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RM Sotheby’s Monterey Sale: A Ferrari 250 GTO and …

RM Sotheby’s will be returning to its usual location at the Portola Plaza in downtown Monterey for its forthcoming two-day sale coinciding with Monterey Car Week. The auction starts on Friday, August 24th at 5.30 p.m., and will continue on Saturday 25th, with the bidding again getting under way at 5.30 p.m. There will be two full days of previews (Wednesday August 22nd and Thursday August 23rd, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day) and a final chance to view the lots on the day of the sale itself (Friday August 24th, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). On both the Friday and the Saturday, from 4 p.m. to 5.30 p.m., there will also be a private preview, open only to registered bidders and consignors. The buyer’s premium will be 10% on hammer prices.

RM Sotheby’s Monterey Sale 2018 – an overview

The very rich catalog includes 175 cars, 68 of which are being offered without a reserve price. These include a 1961 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (chassis # 198.042.10002623) with an estimated value of USD 1.3–1.5 million, a 1963 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (chassis # 198.042.10003116), expected to fetch USD 1.65–2 million, a 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing (chassis # 198.040.4500080), with a pre-sale estimate of USD 1.4–1.6 million, a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing (chassis # 198.040.5500800), valued at USD 1.45–1.65 million, and a 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari (chassis # ZFF76ZFA8E0206449), with an estimated value of USD 3–4 million.

Ferrari is the brand most strongly represented at the sale, with 29 cars offered, followed by Porsche, with 18 (including two RUFs). The oldest car in the catalog is a fully restored 1903 Cadillac Model A delivery wagon (chassis # 1019) dating from the very first year of Cadillac production. It is being offered, without reserve, with an estimate of USD 140–180 K. The youngest car crossing the block will be a 2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato (chassis SCFLMCPZ0JGJ33942), the 48th of the only 99 built, with less than 100 miles covered from new. Complete with all the paperwork and original accessories, it has been assigned an estimated value of USD 600–800 K. The event will feature 16 cars built since the start of the new millennium.

There will be 33 cars with estimates above the million dollar mark, including four with estimates topping the USD 2 million mark, a further two predicted to fetch in excess of USD 3 million, and four estimated to be worth in the region of USD 4 million. One car has been valued at USD 7 million, two at 9 million, one at 18 million, and one at 45 million. The most expensive car of the sale is a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, predicted to fetch in the region of USD 45–60 million, the highest ever estimate assigned in a classic car auction to date. This is such an amazing catalog that even if only these 33 cars were each to fetch their minimum estimated price, the result of the sale, amounting to a remarkable USD 149.3 million, would far surpass the USD 133 million recorded at the 2017 sale. The car with the lowest estimated value (USD 30–40 K), a 1987 Porsche 944 S (chassis # WPOAA0944HN452281) is being offered without reserve. Still completely original, it has covered only 15,015 miles and had just two owners from new.

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

We find it simply impossible not to open our RM Sotheby’s sale preview with the 250 GTO: after all, even if your pocket is very, very deep, just imagining spending the estimated USD 45–60 million on this dream car is enough to set the pulse racing! The Ferrari 250 GTO is the ultimate symbol of the classic car movement: rare, beautiful to look at and capable of winning everything back in period. Furthermore, as its creator, engineer Giotto Bizzarrini, once explained, it is the car that saw racing car designers shifting their attention from engine power to aerodynamics.

The car offered (chassis # 3417) is the third GTO of the only 36 built (see header photo). Still fitted with its original matching numbers engine, it was completed in April 1962, finished in Rosso Cina on blue cloth upholstery. It had, of course, the “normal” 250 GTO body of the series 1 cars, including the practically vertical windshield. It debuted in May 1962, driven by Phil Hill in the official practice for the Targa Florio, before being sold, just a few days later, to famous Italian gentleman driver Edoardo Lualdi Gabardi, even though, formally, the car was registered in the name of his wife (Arnalda Colombo).

Gabardi extensively campaigned his 250 GTO during the Italian 1962 Hillclimb Championship and did pretty well, taking the GT class title. In April 1963, after another victory, the car was sold to its second owner, Gianni Bulgari, of the eponymous jewelry firm, who promptly used it for the Targa Florio, finishing 1st in Class and 4th Overall, before going on to win the Coppa FISA in Monza few months later. A run of successes like this is nothing unusual for a 250 GTO, a model capable of winning practically everywhere it is raced, confirming the technical capability of the car and its easy handling. Certainly, a 250 GTO could always turn a good driver in a champion. With Ferrari, thanks to the GTO, already having won the GT Manufacturers’ Championship in the “over 2 liters” category both in 1962 and 1963, for the 1964 season, the FIA, in a desperate bid to help the other competitors regain competitiveness, decided to include “over 3 liters” cars in the “over 2 liters” category, thereby allowing lightweight Jaguar E-Types, Aston Martin DB4 GTs and AC Cobras to compete against GTOs.

In December 1963, the Ferrari 250 GTO #3417 was sold to Corrado Ferlaino, a young but already affirmed gentleman driver, and soon afterwards sent to Maranello to be updated with the latest evolutions, such as the wider track, revised suspensions, larger tires and lower and more powerful engine, equipped with six carburetors and larger valves. It was then sent to Carrozzeria Scaglietti, in Modena, to receive the more aerodynamic “1964” body, designed by Pininfarina and, in this case, further enhanced by an extended roofline in the style of the 250 LM. It is important to underline that only seven GTOs were manufactured with this “1964 body”: four upgraded 1962 cars (including this one) plus three brand new ones, each equipped with a bigger engine. Of the four upgraded cars, only two (including this one) were given the extended roof. At the 1964 Targa Florio, it was Ferlaino in his GTO, taking 5th Overall and 1st in Class, who got Ferrari the point it needed to win the 1964 Championship, and, in so doing, ensured that this car became part of the Ferrari legend. After a few more successes in the hands of Ferlaino, the 250 GTO was sold in England, where, with a modified front end, it won the Redex Trophy at Brands Hatch, driven by David Piper for Maranello Concessionaires. This turned out to be the final outing in period competition for this car, which took part in a total of 21 races during its career, finishing all of them, taking 1st Overall on eight occasions and 1st in Class eight times too, and never finishing lower than 4th in Class.

In 1967, the car was already considered a valuable collectible, and, after being sold to another Englishman, it was entered in several classic races. GTO #3413 has spent the 50 years or so since then being raced and carefully preserved by several, world renowned collectors. Since entering its current ownership in 2000, it has been regularly shown and used at the 250 GTO Anniversary Tours. Now complete with recent Ferrari Classiche certification, and equipped with 250 GT, upgraded to 250 GTO, specifications, it is offered for sale together with its original engine, which, well preserved, was removed from the car several years ago as a precautionary measure. This remarkable car is offered with an estimate of USD 45–60 million.

1966 Ford GT40 MkII

The Ford GT40 is the symbol of the 1960s “Battle of the Titans” between Ferrari and Ford to dominate the Sports Championship. Legend has it — and this is documented, too — that, after Ferrari refused to sell his company to Ford, the Dearborn-based giant reacted by deciding to fight, and defeat him, in his own field. The background to this is that Ford’s decision, in 1963, to try to purchase Ferrari was taken following the realization that, to increase the appeal of the brand, the company had to have a good competition department, capable of recording successful race results.

Ford actually went on to become quite successful on the race track, and, thanks to its GT40, won Le Mans four times in a row, starting in 1966. The GT40 was so advanced (and beautiful) that when Lamborghini’s engineer Giampaolo Dallara, a technical genius, was asked to suggest a car as a source of inspiration for those creating the new supercar whose mechanics he was designing — the car later named the Miura —, he got Bertone’s designer Marcello Gandini to have a look at the GT40. After two attempts by Ford to win Le Mans, in 1964 and 1965, neither successful due to mechanical problems, the third attempt in 1966 was clearly quite crucial.

The pressure on the racing team, already evident, was further increased by a simple note handed by Henry Ford II to Ford division executive Don Frey just a few weeks before the 24 Hours race: “You better win”, signed, Henry. Several months earlier, Frey had picked out the North Carolina-based racing specialists Holman and Moody (very successful in NASCAR races with Ford) as the preferred team for the attempt. Three chassis were used: #P/1016 (the fourth of the only eight built and the one now offered for sale), #P/1031 and #P/1032. All were newly built latest specification GT40 MkIIs, each featuring a thicker and stiffer chassis, stronger engine mountings, more advanced suspensions and two-way adjustable Koni-dampers, ventilated Kelsey-Hayes disc brakes and an improved driveshaft.

They all had the dry-sump, 427-cubic inch, big block V8 engine, developing about 450 HP, with aluminum head and magnesium oil pan. Dispatched from the UK-based Ford Advanced Vehicles department on September 11th, 1965, chassis P/1016 was completed in the Carroll Shelby plant in Venice (CA, USA) in January 1966, and painted in white with a matte black hood. Tested at Sebring the very same month by Ken Miles and Ronnie Bucknum, the car was then sent to Holman and Moody to be modified for the Daytona 24 Hours race the following February 5th. Heavy-duty dampers and springs, adjustable anti-roll bars, and a special right-hand side torsion bar to counteract body roll during high-speed banking on left curves were installed, as was the experimental two-speed automatic gearbox that was to force the car to retire 13 hours into the race.

Ahead of its next race, the Sebring 12 Hours of 26th March, the car was repainted in Kandy Gold, the same color it wears today, and slightly improved. However, still equipped with the automatic transmission, it finished 12th, this time driven by A.J. Foyt and Bucknum. In April 1966 a traditional transmission was installed, as was a modified driver’s door with a bulge to accommodate a helmet. At Le Mans, the car, wearing racing number 5 and driven by Ronnie Bucknum and Richie Hutcherson, sported matte Day-Glo pink highlights on its nose and flanks. In practices it was the fastest of the GT40s, achieving 9th position on the starting grid. After a difficult start, due to brake problems, the final hours saw the car gaining ground and finally finishing 3rd, completing an amazing 1-2-3 for Ford.

After the race the car was used for promotional duties, touring Ford dealerships in southern USA. For the 1967 season, P/1016 was used first as a test mule of the MkIIB version, with bigger rear wheels, lighter body work, a relocated oil tank and countless other modifications, before being entered for the Daytona 1967 race (DNF) and subsequently sent to Le Mans for some trials. Equipped with the newest seven-liter engine capable of generating 490 HP, it reached a speed of 203 mph on the Mulsanne Straight, with Mark Donohue at the wheel. This was the car’s last official outing in period.

Soon afterwards, it was flown back to the USA, freshened for display purposes by Holman and Moody in Charlotte, and donated to the Harrah Collection in Reno (NV). This is the moment when Holman and Moody misidentified the car, accidentally delivering it with a chassis plate stamped P/1015 (the GT40 driven by Ken Mile and Denny Hulme and prepared by Shelby, which had finished 2nd at the 1966 Le Mans race). The car remained in the Harrah Collection until 1983, when it began a period of brief private ownerships.

All these owners were important collectors, but they all trusted the chassis plate and thus followed the wrong criteria when showing and restoring the car. It was not until 1992 that American collector Ken Quintenz of Columbus (OH) correctly identified it and proceeded to restore it with the correct colors and configurations, albeit retaining what remained of the MkIIB evolutions, before presenting it, finally in the correct way, at the Watkins Glen gathering of 1993. Bought by the consignor in 2004, returned to Holman Automotive for some additional work and used at the Le Mans Classic six times since, as well as at Goodwood’s Revival and Festival of Speed, it is now offered with an estimate of USD 9–12 million.

1971 Lamborghini Miura SV

It was immediately clear, at its launch in 1966, that the Lamborghini Miura was such an amazing, advanced and extreme car that the usual words were simply not enough to describe it. And so, to encapsulate all that it represented, the term supercar was coined. Ever since, this expression has remained closely linked to this car, the most celebrated model ever manufactured in Sant’Agata Bolognese.

Three main series of the Miura were built: the original P400 was followed in 1968 by its first evolution, the S (where the S stands for Spinto or “tuned”), and then, in 1971, by the final version, the SV (Spinto Veloce, or fast tuned version), still the most appreciated by collectors. The SV is indeed the best version of the Miura, simply because it incorporates all the modifications made over time in order to overcome the limits of the original design.

Accordingly, it has a stronger chassis, wider track and different front and rear tire sizes, a revised suspension setting and, most important, starting with the later production versions of the SV, separate lubrication of the gearbox and engine. For greater comfort, air conditioning was available on special request, and of the 150 SVs built about 30 ended up with this costly option. The car offered for sale on this occasion (chassis # 4920, still paired with its original engine, a single sump one) was originally sold in Italy in August 1971, after being delivered to Ravenna dealer Zani Automobili, complete with A/C and several dedicated details, namely chromed bumpers, an external fuel filler cap and custom slats in the front of the clamshell. In the late 1970s, it was purchased used by Claudio Zampolli, a former employee of Lamborghini — he had been with the company for a period during its early years — who later became a manufacturer in his own right, producing under the brand name Cizeta of Modena. Zampolli decided to keep the car at his southern California house, and registered it with a California vanity plate SV BULL.

It is most likely around this time that its American side marker lights were installed, but this point needs to be researched in more depth, as does the presence, on the car, of the rear chromed Lamborghini and Miura SV logos. The SV was sent back to Italy at some point in the early 1980s, restored at the Cizeta factory and then returned to the USA where, in 1995, it was purchased by a certain Louis Puccio of Ananheim. After some appearances at concours events, in 2005 the car was sold to another California resident and restored. This is when the originally fitted external fuel filler intake and the front slats were removed and replaced with standard specification items, even though the removed parts were kept and will be sold together with the car. Sold to its current owner shortly afterwards, the car, after 13 years in this latest ownership, during which time it has been well kept and seldom used, is now offered for sale with an estimated value of USD 2.2–2.4 million.

1998 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLK GTR

The company AMG was founded in 1967 by former Mercedes-Benz engineers Hans-Werner Aufrecht (the A) and Erhald Melcher (the M) in Grossaspach (the G), a small town near Stuttgart (in later years abandoned for the current Affalterbach headquarters). They started out with the aim of tuning and building racing versions of MB engines. Fast forward around 30 years, to 1999, and we find that AMG has been so successful that it has caught the eye of Mercedes-Benz (back then formally DaimlerChrysler) which decides to buy it in order to develop and integrate the AMG range into its own normal range.

The roots of this amazing achievement lie in the successes recorded by AMG in the DTM series, or “production cars” championship, in which its versions of Mercedes cars did amazingly well in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 1997, FIA established the new FIA GT Championship, transferring the DTM rules to a more sophisticated league, open to racing supercars, which had to have been built in at least 25 road legal pieces. Porsche developed a dedicated 911 GT1, while McLaren, backed by BMW, which supplied the powertrain, entered its F1, and AMG Mercedes unveiled its CLK GTR, which bore a passing resemblance to the middle of the range standard CLK coupe.

These cars were all the result of a race against the clock to be ready for the first race of the season! Only 128 days after the decision was taken to build the CLK GTR, it was already ready for testing on a race track, and immediately proved itself to be not only fast but also beautiful looking. In the meantime, a road legal version was developed, on the strength of 300 orders placed by interested customers, attracted by the promise of an amazingly powerful 6.9-liter V12 engine. In the end, only 25 customers were actually satisfied. Two different versions of the GLK GTR were manufactured, a coupe (20 units) and an open version (5 units). The car being offered at the RM Sotheby’s sale (chassis # WDB2973971Y000020), a coupe, is the ninth of the 25 manufactured.

It was originally delivered in Germany, where it remained until 2005, when it was sold to its second owner in Hong Kong. In 2017, after a thorough inspection carried out by Kienle Automobiltechnick in the March of that year, it was purchased by its current owner and imported into the USA under the “show or display” rules, federalized by J.K. Technologies (a file of all the invoices and documents of this process is included with the sale). As the Kienle report stated, this car is still completely original in every major component, paint included, and has covered a mere 1500 kilometers (less than 1000 miles) from new. It is offered with an estimate of USD 4.25–5.25 million.

1968 Porsche 908 “Works” Coupe Short-tail

It was the late 1960s when Porsche, already capable of winning smaller capacity engine classes, decided to enter the big field, taking on the period’s most prestigious manufacturers of bigger capacity engines, determined to beat them not only at class level but overall! The perfect tool for the task was the 908, a direct evolution of the 907, developed after FIA, in 1967, announced new rules for Group 6 Prototype Sports Cars, limiting the engine size to three liters. The 908 adopted a new eight-cylinder boxer engine, the first Porsche unit developed to meet a class displacement maximum, and in the top category what is more. It was made in alloy and featured dry sump lubrication, twin ignition, four cams and Kugelfischer indirect fuel injection. Capable of delivering 450 HP at 8500 rpm, this engine was a source of huge satisfaction to drivers and technicians, thanks to its fantastic power-to-weight ratio and natural reliability. Between 1968 and 1973, the company manufactured a total of 31 908s, in both long-tail and short-tail coupe and Spyder configurations.

The car offered for sale on this occasion (chassis # 908-010), one of the only five short-tail coupe versions built, was entered by the works team, driven by Vic Elford and Jochen Neerpasch, in the 1968 1000 Kilometers of Spa in Belgium, where it raced as number 6 (its sister car #908-11, driven by Hans Hermann-Rolf Stommelen, competed as number 8 and finished third). After starting in 4th place on the grid, in pouring rain, the car performed well for the first 32 laps, with Elford at the wheel, but crashed a couple of laps later when being driven by Neerpasch. He lost control of it on the Malmedy downhill s-bends, with the result that the car hit a telegraph pole which crashed into the cockpit through the passenger side window striking the driver’s helmet and knocking him out with the car still moving. Fortunately, the severely damaged 908 came safely to a stop on the verge of the road, and after a night in hospital for observation, Neerpasch was discharged in one piece.

The wreck of the car was sent back to the factory, where it was disassembled. However, the body and chassis were carefully stored for the next few decades, until the late 1990s. This is the period when American Porsche specialist Dale Miller, acting on behalf of Florida racer and collector Bill Ferran, purchased, from Porsche, the original chassis and body, so as to be able to embark on the lengthy process of restoring the car, sending them, for this purpose, to prototype expert John Corson of New York. Corson replaced the damaged part of the spaceframe chassis on the right side of the car (where the pole had struck) and fixed the slightly damaged fiberglass panels of the body. In the meantime, he worked on tracking down the remaining missing parts, including a series-correct factory original engine (908-34) and a correct 908 five-speed transmission.

After receiving a respray in the original factory livery, the car was shipped to Florida for the 2004 Rennsport reunion, where it was a real hit, with many Porsche factory racing drivers signing the underside of the rear engine cover. In 2006, it was purchased by a new owner from Portland (OR), who actively raced it in vintage events. Its subsequent (present) owner, another American, had the engine refreshed in 2016. The car is offered with an estimate of USD 2.3–2.8 million.

1933 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Fixed Head Coupe by Gurney Nutting

Many consider the Phantom II to be the first modern Royce, a car that is reliable, quite fast, thanks to the new 7.7 liter inline 6 engine, and beautiful to drive, on account of the revised chassis. Many of the numerous Phantom IIs built between 1929 and 1936 — they numbered 1680 in all — were lost during WWII, when they were requisitioned by the British Army and rebodied as ambulances, troop transporters or armored vehicles. The majority of those that survived were re-rebodied after the conflict.

Only a few escaped this fate, like the car offered here (chassis # 170MY). It can be considered one of the very rarest Phantom IIs, being one of the only 281 equipped with Continental specifications. It was originally sold on March 4th, 1933, by Jack Barclay of London, and delivered to Sir Hugo Cunliffe-Owen in the third week of April. The feature that made it a truly special car was the design of the body, which, with its unique “blind quarter” roofline, was derived from the already rare (18 units built) drophead sedanca coupe. Sir Cunliffe-Owen, a serious RR customer, was chairman and later president of the firm BAT (British American Tobacco), as well as, among other things, founder of the Cunliffe-Owen Aircraft Company. He was made a baronet in 1920 after working for the Ministry of Information during WWI. In 1935 the car was traded in for a new model and resold twice before entering the ownership, in 1936, of Jack Dunfee, the famous racing driver and one of the Bentley Boys, who kept it until 1967.

It spent the next thirteen years with another English owner, before being imported into the USA in 1980, under a new ownership. In 1984 it made its first appearance at Pebble Beach. In 1991 it returned to England, to a new owner, Sir Anthony Bamford, and in 1995 entered the collection of F1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone. In 2007, the current owner bought the car from Ecclestone at the RM Sotheby’s London sale, and started the process of restoring it, with the aim of achieving both aesthetic and mechanical perfection. The work was done at Steve Babinsky’s Automotive Restorations shop in Lebanon (NJ). It took 2nd in Class at Pebble Beach in 2009, and Best in Show at the Hilton Head Concours d’Elegance the same year. In 2010, it won the Greenwich Concours and the Bay Harbor show. Complete with all documents and tools, this stunning Phantom II is in absolutely perfect condition. It is offered for sale with an estimate of USD 1.4–1.8 million.

All photos courtesy of RM Sotehby’s. Copyright for the following cars is: 250 GTO (Patrick Ernzen), Miura (Rasy Ran), Mercedes CLK (Patrick Ernzen), Porsche 908 (Robin Adams), Rolls-Royce (Erik Fuller).

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