What I’d like to take home from Gooding auction

What I’d like to take home from Gooding auction

European sports cars reign at Gooding & Company’s Florida auction at Amelia Island, including a rich collection of 17 Porsches and 15 Ferraris.

This gleaming 1953 Fiat 8V Coupe is a one of the auction stars | Bob Golfen

This gleaming 1953 Fiat 8V Coupe is a one of the auction stars, and one of my favorites | Bob Golfen photos

European sports cars reign at Gooding & Company’s Florida auction at Amelia Island, including a rich collection of 17 Porsches and 15 Ferraris, as well as Lamborghinis, Jaguars, Maseratis and MGs, plus an Austin Healey BN7, an Alfa Romeo Guilia Spider and a Sunbeam Tiger powered by a Ford V8.

Two of the auction stars are a gloriously original 1956 Maserati 200 SI sports racer that has survived unscathed with its factory engine and bodywork and a 1953 Fiat 8V Coupe with a streamlined body by Vignale.

Leslie and Leigh Keno with a preserved Ferrari 275 GTB/4

Leslie and Leigh Keno with a preserved 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4

Gooding’s sale attracted a strong crowd of spectators and potential buyers to the preview Thursday. Among them were the enjoyable  twin brothers Leigh and Leslie Keno of Antiques Roadshow fame, who told me about their strong desire to see original cars being kept in preserved condition rather than erasing their histories by restoring them.

“Our cause célèbre in life is to raise awareness about protecting and preserving these historic cars,” said Leslie Keno, who will be joining his brother in helping to judge the preservation class, naturally, at the Amelia island Concours d’Elegance on Sunday.

The auction includes a number of preserved and “barn-find” vehicles that have been rising in desirability and value in recent years, including a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 that wears a rich patina of age, a Ferrari Dino coupe with paint that is mottled and crazed, and a 1959 Porsche 356 coupe still layered with crusty dirt after being pulled from a California garage where it had been stored since 1971.

The auction, which takes place today at Omni Amelia Island Resort’s Racquet Park, starts at 11 a.m. with 87 cars crossing the block.

Here are my personal favorites:

1965 Pontiac GTO hardtop
This beauty, a former drag racer, was lusciously restored in Montero Red and rides on correct Red Line bias-ply tires. My kind of muscle car.
1953 Fiat 8V Coupe
Kind of a no-brainer, I know, but this featured car is an absolute joy to behold with its rare streamlined bodywork by Vignale. And it’s valued between $1.6 million and $2 million.
1965 Maserati Sebring Series 1
Another coachbuilt car, this time by Michelotti, the Sebring is a stunning beauty that cries out for a long, long road trip. I overheard many admiring remarks about this one.
1934 Packard Eight 1101 Coupe Roadster
A true classic in every way (and the SCCA agrees), the brawny Packard has a strong presence with its monumental size yet sporty style.
1955 Porsche 356 Continental Cabriolet
Among the many terrific Porsches on hand, I like this ragtop that has been carefully preserved after a 1990s restoration.
1966 Shelby GT350H
Always a favorite, the Shelby hails from the Hertz “rent-a-racer” days and is finished in the rare color combination of Wimbledon White with gold stripes.
1958 Fiat 100 TV Trasformabile
I’d really like to present this cool little critter to my ClassicCars.com colleague Larry Edsall, who is currently questing for his first collector car.

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