Monterey has fallen in love with a Duesenberg at Gooding & Com. auction

Gooding & Co. held its 2018 Pebble Beach sale on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th August. The catalog included 184 cars, nearly a third of which were offered without a reserve price. The auction achieved a sale rate of 66.8% (123 of the 184), generating a turnover of USD 116,511,150. The Top Ten most expensive sales accounted for 53% of the turnover, together fetching USD 61,710,000. In all, 37 cars were offered at the Gooding & Comp. auction with estimates above the one million dollar mark, including seven expected to fetch at least two million dollars, five in excess of three million, two with an estimate of USD 4 million, and a further two valued at USD 6 million.

The highest declared estimate, assigned to one car, was USD 12 million, while a further two lots in the catalog had undisclosed estimates, including the Duesenberg that, unsurprisingly, turned out to be the top lot. The car with the lowest pre-sale estimate (USD 35,000) was a 1937 Citroën 7C Traction Avant, which sold for USD 34,100. The car with the USD 12 million estimate, a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/C (chassis #09063) originally owned by Pedro Rodriguez, one of the only 12 built, failed to sell. All the prices given in this report are inclusive of the buyer’s premium.

The six cars we previewed

Four of the six cars we chose to include in our preview of this auction found new owners, one of them making it into the event’s Top Ten most expensive cars, specifically at number 8. I refer to the fantastic 1931 Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix (chassis #51132), an ex-works car that built up an impressive racing palmares in period. In fact, its previous owners include racing legend Jean-Pierre Wimille. Heavily modified over the years, it nevertheless retains its original bodywork, gearbox and rear axle, and in 1986 was reunited with its original engine, freshly restored using original Bugatti parts. After an estimate of USD 3.2–3.7 million, it came under the hammer at USD 3,740,000 and therefore just exceeded its upper estimate.

Moving on in time, the 1966 Porsche 911 Spyder by Bertone is a very special car, being the only product of a direct collaboration between Porsche and Bertone. The auctioning of this one-off prototype designed by Marcello Gandini and boasting a very clear history was certainly a “now or never” opportunity for die-hard Porsche enthusiasts. With an estimated value of USD 700,000–1 million, it certainly confirmed its value and appeal, selling for USD 1,430,000 USD (a remarkable 104% more than its lower estimate).

Another of our selected six to change hands, although in this case at rather less than its lower estimate — it fetched USD 979 K after an estimate of USD 1.1–1.5 million — was the 1976 Lamborghini Countach LP400 Periscopio. The Countach is a model that played a key role in the history of Lamborghini and the specimen sold at Pebble Beach is one of the only 160 “Periscopio” versions produced. It was sold new to an owner in Japan, where it has spent much of its life. Despite its age, it still has a very low odometer reading.

The fascination with Porsches remains as strong as ever, and the ’50 Speedster, in particular, continues to be irresistible to collectors. The 1957 Porsche 356 A Speedster which we previewed among our selected six, in fully restored condition and featuring the period Glasspar-style hardtop, has changed hands only three times in the past 50 years, remaining in California all that time. Perhaps a little surprisingly, it just failed to reach its lower estimated value, fetching a final price of USD 462,000 after an estimate of USD 475–500 K.

Instead, the other two cars we had picked out — the well restored and recently serviced 1950 Ferrari 166 MM / 195 S Berlinetta Le Mans of Carrozzeria Touring, which had been expected to fetch between 6.5 and 7.5 million dollars, and the fantastic 1967 Ford GT40 Mk IV, thought to be worth USD 2.5 to 3 million — both failed to sell.

The Top Ten of the 2018 Gooding & Comp. auction

1. USD 22,000,000: 1935 – DUESENBERG SSJ. This car (chassis #2594), sporting a fantastic convertible body manufactured by Le Grande, was originally acquired by the famous movie star Gary Cooper. One of the only two built, it has a clear and complete history. It was part of the Briggs Cunningham Collection, and subsequently the Miles Collier one. Built on a short chassis and equipped with a supercharger, it is a real joy to drive.

2.USD 6,600,000: 1958 FERRARI 250 GT TOUR DE FRANCE BERLINETTA. The fifth of the 36 single louvres built, this car (chassis #0905GT) was offered after being carefully kept for a full 52 years by a respected Ferrari collector. It has some special competition features and indeed competed in the 1958 Targa Florio and in the Trieste-Opicina hillclimb. Restored to the highest standards, it was offered with an estimate of USD 6.5–7.5 million.

3.USD 5.170.000: 1955 MASERATI A6GC/53 SPIDER. Only three spiders were built based on this sporting chassis by Carrozzeria Frua, and this one (chassis #2110) was entered in many important concours and other prestigious events over the years, where it always performed very well. In 2010 it was awarded the Coppa d’Oro at the Concorso d’Eleganza di Villa d’Este. The fact that its history is confirmed by marque expert Adolfo Orsi further increases the prestige of this car. Valued at USD 5.5–6.5 million USD, it sold for 6% less than its lower estimate.

4. USD 5,005,000: 1955 FERRARI 500 MONDIAL SERIE II. This historic racing piece (originally chassis #0556, but later restamped #0446 MD at the request of its owner of the time, for fiscal reasons) was used by Scuderia Ferrari in 1955, and was raced by famous drivers such as Munaron, Schell, Castellotti and Rubirosa. Its long and impressive competition palmares includes class victories at Sebring and Caracas. In more recent years, it took First in Class at Pebble Beach in 2008 and Best of Show at Cavallino in 2009. Its most recent ownership lasted a full 58 years, and this is a further highlight of this piece. This car is another of the Top Ten that failed to reach its estimated value range, in this case USD 5.5–7.5 million USD.

5. USD 4,510,000: 2007 PORSCHE RS SPYDER. Chassis #9R6.706 is an “as new” example of what is one of the most successful prototype racing cars ever built by Porsche. It is the last of the only six RS Spyders manufactured and it has been meticulously maintained throughout its life. Equipped with a DOHC V8 engine, it delivers 505 HP at 10,300 rpm. It was offered with an undisclosed estimate.

6 USD 4,455,000: 1955 PORSCHE 550 SPYDER. An attractive lot for various reasons, this completely restored and still matching numbers car (chassis #550-0053) was raced from the very start of its life, first of all (in 1955–1956) with privateer Eldon Beagle at the wheel. The consignor had had the car for 20 years, and at the Pebble Beach sale it was offered together with the original sale invoice, numerous period documents and pictures taken during its racing life. It fetched a final price that perfectly respected its pre-sale estimate of 4–5 million USD.

7 USD 3,740,000: 1959 PORSCHE 718 RSK. Racing Porsches of the ’60s have an undeniable emotional impact, regardless of any other consideration. This 718 (chassis #718-024 ) is one of the 34 built and it was raced from day one. It was entered at Le Mans in 1959 and also in the 1962 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. It has had just one owner in the past 20 years, and was here offered for the first time in a public sale. It fetched a price just within its estimated value range (USD 3.6–4.1 million).

As the eighth most expensive car was one of our selected six, described above, we move directly on to the final two cars that made it into the list of top sellers.

9 USD 3,410,000: 1967 FERRARI 330 GTC SPECIALE. The 330 is one of the most appreciated front-engined 12-cylinder Ferraris of the 1960s. For the first owner of this one (chassis #9653), a “normal” 330 GTC was not enough, and he managed to purchase, instead, one of the only four Speciale models built by Pininfarina, specifically the one exhibited at the 1967 Geneva Motor Show. It was formally recognised for its level of restoration in 1990 and it has a history researched and documented by the great Ferrari historian Marcel Massini. It, too, sold for an amount just within its estimated value range (USD 3.3–3.8 million).

10 USD 3,080,000: 1966 FERRARI DINO BERLINETTA GT. This car (chassis #00106) is the second prototype built by Pininfarina for the Dino line. It was exhibited at the 1966 Turin Motor Show and it still is equipped with the Tipo 135B Ferrari engine, placed longitudinally instead of transversely as in the production Dinos. Boasting a clear and well documented history, this Ferrari was sold from a 25-year-long ownership. The estimate was USD 2–3 million and it sold for a price perfectly within this range.

Some other cars at the Gooding & Comp. auction 2018

What can we say about Jaguar E Types? Well, judging by chassis #1E11769, a fine 1966 Series I 4.2-Litre version with an estimated value of USD 220–260 K, we can certainly say that, as always, quality really does pay. This matching numbers car, in the superb color combination of Dark Opalescent Blue over Beige leather, was offered for sale fresh from a world-class restoration, finished in September 2018. The bidding peaked at USD 357,500, which is 62% more than the already relatively high estimate. The car was offered without reserve.

Another interesting result concerned a 1963 Facel Vega Facel II (see photo in header), a model that is not usually very easy to sell. This specimen sold for USD 572 K after an estimate of USD 375–450 K, and therefore fetched 52% more than its lower estimate. Finally, the top bargain was perhaps the 1928 Stutz BB Speedster, another car offered without reserve that, after being valued at USD 225–300 K, was sold to a discerning collector for just USD 143,000.

All photos courtesy of Gooding & Company. Porsche RS Spyder and Duesenberg by Mathieu Heurtault, Ferrari Mondial by James Lipman.

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