Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Cash Money Tendered: The Top Sales from the Amelia Island Auctions

Three Ferraris, three Porsches, a Ford, a Mercedes, a Bugatti, and a Duesenberg. If you were looking for your high-value targets at the Amelia Island auctions, your best bet was midcentury European iron wearing a badge with a black horse. The Modenese machinery brought in a collective $24,310,000 from anxious bidders, which dwarfed the $11,195,00 total for the Zuffenhausen trio. The lion’s share of the Ferrari dollars came courtesy of a Bueller-iffic 1961 250GT California SWB Spider, which sold for $17,160,000. Amelia Island remains a relatively relaxed affair, with none of the event-to-event classic-car gridlock of Monterey, nor the frenetic hoopla of the Scottsdale auctions. The serious guys have to be at Monterey. You get the sense they show up in Florida because they want to be there. And unless the classic-car market craters, the auctions surrounding the Amelia Island concours will only grow in stature.Magnificent! Imposing! The best of America! It’s the Duesenberg Model J, a car so important that the NYSE halted trading when it was announced on December 1st, 1928. This particular car wears a Murphy body with a “disappearing top.” What’s more, it has never undergone restoration. It was sold new to a West Virginia lumberman for $13,500, which is about $210,000 today. So for the price of gas, oil, tires, brake shoes, a huge tub of Turtle Wax and some leather-care products, the selling price of $2,640,000 at Gooding’s Amelia Island auction seems like a pretty nice return on that initial investment.This is only the second time in its 85-year life that this car been offered for public sale, and if the new owner drives and displays the car as its previous owners have, we’d recommend giving it an ogle if you run across it. There’s just nothing quite like a Duesenberg in the metal.1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Coupe sold for $2,750,000 (Bonhams)This particular example is a U.S.-spec car, delivered in Europe to a Californian. The third owner, Wade Carter, held onto it for 45 years. Other than having its seats reupholstered and regular wear/tear items replaced, this particular car has weathered its years unmolested.Seinfeld Porsche 718 RSKSeinfeld Porsche 718 RSKWanna get out on a lawn somewhere? You could have done worse than picking up this ’37 540K. Wearing what’s allegedly one of only 32 examples of this particular body ever constructed, the supercharged 540s are perennial concours contenders, and at $2,970,000 as sold at Bonhams, it’s practically a bargain.This particular car was sold to André Embricos, and early in its life, wore white paint. Don Williams of the Blackhawk Collection had it restored, and in the process, changed the color to black. While the dark shade is undoubtedly dashing, we don’t find the swap quite as innocuous as we did on the #4 Superamerica. A blue Ferrari’s one thing. A black Mercedes that doesn’t need to be black? Perhaps a bit of a cliché, no?All hail the Mighty Turbopanzer! Alternately known as “the car that killed Can-Am” and “the raddest racecar ever built,” the Sunoco-liveried /30 stands as the most highly evolved of all 917s. Developed by Roger Penske, Mark Donohue, and a bunch of madmen in Weissach, the /30 took the turbocharged flat-twelve concept to its logical conclusion. Compared to the previous year’s 917/10 a car which was still fielded by the rest of the Porsche-driving Can-Am teams, the /30 was nigh unstoppable. Donohue won six out of eight races.This particular car was never campaigned by Penske. Rather, it was delivered in a plain white wrapper to Australian Alan Hamilton. When Porsche bought the machine back, they applied the classic blue/yellow Sunoco/Porsche + Audi color scheme to the car, then sold it in 1994. Jerry Seinfeld acquired it four years ago. And now, after parting with an even three million bucks at Gooding’s sale, somebody else gets to enjoy Donohue’s unfair advantage.When we consider the Ford GT40, the cars that immediately come to mind are the early small-block Mark I cars and big-block Mark IIs. And while the Mark III was the variant of the legendary sports car officially earmarked for road use, FoMoCo did build 31 roadgoing examples of the Mark I.Used as a dealer-promotion vehicle in the Philadelphia area and then sold for $10,000 in 1967 (about $71 grand in today’s dollars), this car carries a 289-cubic-inch V-8 sporting a brace of Webers behind the driver’s head. After some fiddling and widdling over the years by a number of owners, the car was restored to its original configuration and color in 2009. Given that supercar fans are champing at the bit over Ford supercar stuff with this year’s launch of the new GT, it seems an auspicious time to unload a GT40, even one without racing provenance. And the $3,300,000 Gooding collected for this thing will buy a man a few new GTs in a variety of colors.In 1962, this 400 Superamerica graced Pininfarina’s stand at the Turin Auto Show. Since then, the car has filtered through the hands of four families. Between the front fenders, this Aerodinamico carries a factory hot-rodded version of the venerable Colombo V-12, displacing just shy of four liters. A distinguishing feature of this particular car—one of eighteen built—are the lower-fender air extractors.The car was restored once in the 1970s, then again recently, when it acquired its period-correct color change. As delivered, the car was Rosso Cina, but it crossed the block at the RM Sotheby’s auction wearing a Blu Chiaro Metallizzato coat. While the deviation from original spec undoubtedly affected the car’s value adversely, we think it looks stellar, and only the cork-sniffing 355 owners in your local FCA chapter are gonna gripe about it, anyway. And when was the last time those dorks dropped $4,400,000 on a car?Bonus slide: That engine is so clean you could eat off it, but we'd rather climb in there and snuggle with it.Seinfeld-PorscheIf you need to console yourself over the $5,335,000 somebody much wealthier than you paid for this particular mid-engined Porsche, go price first-generation Boxsters on Craigslist. They may not be aircooled, but they do have four cams…When most folks think of Vanden Plas, the image that comes to mind is an uplevel Jaguar XJ. A few demented souls may even remember that the Austin Princess once wore the badge. But before British industry took the brand downmarket, Vanden Plas was one of Europe’s most revered coachbuilders, and this Type 57SC is all the more rare for wearing its bodywork.This particular car was sent to New York, likely raced a bit, and then was sent to England when George Rand, the New York Bugatti concessionaire, was unable to find a buyer. At some point after the war, it acquired a supercharger, and lived for nearly four decades under the care of Jack Robinson. The next owner replaced the Type 35B blower with the correct Type 57 SC unit. At that point the car also acquired its current blue paint job and hydraulic brakes. In short, this Bugatti has lived a helluva life. And in the bizarro-math high-end classic car world, the $9,735,000 this Bug sold for at Bonhams seems almost a pittance for such majesty and history.The Cal Spider, of course, is one of the most desirable Ferraris of all time, perhaps only second to the all-conquering 250GTO. And given that a barn-find California went for $18.5 million last year, the price the seller paid for this example—$17,160,000—nearly seems like a screaming deal. One of 37 covered-headlight SWBs, this example has had three owners since it was first delivered in Milan, appeared in Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1965, and hasn’t been displayed since 1983.Once Gooding and Co. have collected his cash, we hope the new owner brings it to Chicago for the Von Steuben Day Parade. What else are you gonna do with a red Cal Spider? Back it through a plate-glass window?
from Car and Driver Blog

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