Auction Preview: Amelia Island $1 Million-Plus Cars

The Amelia Island auctions are more about quality than quantity. Many of the cars that change hands there are top-shelf collector vehicles that are rarely seen anywhere else and bring corresponding prices. Held in conjunction with the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, these sales have long been a highlight on the auction calendar. Adding to the interest in 2015, Bonhams will hold its own sale at Amelia, and RM is holding its first auction since announcing its recent partnership with Sotheby’s. There are plenty of seven-figure cars to choose from this year, but we’ll be watching these five closely.

1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4
Gooding & Company
Presale estimate: $3,400,000-$3,800,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $2,900,000-$3,400,000
The long-nose, four-cam 275 GTB is one of the ultimate 1960s Ferraris, and given the high level of originality of Gooding’s Belu Chiaro (Light Blue) example, it could be one of the top sales at Amelia this year. It is all original, complete, fully documented and was with the same family for 40 years. It was stored and unused for many years, but Gooding is billing it as a “garage find” rather than a barn find, as it was kept among other collector cars in a tidy shop space. Originality translates to desirability these days, and this accounts for the hefty presale estimate, which at its low end is what Hagerty values a #1 condition GTB/4.

1973 Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 RS Lightweight
Gooding & Company
Presale estimate: $1,100,000-$1,400,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $760,000-$1,450,000
Porsche needed to build 500 examples of the Carrera RS 2.7 to homologate it for FIA’s Group 4, but demand was strong enough that almost 1,600 were eventually produced. Most of those, though, were the slightly more comfortable Touring models. Only about 200 were the hardcore M471 Lightweights, and Gooding’s example was a Swiss market car that was raced occasionally in period and did receive a replacement engine at the factory in 1976. It then received a concours restoration in the 1990s. With the 911 market in general going very strong, versions like this that are at the top of the food chain are worth watching.

1967 Shelby Cobra 427 S/C
RM Auctions
Presale estimate: $2,200,000-$2,500,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $1,500,000-$2,250,000
The 427 S/C (Semi-Competition) finished in blue with white Le Mans stripes is typically the image that comes to mind when people hear the word “Cobra,” and it’s one of the ultimate streetable versions of this sports car icon. RM’s example (CSX 3045) will be the only Cobra on offer at Amelia and was actually sold by RM in Arizona back in 2013 for $2,007,500, just shy of the low estimate today.

1955 Jaguar D-Type
RM Auctions
Presale estimate: $3,750,000-$4,250,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $3,900,000-$6,300,000
RM announced consignment of this car last month, and though it has a lower presale estimate than the Daytona-winning Jaguar XJR-9 (also at RM), it’s still one of the stars of the sale. This exact D-Type does not have the most prestigious race history, but it does have a very interesting one. It was sold new to Finland, and the new owner had Jaguar give the car a little artificial wear and add miles to the odometer to make it appear used and therefore avoid a high tariff on new vehicles. It was campaigned in Finland, including entries in ice races with spiked tires, and even won a race in the USSR in 1961. It has since been restored and participated in both vintage races and concours events. Jaguar built just 54 D-Types for privateers. Bonhams sold the Ecurie Ecosse short-nose car in 2013 for just shy of $4 million, and RM sold another 1955 car in Paris last year for $5 million.

1934 Mercedes-Benz 500K Four-Passenger Tourer
Presale estimate: $1,250,000-$1,500,000
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
Bonhams doesn’t have many super high-dollar cars at Amelia this year, but one of the most notable is the 1934 Mercedes-Benz 500K Four-Passenger Tourer. One of the most memorable prewar Mercedes-Benz vehicles, the 500K offered ample performance with an available supercharged 5.0-liter straight-eight and is easily recognized with its chrome exhaust pipes exiting through the side of the hood. These were exclusive cars from new, and fewer than 350 were built from 1934 to 1936. Most were bodied by Mercedes, but a few dozen went to coachbuilders. The example offered by Bonhams is one of them. One of eight right-hand drive rolling chassis that were sent to England, it was bodied by the Mayfair Carriage Company in London for an English Baronet. It has since been under the ownership of various collectors and is represented as a solid candidate for restoration.

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