The 400-horsepower 1965 Ferrari 500 Superfast greets visitors to Gooding’s collection | Larry Edsall
As usual, Gooding & Company’s selection of collector vehicles is quite impressive, making it difficult to whittle my favorites to a mere nine. Forgetting about values and such (this is an exercise in dreaming, after all), I tried to hit a wide range of types and vintages without indulging my own desires. Too much.
Picking all Porsches would be wrong, I was told, despite there being such a strong contingent of them at Gooding.
This auction is not for the faint of wallet, with few cars displaying estimated values that dip below six figures, and some reaching into the millions. Lots of Ferraris and other Italian performance cars, plenty of Porsches from early 356s to contemporary supercars, plus many beautiful classics from Europe and the U.S. Unusual for Gooding, there are a few popular muscle cars, which have been a bright spot in the collector car world as of late.
My picks are not necessarily the most valuable standouts of Gooding’s auction, which starts Friday and Saturday at 11 am, but those that for whatever reason, stood out for me.
1969 American Motors AMX/3 Getting right down to business, the unique experimental AMX/3 is one of the coolest cars up for auction anywhere during Arizona Car Week, in my humble opinion. A collaboration between AMC design chief Dick Teague, acclaimed Italian engineer Giotto Bizzarrini and BMW, the mid-engine supercar looks superb standing in the Gooding tent. Great history and, as noted, totally cool.
1920 Stutz Series H Bearcat Has there ever been a greater name for a car than Stutz Bearcat? This was a slightly more civilized sports car for the Roaring ’20s, with actual doors and a top, from a company that made its name on the race track. In bright yellow with black fenders, it’s the cat’s meow.
1962 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale With luscious coachwork designed by Franco Scaglione, famous for creating the fabulous Alfa Romeo B.A.T. show cars, the Sprint Speciale is a rolling artwork that just looks better the more you look at it. This one has been gorgeously restored, and besides being incredible to see, it would be better to drive. The little coupe is crying out for a long road trip.
1969 BMW R60/2 with Hollandia sidecar There was a time in my life when this would have been perfect. I owned a BMW R50, a less-powerful version of this motorcycle, and I wanted a beautiful sidecar to go with it. I was totally enamored with the clunky Earles Forks front end that eliminated dive under braking, designed specifically for sidecar stability. My BMW was as reliable as a hammer, and I still regret trading it away. This would make a fine replacement.
1965 Porsche 356 SC Cabriolet Porsches do it for me, especially a terrific late-model 356 Cabriolet with the strong 95-horsepower SC engine. That might not sound like much, but when the car weighs essentially nothing, it’s plenty. These agile cars are so much fun to drive, and the convertible top would be a welcomed benefit. So would the four-wheel disc brakes that Porsche added to its last-generation 356s.
1973 Porsche 911 2.4 S OK, so here’s another Porsche, this one a highly desirable “long-hood” 911 S coupe, the final year before the DOT stepped in with bumper-height rules and such that changed things up. A largely original car in glossy black with matching numbers, the much-vaunted sunroof and air conditioning (not that it works that great), this 190-horsepower beauty deserves a new home. In my garage.
1959 AC Ace Bristol While I am generally critical of cars in which my too-tall body does not fit, I think the AC Ace is the most beautiful and appealing roadster ever. Obviously, the template for the great Shelby Cobra with its Ford V8, this Ace is powered by a 125-horsepower Bristol inline-6. The Ace might not be as fast as the Cobra, but it delivers a wonderful driving experience. Or so I have been told.
1980 Ferrari 512 Berlinetta Boxer The Boxer is as macho as its name would suggest, a spectacularly streamlined supercar designed by Carrozzeria Scaglietti powered by a thunderous 5.0-liter flat-12 fed by a quartet of Weber carburetors. This one has been driven just over 14,000 miles, which makes it a great preservation piece, but which makes me wonder how one could own such a rocking car and not drive it every chance you had.
1953 Fiat 1100 Cabriolet At the other end of the Italian spectrum is this rare variation of Fiat’s family car, an attractive little droptop designed by the prodigious Giovanni Michelotti for Carrozzeria Allemano as an auto-show display car. I’ve never seen one of these, of which there are believed to be just three surviving – a coupe and two convertibles – from the small production series. It is cute and sporty, and it would be a fun car for driving around town.