Sam and Emily Mann are up there at the pinnacle of American car collectors. Vehicles from their collection have won best of show honors at concours across the country, including four times in the past 25 years at Pebble Beach, where only the late Bill Harrah achieved a similar record and where only J.B. Nethercutt exceeded it with six such trophies.
But as years advance, priorities change and the Manns have decided to offer five cars from their collection for sale next month at the RM Sotheby’s auction in Monterey, California, where the auction house anticipates that the Manns’ 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B will set “a new auction benchmark for a pre-war automobile.”
RM Sotheby’s has set a pre-auction estimated value on the Alfa of $20 million to $25 million. Starting today RM Sotheby’s is showcasing the car in Southeby’s New York headquarters until it has to leave for the auction in northern California.
Also being offered from the Manns’ collection are:
- A 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione “Tour de France” ($7 million to $9 million),
- A 1908 American Underslung 50 hp roadster ($1.4 million to $1.75 million.
- A 1926 Miller Locomobile Junior 8 Special ($750,000 to $1 million).
- A 1926 Bentley 3-4 1/2-litre tourer in the style of Vanden Plas ($600,000 to $750,000).
“These five examples represent some of the finest of their individual models,” Ian Kelleher, managing director of RM Sotheby’s West Coast Division, said in the auction house announcement. “Each has been meticulously maintained and cared for, and exhibits breathtaking presentation. We’re thrilled to have been entrusted with these cars by Sam and Emily Mann; they reflect Sam and Emily’s finely honed eye for aesthetics and design, and will unquestionably be the centerpiece of any important automotive collection.”
Kelleher added that, in particular, “The Alfa 2.9 is a car of peerless engineering and extreme elegance — in my mind it represents the absolute highest echelon of car collecting and is a perfect fit for our sale during the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance week.
“From the standpoint of an automotive enthusiast, there is perhaps no more resplendent sound than that of the twin supercharged, dual overhead-cam straight-eight engine of the mighty Alfa 8C at full speed. Without question, acquiring a car of such magnitude establishes one’s collection at the forefront of the hobby.”
In its news release, RM Sotheby’s said the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B not only represents the ultimate original gran turismo, but is “the Italian equivalent of the Bugatti Atlantique.”
“… a symphony of fabulously intricate engineering, thrilling power, and sinful beauty that incorporates independent suspension and a remarkable straight-eight engine with gear-driven overhead cams and two superchargers.”
RM Sotheby’s notes that only 32 chassis were produced and the Manns’ (chassis No. 412041) is one of perhaps a dozen Touring Spiders still in existence.
In addition to winning various trophies at concours, “Perhaps the most persuasive testament to the quality of the car’s restoration and subsequent expert care, along with the effortless drivability of the 8C 2900, is the fact that the Manns have spent over 12,000 miles behind the wheel, including seven 8C Alfa Tours between 1999 and 2013, in addition to the Copperstate 1000, the Colorado Grand, the California Mille and the California Classic Rally,” the RM Sotheby’s news release adds.
Of the other Mann cars going to auction:
- The Ferrari 250 GT “Tour de France” is a veteran of the 1956 Mille Miglia and Tour de France, won best of show GT at the 2006 Cavallino Classic and twice has participated in the Colorado Grand and California Mille rallies.
- The American Underslung, formerly part of the Lindley Bothwell and D. Cameron Peck collections, is one of only a few with its original factory roadster bodywork and a 50-horsepower engine.
- The 1926 Miller raced in the Indianapolis 500 from 1926-1929, has the longest continuous racing history of any Miller 91 and was driven by Cliff Durant, Eddie Herme, Russ Snowberger and Fred Frame.
- The Bentley is a “faithful” recreation of the famed “Old Mother Gun” car and “has been properly sorted for rallies and tours.”