HomeThe MarketArizona auctions provide a feast of European classics

Arizona auctions provide a feast of European classics


One in a series of previews for the 2015 Arizona classic car auctions

1931 Minerva built in Belgium but bodied in New York | Darin Schnabel photo for RM
1931 Minerva built in Belgium, bodied in New York | Darin Schnabel photo for RM

You might want to take a deep breath for this one. We’re going to try to highlight the European cars that will be available for bidding at the upcoming Arizona classic car auctions.

Yes, we know, that’s likely to be a lot to digest in one sitting, but we’ll break them down into hopefully bite-sized servings. Think of them as the various courses at a fine French restaurant, speaking of which, let’s start with French cars:

At RM, Lot 146 is a 1937 Bugatti Type 57C Ventoux believed to have been the Paris show car and known to be the factory demonstrator driven by Pierre Veyron. Also at RM, Lot 132 is a 1993 Bugatti EB110 GT, the sixth of 139 built as the Bugatti brand returned to production. At Bonhams, Lot 146 is a 1938 Bugatti Type 57 roadster and Lot 153 is a 196 Facel Vega. At Barrett-Jackson, Lot 5087 is a 1949 Talbot Lago T-26 Grand Sport, one of three by Franay; Lot 5100 is a 1937 Delahaye 135 MS Chapron; and Lot 5087 is a 1937 Delahaye 135 M roadster by Figoni et Falashi originally sold and years later rediscovered in Algeria.

While French cars may be rare at the Arizona auctions, even more scarce are Belgian beauties; RM Lot 226 is a 1931 Minerva AL convertible with one-off bodywork by Rollston, the New York coachbuilder.

OK, let’s jump across the channel to England.

Aston Martin
At Bonhams, Lot 148 is one of 123 1964 DB5 convertibles and expected to fetch $1.5 million or more, and Lot 155 is a Mulliners-bodied 1955 DB2/4 convertible. At Gooding, Lot 35 is a 1961 DB4 with coachwork by Touring, and Lot 121 is an unrestored 1960 DB4 with 45 years ownership by the same family At RM, Lot 216 is a 500-mile 2003 DB7 Zagato coupe, Lot 217 is an 800-mile 2003 DB AR1 roadster, Lot 218 is a 1967 DB6 Vantage with 45 years of history with its original owner, and Lot 239 is a 1958 DB2/4 MK III originally owned by “Wacky” Arnolt.

At RM, Lot 233 is a 1953 R-type Continental previously parked in a couple of very well-respected garages.

At Bonhams, Lot 105 is a 1961 E-type roadster with more than 50 years in single-family ownership; Lot 132 is a 24,000-mile 1962 E-type coupe; Lot 167 is a 1962 E-type, modified with an E2A-style headrest and emerging after 37 years in storage; and Lot 172 is a 22,000-mile 1955 XK140 MC roadster. At Gooding, Lot 141 is a 1959 XK150. At RM, Lot 208 is an original 1966 E-type Series 1 roadster, and Lot 240 is a black 1961 E-type Series I roadster with red interior. At Russo and Steele, Lot 2153 is a 1968 XK-E roadster.

At Gooding, Lot 27 is a Mulliner-Bodied 1958 Silver Cloud I convertible, Lot 48 is a 1961 Phantom V Sedanca de Ville with coachwork by James Young, Lot 128 is a 1923 40/50-HP Silver Ghost barrel-sided tourer. At Barrett-Jackson, the 5000 Series includes a 1925 Springfield Silver Ghost Riviera town car (Lot 5094), a 1929 Phantom I Ascot Tourer (Lot 5084), a 1930 Phantom I Newmarket (Lot 5096) and a 1947 Silver Wraith with convertible bodywork by Franay (Lot 5077).

At RM, Lot 137 is a 1965 Tiger coupe and Lot 138 is 1967 Tiger roadster.

Back across the channel to the continent, where we’ll see some of what’s available from Germany and some non-Ferrari Italian cars…

Mercedes-Benz 300SLs are pretty much the gold standard when it comes to classic cars. Gullwing coupes may be more fascinating to the eye, and a little more expensive for the wallet, but the roadsters are what you want for those 1,000-mile classic car tours.

We count 11 300SLs available at four Arizona auction venues, four at Gooding & Company, three at Bonhams and three at RM, and one at Barrett-Jackson. The one at Barrett-Jackson is a 1955 coupe, one of three sold new in Guatemala, where it remained until spending 20 years in storage in the United States before being restored in 2006. Here are the others:

At Bonhams, Lot 112 is a 1955 gullwing formerly owned by the prime minster of Northern Ireland, Lot 139 is a 1958 roadster and Lot 157 is a ’57 roadster. At Gooding, Lot 14 is a ’59 roadster, Lot 57 is a ’62 roadster with more than 30 years of single-family ownership (and a pre-auction value of as much as $2.25 million), Lot 119 is a ’56 Gullwing and Lot 149 is an unrestored ’60 roadster, also with three decades of one-owner history. At RM, Lot 111 is a ’57 roadster being sold by its owner for the last 40 years, Lot 228 is a ’62 Roadster and Lot 238 is ’55 is a coupe.

Two other Mercedes of significant note: At Bonhams, Lot 177 is a 1953 300S coupe purchased new by William M. Keck and coming to auction from his estate. At RM, Lot 139 is a spectacular 1937 540K Sport Cabriolet A with a pre-auction estimated value of $3.4 to $4 million. At Barrett-Jackson, Lot 5076 is a 1953 Mercedes 300S cabriolet.

Will 1980s Audi quattro fetch half a million dollars? | Erik Fuller photo for RM
Can 1980s Audi quattro fetch half a million dollars? | Erik Fuller photo for RM

Before we turn our attention to Porsches, here are two other German cars to watch: At Gooding, Lot 51 is a 1959 BMW 507 with a pre-auction estimated value in the $2 million neighborhood, while RM Lot 247 is a 1984 Audi Sport quattro, one of 214 built for Group B homologation, expected to push half-a-million dollars.

For the moment, we’re ignoring Porsche racing cars, not because they aren’t demanding huge dollars at auction but because we’ll focus on racing cars as part of our preview series later in the week. But while Porsche racers are setting the pace, the road-going models are accelerating quickly in the bidding race.

For example, Lot 42 at Gooding is a 1973 911 Carrera 2.7 RSH, one of 17 and this one an unconverted homologation car with a pre-auction estimated value of $1.25 million to $1.5 million. Also at Gooding, Lot 142 is a 1988 959 Sport, one of only 29 such cars. RM also has a 1988 959; Lot 130 is the Komfort version. At Bonhams, Lot 166 is a 1973 911 Carrera RS 2.7. At Russo and Steele, Lot 2275 is a Euro 1974 Carrera 2.7 RS original owned by the Prince of Bahrain.

Catching our eyes as well is an intriguing group of 356 Porsches — a ’64 sunroof coupe (RM Lot 142), a ’61 Super Hardtop Karmann (Bonhams Lot 119), a ’55 Emory Special (RM Lot 263), and a ’59 A convertible (Gooding Lot 45).

So now we hop over the Alps to Italy to check out some of the non-Ferrari offerings at the Arizona auctions. In terms of numbers and value, Lamborghinis and Maseratis dominate:

Gooding (Lot 113) and RM (Lot 212) each has a 1970 Lamborghini Miura P400S, and each is valued at more than $1 million. Gooding’s catalog also includes a gorgeous 1968 Lamborghini 400 GT 2+2 (Lot 117) while RM’s includes a 1988 Contact 5000 QV (Lot 114), a 1979 Contact LP 400S (Lot 237) and a 1971 Miura SVJ (Lot 119) with a pre-auction estimated value of $2 million to $2.6 million.

Bonhams’ Lot 110 is a Touring-bodied 1963 Maserati 3500 GTi coupe. Lot 40 at Gooding is one of 21 such Allemano-bodied 1956 Maserati A6G/2000 coupes and is emerging from storage after 30 years while Lot 44 is a 1959 Maserati 3500 GT with Touring coachwork. At RM, Lot 223 is a 1961 Maserati 3500 GT Spyder with Vignale body and a pre-auction estimate that reaches to $1.2 million.

Also of particular interest are an unrestored 1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ that was hidden away from the late 1960s until sometime last year and now is being offered as-is at Gooding (Lot 135), and at RM, a 1968 Iso Grifo (Lot 133), a 1971 Lancia Fulvia Sport Zagato (Lot 204) and a 1961 Ghia coupe (Lot 254), a 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS (Lot 5083) at Barrett-Jackson and a LeBaron-bodied 1927 Isotta Fraschini 8A S dual-cowl phaeton (Lot 5081) at Barrett-Jackson.


Larry Edsall
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.
  1. Very disappointed you going with Velosity Channel you know to get that ..,1channel it would have cost $10.00 a mouth and I’d had to take it out for 2 yrs. They could not come out til this Mon. After your Auction is over. If I would have changed to Dish a service call would have cost $ 249.00. Than extra remotes would have been $50.00 more. They couldn’t get out til Tue. So. I think you really screwed your people who watch your acution every year and register to bid than can’t even call in BC we have no damn idea what’s going on. What a joke Don Jackson!!! What Brian came up with this pea bean idea? We are fully discussed. I will definitely buy at Melcum and not you! What you don’t make enough!! From the cars!! Now he want pieces of the TV show!! BULL!!! Getting Mighty Greedy Donnie Boy!!

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