Category archives: News

British museum relaunches apprentice program, and the first one is female

Forty years ago, Doug Hill, now manager and chief engineer of the National Motor Museum in England, was the last graduate of the museum’s apprentice program. To keep alive the skills needed to preserve the museum’s 250-vehicle car collection, he’s relaunched the program — and its first apprentice is 18-year-old Emily Leese.

She had been a museum volunteer since she was 14. She has spent the last two years studying engineering at Sparsholt College. In addition to training with the five-person staff in the museum’s workshop, she will spend time with Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialist P&A Wood, working on Level 2 and 3 diplomas in classic vehicle restoration.

“I think I fit in quite well so far and all the guys have been really good,” Emily said in the museum’s news release. “I definitely feel like part of the team.

Working on an engine

“I get involved in whatever projects are being worked on, from cleaning and polishing to putting things back together. Recently, I helped to re-fit the engine to our 1930 ‘Blower’ Bentley.

“I don’t know why I love cars so much, but I have ever since I was about 3 years old. Fixing things is my passion. I was always playing with toy cars when I was a child and wanted to be an AA (British equivalent of Triple A) lady! Even then, I decided that I wanted to have the knowledge to fix a broken-down car.”

The Beaulieu apprentice program is overseen by the Heritage Skills Academy and its engineering apprenticeships program, with funding from Beaulieu One Hundred group members, the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs and others, including the Worshipful Company of Coachbuilders and Coach Harness Makers of London, and with equipment donated by Draper Tools.

You can follow Emily’s work on her blog on the museum’s website.

Automotive Hall of Fame creates information hub

The Automotive Hall of Fame, based in Dearborn, Michigan, but slated to move into a new facility in downtown Detroit as soon as funding is secured, has launched a new website that, it notes, will be “the new information hub of automotive history.”

“Our goal for the new Automotive Hall of Fame website was to establish the most comprehensive collection of automotive stories about the people who helped move the world forward,” the museum says on the site.

“To that end, we have updated our Inductee database with a plethora of new content including exclusive videos, extensive biographies and thousands of images. This website will serve as vast resource for everyone from casual car fans to automotive aficionados.”

Here’s the link:

LeMay seeks vehicles for upcoming exhibit

LeMay — America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington, still needs three vehicles for the “Through the Lens; Cars Defined by an American Century” exhibit scheduled to open in November. The exhibit will feature one vehicle from each decade from 1910 to 2010 and will ask visitors to consider which best defines the history and culture of its period.

However, the museum still needs three vehicles — a 1972-79 Honda Civic, a 1984-90 Chrysler minivan and a 1991-94 Ford Explorer. It isn’t looking for show cars, but seeks daily drivers that retain their original equipment with few aftermarket accessories.

If your car qualifies, you can contact the museum at by October 15.

In other news relating to the LeMay, America’s Automotive Trust, comprised of the museum, the RPM Foundation, the Concours Club and Club Auto, has hired Adam Langsbard as chief executive and promoted David Madeira to vice chairman, where he can focus on strategic planning.

Langsbard had been chief marketing officer at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles and before that worked in marketing in the entertainment industry.

Beaulieu gets Doctor Who’s Bessie

Doctor Who’s Bessie enters museum display

The LeMay may be looking for some cars, but the National Motor Museum of England has landed a famous one, Bessie from the Doctor Who television series has joined the museum’s On Screen Cars display.

“The Earth-based transport for Jon Pertwee’s third Doctor was a bright yellow vintage car replica which starred in many episodes of the cult sci-fi show across two decades,” the museum said. “Bessie was fitted with space-age modifications fit for the Doctor’s adventures.

“The Siva Edwardian, built on the chassis of a 1954 Ford Popular, first appeared in the “Doctor Who and the Silurians” episode in 1970 when the Doctor was stranded on planet Earth and exiled by the Time Lords without the use of his TARDIS. With a need to stay mobile in his fight against monsters and villains, the Doctor adopted Bessie as his four-wheeled transport.”

The museum also noted that the car’s fiberglass body by Siva Engineering was available as a kit from 1969 into the mid-‘70s. In addition to the four-seat tourer, a two-seat roadster was produced by the Dorset-based company.

Sebring Orange is next special Corvette color

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, shares colorful news about the 2018 car. No, it’s not about the location of the engine, but that Sebring Orange Tint Coat will be the special color for the fiberglass-bodied sports car, replacing Black Rose. The orange hue was shown to visitors at the museum’s recent anniversary celebration.

GM Design developed the orange color in 2015 and has been waiting for an opportunity to showcase it on a vehicle.

“It matches an Orange Crush can,” said Wendy Miller of the Corvette model option team.

The new shade will be available for order in mid-October with production during December.

Smithsonian magazine museum day = free admission

Several automotive museums will participate in Smithsonian magazine’s Museum Day Live! program Saturday, which means free admission at many of them. To discover which ones, go to the special Smithsonian website, select your state and see which museums are participating, and then print out your free admission tickets.

Special events this weekend

The Saratoga Automobile Museum in upstate New York hosts its annual Saratoga Auto Auction, Saturday and Sunday at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

It’s Demo Day on Saturday at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, where the them will be David vs. Goliath — small cars that beat the big guys. Among the cars from the museum’s collection being “exercised” in the parking lot are an MG K3 Magnette, BMW 328, and Alfa Romeo 6C 1750

Muscle Car City in Punta Gorda, Florida, hosts its monthly flea market and car corral Sunday from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m.

The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, where the first 12,000 Model T’s were produced, and now a museum preserving that history, will open a re-creation of Henry Ford’s “Secret Experimental Room” to visitors for the first time Sunday at 11 a.m. The secret room is where Ford spent months behind closed doors creating his “universal” car. The museum will be open free to visitors on Sunday as it celebrates the Model T’s 109th birthday with Model T rides, music, refreshments and family oriented games. The plant is located at 461 Piquette Street in Detroit.

Sunday, the Petersen Automotive Museum offers the world premier of Climbkhana: Pike’s Peak, a movie featuring Ken Block. But before the 6 p.m. showing, the museum will host a custom car show starting at 4 p.m. and inside the museum, the Xbox driving simulators will allow visitors to drive their favorite Hoonigan cars.

Saturday is Family Steam Day at the LeMay, where your family can design and build a vehicle that will keep an egg safe in a crash. To prove your design works, you’ll actually crash your creation and see how the egg survives.

The MX-5 (Miata) Owners Club’s National Rally is scheduled for Sunday at the British Motor Museum.

Mark your calendar

The Petersen’s 23rd annual gala, scheduled for October 14, will honor “His grace, the Duke of Richmond, Lennox, Aubigny and Gordon” — formerly known as Lord March and officially Charles Gordon-Lennox — with the museum’s Automotive Icon Award in recognition of contributions include the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Goodwood Revival and the Goodwood Member’s Meeting held on the grounds of his British estate.

“For decades, the Duke has been a wonderful ambassador and proponent of the hobby, embodying the type of enthusiasts this institution hopes to inspire,” Terry Karges, the museum’s executive director, said in a news release.“He is exactly the type of person we had in mind when this award was established.”


Classic cars rated top ‘passion’ investment over the long run

From major newspapers and the International Investment newsletter to Musical Instrument Professional, the Coutts Passion Index 2017 has been getting a lot of attention recently. Since 2005, Coutts has tracked various “passion” investments and in its latest report notes that, “Classic cars have provided the healthiest returns (among all ‘passion’ assets) since 2005, with average prices rising more than fourfold.”

However — ah, doesn’t there always seem to be a however? — “after increasing rapidly in 2013 and 2014, returns for Classic Cars fell in both 2015 and 2016.”

Based in England, Coutts has “looked after clients and their wealth for over three centuries,” it notes on its website, adding that during that time it has progressed from bank to investment house to now go “beyond traditional wealth management to explore with our clients the enjoyment of their passions.”

One of those passions is owning things that increase in value while you enjoy them. The Coutts Passion Index, offered annually, tracks such things as “trophy property,” which includes leisure (second or “holiday”) homes and what it terms “billionaire” properties. Also included are collections of watches, jewelry, rare musical instruments, rugs and carpets, classic cars, coins, stamps, fine wine, and art. Within art, Coutts includes four genre — traditional Chinese, post-war and contemporary, old master and 19th century, Impressionist and modern.

Since 2005, classic cars have increased in value by 331.9 percent, Coutts reports. Next-best investment over that 12-year period has been coins (224.6 percent), followed by wine, jewelry, watches, stamps, billionaire properties (those worth 10 million British pounds or more), and Chinese art. On the other hand, Old Master and 19th Century art has fallen 42.1 percent and rugs and carpets 21 percent.

While coins are the only category that has increased in value every year, the fastest growth in value in the last year has involved rare musical instruments, up more than 16 percent after falling nearly 11 percent the previous year. “Volatile” is what Coutts called the rare instrument market.

The collector car marketplace also was featured recently — in the Arts section of The New York Times.

The article noted that 26-year-old British singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran recently loaned his new Aston Martin DB9 to his manager’s wife soon after he purchased the car. Turns out Sheeran didn’t like the car’s design. The article quotes Kristian Aadnevik, a Norwegian fashion designer and car collector, as saying that the new supercars “all look the same.” Aadnevik is 39. None of his eight cars is newer than a 1971 model.

The article notes that while Gen X and Millennials have become more active buyers than Baby Boomers, what they want tends more toward experience than possession. For example, it’s not so much that what they wanted but couldn’t have while in high school — perhaps they got everything they wanted? — but in enjoying a spirited Saturday morning drive with friends.

The article also notes that online auctions are growing in popularity and that Sotheby’s has linked not only with RM but more recently with, an “experience marketplace.” Thus at the recent RM Sotheby’s sale in Monterey, one of the lots was a 2 1/2-hour sail with America’s Cup champion Brad Webb. It sold for $9,375, and it doesn’t need a garage or insurance.

“Owning a luxury car with a top speed of more than 180 mph is no longer quite enough,” the article concludes.

Speaking of Sotheby’s, reports that the auction house will stage its first contemporary photography auction September 28 in New York, “tapping into a newly hot market,” perhaps so new that it isn’t even included — yet — in the Coutts Passion Index.

“Photography is one of the most accessible collecting categories today and offers dynamism and immediacy for collectors,” Emily Bierman, head of Sotheby’s photographs department in New York, told artnet News. “We live in a world where today’s collectors have never known a world without photography.”

Sotheby’s expects the 94-lot sale to generate more than $2 million in sales, and perhaps more than $3 million.

Just a week after the auction, Sotheby’s will stage a previously scheduled photography auction featuring works ranging from the 1840s to the modern era. That sale did $2.9 million last year but is expected to generate as much as $5.5 million this fall.

Meanwhile, Christie’s will be doing a primarily online auction of more than 400 photographs from the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The article noted that photography prices tend to be considerably lower than paintings or sculpture.



Chicago museum’s V-16 Cadillac headlines RM Sotheby’s Hershey sale

One of only six 1936 Cadillac V-16 convertible sedans, a group of elegant Packards and one of America’s most famous hot rods have joined the docket for RM Sotheby’s 11th annual collector car auction staged in conjunction with the AACA’s Eastern Regional Fall Meet at Hershey, Pennsylvania. The auction, which will include 140 vehicles, is scheduled for October 5-6.

“This year’s sale has all of the outstanding, interesting and desired classic cars one would anticipate seeing at our Hershey auction,” Gord Duff, global head of auctions for RM Sotheby’s, is quoted in the company’s news release. “A mainstay of our calendar and as much an auction destination for many enthusiasts as Pebble Beach or Monterey, we look forward to an always eventful and entertaining week at Hershey.

“Wet or dry, rain or shine, it’s where the die-hard enthusiasts come to play.”

Highlighting the offerings for the auction is the 1936 Cadillac with V-16 engine No. 51102222. The car was donated to the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago in 1949. At the time the museum had one of the nation’s best automotive collections. The museum displayed the Cadillac until 2008, when it was acquired by the consignor, who put it through a concours-quality restoration that earned a class award at Pebble Beach.

RM Sotheby’s expects the car to sell for between $700,000 and $850,000 at the Hershey auction.

Cadillac was in famed Chicago science museum until 2008 | Eric Fuller photo
Cadillac was in famed Chicago science museum until 2008 | Eric Fuller photo

The docket also includes what the auction house considers to be three outstanding Packards, led by a 1933 Twelve Convertible Victoria, which is one of only four surviving Tenth Series vehicles and worth an estimated $475,000 to $600,000.

Also being offered is a 1934 Twelve 2/4-Passenger Coupe, one of only eight known to still exist. The car retains its original body, engine and chassis, the auction company noted, and comes with provenance that includes chauffeuring Jayne Mansfield in the 1961 Indianapolis 500 parade. The car has a pre-sale estimated value of $325,000 to $375,000.

The third Packard is a 1935 Twelve Sport Phaeton that is one of only four such cars produced for 1935. The car’s pre-sale estimate is $475,000 to $575,000.

Also on the docket are a famed hot rod from the collection of the late Ralph Whitworth and a car being sold to benefit the AACA Library & Research Center.

The 1932 Ford “Pete Henderson” Roadster is the car that not only achieved 120.9 mph on the Harper Dry Lake in 1944, but that same year gained fame when it won a race against a quarter horse that had a history of being faster than the fastest cars.

The car being sold to benefit the library and research center is a 1981 Fiat 850 Spider that has been donated by Joseph and Margie Cassini, Wayne Carini and Ralph Marano. To further entice bidders, RM Sotheby’s announced that the winning bidder will find “an undisclosed amount of cash in the car’s trunk.”

Ah, but will the car’s next owner keep that cash or donate it as well to the library?

Eastwood introduces new surface-conditioning tool

For nearly 40 years, Eastwood has provided restoration and repair products. Its new patent-pending surface-conditioning tool – the Contour SCT — removes paint, rust and conditions metal with 4-inch drums, high torque and a ball bearing-supported motor.

The tool has been designed for extended service and features a drum guard enclosure with a rigidly mounted “D” handle for enhanced safety.

Speed is controlled with a 6-position rotary knob and on/off trigger control.

For more information visit the Eastwood website.

Racing to the finish line: Four-race stretch wraps up HSR season

The four-race sprint to the season finish begins this weekend for vintage racers competing in the Historic Sportscar Racing series. The calendar countdown starts this weekend with the Atlanta Fall Historics at Road Atlanta, then goes to Hutchinson Island for the Savannah Speed Classis on October 27-29 before the Classic 24 Hour at Daytona and the Classic 12 Hour at Sebring, November 8-12 and November 29-December 3, respectively.

Lime Rock Historic Festival 35 | Lime Rock Photos
Lime Rock Historic Festival 35 | Lime Rock Photos

HSR competitors had a couple months of summertime hiatus to prepare for the four-race season-ending races.

Among highlights during that four-race run are a 1970s-themed reception and barbecue at the Lucky Dog Garage across the street from Road Atlanta, the Thursday Pace Lap Party at and race car parade to historic downtown Savannah’s City Market, and the link to the past provided by parking race cars next to historic aircraft at Hendricks Field, aka the Sebring racing circuit.

Lime Rock Park photos
Lime Rock Park photos

Brooklands hosts Autumn Motorsports Festival

Classic car displays and vintage vehicle’s challenging the Brooklands Test Hill will be highlights of the annual Autumn Motorsports Festival, scheduled for October 8 at the Brooklands Museum in England.

Among the vehicles already registered are Dennis Priddle’s “Mr. Revell” dragster, which held front-engine time and speed records for 20 years and plans a four-minute drive up the hill; a 1983 Audi Quattro rally car, the ex-James Hunt 1972 Hesketh Dastles, a Vauxhall Firenza Droop Snoot racer, a Ford Escort RS2000 Group 4 rally car, several 1940s vintage American stock cars and an ex-Nelson Pique Benetton F1 car.

Lime Rock Photos
Lime Rock Photos

American cars to star at Prescott Speed Hill Climb

Even before the vintage vehicle event at the world’s first purpose-built auto racing facility, another British venue, the Prescott Speed Hill Climb at Chaltenham stages an all-American Stars and Stripes gathering September 30- October 1 featuring special classes for American cars and hot rods.

Contributing to the American theme for the event will be a special area in the Show ‘n Shine for American cars, and what the organizers call “fantastic USA-themed entertainment from the thrilling Demon Drone (motorcycle) Wall of Death to live bands and Vegas Showgirls.”

Can-Am, Indy and NASCAR cars are among those scheduled for the event, organizers said, including a Penske PC22 Indy car, an ex-Penske Sunoco-liveried 1969 Z28 Chevrolet Camaro and the 1977 Chevrolet Camaro driven by Al Unser in the International Race of Champions.

Lime Rock Historic Festival 35 race winners

We’ve already shared Andy Reid’s reactions to the Lime Rock Park Historic Festival 35 held over the Labor Day weekend, but we wanted to share some of the track’s photographs of the action on the circuit (above), and the race results.

Lime Rock Photos
Lime Rock Photos

Two drivers swept all four of their races — Rich Maloumian Jr. and his 1956 Austin-Healey 100-4 and Ray Mallock in his 1960 Us Mk2 Formula Junior.

Several others won three of four — Jake Clapp in his 1970 Datsun 240Z, Jim Hamblin in his 1968 Porsche 911/ST replica, Peter Giddings in his 1935 Alfa Romeo Tipo C 8C-35, and Rick Bell in his 198 Ralt RT-1.

Lime Rock Photos
Lime Rock Photos

Richard Atwood (1966 Ford GT40) and David Gussack (1963 Triumph Spitfire) each won twice in their Group 9 races as did Martin Bullock (1963 Lotus 27 Formula Junior) and Joe Colasacco (1962 Stanguellini Delfino Formula Junior) in Group 6.

But the most competitive class was Group 4 which produced four winners — Tom Grudovich in his 1966 Ginetta G4, Graham Adelman in his 1962 Lotus 23, Craig Chima in his 1962 Lotus Super 7 and Dave Handy in his 1962 Lotus 23.

Pre-war Bentleys join docket for Bonhams auction at Simeone museum

Bonhams has added a pair of special Bentleys to the docket for its preservation-oriented Collectors Motorcars and Automobilia auction, scheduled for October 2 at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum. The Bentley’s are a 1924 3-Liter Speed Tourer and a 1929 4.5-liter Le Mans Replica Tourer.

They join the 1913 “London-to-Edinburgh” Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost consigned to the auction earlier.

The 1924 Speed Tourer was produced the same year Bentley began its reign at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. According to Bonhams, chassis No. 897 went to Morgan and Co. for coachwork and then was delivered to the Prince of Liechtenstein, who owned the car for four years.

'24 Bentley with the top up
’24 Bentley with the top up

At some point in the 1930s, the Morgan body was modified from its original two-seat configuration to add two more seats for tourer configuration.

Research also indicates that soon after World War II, with new vehicles not yet available, the Bentley was rebuilt on a frame of chassis No. 780, another 3-liter Speed model originally owned by Glen Kidston, one of the original Bentley Boys and a Le Mans race-winning driver. Afterward, the car was used in many Bentley Drivers Club events.

The consignor, a collector of Bentleys and Rolls-Royces, has owned the car since the early 1980s and has preserved it in what Bonhams terms “remarkable unmolested condition,” with its body still covered in the original rexine fabric and still with its original engine, steering box, transmission and rear axle.

1929 Le Mans Replica from Van Schaick collection
1929 Le Mans Replica from Van Schaick collection

Offered from the estate of David L. Van Schaick is the 1929 Le Mans Replica fabric tourer with bodywork in the style of Vanden Plas. Van Schaick campaigned the car for more than 30 years, Bonhams noted.

The car originally carried more formal closed coachwork and originally was owned by whisky-maker A.W. Whyte of Scotland. The car was rebodied in 1972 and may have gotten a new period-correct 4 1/2-liter engine at the same time.

New Jersey Bentley enthusiast Frank Allocca acquired the car in 1983 and had it flown to the U.S. to use while he was awaiting the restoration of another car. That car completed, Allocca sold the Le Mans Replica to Van Schaick and participated with “bold bravado” in many Bentley Club rallies.

Worldwide Auctioneers hits 97 percent sell-through in Auburn

With an astounding 97 percent of consignments going to new owners, Worldwide Auctioneers reported a total sale of $2.54 million for its recent and 10th annual Auburn auction during the 61st Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival in northeast Indiana.

“2017 has been an extraordinarily momentous year for our business, as we continued our corporate expansion with inaugural sales in both Scottsdale and out on the Monterey Peninsula and relocated our longstanding Texas Classic Auction to a vibrant new venue in the heart of Arlington’s entertainment district,” Rod Egan, Worldwide co-owner and auctioneer, said in the post-sale news release.

“We are absolutely committed to building on the successes of this year and to continuing to offer our customers a dynamic and wholly expert alternative in the market in 2018 and well into the future.”

1908 Stoddard-Dayton one of two cars to top $100,000 at Worldwide Auctioneers sale
1908 Stoddard-Dayton one of two cars to top $100,000 at Worldwide Auctioneers sale

Worldwide’s next sale is scheduled for January 18, 2018, in Arizona.

The company’s annual auction in its hometown was staged during the Labor Day weekend in the National Auto & Truck Museum’s historic L29 Cord building, where the top sale was a 1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Cabriolet B that sold for $539,000.

Top 10 sales, Worldwide Auctioneers Auburn 2017:

  1. 1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Cabriolet B, $539,000
  2. 1907 Stoddard-Dayton Model K runabout, $118,800
  3. 1930 Cadillac V-16 Imperial limousine, $99,000
  4. 1937 Cord 812 phaeton, $96,250
  5. 1977 Ferrari 308 GTB, $82,500
  6. 1968 Jaguar E-type roadster, $78,100
  7. 1908 Holsman Mondel 10 runabout, $66,000
  8. 1930 LaSalle 4-passenger phaeton, $60,500
  9. 1933 Cadillac V-12 7-passenger sedan, $60,500
  10. 1935 Desoto Airflow SG coupe, $60,500

(Prices include buyer’s fees.)

Worldwide reported that early consignments for its Arizona auction include a 1923 Duesenberg Model A Sport Phaeton with original chassis, body and engine; a 1966 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III drophead coupe with Mulliner Park Ward open coachwork; and an multiple award-winning 1929 Cord L29 cabriolet.

RM Sotheby’s Ferrari auction generates more than $75 million

It was Ferrari’s 70th birthday party, but RM Sotheby’s took home a nice present this past weekend as well with its Leggenda e Passione all-Ferrari auction at the historic Fiorano test track generating €63,068,110 ($75.15 million) in sales. That figure was produced by the sale of a mere 38 of the 42 cars offered, a 90 percent sell-through rate.

The average sales price per vehicle for the auction was an amazing $1.977 million.

“It has been a fantastic experience to return to Maranello and to conduct a sale in the company’s 70th anniversary year,” RM Sotheby’s car specialist Augustin Sabatie-Garat was quoted in the auction company’s post-sale news release.

“The atmosphere throughout the whole weekend has been incredible and it was clear that buyers were keen to secure the very cars that we had on offer.

“The sale exceeded all our expectations and the enormous sum raised for charity through the sale of the 2017 LaFerrari Aperta was a wonderful way to end the evening.”

That last lot of the auction was a recently announced addition to the docket — a one-off and yet-to-be-built Aperta to be sold to benefit the Save the Children charity. As many as a dozen collectors bid on the car, which finally sold for €8,300,000 ($10,043,000), not only the high sale of the auction, but a world record for a car produced this century, RM Sotheby’s noted.

And all of that money goes to the charity; RM Sotheby’s did not add its usual buyer’s fee to the sales price.

The car will be the 210th Aperta and will wear unique livery in Rosso Fuoco with a double Bianco Italia racing stripe. The interior will feature black Alcantara with red leather inserts in the seats, red stitching and black carbon fiber trim.

The sale was the second major charity effort by RM Sotheby’s and Ferrari in recent months. In December, at a Ferrari event in Daytona Beach, Florida, the 500th and last LaFerrari brought $7 million at a special auction to raise money for the reconstruction of central Italy after a series of earthquakes.

California Spider crosses the block
California Spider crosses the block

But while saving the best for last, there were plenty of other highlights through the sale. For example, there had been a lot of pre-auction interest in a barn-found 1969 F365 FTB/4 Daytona, the only road-going, alloy-bodied car of its ilk, discovered after 40 years of storage in Japan.

After what RM Sotheby’s termed “spirited bidding,” the car sold for €1,807,000 ($2,186,470) , making it the highest-riced Daytona coupe ever sold at public auction (and that price, as well as the others reported, includes the buyer’s premium.)

Another car causing pre-sale pricing speculation was the manually shifted 1983 400i coming from the collection of rocker Keith Richards. The Rolling Stones legend had owned the car since new and had kept it in what RM Sotheby’s called “exceptional, original condition,” showing only 3,267 kilometers driven. The car sold for €345,000 ($417,450), which, RM Sotheby’s noted, was a world-record for that model.

'Green Jewel' 488 Spider is on the block
‘Green Jewel’ 488 Spider is on the block

Yet another special offering was the 2016 “Green Jewel” 488 Spider, offered by the Ferrari factory as an as-new car in special livery. Again, after a bidding battle, the car sold for another model-record price — €1,090,200 ($1,319,142).

The sale also included a 1959 250 GT LWB California Spider, a standard among collector cars. The car, chassis No. 1503 GT and the 35th of 50 produced, was originally sold to a young Venezuelan socialite and doctor, who was robbed and murdered and left behind the wheel of his sports car.

The car was repaired and reconditioned and imported to the U.S., where it underwent a complete restoration in the late 1980s, won class honors at Pebble Beach and Meadow Brook. The car sold at the auction for €7,855,000 ($9,504,550).

Top 10 sales, RM Sotheby’s Leggenda e Passione 2017:

1. 2017 LaFerrari Aperta, €8,300,000 ($10,043,000)
2. 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider by Scaglietti, €7,855,000 ($9,504,550)
3. 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series I, €4,719,000 ($5,709,990)
4. 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza, €3,375,000 ($4,083,750)
5. 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO, €3,263,000 ($4,958,340)
6. 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Alloy, €2,927,000 ($3,511,742)
7. 1953 Ferrari 250 Europa Coupé, €2,871,000 ($3,474,920)
8. 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spider, €2,479,000 ($2,999,590)
9. 2004 Ferrari Enzo, €2,311,000 ($2,796,310)
10. 2017 Ferrari LaFerrari Prototype, €2,129,560 ($2,576,767)

(Prices 2-10 include buyer’s fees.)


More evidence of the changing demographics among car collectors

While wandering recently through the cars available for bidding at the classic car auctions in Auburn, Indiana, we wondered when the Ford Maverick and Chevrolet Vega had become collectible.

Now from England comes word of a couple more examples of cars you might never have expected to see on auction dockets — a one-owner 1979 Ford Fiesta 1300S is being promoted as the star car for first-time collectors at ClassicCar Auctions’ September Sale taking place September 23 at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre.

1959 Ford 100e Prefect an ideal 'starter' car?
1959 Ford 100e Prefect an ideal ‘starter’ car?

The Fiesta, which was driven only 5,693 miles before going into storage 11 years ago, will be offered at no reserve, the auction company notes in its news release.

The car has a gold-shade of paint and brown chevron-design cloth interior.

Oh, and the car was, indeed, owned by an elderly lady who put it into storage when she gave up driving.

“The electrics and 1,299cc Kent engine are in good running order, requiring minimal work to be returned to the road,” the auction company notes.

“This sporty little classic Fiesta is the ideal ‘starter’ classic for new or virgin classic car buyers, as is the 1959 Ford 100E Prefect,” added Richard Greenhalgh, classic car specialist at CCA.

“Buying a classic car doesn’t have to be eye-wateringly expensive and this Fiesta will make for a fun project, as well as being great fun to drive!”

The ’59 Ford Prefect he mentioned is another no reserve offering at the sale. So are a 1989 BMW 325i SE, a 1964 Triumph Spitfire 4 Mk1, a 1991 Volkswagen Golf GTI MkII and a 1970 MG Midget racer.

“CCA is the perfect place to come for anyone interested in going into classic car ownership,” Greenhalgh added. “We have a huge variety of cars ranging from No Reserve up to £50,000 plus.”

Lime Rock celebrates history — even in the rain

Lime Rock celebrated it’s 35th annual Historic Festival over the Labor Day weekend and despite a very rainy day during the Sunday In The Park concours, the weekend was well attended as it offered vintage racing, an auction, swap meet, and Sunday concours.

The action on the track
The action on the track

The Lime Rock Historic Festival is one of those smaller events that have everything that larger events such as Monterey Car Week have, but in a more manageable and lower-key style. It is much like the WeatherTech International Challenge with Brian Redman that happens at Road America in July. Both events attract great cars to the track, have a concours during the no-racing times, and gather famous drivers from the past.

1961 Ferrari 250 GT 'Speciale' Comp 61 by Pininfarina takes Best of Show at the concours | Andy Reid photos
1961 Ferrari 250 GT ‘Speciale’ Comp 61 by Pininfarina takes Best of Show at the concours | Andy Reid photos

All of this leads to nice-sized but manageable crowds and something for just about everyone who is interested in classic sports cars.

This year, which also is the race track’s 60th, the Lime Rock event had Richard Attwood as the honored racing guest and Bruce Meyer as honored collector. Both were on hand to meet fans, tell stories, and sign autographs at the Vintage Motorsport magazine booth. Meyer also brought an assortment of his many fine collector cars, including the 1960 Chevrolet Corvette No. 2 that competed at Le Mans, 1962 Shelby Cobra CSX 2001, the first production Shelby Cobra, and the 1932 Ford Doane Spencer Roadster (see below).

The action on track was exciting with hundreds of cars competing in classes such as Tin Tops, grand tourers, road-going sporting and sports racing cars, and not-quite-street-legal racers.


Each year, Lime Rock has a featured class and this year it was Formula Junior reunion with more than 24 of these historic and fast cars on the track. Seeing the diversity of this group was fascinating as each manufacturer executed the Formula Junior idea differently.

The Sunday At The Park Concours was amazing considering that it rained for the entire day. The fact that so many amazing cars showed up to be judged and seen by spectators speaks to the enthusiasm of the owners and the spectators. Some of the cars on display were a 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS, the 1963 Corvette Rondine Coupe by Pininfarina, and the 1950 Ferrari 166 MM by Vignale, which was the very first Vignale-bodied Ferrari.

The best of show honors were won by the amazing 1961 Ferrari 250 GT ‘Speciale’ Comp 61 by Pininfarina. This astounding car looked for the world like a 400 Superamerica and had to be the template for that car.