Coachbuilt beauties offered at Gooding auction in Pebble Beach

The 1962 Ferrari 250 GT was a one-off design by acclaimed stylist Giorgetto Giugiaro | Gooding photos
The 1962 Ferrari 250 GT was a one-off design by acclaimed stylist Giorgetto Giugiaro | Gooding photos

Two of the greatest and most-evocative examples of custom coachwork, one a pre-war American classic and the other a famous Italian beauty, will cross the auction block during Gooding & Company’s annual sale August 15 and 16 adjacent to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

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Celebrity Ferrari set for Russo and Steele Monterey sale

The 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 was formerly owned by Adam Carolla | Russo and Steele
The 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 was formerly owned by Adam Carolla | Russo and Steele

A 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 formerly owned by comedian and media personality Adam Carolla will cross the block at the Russo and Steele auction next month in Monterey, California.

The Series II model, powered by a Columbo V12 engine, is one of 455 examples built and, according to Russo and Steele, one of the best known of surviving examples with a history of prominent ownership since new. The Ferrari is a “matching numbers” example with fully documented mileage and with all services up to date, the auction says. Continue reading

Pebble Beach Concours unveils event poster showing first Ferrari to race in California

The poster shows a 1949 Ferrari racing through the Del Monte Forest | Peter Hearsey/Pebble Beach Concours
The poster shows a 1949 Ferrari racing through the Del Monte Forest | Peter Hearsey/Pebble Beach Concours

The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance has unveiled its main event poster for 2015, a depiction of the first Ferrari to race in California painted by the acclaimed Peter Hearsey.

The poster shows the 1949 Ferrari 166 Mille Miglia owned and driven by Jim Kimberly in action during the second annual Continue reading

Maserati, Ferrari prototypes set for RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction

The 1968 Ghibli Spyder prototype was used by Maserati as a show car | RM Sotheby’s photos
The 1968 Ghibli Spyder prototype was used by Maserati as a show car | RM Sotheby’s photos

Two significant Italian sports-car prototypes, the first Maserati Ghibli Spyder and the original U.S.-spec Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona, will be offered by RM Sotheby’s at its Monterey auction in August.

The 1968 Ghibli is documented as the first Spyder built, with some key differences from production models. The convertible, with VIN 1001, features styling by Ghia and wears its original color combination. Continue reading

Rare 1960 Ferrari 400 Superamerica cabriolet being sold for charity at RM’s Amelia Island auction

The 1960 Ferrari 400 Superamerica short-wheelbase cabriolet is one of just seven built | RM Auctions photos
The 1960 Ferrari 400 Superamerica short-wheelbase cabriolet is one of just seven built | RM Auctions photos

One of the most valuable automobiles ever offered at an Amelia Island, Florida, auction – a rare 1960 Ferrari 400 Superamerica short-wheelbase cabriolet – highlights RM Auctions’ sale March 14 of 90 classic cars. But most significantly, proceeds from the sale of the beautiful V12-powered sports convertible will be donated to the current owner’s foundation for the education of children.

The matching-numbers Ferrari cabriolet (chassis number 1945 SA) with coachwork by Pinin Farina is the third of only seven short-wheelbase Superamericas built and it has been fully restored by a Ferrari specialist. RM estimates its value as between $6 million and $7 million.

The 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Spider is another auction star
The 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Spider is another auction star

“It’s an absolute privilege to have been entrusted with the sale of 1945 SA at our upcoming Amelia Island sale,” Gord Duff, RM car specialist, said in a news release. “As our recent Arizona sale showed, there’s a continued strong appetite for great open-top Ferraris, and this 400 SA is certainly among the best of its breed.

“The true definition of sporting elegance, 1945 SA combines stunning design with high performance. Visually, it is beautiful in every respect.”

RM says its Florida auction, which takes place the day before the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, boasts “a field that represents RM’s finest offering in the event’s 17-year history.”

Among the cars offered for sale are a Zagato-bodied 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Spider valued between $2.3 million and $2.6 million, a highly original 1970 Aston Martin DB6 Mk II with Vantage specification estimated at $650,000 to $850,000, and a “condo find” single-owner 1971 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona estimated at $600,000 to $750,000.

For more information about the RM Amelia Island auction, see rmauctions.com.

 

2014 top stories: No. 1 — Buyers, not sellers, in driver’s seat as collector-car sales soar to new heights

The $38 million sale of the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO set a world record but still did not meet expectations | Bob Golfen
The $38 million sale of the 1962 Ferrari GTO set a world record but still did not meet expectations | Bob Golfen

The multi-million-dollar Ferrari prices coming out of the Monterey auctions were absolutely mind blowing. They were part of a record sales year for the six California auctions in August that totaled more than $463 million, compared with the previous-record $302 million achieved in 2013.

But the sales growth during Monterey was primarily at the very top of the heap, the small upper echelon of one percenters bidding on the big-dog cars. Nearly 100 cars sold for more than $1 million, the most ever at Monterey, and accounted for almost $300 million, or around 65 percent of the total results for some 775 cars sold at all the auctions.

Most of the major spending at Monterey was for rare and historic Ferraris, which accounted for about $240 million of those million-dollar-plus sales for about 40 cars. Seven of the Ferraris crossed into eight-figure sales.

Mid-level collector cars, such as this ’65 Mustang GT, saw modest gains | Mecum Auctions
Popular collector cars, such as this Mustang GT, saw modest gains | Mecum

And that’s how it went for most of this past year. The headline-grabbing sales of top-drawer collector cars enjoyed a remarkable boom year, while the broader, more-achievable bulk of the market showed sustained but predictable growth.

The big story of the 2014 collector-car auctions are the two things that didn’t happen. Despite all the worried concern about an unsustainable “bubble” of soaring prices – going into Monterey, there was lots of Armageddon-like talk of the coming collapse – the market did not crash. Not by a long shot. Nor is it expected to happen any time soon.

At the other extreme, despite many experts predicting crazy-high prices at Monterey driven by overwhelming demand, the bidders seemed fairly clear-headed about what cars were actually worth. They were willing to pay record prices, but not ridiculous prices.

The key example was the highly publicized sale of the most expensive car ever sold at auction, the 1962 Ferrari GTO that achieved $38.1 million (including auction fees) at Bonhams in Monterey. That probably would buy you a nice villa in the south of France instead of a little red race car.

Before the sale, the pundits were predicting the GTO could go as high as $50 million or even $60 million, based on recent private sales. As it happened, the Ferrari crept up in a fairly low-intensity bidding war between two potential buyers, finally settling at a hammered price of just over $34 million, before the fees were added on. While that was a stunning amount and a vibrant world record, it still fell way short of expectations.

 A Ford GT40 roadster was the only non-Ferrari in 2014's top 10 | RM
A Ford GT40 roadster was the only non-Ferrari in 2014’s top 10 | RM

So not only was there no “market correction” for collector cars during 2014, the market proved to be correct. For the entire year, auction sales may have reached a record $1.3 billion, but that was just  around $100 million higher than 2013 and primarily boosted by the upper-most sales, according to Hagerty.  So take out the monster sales, and the market values were largely flat.

Buyers were largely in charge during 2014, rather than sellers, setting the prices and trends. The burgeoning number of bidders did drive prices to a certain degree, while investors hoping to cash in on the rising tide made their presence known, turning cars into commodities as they competed with collectors and hobbyists driven more by passion than profit.

But for anything other than the top-tier, seven- and eight-figure auction cars – the Ferraris, Ford GT40s, Porsche race cars, Shelby Cobras, Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwings and the like – most collector-car segments showed gradual rather than extraordinary growth in values. During 2014, hobbyists who were buying and selling in the heart of the market in the $50,000 range, more or less, saw little of the top end’s startling price boosts.

The prevailing thought is that the collector-car market is on track for now, with the über wealthy continuing to spend huge dollars for truly great cars (mostly Ferraris) and the vast majority of us moving along as usual.

Some additional takeaways from an intriguing year of classic cars auctions:

“Barn finds” score – Bedraggled, neglected, dirty collector cars seemed to come out of the woodwork, or more precisely, out of dank barns, leaky garages and musty warehouses. And they were turning up at top auctions in increasing numbers, with a significant bonus if they were still covered in as-found crud. Some sold for more than $1 million despite their vast needs, adding to the year’s top results.

Bonhams arrives – After a number of blasé sales, the thinking was that if the British auction house failed to hit it big in Monterey this time around, it would have to fold its tent in the U.S. and sail home.

But Bonhams managed to pull it off with a booming sale in August, boosted by a private collection of Ferraris that included the 1962 GTO that drew the world’s attention and, as mentioned, the highest sales price for an auction car in recorded history. That’s pretty heady stuff and served to put Bonhams finally in the same league as premier auctions RM and Gooding.

Mecum binges – No one is claiming that Dana Mecum is out to conquer the world, but during 2014, the maestro of gigantic collector-car sales added another three large-scale events to his annual calendar of Mecum Auctions, bringing the total to 21 nationwide auctions per year, including the four that sell tractors, motorcycles or toys.

There are an increasing number of collector-car auctions being established with a growing number of cars coming up for sale and more bidders than ever competing for them. Already, some auction companies are complaining that there are just not enough good cars available, and auction-goers are noting the same cars that keep appearing for sale over and over again.

Which raises the question: Will we reach the point of saturation, where demand so outstrips supply that there will be too many auctions and not enough cars to sell? That’s another bubble to worry about.

 

2014 top stories: No. 3 — Post-war car wins at Pebble Beach and changes everything

The Best of Show winning 1954 Ferrari Scaglietti rolls to victory through a shower of confetti | Bob Golfen
The Best of Show winning 1954 Ferrari Scaglietti rolls to victory through a shower of confetti | Bob Golfen

For the classic car community, the choice of Best of Show at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance was hugely significant. In fact, it was nothing less than a monumental sea change for collector cars, and yet it also was the natural progression of things. For some, it was cause for angst.

Here was the granddaddy of concours d’elegance events choosing from its usual splendid array of true classics built before World War II and yet bestowing the laurels on a custom-bodied Ferrari, the first post-war winner of the 64-year-old event since 1968. The choice was stunning, shocking even, for the tradition-bound Pebble Beach faithful.

The Ferrari win shocked many Pebble Beach faithful | Bob Golfen
The Ferrari win shocked many Pebble Beach faithful | Bob Golfen

The winner was indeed elegant, at least by the standards of today’s elite collectors of high-end automotive artworks: a coachbuilt 1954 Ferrari 375 MM Scaglietti. The first Ferrari to ever win Pebble also has a colorful history, having been designed by Sergio Scaglietti for legendary Italian movie director Roberto Rossellini.

This was not the first trip to Pebble Beach for the unique Ferrari 375, owned by noted collector Jon Shirley. The car was shown in 1998, when it won Best of Class but was not considered for greater glory, which also serves to demonstrate how things have changed.

The 2014 Best of Show prize felt like the torch being passed to a new generation, the classic car enthusiasts who came of age in the 1960s and ’70s, and who now comprise the heart of old-car appreciation. Expect the Pebble Beach result to influence every concours d’elegance and major car show well into the future.

The Ferrari prevailed as Best of Show winner against three other contenders that would have been much more typical of the Pebble Beach prize: a 1934 Hispano-Suiza J12 Fernandez et Darrin Coupé de Ville, a 1934 Packard Twelve Dietrich Convertible Victoria and a 1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Vanvooren Sports Cabriolet. The choice of any of them would have been business as usual, and nobody would have raised an eyebrow.

The 2013 winner was a more-typical coachbuilt 1934 Packard | Pebble Beach Concours
A more-typical 1934 Packard won in 2013| Pebble Beach Concours

As it was, some disgruntled onlookers were heard muttering displeasure, that grace and elegance were gone forever. But others seemed excited by the change, and the opportunity for more great cars of post-war construction, foreign and domestic, to make their mark. Like the three pre-war picks, the Ferrari is beautiful, evocative and hand-crafted, and deserving of such notice.

The choice of a Ferrari also was significant since rare and historic Ferrari sports cars and race cars have become the greatest top-dollar sellers among collector cars, their values booming exponentially over the past few years. Nine of the top 10 sales at the 2014 Monterey auctions were for multi-million-dollar Ferraris, including the 1962 GTO race car that sold for $38.1 million, by far the highest priced automobile ever sold at auction.

So given today’s collector-car environment, an exceptional Ferrari winning Pebble Beach would seem like a natural choice. And that environment is ever-changing and will move on as time goes by, and the vision of collector-car qualities will change with it.

The past few years have seen the growing pressure, as later-model cars move up the ranks of collectability, from newer examples of American luxury and performance – notably the Ford GT – to the most exotic sports cars from Europe.

And watch the rise in appreciation for Japanese collector cars, such as the rare Toyota 2000GT that has leapt into the seven-figure sales bracket. One major concours d’elegance chose Datsun 240Z as an honored marque in 2014. No one should be raising eyebrows any longer.

 

Gooding adds significant Ferraris for Arizona auction

The 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider will be offered in January | Gooding & Company
The 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider will be offered in January | Gooding & Company

A pair of exceptional – and exceptionally valuable – classic Ferraris has been added to the docket for Gooding & Company’s Scottsdale auction in January during Arizona’s collector-car sales week.

One of the most legendary and beautiful road cars from Maranello, a 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider with an estimated value of $8 million to $10 million, will cross the block during Gooding’s premium sale January 16 and 17. The Rosso Rubino red convertible, one of only 49 produced, comes out of 45-year private ownership by a noted California collector and is being offered at auction for the first time.

The rare 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Coupe Aerodinamico | Gooding & Company
The rare 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Coupe Aerodinamico | Gooding & Company

The other fabulous Ferrari is an evocative 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Coupe Aerodinamico, estimated value $4 million to $5 million, that is one of only 17 created with streamlined bodywork by Pinninfarina, and one of just seven with left-hand drive and covered headlights.

“We’re thrilled to expand our superb Scottsdale lineup with the addition of these two remarkable consignments,” said David Gooding, president and founder of Gooding & Company. “In 2014 we saw an overall increase in demand for exceptional and rare Ferraris amidst the marketplace, and we have no doubt that the trend will continue for the marque in 2015.”

With prices for rare and historic Ferraris roaring into the stratosphere of multi-million-dollar sales during the past few years, several of the other five Arizona collector-car auctions have also announced valuable Ferrari consignments for their 2015 sales in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area, January 10 through 19. These two Gooding entries are the top Ferrari offerings, at least so far.

A 1958 Ferrari 250 GT California LWB Spider was the highest-selling car at Arizona auctions in January 2014, sold by RM for $8.8 million. There has been a strong ramp-up in Ferrari values this year so the California Spider at Gooding could eclipse that number.

Concorso Italiano picks Ferrari as honored marque

Ferraris are always plentiful at the annual celebration of Italian cars and culture | Bob Golfen
Ferraris are always plentiful at the annual celebration of Italian cars and culture | Bob Golfen

Those who have attended the grand Concorso Italiano in Monterey, California, during classic car week every August know that a sea of vintage and contemporary Ferrari sports cars is pretty standard fare.

But next year, it’s official: Ferrari is the featured marque for the August 15, 2015, meet of Italian splendor. The celebration of everything cavallino was dedicated because the Ferrari Club of America, Pacific Region’s International Meet will be held in Monterey for the first time in 11 years.

Lovely 250 GT Lusso at this year’s Concorso | Bob Golfen
Lovely 250 GT Lusso at this year’s Concorso | Bob Golfen

That pretty much guarantees an enormous display of beautiful Ferraris of every type will roll onto the grass at the Bayonet Black Horse Golf Course, where Concorso returned for its annual show this year. There will be special judging in a variety of classes, with unique crystal trophies for the winning Ferraris.

Concorso Italiano is one of the key events that happen during the second week of August in Monterey, considered to be the greatest classic car week of the year with a plethora of collector-car auctions, a wide number of car shows and concours events, and vintage racing competition, topped off by the grand finale, the monumental Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Historic Ferrari 275 GT-class race car in Bonhams’ Scottsdale auction

The 1966 Ferrari 275 Gran Turismo Berlinetta Competizione Scaglietti has strong racing history | Bonhams
The 1966 Ferrari 275 Gran Turismo Berlinetta Competizione Scaglietti has strong racing history | Bonhams

An exceptionally rare and historic Ferrari competition champion from the late 1960s has been consigned for Bonhams’ Scottsdale auction in January. Its eventual hammer price figures to further boost the soaring values of vintage race cars from Modena.

The 1966 Ferrari 275 Gran Turismo Berlinetta Competizione Scaglietti has a well-documented history of racing victories, including the GT-class in the 1967 Le Mans 24 Hours (11th place overall), the 1969 Spa-Francorchamps 1000 Km and the 1969 Imola 500 Km.

The 11th of only 12 built, chassis number 09079 was raced from new under legendary race team owner Georges Filipinetti of Geneva, Switzerland, and was the most prominent track star of this small run of 275 GT-class racers.

In light of the stunning prices recently commanded by such Ferrari racing machines, which have been reaching into eight-figure sales numbers, this pedigreed champion should garner plenty of attention for Bonhams during Arizona’s classic car auction week. Bonhams set the record for the highest-ever result in collector-car auction history at its Monterey sale in August when a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sold for more than $38 million, including auction fees.

The Ferrari combines track performance with gorgeous styling | Bonhams
The Ferrari combines track performance with gorgeous styling | Bonhams

Auction watchers will be paying close attention to how this sale plays out as they judge whether the strong climb in Ferrari values is still on the assent.  The 275 is well-documented, has a matching numbers drivetrain, and it comes with a Ferrari Classiche certification.

The Ferrari does have one mark against it, and that’s a rebuilt aluminum body after the original was ruined in a fire.

According to a Bonhams news release, “In 1985 its body was damaged in a garage fire, but the engine, drive train and chassis were all unharmed. The car was shipped to Italy where its bodywork was meticulously and accurately restored to factory specifications by marque experts Carrozzeria Brandoli, after which it received its red book certification from Ferrari Classiche confirming its matching numbers engine, chassis, suspension and transaxle.”

Ferrari launched the 275 GT-class race cars in 1966 specifically for competition with a unique chassis that was stronger and lighter than that of the road-going 275.  The body was made from ultra-thin aluminum alloy to further reduce weight.

The 3.3-liter V12 engine also was new, developed from the previous year’s Ferrari factory race car.  The dry-sump engine was placed lower and further back in the chassis, giving the car nearly perfect 50-50 weight distribution.

The 275 GT also is strikingly good-looking.

Leading the pack in GT racing during the 1960s | Bonhams
Leading the pack in GT racing during the 1960s | Bonhams

“Not only were the physical properties of this car extremely impressive but the aesthetics also wowed the world,” Bonhams said in its news release. “Its long, shark-like nose with gill-like side vents and low, wide stance made it appear both rakishly handsome and predatory at once. And its practicality, too, made it enormously attractive as it could be ferociously raced on the track or sportingly driven to the country club.”

After its competition career, 09079 was owned by several American collectors during the ’70s and ’80s. Since its body restoration, the Ferrari has won honors in a number of prestigious shows, including the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and has participated in such events as the Le Mans Classic, Silverstone Classic and Tour Auto.

It was one of 60 Ferraris chosen worldwide for the Race Through the Decades display October 12 on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California, to celebrate Ferrari’s 60th anniversary in the United States.

Along with its auction description, the Ferrari 275 is featured on Bonhams’ website in a well-crafted video hosted by automotive author and concours judge Winston Goodfellow.  Access the video at Bonhams.com/video.

In his narration, Goodfellow extols the virtues of the historic race car as he drives it through rolling countryside, the roaring V12 engine supplying a sonorous soundtrack.  He also highlights the car’s provenance.

“In this case, not only do you get a car, but you also get this expansive history that comes with it,” he says in the video.

The 2015 Bonhams Scottsdale Auction takes place Thursday, January 15, 2015, at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale.