Winter time is here and the car season has been officially over for a couple of months now, but all is not lost. With the start of every New Year here in the U.S. we have the Scottsdale Arizona weekend full of car auctions giving collectors and other car enthusiasts a chance to own some of the great cars being offered by the auction houses hosting their auctions that weekend. There are a number of auction houses who now are hosting auctions in Scottsdale this year including: Barrett-Jackson, Gooding & Co., Bonhams, RM Sotheby’s, and Worldwide Auctioneers to name a few. Out of the hundreds of cars that will be offered for sale during the Scottsdale weekend, there are only few really significant cars in each auction that are really out of the norm. For the past few years the Ferrari, Porsche and Lamborghini markets have been out of control and as can already be seen by scrolling through the auction listings that each auction is flooded with the same run of the mill Porsches, Ferraris and Lamborghinis. But we decided to take a look at what each auction house was offering and pick a few of the cars that we think are the most significant and out of the ordinary cars that, if you have the money, are really worth owning. We take it by auction below:
Gooding & Company:
To begin, Gooding & Co. seems to have a pretty decent lineup of cars, but again having a heavy amount of average sports cars like the usual Jaguar XKE’s and the Porsche 356’s. But, amongst these cars are cars that are few and far between that are actually pretty excellent cars. One of the best cars in the sale is the 1925 Bugatti Type 35 Grand Prix Car chassis 4487.
This particular car was purchased new in Paris by the heir to the Standard Oil fortune, Wallis C. Bird of Long Island, NY. He owned the car until his early death in 1941 and then sold at his estate auction after his wife’s passing in 1961. The car was bought by none other than Henry Austin Clark Jr. Gooding doesn’t give much information in way of restoration condition, but all that matters is that this car has fantastic history and retains its original overhead cam 8 cylinder, original chassis and original body. Easily one of the best cars, in terms of provenance, offered during this auction week in Arizona. It can be found here with no estimate listed as of yet but, although this car is not a Type 35A, B, or C it is still a great car that we estimate will fetch around $1,000,000 dollars.
Gooding also has some other great cars including the 1932 Alfa 6C 1750 Grand Sport Series V roadster which I have had the pleasure of seeing in person at Retromobile in Paris last year where it was being offered by Gregor Fisken.
It is a stunning car, but its history isn’t really mentioned by Gooding, although many of these Alfas don’t have a known history back to new, it doesn’t determine its originality. Looking at this car in person it is certainly a good original car. The series 5 cars have the overdrive transmission and a series 5 specific block, but no mention by Gooding of these parts. What can be said about the car in terms of its paint and other cosmetic condition is that it is very nice and the colors actually look very good on this car. What really looks good is its dual rear mounted spare wheels. It can be found here with an estimate of $2,250,000 – $2,750,000 and we believe the car will bring something within that range.
For the newer car lovers, while Gooding offers some interesting supercars like a Ferrari F40 and an F50, the one that stood out to us here on Driven History is the 1975 Lancia Stratos HF Stradale.
The Stratos is one of those crazy super cars that is just plain cool. Lancia always had interesting engines with some early engines being way far ahead of their time. For example the Lambda in the teens and 1920’s sported a V4 and the Astura of the 1930’s had a V8 with an extremely slight V (at only 19 degrees) and staggered pistons. The Stratos HF had a V6, which wasn’t a new idea for Lancia, being used previously in the Aurelia’s, but the revamped V6 configuration worked incredibly well in the Stratos. The V6 used was a Ferrari design, in fact the same engine used in the Dino, the 2.4 liter version. That combined with the killer Bertone coachwork with the crazy sharp lines and futuristic wrap around windshield make this car very unique. These cars dominated rally racing winning the world Rally Championship in 1974, 1975 and 1976. This particular Stratos HF looks to be a nice car on the outside finished in the laser blue that is commonly seen on these cars. There is no history or description of this car as of yet, but it can been found here with an estimate of $500,000 – $600,000, but we believe the car will fetch around $500,000 dollars depending on the quality of the restoration that was recently performed on the car.
RM also has a lot of run of the mill sports cars that have been extremely common at every auction for the past few years, but like Gooding, they too have some cars that really stand out.
One of their best cars is a 1930 Cadillac V-16 Roadster that is fully restored. When it comes to V-16 roadsters, there have been many “fake” cars created over the years by switching bodies around from 8 cylinder cars to V-16 chassis. This particular car # 702604 is described by RM as being an authentic example according to its chassis and body numbers and is documented through its build sheet from GM. Looking at the photos the car looks very nice with great colors, the light blue and ivory really do this car justice. It has a little bit of an older restoration saying it was completed in 1999, but it looks like it has aged very well, and actually I prefer a beautiful restoration such as this with just a little age added. It’s also a CCCA 100 point first prize winner which is certainly a plus. The engine compartment also looks very nice. Overall we think this car is a wonderful V-16 roadster and we think it should fetch around $1.5 Million dollars. You can find it here on RM Sotheby’s website with a estimate of $1,000,000 – $1,250,000 Estimate.
The next car in the RM sale that we chose as one of the more interesting and significant cars in the sale is the 1948 Tucker “48”.
This particular car is a fantastic one with only 7900 original miles (most of the Tuckers do have pretty low mileage) and great provenance with known history back to new. One interesting moment in this cars history is that it was owned by the great Greenwich, Connecticut collector David Tunick. Unfortunately, the car was painted a few times, originally being green, then it was red and now it is a bronze color. Regardless of the cosmetic changes over the years, the car is still a fantastic one. The paint and upholstery are tired and should really be redone in its original color of green. The paint is currently peeling in places and the color just doesn’t do this car justice. You can find more info on this car here. We believe this car will fetch around $1,000,000.
The third car that we chose from the RM Sothebys sale is a car that we think our readers will really enjoy:
the 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II. Not that this is anywhere near being the most significant or the most expensive car, but it is just down right cool. This is a car that the guys in their 30’s remember when they were kids. These cars were built to compete with the M3 which was pretty dominant on the pro touring circuit. But, in 1992 the Mercedes Evo II won the DTM championship beating BMW. This car, although being a 4 door, is the full definition of a sleeper. This is the business sedan on steroids and then some. This particular example offered by RM looks to be a very good one with only 5000 original kilometers and nice original paint and upholstery obvious from the up close pictures, and the dark grey color does look good on the car. The stripped down race ready interior is very cool as well as all of the non-factory race mods such as the DTM upgrades, Motec ECU, and the OZ DTM- spec wheels. While the upgrades are really trick and do make the car cooler in a sense, in our opinion at driven history, it hurts the actual value of the car. Any kind of performance mods done to a car like this never pans out well whether it’s a Porsche 930 or a Mercedes EVO II. So in the end this is a killer EVO II, but the mods will hurt the final result. It is now old enough to be exempt from emissions in North America so you can find it here. We believe this car will sell for around $125,000 dollars if the seller will let it go for that.
This year Worldwide Auctioneers will be having their first auction in Scottsdale, but despite the heavy competition from the other auction houses, they have brought some really great cars for people to buy. The first car that we think is really out of the ordinary, especially here in the U.S. is the 1995 Bugatti EB110 that they have in the sale.
The car looks stellar in French racing blue and according to Worldwide’s description, it has only had one owner since it was new in 1995 with only 14,600 kilometers on the odometer (equivalent to just over 9,000 miles)! The neat thing about this car is that it is a GT, not an SS. While the SS may be a bit faster, I never liked the cheesy ground effects added and the look of the SS wheels. The GT is just perfect and you really don’t need to go much faster than 217 mph anyway. The 12 cylinder 4 cam with no less than 4 turbo chargers is incredible, and is said to really make an incredible sound when those turbos start to really turn. These cars were the coolest in the 1990’s and are pretty significant in terms of supercar history. These came out and competed with the Lamborghini Diablo and the Mclaren F1. This was one of those cars that the younger collectors dreamed about when playing the original “Need for Speed” video game on their Playstation when growing up. This particular car looks like it was cared for very well as the paint, interior and engine compartment look really good for being completely original. Worldwide also included undercarriage photos which is nice and it looks like it has been driven a bit, but overall it looks ready to go. It also comes with all service records and U.S. customs documents so whomever gets this car is really getting a killer car that will absolutely blow everyone away at any supercar event and with only 139 of these cars built, no one will have one of these. You can find it here on Worldwide Auctioneers website with an estimate of $750,000 – $850,000. RM just sold a similar car in Europe with 200,000 miles and the wrong engine for 616,000 euros ($643,000 dollars) so we think this car will definitely hit the $800,000 mark or more.
The next car in the Worldwide sale that we think really stands out is the 1961 Aston Martin DB4 that was found in the woods in Massachusetts.
This is a very cool find, too bad it wasn’t stored inside. It looks to be mostly complete which is great and they seem to have all of the history as well which is also a plus. But, this car is rough! It has been sitting in the woods for 40 years so it is corroded, rotted and stuck. While this is a very cool dream, this will take a good $250,000 to $300,000 to restore and a lot of time. It really doesn’t look terrible in the pictures, but guaranteed the floors are rotted and the engine is stuck. This car literally needs everything and at that point they better make sure that this is 100% the original engine to this car, but unfortunately it was changed which severely hurts this car. Imagine finding a DB4 in the woods? But remember only about 10 years ago these cars restored were around $75k. Overall it is a project, but it is very interesting and very cool. It can be found here with an estimate of $375,000 – $475,000. We think the car will bring around $200,000 to maybe $250,000.
The next car that we thought stands out is the 1938 Talbot Lago T-23 Sport Cabriolet.
This car is just fantastic. French cars of this era are the sportiest cars of the 20th century and they have style that is like no other. This particular car has a usine body (factory), but those designs that the factory used in 1938 were designed by the great firm Figoni et Filaschi and those Figoni design cues can certainly be seen in this car. One thing that is really great about these Talbots is the mechanical aspect of the street cars were almost identical to that of the cars Talbot used to race. The T-23 used an inline 6 cylinder with overhead valves and twin carburetors and they paired that with the bulletproof Wilson pre-selector gearbox, the same setup they used in their race cars and this car is also on the “Baby” chassis meaning the short chassis which is what all of the custom coachbuilt cars were built on. The restoration looks very well done, the color is a bit obnoxious, but again this is 1930’s French style and the interior and top in tan really looks good. According to Worldwide the car one multiple Concours awards so, even though this is not a custom Figoni Talbot, it is still an awesome deign and a beautiful open T-23. Compared to a custom Figoni bodied Talbot the estimate on this car is a steal. It can be found here on the Worldwide Auctioneers Website with an estimate of $550,000 – $750,000. We believe this car should fetch around $700,000.
The Bonhams sale, like the rest, has a bunch of cookie cutter cars, but a few are really fantastic. The first car in the sale that we think is a real killer is the 1928 Mercedes S Sports tourer with coachwork by Erdmann and Rossi.
This is by far the best car that is being offered this entire week in Arizona in any auction. It is the most significant and the most beautiful. If we had to pick one car out of all the cars to take home during the Arizona week, this would be it. The car has incredible history, and it is a testament to how great the car really is that the great collector Ben Moser of California once owned the car. It has wonderful coachwork by Erdmann and Rossi and an incredible Pebble Beach award winning restoration. The dark maroon color really looks good on this car and the supercharged 6 cylinder engine is just awesome. If you ever get to drive one of these cars, when you jam your foot all the way to the floor it engages the supercharger and belts out a really loud roar that lets everyone know that you mean business. The abundant attention to detail of the restoration is very apparent when going through the photos, but a couple of things have been changed since the car was at Pebble and freshly restored. The major change was the windshield was definitely cut down and the roof was lowered. The second change was the wheels were painted instead of chrome plated as it was at Pebble. Both changes certainly help this car as the windshield/roof was much too high and the chrome wire wheels just looked awful. Overall it is an outstanding car and it can be found here with an estimate of $5 million – $6 million dollars. We believe this car will bring around the $5.5 – $6 million dollar mark.
The next car that stood out to us here at Driven History in the Bonhams sale is the 1963 Jaguar XKE factory lightweight competition.
This is certainly one of the coolest cars offered in Arizona this year so we had to include it, especially since we are Jag lovers. This particular car is described by Bonhams as one of the most original factory XKE lightweights in existence, and we have to agree. Only twelve of these cars were built originally and only a few still retain a factory original alloy block. With that being said, this car does not have its original block as that was blown up during the period, but it was replaced with a factory replacement alloy block also in the period. The car otherwise is mostly original and has a known history mostly in Australia, but also hitting the British race circuit with races such as Goodwood and Silverstone. The car is heavily documented to boot with factory correspondence and spec sheets, photos and other records. When studying the photos provided by Bonhams the car looks very nice, it was certainly somewhat restored at some point, but the car has a slight patina to it that really gives it that nice vintage race car feel. If this car was “perfect” cosmetically it just wouldn’t be right. The white paint and blue stripes look really good on this car and the Dunlop D-type style wide alloy wheels make the whole car. If you are a serious Jaguar collector this car should be seriously considered. It can be found here with a US$ 7,500,000 – 9,000,000 but we believe this car will fetch in the $1,000,000 range.
While our next choice from the Bonhams sale may not be the most significant, but it is one of those vehicles that just stands out: the 1988 Lamborghini LM002.
Today, sport utility vehicles are all the rage with Porsche, Maserati and even Bentley jumping into that market, but Lamborghini was well ahead of them almost 30 years ago. These LM002’s are just as cool today as they were 30 years ago. They feature a Lamborghini twelve cylinder engine with a 5 ZF speed gearbox (which is a nice touch), 4 wheel drive, fully independent suspension, disc brakes all the way around and they only made 352 and 125 mph top speed to boot. The LM002 has had some restoration work done over the years which is fully documented according to Bonhams despite its low mileage, but this is common with various low mileage cars. When looking at the photos the truck looks to be in very well kept condition, the paint looks very good and the upholstery looks brand new. The colors do look good on this truck, the dark grey with light grey interior give it a rugged yet still classy style. One thing that could be done is the engine compartment could use a little cleaning. Overall this is a nice low mileage, fully documented LM002 Lamborghini and it can be found here with an estimate of $200,000 – $300,000 dollars. We believe it will bring around the $200,000 dollar range, give or take.
Barrett-Jackson is perhaps the most watched auction and the most well-known out of all of the sales going on during the week in Arizona especially since it is nationally televised. Barrett really has hundreds of “run of the mill” filler cars that literally range from $5000 dollar cars to over a million dollars and there are very few cars that are on the same level as the cars in the other auctions during the week, but they do have a few cars that do really stand out. The first car that we think is something that just screams cool and is actually pretty significant is the 1964 Cheetah that was built at Bill Thomas Race cars in Anaheim, CA.
If you don’t know about the Cheetah or what it is, it was an actual car that was built by Bill Thomas Race cars in California from 1963 through 1966. The idea was to compete with Caroll Shelbys Cobra, but the Cheetah never really took off and only 23 were produced in total. This particular car, chassis #006 was a competition car that was built for the owner of a Cadillac dealer in California and was used for road use only and then its second owner raced it at Laguna Seca, Riverside, Willow Springs, Pomona, Bend (Oregon), Odessa (Texas), Star Dust, War Bonnet, Davis Monthan AFB (Tucson, AZ), Santa Barbara, Airport #2 (Utah). It had 5 years of SCCA/FIA racing under its belt and it was 1968 Southern Pacific region SCCA A/SR Champion with the 427 L88. The drivers were Jack Goodman, Mike Jones, Ralf Piccard, Jim Phillips and Sid Harmon. Very cool car. It was originally ordered with a 327/375HP fuel injected engine, but was later changed in 1968 to the 427 L88 engine and a Muncie 4 speed which it has today, great combination. We believe the engine change does not affect its value at all since it was done during the period. When looking at the photos the car it looks like it has definitely been restored and unfortunately vintage raced, so it has a cheesy looking aluminum radiator in it, an ugly reproduction steering wheel and the worst part are the really bad homemade seat covers which kind of give it a kit car feel. It’s a good car and it deserves some better attention to detail. Overall, this is a very cool original Cheetah and it can be found here with no estimate, but we believe this car should fetch in the $350,000 – $400,000 range.
The last that we will cover that is a worthwhile car in the Barrett sale is a 1963 Corvette Z06 “Big Tank” Coupe.
This is a very interesting car; it is one of only 5 “big tank” fuel-injected Corvettes assigned to Mickey Thompson, then GM race team manager and driver. To really add to this cars level of cool, it was Mickey Thompson’s personal driver (which is apparently documented) and it was one of only 63 N03 Big Tank 1963 Corvette Sting Ray coupes with the RPO Z06 racing option. According to Barrett-Jackson, the “RPO Z06 Special Equipment Package based on fully independent underpinnings, the new ‘Vette formed an outstanding basis for the race-bred RPO Z06 enhancements including a thicker front stabilizer bar, larger diameter shock absorbers and higher rate springs. Braking was improved with greater fade resistance from sintered metallic brake linings, while a dual-circuit master cylinder and vacuum booster enhanced safety and reduced pedal effort.” Also, if you don’t know, “Big Tank” is referring to the larger 36 gallon fuel tank which is beneficial for endurance racing for less refueling. When studying the photos of the car it looks like a very nice restoration and described by Barrett as a very correct one at that and it looks it. From what can be seen, the paint looks very nice, the interior is correct and also very well executed and the engine compartment is very clean. Hopefully Barrett will provide more photos of the undercarriage and numbers and whatever NCRS documents they have for the potential bidders who will not be on site. Overall it is a very cool Corvette and it can be found here. We believe the car will fetch in the $600,000 – $700,000 dollar range. It should be noted that the Worldwide Auctioneers sale also has a Bloomington gold winning 1963 fuel Injected Z06 “Big Tank” split window as well, so it should be interesting to see two of the 63 being auctioned off in the same weekend. Although the Barrett car was owned by Mickey Thompson, it all comes down to the NCRS documentation and the Worldwide car seems to shine when it comes to that. We will see.