RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island Auction 2019 – Preview N° 2
The journalist and Concours d’Elegance judge Massimo Delbò has chosen six cars from each auction, which he believes to be of special interest. At the end of the auction, Delbò will compare the opinions expressed with the reality of a hammer.
1992 Ferrari F40 (lot 137)
The Ferrari F40, created to mark the firm’s 40th anniversary, is a milestone in the history of Ferrari because it represented a “return” to cutting-edge performances and technology in a production car built in Maranello. The car offered here (chassis #ZFFGJ34B000091464) is a 1991 specimen that was originally sold in Switzerland through Graber Automobile AG of Wichtrach to a Dr Daniel Schick. It was delivered on December 18th, 1992, complete with catalytic converter and non-adjustable suspension. As Dr Schick was living in Rio de Janeiro, the car remained mostly unused in Switzerland and Germany, where it was kept ready for him to enjoy whenever he could, or for use by his son living in Germany. On its first change of hands it remained in Switzerland, while its third owner was based in Germany. This latter owner was the one who had Brembo brakes installed, as well as a race-type front suspension and a slightly revised pedal box. Due to the bigger brakes, the front wheels had to be further offset and the front fenders modified, too, making the car more angular looking. The F40 was returned to Italy in 2007, to a new owner, and in the same year had its 30,000 kilometers service at Michelotto in Padua (this was actually done at 26,761 kilometers). It was subsequently impounded by the Italian courts and, after several years of storage, sold at the now famous RM Sotheby’s Duemila Route auction. Well maintained by the seller, it is now offered for sale, without reserve, with an estimated value of USD 0.9–1.1 million.
2005 Maserati MC12 Corsa (lot 139)
Inspired by the Ferrari Enzo and developed through Dallara Engineering, the Maserati MC12 might be considered a sort of modern Ferrari 250 GTO. Built in just 50 units, it is extremely rare, absolutely beautiful to drive on roads, and hugely successful in competitions. In addition to the 50 units built to road-legal specifications, there exist other versions of the MC12: the Competition, built in 12 pieces and subject to strict limitations in order to be eligible for racing in FIA championships, and the Corsa, of which one prototype and 12 units were built, but in this case completely without restrictions as they were not intended to homologated either for road use or racing. The car now up for sale (chassis #ZAMDF44B00003559) is the tenth of these 12 (not including the prototype). Capable of generating around around 755 HP, it is the most powerful version manufactured by the firm. It was originally ordered in Belgium but was delivered in Dubai, and it has covered a mere 2,015 kilometers from new. It has spent most of its life in Dubai, garaged and meticulously maintained by the Maserati race team. It only recently entered a new ownership. Further enhanced by its yellow on dark blue color scheme, this amazingly beautiful and rare car recently received a cosmetic refresh. It is now offered for sale with an estimated value of USD 1.6–2 million.
1965 Aston Martin DB5 Vantage Convertible (lot 142)
If the most famous Aston Martin DB5 is, without a doubt, James Bond’s silver coupe, the rarest is certainly the DB Vantage Convertible, of which only seven were built in period, each with an open roof and a triple Weber twin-choke carburetor that gave the engine an extra 40 HP, taking the total to an impressive 325 HP. The one being offered at this RM Sotheby’s auction (chassis #DB5C/1924/R) is a RHD version built to UK specifications and completed on April 1st, 1965. Five days later, it was sent to the J. Blake and Co. Ltd dealership to be sold to J.V.R. Bullough, a member of the Aston Martin Owners Club. Bullough had ordered two special features, namely a 2-inch clutch pedal extension and additional padding of the front-seat squabs. Three English owners later, the DB5 was exported to the USA, where it underwent a complete restoration to concours standards carried out by Aston Martin specialist restorers Kent Bain’s Automotive Restorations of Stratford (CT), at a final cost of over USD 200,000. This is the point at which the car was converted to LHD configuration and given a replacement engine block, believed to have come from Aston Engineering, which was installed after being stamped with the original engine number. The current owner, who bought it in 2012, kept it in his collection on the West Coast and barely used it. Finished in Peony Red over tan Connolly leather with a matching Everflex soft top, it is offered with an estimate of USD 1.4–1.6 million.
1955 Porsche 356 Speedster by Reutter (lot 155)
Porsche 356 Speedsters are the stuff of dreams, far more sought after than any other 365s. Unfortunately many of them lived hard lives, and, after passing through the hands of numerous owners, ended up in quite bad shape. As a result many had to undergo major restoration work, and this tended to be carried out using parts, often not original, coming from very different sources. This particular 356 (chassis #80920, today fitted with engine number 71315) was delivered new into the USA. However, little is known of its early history, except that it most likely lived in Illinois until 1975, for the latter part of this period being stored, completely dismantled, on the premises of an exotic car trader in the Chicago area. In the end, the dealer, realizing that he would never be able to complete its restoration, sold the 356, which at this point lacked its engine, to its current owner, a resident of Alabama. It was he who tracked down, rebuilt and installed a 1958 normal engine, having first upgraded it with a big bore kit, hotter cam and other features. He also gave the car a quick repaint, intended to tide it over until a proper job could be done. In the end, however, 40 years elapsed before this work was undertaken. Indeed, it was not until 2004 that the owner embarked on a lengthy (five-year) quest to track down everything he needed for a professional restoration of the car. The work itself began in 2009 and took a good five years, resulting in a high-level restoration. “It took almost a year to get the correct Glasurit paint code”, he recalls, “but working on the body it became clear how sound the car was, with very little rust and most of the original panels still mounted. Only the floor panels and the battery box needed to be replaced, together with very little else”. Since the completion of this work, in 2014, the car has covered a mere 1,500 miles, only in dry weather. It is now offered with an estimated value of USD 225–275 K.
1949 Maserati A6 1500/3C Berlinetta by Pinin Farina (lot 243)
The A6 1500 was the first Maserati production car to be equipped with three carburetors. This particular example (chassis #086, with a matching numbers engine) is the first of the only 10 specimens, out of the grand total of 61 A6s built, to be equipped with this feature. The rolling chassis was sent to Carrozzeria Pinin Farina on December 11th, 1948, and the car was returned to Maserati in July 1949 to be test driven by Guerino Bertocchi, the company’s chief test driver. On December 14th, it was delivered to Peppino Santi, a distributor in Rome, and the very next day it was registered to its first owner, the aristocratic writer and playwright Miss Isabella Quarantotti (even though it was actually delivered to her hotel in Paris). After a further two Italian owners, in July 1953, the car was sold to a US Army officer, who raced it extensively in local Italian events. In late 1957, Ernest Nanson, an American gunsmith, spotted the Maserati while vacationing in Italy, bought it and had it imported into the USA, where he kept it for the next 22 years. It was then purchased by a William McKinley, who commissioned Performance Plating of Rancho Cordova (CA) to carry out a full restoration. Several years, owners and concours trophies later, in 2009 the car was sold and restored again, with amazing attention to detail. Sold just after this work to its current owner, who shipped it back to Modena to have its mechanics checked and overhauled at the famous Candini repair shop, the car remains in fantastic condition. Mille Miglia eligible, it is an ideal car to drive or show. It is offered, without reserve, with an estimated value of USD 800–950 K.
1907 Stoddard-Dayton Model K Runabout (lot 256)
For a short time, Stoddard-Dayton, the first winner of a race in Indianapolis, figured among the most important American car manufacturers, producing 4- and 6-cylinder engines. The company’s most sporting model, well-illustrated by this 1907 Model K Runabout (chassis #1004-K), which is one of the only three still known to survive, was in fact the Model K. This one was discovered, as a bare frame with various mechanical components surrounding it, on a South Dakota farm in 2001. After a multi-year specialist restoration of the body, interiors and mechanical parts (the wooden and copper parts were in good shape), this Stoddard-Dayton is now offered for sale with an estimate of USD 150–180 K.