Some people can’t wait for the Christmas catalogs to arrive, which used to happen after Thanksgiving but now seems to occur soon after Labor Day. However, for classic car enthusiasts, the wish-book catalogs arrive much later, and especially so this year when the Arizona auctions have been pushed back a couple of weeks because the college football bowl and championship games have been hogging all the hotel rooms hereabouts.
But I’m finally getting into the holiday spirit since the first of the Arizona auction catalogs has arrived. Actually, the first and second since Gooding & Company does separate publications for its upcoming two-day, Friday (January 29) and Saturday (January 30), sale.
I sat down with the goodly Gooding books and went through them page by page, inserting Post-it Flags whenever something really grabbed my attention. Here are the cars I flagged (well, at least on my first trip through the books):
Lot 9: 1970 Ferrari 365 GT 2+2, though probably not for the usual reasons. For one thing, this Ferrari isn’t even red. But while the argento metallizzato (gray metallic) color wasn’t what attracted my attention, here’s what did: The car was purchased new (in this same gray shade) by Albert R. Broccoli, which I’d argue makes this as genuine a Bond, James Bond car as any Aston Martin because Broccoli was the producer of so many of the 007 movies. By the way, the catalog notes that Broccoli kept the car for 17 years and drove it some 21,400 miles.
Lot 17: 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 C station wagon, which the catalog notes is the only one of its kind, having been custom-built by German coachbuilder Binz for Caroline Foulke, whose grandfather was a founder of the American Tobacco Company.
Lot 22: 1961 Kurtis Kraft midget racer. No famous Indy driver raced this midget. Nonetheless, one of my first newspaper jobs involved covering midget races and I’ve been a sucker for the mighty mites of open-wheeled racing ever since.
Lot 29: 1948 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Super Sport cabriolet, a one-off Stablimenti Farina-bodied car that looks a lot like the car on the Classic Car News license plate I just ordered for myself as a Christmas present.
Lot 33: 1950 Ferrari 166 MM/195 S Berlinetta Le Mans, but like the 365 GT 2+2, not for the reasons you might expect. First, there’s the brilliant blue paint. Second, the car was originally owned by Briggs Cunningham. Third, among its most-recent owners was the late Bill Jacobs, the Chevrolet dealer in my home town back in Illinois. My parents bought their ’57 Chevy from Bill’s father. I was fortunate to strike up a friendship with Bill through the Copperstate 1000 vintage rally here in Arizona.
Lot 34: 1957 Fiat 600 Mirafiori, which looks really cool in the photo on its opening spread in the catalog, but then you turn the page and see that the top comes off, turning it into a three-row roadster!
Lot 44: 1956 Austin-Healty 100/4 BN2 coupe, which I’d never seen before, and for good reason: The catalog notes this is a one-off with a fastback roof and was owned by the originally buyer for 57 years.
Lot 46: 1955 Alfa Romeo 1900C SS Coupe Speciale, because of its one-off Boano bodywork, which I’d actually seen just a few months ago when it was part of the preservation class at Pebble Beach.
Lot 51: 1929 Duesenberg Model J dual cowl phaeton originally owned by John Duval Dodge, whose father was one of the original Dodge brothers. There’s something delicious about a Detroit auto-making family member buying outside the Big Three brands.
Lots 59 and 60: 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster and 1960 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL, a “his-and-hers” pair recently garage-found in San Diego after more than 20 years in storage.
Lot 118: 1962 Maserati 3500 GTi Spider, a dust-covered 51,000-mile survivor found after spending more than 20 years in a garage in Enid, Oklahoma.
Lot 143: 1931 Bugatti Type 49 Grand Sport with only two “owners” since new, though in between them the car spent a couple of years in the Stratford upon Avon Motor Museum.