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Auction houses already looking beyond Arizona, Kissimmee


Lamborghini Countach 'Koenig' sculpture by Benedict Radcliffe to be sold at RM's Paris auction.
Lamborghini Countach ‘Koenig’ sculpture by Benedict Radcliffe to be sold at RM’s Paris auction.

The bidding hasn’t even begun in Arizona or Kissimmee, but the auction houses already are touting their upcoming classic car sales.

For example:

  • “Excitement builds as RM prepares for magnificent 2014 Paris sale during Retromobile week,” a new release proclaims;
  • “Esteemed Pray Collection to headline RM’s 16th annual Amelia Island sale,” another release reports;
  • “Rare 1963 Shelby 2789 Cobra leads exciting line up at Auctions America’s Fort Lauderdale Sale,” says yet another;
  • “Bonhams to auction very rare ex-works team Ferrari 375-plus sports racing car.”

Photo courtesy of Bonhams
Photo courtesy of Bonhams

Note that Bonhams sale doesn’t take place until late June, in conjunction with the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed in England, where Bonhams will offer up the car that Umberto Maglioli drove in the 1954 Mille Miglia, that Froilan Gonzalez drove to victory that year at Silverstone and that Maglioli and Paolo Marzotto raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The car has become available in part because Bonhams helped to settle a dispute between two families which had been embroiled in a long-running dispute over who actually owned the car. The buyer gets both the restored car and its original bodywork from the 1957 Cuban Grand Prix

That RM sale Feb. 5 in Paris during Retromobile week (Europe’s big mid-winter classic car gathering) also will feature a famed Ferrari racer that comes with its original bodywork. The 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza Spider at the RM auction is the car that was driven to victories by Phil Hill and Carroll Shelby after Piero Taruffi and Harry Schell took it to a fifth-place overall finish at Sebring.

The car later went through several owners — one even installing a Chevy V8 engine — and the car sat outside a barn in Azie, Texas, for 30 years until being “discovered” in 1994. The car was sold to a collector in Australia who launched a full restoration that included new bodywork to replace what remained of the original sheetmetal. A correct engine also was part of the restoration.

The sale in Paris will include not only the restored car but the original weathered bodywork and all the Le Mans/Hill/Shelby provenance (see photo).

Photo courtesy RM Auctions
Photo courtesy RM Auctions

The Ferrari is part of the collection of Australian Peter Harburg being sold at Paris by RM. Hartung’s cars include a 1973 Porsche 917/30 Can-Am Spyder, a 1950 Aston Martin DB2 that race in the inaugural endurance race at Sebring, a 1964 Porsche 904 Carrera GTS, a 1982 Porsche 956 Group C sports prototype, a 1955 Jaguar D-type, and a Sbarro-bodied 1969 Lola T70 Mk. IIIb.

Speaking of collectors, 17 cars from the estate of Malcolm S. Pray Jr. , at one time the largest Porsche and Saab dealer in the United States, will be offered at RM’s Amelia Island auction March 8, including a 1937 Delahaye 135 Compeetition Court roadster with Figoni et Falaschi bodywork.

The following week, March 14-16, Auctions America opens its 2014 ground-based auction season at Fort Lauderdale with some 450 vehicles, among them a 1963 Shelby 289 Cobra.

However, Auctions America actually launches its 2014 calendar January 24-25 with an on-line only automobilia sale featuring some 400 from the Wally Arnold Collection and another 400 from another private collection.

Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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