Elegance in various styles: RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction

RM Sotheby’s will be offering an impressive 115 cars (plus 23 lots of sculpture and jewelry) for sale in its auction in Monterey, its 21st at this venue. Held, as always, at the Portula Plaza Hotel in downtown Monterey, a great central location but with some parking issues, the sale will be split over two days, Friday 18 August (from 6 p.m.) and Saturday 19 August (from 6 p.m.). Previews of the entire sale are scheduled for the previous Wednesday (from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.) and Thursday (from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.), as well as on the Friday itself (from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.); the lots included in the Saturday session will be previewed on that day too (from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). The buyer’s premium at RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction will be 10% + VAT and taxes.

The classics with the lowest and highest estimates at RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction

The catalog includes three cars with an undisclosed estimate, 48 cars offered without reserve, one car expected to fetch at least USD 8 million, a further two with lower estimated values of USD 6 and 5 million, respectively, two expected to fetch at least 3 million, as well as six with lower estimated values of over USD 2 million and 13 each expected to fetch at least USD 1 million. The oldest car in the auction is a 1911 Oldsmobile Autocrat “Yellow Peril” (chassis #65877) with a known history from new.

The most recent cars being offered in the sale were both built in 2015: a Porsche 918 Spyder (chassis #WP0CA2A15FS800089), which has had just one owner and done only 1188 miles, and a Ferrari La Ferrari (chassis #ZFF76ZFA9F0211998), also with a single owner and with 4000 miles on the clock. The cheapest car in the auction, being offered without reserve and with an estimated value of 25–35 K USD, is a 1958 Kurtis-Kraft 500 Half Midget (chassis #88), originally campaigned in Southern California midget races. A 1961 Ferrari 250 SWB (chassis #2985) is expected to be the most expensive car. A Platinum Award winner at the 2016 Cavallino Classic, this car has been assigned an estimated value of USD 8,5–10 million.

1953 Abarth 1100 Sport Ghia

Chassis #205-104, the last of the only four Abarth type 205 competition chassis built, is the only one equipped with the, back then, last evolution of the type 103 Fiat 1100 engine and transmission, and the only one with a Ghia body. This is why it was exhibited at the Ghia stand at the 1953 Turin Motor Show, where it became one of the stars of the show. Soon afterwards, Abarth sold it to American Bill Vaughn, who exhibited it at the 1954 New York Auto Show. Thereafter, there is a gap in its history until 1982, when it was discovered in a barn in Ashton, Maryland and saved.

Class winner at Pebble Beach Concours 2015 (Photo © Angus McKenzie).

The Abarth 110 passed through the hands of two other collectors before entering the collection of its current owner in 2010. The consignor spent five years striving to carry out an as far as possible complete restoration, trying to track down original parts, and researching their authenticity and preservation. The car was shown at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it won its class and was one of the three selected cars in the running for the Best in Show. It is offered, without reserve, with an estimated pre-sale value of USD 0,75–1 million.

1950 Ferrari 166MM/212 Export “Uovo” by Fontana

The Marzotto brothers were among the best customers of the Ferrari factory in the early days: they were wealthy, excellent drivers and passionate about cars. Indeed, Enzo Ferrari considered the four of them his favorite customers, always letting them have the very latest models and even allowing them to modify the cars bearing his name — something that he would never have permitted anyone else to do. When 166 MM chassis #024 MB left the Maranello plant in 1950, it was a “normal” white Touring Barchetta car, equipped with a 166 type engine (specifically, engine number 013 which had been revamped after being used in a Formula 2 car).

The Egg: strange shapes, advanced technology (Photo by Remi Dargegen).

It debuted at the Targa Florio but had to withdraw because of clutch problems. It was immediately sent back to Maranello to be fixed in time for the Mille Miglia where, with Umberto Marzotto at the wheel, it crashed badly. The wreckage of the car was again sent back to Maranello for extensive repairs, which involved rebuilding the rolling chassis and installing a 212 type engine, this time a 4.1-liter unit with 3 carburetors. Giannino, who had just won the 1950 MM in another Ferrari, had other ideas for the body; he was sure that the aerodynamics and weight balance of Ferraris could be greatly improved, and instead of buying “a standard” body from one of the usual coachbuilders, he asked Carrozzeria Fontana of Padua to produce a body to a stunning design created by sculptor Franco Reggiani, who had a strong background in aeronautical design.

The car, nicknamed “Uovo” (the Egg) because of its shape, entered automotive history for its look and the technical innovations it incorporated. The Uovo was made of Peraluman, a very light metal, while the windshield, made of crystal, had a frame with no pillars to keep the center of gravity as low as possible and save weight (the finished car actually weighed 150 kilos less than a normal coupe). It was truly fast and, with the driver seated very far back, above the rear wheels where he could really “feel” the car, it was an absolute pleasure to drive. Right from its debut, the car proved highly competitive; it just lacked a little reliability in some small details. Tire problems forced it to pull out of the 1951 MM when it was well ahead of the field, but it went on to win the Giro di Toscana. Sold in Mexico after good results in European races and another DNF at the MM in 1952, the car was soon sent to California, where it carried on racing. It remained in the USA, under different owners, until 1987 when it was bought by the Italian consignor. Over the last 30 years it has been used sparingly and seldom shown. It is offered with an estimate of USD 5–7 million.

1956 Aston Martin DBR1

When David Brown bought Aston Martin in 1947, he soon realized that the brand could secure a strong market position by getting involved in racing. After a few years of racing standard Aston Martins, specially prepared for the purpose, he gave the racing department the go-ahead to build a pure racing car, one that could win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In 1956 the DBR1 was born. In the course of its racing career, it far surpassed Sir David’s ambitions, winning not only the 24 Hours of Le Mans but also everything else it could win.

Aston Martin’s first real racehorss (Photo © Tim Scott).

From 1956 to 1959 (the year the works team was disbanded), chassis #DBR1/1, the first of the only five that were built, raced in 16 international events, being driven by the most important racers of the period, such as Sir Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham, Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby; it took one 1st overall prize at the 1959 Nürburgring 1000 kilometers (Moss-Fairman) and 2nd place on a further five occasions. After its works career, car number 1 was raced twice, as a private entry, by the Essex Racing Stables before being sold, in 1962, to John Dawnay, long-time AM Owners’ Club president, complete with works engine RB6/300/3, which had previously been used on another DBR1 at the Nürburgring race. On October 5, 1962 the car received its first road registration plates (299 EXV), and the Dawnay brothers continued racing it until the following year, when it crashed at Silverstone, sustaining front body damage. Returned to Aston Martin, the removed body was miraculously spared from being scrapped, and the car was sent to Aston specialists RSW Ltd.

In 1976, after being left untouched for 12 years, a new front section was built and installed on the car together with the remainder of the original body. Still with its original engine, which, having been left idle for so long, had had to be revamped, the car returned to the race track, competing in the AMOC races of the Scottish Historic Car Championship, before being sold in 2000 to a buyer in the USA. It was the present consignor, who bought the car in 2009, who asked RSW Ltd. to manufacture a new engine, with the right features, in order to race the car at the Goodwood Revival or similar events. The original engine was preserved and will, of course, be sold with the car. Absolutely impeccable in every detail and boasting an amazing history, #DBR1/1 is one of the most important AMs in existence and it is offered for sale with an undisclosed estimate.

 1970 Porsche 908/03

Porsche built chassis #908/03-003 in 1970 with the precise intention of using it, ahead of the 1970 racing season, for the final testing of the 908/03, the model built to win Targa Florio and Nürburgring. Car 003 was used in the Targa Florio “pre-test” where it was driven for 14 laps (each of 72 kilometers) by works drivers, including Brian Redman and Jo Siffert who later won the race in another 908/03. Car 003 made its debut at the 1000 Kilometers of Nürburgring, where, driven by Hans Hermann and Richard Attwood, it finished 2nd overall. This is the only time that, as the works car, it formally raced under the Porsche Salzburg banner. After the race it went back to its more “humble” role as a test car in Weissach, where it was used in trials of a solid rear suspension and rear fin, designed to confer better aerodynamic stability. However, during these tests it was involved in a crash. Towards the end of 1973, it was sold to Hans Dieter Blatzheim, and soon afterwards to Porsche factory driver Siggi Brunn.

Over the following years, Brunn, with the help of several Porsche mechanics, rebuilt the car using a number of components, bought from different racing teams or directly from Porsche, and Mehako aluminum tubes to repair the chassis (about 30–40% of the chassis is still original). In 2001 the car obtained a FIA Historical Technical passport and, in 2004, was raced at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in the Classic Endurance Championship. In 2007 a new owner put the 908 to good use in classic racing events before selling it to its current owner, who went on to have it repainted. Completely restored and now sporting the pale yellow livery used during its debut race, it is offered for sale with an estimate of 3,5–4,5 million USD.

1954 Pegaso Z-102 Berlinetta Series II by Saoutchik

One of the only seven second series Pegaso Z-102 Berlinettas bodied by Saoutchik, all slightly different, chassis #0102-150 0161 was originally delivered to Don Pedro Domecq de la Riva, a Spanish aristocrat and sportsman. Interestingly, the chassis was numbered 150, indicating a left hand drive car, but the car was delivered in the RHD configuration, with the desirable option of the twin ignition cylinder head. In 1983, after a period spent in the USA, it was returned to Europe, the Netherlands to be precise, still in original, solid condition.

One of Saoutchik’s masterpieces (Photo © Theo Civitello).

A restoration project was then undertaken, during which 95% of the car’s original parts and systems were used, including the engine but not the gearbox, which was replaced with one from another 102. The project was still not finished when, in the summer of 2005, the car was sold to a new owner and returned to the USA. Here, once its restoration was complete, it was shown at Pebble Beach in 2015 (2nd in the Pegaso class) and Amelia Island in 2016 (Amelia Award winner). It is offered for sale with an estimate of 725–900 K USD.

1936 Mercedes-Benz 500 K Offener Tourenwagen by Sindelfingen

Few cars in the history of motoring have the same visual impact as the pre-war Mercedes-Benz Kompressor. The Offener Tourenwagen is one of the most impressive of them all, because of its size and shape. One of the only sixteen 500 K Offener Tourenwagens manufactured, and one of the only four known to survive, chassis #123724 was originally delivered in Munich on November 19, 1935. Little is known of its story until 1951 when the car, offered for sale in a used cars lot in Munich, was bought by Dr Ralph W.E. Cox, an American car and airplane enthusiast who was in Germany on honeymoon.

After taking ownership of the car, he drove it to Paris and then on to the port at Le Havre to be shipped to New York and then taken to his home in New Jersey. Dr Cox later opened his Frontier Village Museum at Cape May Airport in New Jersey, and the car was exhibited there for many years, before being transferred to the Museum of Automobiles in Arkansas. In 2014 the car, after a 63-year single ownership, was sold by the museum and entered its current ownership. Restored in the 1990s, it is still mostly original, with its Bosch headlamps, a Hopako touring trunk and the original two sets of luggage. It won its class at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2015. It is offered, still equipped with its original engine and body, without reserve, with an undisclosed estimate.

For more information on RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction, please visit the website of the event.

All photos courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

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