium. Beyond the car’s aesthetic beauty, D’Ieteren stretched the cabin proportions because its original owner was particularly tall, and the car is powered by a 135-horse straight-eight engine—plenty strong for its time.
The Type 57 remained in France—and thankfully survived WWII unscathed—before being sold to an American in December 1956. It has had three subsequent owners, all of whom gave it meticulous care. Few Type 57s are as desirable as this one.
Bonhams, Lot 153
The convertible version of the Ferrari GTC, the GTS was introduced at the Paris Salon in 1966. Luxuriously equipped with leather seats and electric windows as standard—radio, A/C, and wire wheels were optional—the sleek GTS was powered by a 4.0-liter, two-cam, 60-degree V-12, a 360-horsepower version of the powerplant in the 330 GT 2+2.
Ferrari claimed the 330 GTS was the world’s finest two-seat convertible; and few would disagree, certainly not the fortunate 100 enthusiasts who shelled out the $14,195 base price (about $110K today) to buy one new.
Originally finished in Grigio Fumo (that’s gray), serial #9791 was ordered by Luigi Chinetti Motors of Greenwich, Connecticut, and built for the American market. Repainted Oro Chiaro (light gold) in 2012, it received Ferrari Classiche Certification and brought home the Platinum Award at the 2013 Cavallino Classic.
Some have suggested that the three most desirable characteristics of Ferrari ownership are beauty, exclusivity, and the opportunity to feel the wind in your hair, and this 1967 Ferrari 330 GTS checks every box.
2017 Lamborghini LP 770-4 Centenario Roadster
Gooding & Company, Lot 029
With its attention-grabbing paint job, this one’s a head turner, Lamborghini or not. Commemorating the 100th anniversary of Ferruccio Lamborghini’s birth, only 20 LP 770-4 Centenario Roadsters were built, and this one is the very first of the exclusive group, “1 of 20.” Not only that, it wears an optional paint job of two-tone Blue Cepheus and Blue Hera with silver pinstripe accents. Could it shout, “Look at me!” any louder?
You’ll have to look quickly, however, because the carbon-fiber monocoque-bodied supercar has a naturally aspirated 6.5-liter DOHC V-12 engine that produces 759 horsepower at 8500 rpm. According to Lamborghini, the Centenario is capable of 0–62 mph in 2.9 seconds and has a top speed of almost 220 mph.
And with only 665 miles from new, the well-appointed Lambo is more than ready to stretch its legs a bit.
RM Sotheby’s, Lot 146
The quintessential modern Ferrari, the Enzo is worthy of its famous founder’s name. Following the end of F50 production in 1998, Ferrari enthusiasts waited four long years to learn what would emerge next from Maranello. In 2002, they found out. Reasoning that the time had come to honor the man who launched the iconic Italian marque, Ferrari company president Luca di Montezemolo introduced the Enzo.
The car made its formal debut at the 2002 Paris Motor Show, and the Enzo did not disappoint. Utilizing futuristic materials to achieve maximum weight savings, much like an F1 car, its foundational tub (made of carbon fiber and Nomex honeycomb) weighed just 200 pounds. Its 6.0-liter, 65-degree, Tipo F140B V-12—the largest Ferrari-built engine since the 712 Can-Am race car of the 1970s—produced 651 hp and 485 lb-ft of torque.
This Enzo (132654), finished in Rosso Corsa over a red leather interior, has been driven less than 1700 miles from new and is on offer from the prestigious Lingenfelter Collection. You likely won’t find many better.
1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP Silver Ghost Torpédo Phaeton
Gooding & Company, Lot 034
The Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP, more commonly referred to as the Silver Ghost, earned a reputation as “The Best Car in the World.” Fittingly, this luxurious beauty (chassis #67RB) has seen its share of the globe in its long and distinguished life. Built in Derby, England, it detoured to Kellner Frères of Paris for coachwork before being delivered new to M.M. Castanheira of Lisbon, Portugal. The phaeton remained in Portugal for 86 years before returning to its native England, where it lived until 2009, when it was sold to a buyer in the U.S.
The car’s chassis and coachwork were separated in the 1930s, when the body was removed and placed on another Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP chassis after that car was involved in a crash. The current owner of 67RB bought it in 2009, hoping to someday locate its original Kellner coachwork. He was eventually successful, and the two were reunited in 2012.
Now configured in its original form, a painstaking, cost-no-object restoration over three years culminated with the Silver Ghost’s stunning debut at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The car is absolutely exquisite—its interior appointments alone are astonishing—and its seven-figure estimate reflects its intrinsic value.
1952 Jaguar C-Type
Bonhams, Lot 142
Jaguar’s new XK120 was such a hit at the 1948 London Motor Show that it almost immediately went into production. The slinky sports car didn’t have the competitive success that Jaguar chief William Lyons had hoped, however. So, after a team of XK120s managed to place just one car in the top 12 at Le Mans in 1950, Lyons decided that further work on the chassis would be necessary if it was to be truly competitive. Thus, the C-Type—with C standing for Competition—was born.
The car carried an XK120 engine that sat in a tubular space-frame chassis with an aerodynamic body, and the results were astonishing: victory in its Le Mans debut in 1951 and again in ’53.
In all, 54 C-Types were built. This one (XKC 014) was shipped to Commander John “Jack” Rutherford of Florida in October 1952, via prolific dealer Max Hoffman. Rutherford raced it on the beach during Daytona Speed Week in February 1953, reaching a top speed of 134.07 mph—a feat that resulted in the Jag’s appearance in Car World and Car Life magazines. XKC 014 was later registered in the UK before being purchased by Skip Barber in 2002; it has resided in several other American collections since.
When new, a C-Type sold for about $6000, approximately twice the price of an XK120 and the equivalent of about $58,000 today. Needless to say, it’s worth a tad bit more than that now.
1932 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster
Bonhams, Lot 123
Bugatti built only 14 Type 55s with a roadster body, and only 11 of them retain their original bodywork. The Type 55 is a true Bugatti family collaboration, as the body was designed by Jean Bugatti—Ettore’s son—while the chassis and running gear are of the father’s making. Jean also has a hand in the car’s twin-cam power; its 2.3-liter supercharged eight-cylinder produces between 160–180 hp.
The highly desirable Type 55 has been part of the Dean Edmonds Collection for 35 years, and with matching chassis (#55220), engine, drivetrain, and coachwork, it’s no wonder it carries a jaw-dropping estimate of $6.5M–$9.5M. Gooding & Company sold a 1932 Type 55 Roadster (chassis #55213) for $10.4M at Pebble Beach in 2016.
1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider
Gooding & Company, Lot 043
In 1957, at the urging of its most influential dealers, Ferrari set out to create a simple, dual-purpose 250 GT convertible—a car that could be used to commute on weekdays and race on the weekends. The result was the California Spider, a high-performance 250 GT with stunning coachwork by Carrozzeria Scaglietti.
“Officially, it is known as the Ferrari 250 Granturismo Spyder California,” author George M. Carrick wrote in The Spyder California: A Ferrari of Particular Distinction. “But to those who have driven, ridden in or seen one speed by, it can only produce an all-encompassing feeling of respect for what must be recognized as the epitome of a classic open sports car—solid power with reliability and versatility, a convertible top, excellent road holding and handling, and a style that speaks for itself.”
From 1957–63, Ferrari built only 106 California Spiders—50 in the original long-wheelbase (LWB) configuration and 56 of the short wheelbase (SWB) variety. Today, the car remains one of the most iconic and desirable Ferraris built.
With eight owners from new, this Spider (0937 GT) has a well-documented history, noteworthy provenance, and has undergone a meticulous restoration. It is certified by Ferrari Classiche and retains its original chassis, coachwork, and drivetrain, along with its desirable covered headlamps and ultra-rare hardtop.
A similar 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider (1055 GT), with coachwork by Scaglietti, sold for $9,905,000 at Gooding’s Pebble Beach auction in August 2019. There’s no reason to believe that 0937 GT won’t reach similar lofty heights.
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