Auction Preview: RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2016
RM Sotheby’s will hold its annual Monterey sale at the Portola Hotel & Spa in Monterey on August 19-20. As is often the case in Monterey, the auction will be sensory overload with 100 gorgeous and historically significant cars on offer, four of which could very well bring eight-figure prices. Included among the consignments are several significant Shelbys, a number of historic hot rods and a group of Maseratis from the Riverside International Automotive Museum. Following, however, are 10 even more noteworthy cars that we’ll be keeping a particularly close eye on.
Possibly the most anticipated car of all the Monterey auctions this year is RM’s 1956 Le Mans-winning Jaguar D-Type. The first D-Type built for a private team, XKD 501 was sold to Ecurie Ecosse of Scotland and finished in Ecosse’s distinctive and beautiful light metallic blue. The car won at Goodwood and finished fourth at the 12 Hours of Rheims behind three factory D-Types before going to Le Mans in July 1956. Driven by Ninian Sanderson and Ron Flockhart, XKD 501 outlasted the factory Jaguars and after 24 hours came home first in front of Stirling Moss and Peter Collins in the Aston Martin DB3S and Olivier Gendebien and Maurice Trintignant in the Ferrari 625LM. The D-Type later passed into private ownership and was restored in the 1960s, but all of its owners have reportedly been sympathetic to the car’s originality.
Last year, RM Sotheby’s sold another Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar – a C-Type Lightweight – for $13.2 million. That XKD 501 is the more desirable D-Type and is an outright Le Mans winner adds significant value, so the presale estimate is not at all unrealistic. If it sells, this will be the most expensive British car ever sold at auction.
Another of the year’s most exciting auction cars is CSX 2000, which is Genesis for Shelby fans. Simply put, it’s the very first Cobra. In the early days, Shelby was a small operation. They built this first 260-powered car in early 1962 but significant production was slow to get started even though the motoring press eagerly wanted to try the exciting new Anglo-American hybrid. Shelby then loaned CSX 2000 out to several magazines for feature articles, but repainted the car each time after it was returned, convincing the world that they had built more Cobras than really existed. It was actually the one and only Cobra in the world for the first five months of its life. Car Life and Road & Track both got the car to do 0-60 in 4.2 seconds, and Car and Driver described it as “a shockingly single-purpose car.” Later on, the car was used at the Carroll Shelby School of High Performance Driving and its interior remains all original. The world record price for a Cobra is $7.7 million, achieved by a Daytona Coupe sold at Mecum Monterey in 2009. When it crosses the block, CSX 2000 should comfortably exceed that. It’s not unreasonable for it to bring well into eight figures.
1955 Ferrari 750 Monza Spider
Presale estimate: $4,000,000 – $5,500,000
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
While purists might not think much of the 750 Monza with its four-cylinder engine, it was nevertheless a highly successful race car during Ferrari’s most prolific period in international motorsports. Many 750 Monzas have a fantastic resume, and the example offered by RM Sotheby’s is no exception. Driven in period by Phil Hill, Carroll Shelby and Jim Hall, this car finished second at Sebring in 1955, won the Del Monte Trophy at the Pebble Beach road races two years in a row, won at Dodge City and several other races in the Southwest, and came second again at Palm Springs. Jim Hall also won his first race in the car at Fort Sumner. Hall later bought the car and has kept it ever since, restoring it in the mid-1990s.
1968 Lotus 56 Turbine Indy Car
Presale estimate: $900,000 – $1,200,000
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
Indy was once a place for experimentation, and one of the wildest cars to ever attempt the 500 was this very Lotus turbine car. Lotus had already turned the racing establishment on its ear at Indy in 1965 by fielding the first mid-engine car to ever win the race, but for 1968 the company collaborated with Andy Granatelli’s STP-sponsored team on a car that they hoped could fully realize the potential of highly powerful turbine engines (Parnelli Jones nearly won the 1967 race in a turbine-powered car) with four-wheel drive to harness the engine’s massive torque and an aerodynamic wedge shape to reduce lift. Three cars ran the 1968 race, and this one retired after 110 laps after starting on the front row. One car actually led the race, but none of them ended up finishing and turbine cars were eventually banned from Indy. This car was never raced again, but in 2014 it received a full restoration. If it falls inside the presale estimate range, it stands a very real chance of becoming the most expensive Lotus ever sold at auction.
1961 Chaparral 1 Prototype
Presale estimate: $900,000 – $1,400,000
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
Carroll Shelby is basically a household name, but he’s not the only Texan to have taken on the world in international motorsport. Jim Hall’s white Chaparral racers were primarily known for using just about as many wild and unconventional features as Lotus, including adjustable wings, semi-automatic transmissions and ground effect aerodynamics. The very first Chaparral, however, was a relatively conventional front-engine sports racer. The car on offer in Monterey was the very first Chaparral ever. Although it finished second at Laguna Seca and third at Riverside, the mid-engine revolution had already hit sports car racing and although the Chaparral was a quick car with lots of power from its small block Chevrolet V-8, it was just a little behind the times. Even so, the fact that it is the first Chaparral built and that it is among the last competitive front-engine sports racers makes it a highly significant car.
California Spiders are some of the rarest, prettiest and most valuable Ferrari road cars of all, and while the short wheelbase cars are the most desirable from a collector’s standpoint, the long wheelbase version is nothing to shun. This car is number 11 of 50 built. While the Cal Spider was designed with the wealthiest of Ferrari’s West Coast clientele in mind, this car actually sold new to a buyer in Texas. Cal Spiders weren’t really intended for motorsport, but many elements of the design were race proven and this car actually won its class at an SCCA event in 1962. It has since been restored twice, once in the 1970s and once more in the 1990s, and has been a proven concours car.
The 507 was extremely expensive to build, had a ludicrously high price tag, couldn’t match the performance of the rival Mercedes 300SL and nearly put the company out of business, but it is still one of BMW’s most celebrated models thanks in large part to its sheer beauty and advanced design. Other than a few repaints, the example offered by RM Sotheby’s is largely original and has a fully documented ownership history. With barely 250 examples of the 507 built compared to over 3,200 Mercedes 300SLs, this is a rare opportunity for BMW collectors.
1962 Ferrari 268 SP
Presale estimate: N/A
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
Any 1960s Ferrari racer is something special, and this particular car has quite the history, too. Ferrari ran it at Le Mans in 1962, NART raced it in 1962-63 and it won an SCCA National Championship in 1964. One of six examples of this chassis built and only two equipped with the 2.6-liter V-8 engine (most featured a Dino V-6), the car was restored in the 1970s while part of the famous Pierre Bardinon collection in France and has been displayed at several big events in Europe since. Placing a value on such a car is difficult and there is no presale estimate, but given the car’s rarity and provenance, it’s reasonable to expect that it will bring at least as much as the 750 Monza in the sale, which is estimated at $4 million to $5.5 million.
1964 Ferrari 500 Superfast Series I
Presale estimate: $2,800,000 – $3,400,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $2,300,000 – $3,400,000
The 500 Superfast was one of the fastest and most exclusive cars in the world in the mid-1960s. With a 5.0-liter version of the Colombo V-12, the Superfast more than lived up to its name with 400 hp and a top speed of 175 mph. Just 36 examples were painstakingly hand-built for Ferrari’s best and most well-heeled customers. RM’s example was displayed when new at the Chicago Auto Show before being sold to its first owner in New York. Other than newer paint, it is largely original.
In addition to being some of the most technologically advanced cars of the early 1950s, Pegasos were also some of the funkiest. That the “Spanish Ferrari” was built by a truck manufacturer in a poor country run by a fascist dictator is odd enough, but the cars had lots of smaller eccentricities in their design as well and the bodywork was often flamboyant if not conventionally pretty. RM’s Z102 Saoutchik coupe, for example, has two four-barrel Weber carburetors instead of the usual four dual barrels you would expect to find on a high-performance V-8 and its five-speed gearbox has a reverse dog-leg shift pattern so that first is all the way to the right and down and fifth is all the way to the left and down. Pegaso was a featured class at Amelia Island this year and this car was one of the examples on display. If collector interest is on the rise for Pegasos, the sale of this car will show us.