Porsche strongly represented at Pebble Beach Auction 2018

The forthcoming Gooding & Co. sale, which is the official Pebble Beach auction, will be spread over two days. The event gets underway on Friday, August 24th at 5 p.m., and continues on Saturday 25th, from 11 a.m. There will be two full days of previews ahead of the sale (Wednesday August 22nd from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Thursday August 23rd, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.), although viewing will also be possible on the days of the sale itself (Friday 24th, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday 25th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m). The buyer’s premium will be 10% on hammer prices.

An overview on the lots of Pebble Beach Auction 2018

The catalog includes 181 cars, 59 of which are being offered without a reserve price. These include a 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso (chassis #5117 GT) with an estimated value of USD 1.7–2 million and a 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing (chassis # 198.040.6500143), which is expected to fetch in the region of USD 1.1–1.3 million. The sale’s most strongly represented brand is Porsche, with 31 cars offered, followed by Ferrari, with 25.

The oldest car in the catalog is a 1908 American Underslung 50 HP Roadster (chassis # 1427) with a known American history since the 1940s; still equipped with its original body, it is one of the only 27 Underslungs now known to be surviving. It is being offered with an estimate of USD 1.2–1.4 million. The youngest car crossing the block will be a racing car, specifically a 2017 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT3 (chassis 190-16.077). It was used by Riley Motorsports-WeatherTech Racing to compete in the 2017 IMSA championship and is still eligible to participate in important racing championships. It is being offered with an estimated value of USD 450–550 K.

Gooding & Company with 37 cars above the million dollar mark

The Gooding & Co. sale will feature 26 cars built since the start of the new millennium. There will be 37 cars with estimates above the million dollar mark, including seven with estimates topping USD 2 million, and a further five predicted to fetch in excess of USD 3 million. The USD 4, 5 and 6 million barriers are each expected to be broken by two cars, while one car has been valued in the region of USD 12 million. Two cars are being offered for sale with undisclosed estimates: a 1935 Duesenberg SSJ and a 2007 Porsche RS Spider.

The 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/C stands out

However, neither of these is likely to top the price of the car expected to be the event’s top seller, namely a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/C (chassis #09063), which is being offered with an estimate of USD 12–14 million. One of the only 12 of its kind built, this car, which boasts matching numbers and a period racing history, counts Pedro Rodriguez and Albert Obrist among its former owners. The car with the lowest estimated value, on the other hand, is a fully restored 1937 Citroën 7C Traction Avant (chassis # 95800), which is being offered without reserve and is expected to fetch around USD 35–45 K.

1950 Ferrari 166 MM / 195 S Berlinetta Le Mans of Carrozzeria Touring

The Ferrari 166 is the model that started the whole Ferrari legend, thanks to its mechanical characteristics, its successes on the race track and, most of all, the sublime beauty of its body, built, in either open or closed version, by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan. The specimen offered for sale (chassis #0060 M with matching numbers engine) is the fifth of the only six Berlinetta Touring models built on these mechanics. Raced as a works car even before its appearance at the 1950 Paris Car Show, it was eventually sold, around six months after its completion date, to Briggs Cunningham, who, even before collecting it, asked for it to be updated to the latest specifications of the 195 S, which included an enlarged bore that increased the engine capacity to 2.3 liters, giving the car a unit capable of generating around 170 HP.

The car reached New York Harbor in December 1950, becoming the first closed racing Ferrari delivered into the USA. It was registered in Connecticut and then driven to Florida to compete in the Sebring Grand Prix, where it finished 7th overall. Cunningham sold the car in 1952, but it continued to race, changing hands numerous times and going all over the world in the process. Now well restored, it was recently serviced by Paul Russell and Co. of Essex (MA). It is expected to fetch in the region of USD 6.5–7.5 million.

1931 Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix

In the years between the two world wars, Bugattis were the cars to beat, both in races and at concours d’elegance. Indeed, this car manufacturer’s ability to build cars capable of winning both on racetracks and on show fields is practically unique in motoring history, being matched only by Ferrari. The Bugatti offered for sale on this occasion (chassis #51132) is a 1931 Type 51 Grand Prix, a model sporting the, then new, 2.3 liter dual overhead camshaft engine.

One of the 40 of this type built in total, it is the first of the second lot (of six) constructed, in mid-1931, to be used and raced by the factory, following a first lot (of five) built at the start of the same year. Registered by the factory on July 7th, 1931, #51132, fitted with engine number 15, made its debut in the 10-hour Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps on July 12th, driven by Albert Divo and Guy Bouriat. Unfortunately it did not finish because a rear tire blew and wrapped itself around the axle.

At the end of the year, on December 19th, the car was sold for 80,000 French francs to French driver Jean-Pierre Wimille and registered in his name on January 12th, 1932. Wimille, famous for his racing successes and subsequently for being a fiercely active member of the French resistance during the Second World War, lost no time in using it to race, winning the Algerian Grand Prix (April 24th, 1932), where he also recorded the fastest lap, and a month later (May 22nd) competing in the Casablanca Grand Prix (DNF), again recording the fastest lap.

Wimille then sold the Type 51, and this is the point at which the Bugatti factory rebuilt the car with a new frame (number #732) and fitted it with the bodywork of another Type 51 Grand Prix (chassis number #51138). After these modifications, the car was sold in December 1932, to a Mr. Charles Brunet whose son used it, rather unsuccessfully, to race in a series Grand Prix events. In late August 1934, it was sold, for USD 500, in the USA, where it was overhauled at the Zumbach Garage in New York before being purchased by car enthusiast McLure Halley, a former employee of Anna Thompson Dodge, widow of US automobile constructor Horace Dodge.

The car suffered quite badly under this ownership, being raced frequently and sustaining major damage both to the mechanics and the body. This also applied as it subsequently passed through the hands of a series of wannabe racers, during which time it was heavily modified: its engine, for example, was removed and replaced with a Ford unit. In 1984, the car was sold to renowned collector Klaus Werner in Germany who embarked on a thorough restoration of it. In 1986 he managed to track down and purchase the car’s original engine, number 15, which had just been excellently restored by “Bunny” Philips of Los Angeles, mostly using original Bugatti parts. Philips sold the engine to Werner on condition that it be reunited with the original chassis, a contractual obligation that Werner was more than happy to fulfill.

After subsequently being owned by several different collectors, in 2010 the car was purchased by its current owner, who has kept it well tuned and as original as possible. A rare car, with a very well known history from new (unusual for a Bugatti racing car), it is now offered for sale with an estimate of USD 3.2–3.7 million.

1966 Porsche 911 Spyder by Bertone

Last year, 2017, Porsche built its millionth 911. Since the launch of this model, in 1963, the 911 has been the foundation of the success of this brand. Indeed, it is so closely tied to the image of the company that it is almost impossible to envisage Porsche having any future in which it does not play a part. The different series/versions that have been built on the 911 base over these past 55 years of manufacturing are almost too numerous to count, yet despite this, Porsche enthusiasts had to wait quite some time for an open version to be created. After the 356 Cabriolet went out of production in 1963, the company did not manufacture anything “open” until 1966, when the “Targa” version came onto the market.

The long-awaited Porsche 911 Cabriolet version, with its fully retractable roof, did not appear until 1982, even though Porsche had already produced prototypes in this configuration back in 1964. And these were not all. Indeed, around the same time, in late 1965, Southern California Porsche dealer John Von Neumann, worried about this gap in the range, had asked Nuccio Bertone, of Carrozzeria Bertone in Turin, to create a potential production car, based on the 911, with an open roof (see photo in header of the posting). Even though the agreement was, officially, between Von Neumann and Bertone, Porsche was heavily involved in the project: in addition to supplying the bare rolling chassis (#13421, originally with a 130 HP engine and later equipped with the current engine, number 960340, a derivative of the two-liter S version capable of delivering 160 HP), the company reserved the right to have the final say on the whole project and on whether or not to show the car to the public.

Bertone, one of the most highly regarded car designers of the time, did a fantastic job, which culminated in the unveiling, at the Geneva Motor Show of March 1966, of a one-off car of striking beauty, modern and hugely appealing. However, in the eyes of Porsche lovers, this car, the very one offered here, was perhaps too dissimilar to a 911, with the result that the orders did not pile up as hoped. Originally painted and shown in Carmine red over cream interior, after the show it was sent to its legitimate owner, Von Neumann, who kept it for a number of years, before selling it.

The second private owner, who acquired the car in 1987, performed a first restoration, repainting the car in its current combination of black over beige leather, and then showed it at Pebble Beach in 1989. After a further American owner, the car was sold in 1993 to its current owner, who has stored it appropriately, shown it in static condition and recently done some tuning of the mechanics. This very special car, the only “product” of a collaboration between Porsche and Bertone, comes with a clear history. It really needs a new owner who is capable of understanding its historical value as a one off, willing to restore it to its original color configuration, and prepared to conduct the research necessary to establish who replaced its engine and when (i.e. whether this was done by Bertone or Von Neumann, or later). It could also use an owner willing to make it roadworthy once again. It is offered with an estimate of USD 0.7–1 million, an amount that, providing this estimate is not exceeded, should leave the new owner some leeway for funding the necessary work on the car.

1967 Ford GT40 Mk IV

The Ford GT40, an amazing creation born of Ford’s determination to defeat Ferrari in the Sports Championship, is one of the most coveted competition cars ever built. Several incredible versions and evolutions were manufactured, including one, albeit less extreme than some, built in partnership between Ford and Kar Kraft.

Substantially revised compared with the previous version, the Mk IVs were built to comply with the latest revision (Appendix J) of the FIA regulations, which allowed a narrow cockpit and smaller windshield to improve the car’s aerodynamics. To reduce its weight, special honeycomb-aluminum paneling developed by Brunswick Aircraft Corporation was used. Amazingly enough, considering it was meant to be a less extreme car, this new version won Le Mans in 1967, thereby providing proof, if any were needed, of its level of performance and capability. Only 12 cars were built in the Mk IV configuration.

The first four of these were used for racing, while the later ones, made redundant by updated FIA rules introduced in 1968, were sold. They included the car now offered for sale (chassis #J-10), which was sold to a privateer to be raced in the CAN-AM series. Cars # J-9 and # J-10 were sold together by Ford Motor Company to Charles Agapiou (of the famous racing team) for 1 (yes, one) dollar! Quickly modified with a spider bodywork, for racing, and re-named G7A, car # J-10 was extensively raced under the Agapiou Racing colors in 1969 and 1970, when it was driven by some of the most famous and successful racers of the period, such as Jack Brabham, Vic Elford, David Hobbs, Peter Revson and George Follmer.

After a racing accident at Riverside (CA) in November 1970, #J-10 was sent to the UK for repairs, carried out at John Thompson’s TC Prototypes. It was kept by the Agapious brothers until 1989, when it was sold to a Los Angeles collector and refurbished to the original specifications before being sold to dealer Nick Soprano in 1996, and soon afterwards to its current owner. In 2013 the car underwent a complete refurbishment, carried out by a GT40 specialist. It was shown at the Amelia Island Concours in March 2018. One of the only ten Mk IVs now in existence — two were destroyed in racing accidents —, this car could be used for classic racing or, as proved by American collector Jim Glickenhaus (owner of car # J-6), happily used on open roads as a fantastic GT car. It is offered with an estimate of USD 2.5–3.0 million.

1976 Lamborghini Countach LP400 Periscopio

If the Lamborghini Miura is rightly considered the iconic supercar of the 1960s, there can be no doubt that the Countach, with its flat, spaceship-like surfaces, is the one that truly epitomizes the 1970s. It is important to underline the historical importance of the Countach as the model that allowed Lamborghini to survive the late 1970s and 1980s, a difficult period that saw the firm struggling to manufacture just a couple of hundred cars a year, mainly Countachs.

Indeed, it is no secret that the revenue generated by the Countach is what kept the company afloat until Chrysler, first, and then Audi stepped in, taking over the firm and allowing it to record spectacular growth and achieve the economic stability it enjoys today. The LP — this acronym indicates the presence of a Longitudinale (longitudinal) Posteriore (rear positioned) four-liter V-12 engine — was a magical creation consisting of a powerful, bulletproof engine, with the potential to be increased up to a seven-liter version, coupled with an astonishing design, another work of art by Marcello Gandini, the chief designer at Carrozzeria Bertone.

The early cars, nicknamed “periscopio” because of the unusual location of the rear view mirror (great esthetically but quite ineffective!), are becoming increasingly coveted collectors’ items, although many people still want them for their road handling and speed. The one offered here, one of the about 160 built in total, was originally meant to be part of a lot of five cars (commissioned in 1975) to be delivered in Lebanon. Only the first three ended up there, while car number four was sold in Saudi Arabia and this one, car number 5 (chassis #112082), finished on May 14th, 1976, was sent to Japan. It originally wore a black on black color scheme, and we now know that no other LP400 was originally finished in this combination.

Its first owner was a Mr Mitsuo Sanami, of Tokyo, a champion trap shooter who represented Japan in the 1964 Olympic games. He took delivery of the car on December 12th, 1977 and placed it in the RAIKA fashion museum in Tokyo. In 1982 it was sold to Isao Noritake, for many years chairman of the Japan Lamborghini Club, who subsequently sold it to a Mr Yoshiakui Okada in 1986, only to buy it back again in 1992. It was just after this second purchase by Noritake that the car was shipped to Sant’Agata, where it remained for around two years, being refreshed and repainted in white on blue and white Alcantara.

The car returned to Japan in 1994, and remained there until the early 2000s when, through Symbolic Motorcars, it was sold to its current owner with less than 550 kilometers on the odometer (this is still its reading today). Part of the reason for this low reading is that it was never road registered in Japan. It will need mechanical servicing before it can be driven, but the car is sound despite some blemishes in the paintwork. Still a matching numbers car, this Countach, but for the repaint, is still in original condition. It is offered with an estimate of USD 1.1–1.5 million.

1957 Porsche 356 A Speedster

It is difficult to imagine a more symbolic car than the Porsche 356 Speedster. In the 1960s and 1970s, it was the perfect car for Californian surfers, who loved to drive it top down, with their longboards protruding from the open soft roof. Wonderful to drive and, back in period, economical to buy (used), Speedsters soon became the choice of many, and most 356 Speedsters lived a pretty hard life. In this regard, the car offered at the Gooding sale (chassis # 83051) is an exception, having had only three Californian owners in the past 50 years.

Completed on March 7th, 1957, as a late production T-1 variant, with American specifications, it was painted in Signal Red over black, and sold through official distributor Hoffman Motors of New York City. In 1965 it was transferred from Massachusetts to California, having been bought by San Mateo resident, and long-term Porsche collector, James Noble. First professionally restored in the early 1970s, the car was successfully shown at concours events, before, in 1986, being sold to a Dr Donn Fossero, of Modesto, who, in 1994, commissioned a full restoration of it to its original condition. The work was done by Connecticut-based Automobile Associates of Canton Inc., and took four years to complete.

After showing the car only once, at The Quail in 2004, Fossero sold it, in 2006, to its current owner, a Los Angeles-based collector, who entrusted Bob Campbell’s Auto Specialties in Santa Clarita (CA) with the job of improving its already amazing condition. On this occasion the still original engine was rebuilt, the braking system restored, and a period-correct Glasspar-style hardtop was sourced. At the same time, Marchal driving lights, aircraft seat belts, a wood rimmed steering wheel and headlight grilles were added. Shown on different occasions and driven in the Colorado Grand in 2014, as well as in other dedicated tours, the car is still complete with many original components. It is being offered, without reserve, together with tool kit, books, accessories as well as the original Production Karte, issued by Porsche, and the Certificate of Authenticity. It is expected to fetch USD 475–550 K.

For more information, please visit the website of Gooding & Company.

All photos courtesy of Gooding & Company.

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