A group of specially bodied Italian sports cars are among the highlights of the docket for Gooding & Company’s 15th annual Pebble Beach auction, scheduled for August 24-25 during Monterey Car Week on the northern California peninsula.
The cars present a showcase of the work of Carrozzeria Frua, Zagato, Pininfarina and Bertone, the auction house said in its news release.
“Between the mid-1950s and mid-1960s, the art of custom coachbuilding reached its zenith in Italy,” David Brynan, senior specialist at Gooding, is quoted in the company’s news release. “Firms like Pininfarina, Zagato, Frua and Bertone produced some of their finest work during this period, and their most extraordinary designs were realized for exclusive Italian manufacturers such as Ferrari, Maserati, and Siata.
“The cars presented here perfectly capture this tradition, combining thoroughbred chassis with the finest custom coachwork.”
Topping the list, and expected to sell for $5.5 million to $6.5 million, is a 1955 Maserati AG6GCS/53 Spider with custom bodywork by Frua.
“The man responsible for commissioning this remarkable car was Guglielmo ‘Mimmo’ Dei, the official Maserati dealer in Rome who later founded the racing team Scuderia Centro Sud,” Gooding & Co. said in its announcement.
“The last of three such examples commissioned by Dei, this A6GCS/53 Spider is widely recognized as Pietro Frua’s greatest contribution to the art of Italian coachbuilding.”
Gooding called the car, in black with a cream stripe, “perfectly proportioned and possessing intricate details,” and noted that the car has been owned by a series of prominent collectors, was restored in 2010 and won best in class and the Coppa d’Oro (people’s choice) award at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa e’Este.
Also on the docket is a 1956 Maserati A6G/54 Berlinetta bodied by Zagato. Expected to sell for $4.3 million to $4.6 million, the car (chassis 2155) is the 17th of 20 with such lightweight alloy and double-bubble-roofed bodies.
“After being raced at the 1956 Mille Miglia, 1957 Trieste-Opicina Hillclimb and other period races, 2155 was re-bodied by Zagato in 1958 as a unique design study for the new 3500 GT model,” Gooding & Co. noted.
The car was restored about a decade ago and has been shown at Pebble Beach (2009), The Quail: A Motor Sports Gathering (2010) and again at Pebble Beach (2014 as part of a Maserati centennial celebration).
Pininfarina did the body on a 1967 Ferrari 330 GTC Speciale, chassis 09653 and one of only four such cars.
“Finished in Aurora Blue with black upholstery, this Ferrari was displayed on the Pininfarina stand at the 1967 Geneva Motor Show, and then delivered new to famed American heart surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey,” Gooding & Co. reported. “Eventual owners included noted Ferrari collectors Norm Silver and John Mecom Jr., both of whom focused on limited-production coachbuilt Ferraris.”
The car was restored in 1991 and in 1992 won its class and the Luigi Chinetti Award at the Ferrari Club national meet and the Vintage Ferrari Concours at Concorso Italiano, but it has not been shown since that season.
The car’s pre-sale estimated value is $3.3 million to $3.8 million.
Also from Pininfarina is a 1966 Ferrari Dino Berlinetta GT, the second prototype for the Ferrari Dino production car.
“This one-off Pininfarina show car featured a two-liter Dino engine, placed longitudinally rather than transversely, as seen in the production model,” Gooding & Co. notes. “It was this car that inspired the final design of the subsequent 206 and 246 GTs, among the most revered production models in Ferrari history.”
Estimated to be worth $2 million to $3 million, “For the past 25 years, this groundbreaking Ferrari has been a crown jewel in one of the most impressive private collections of postwar Italian sports cars ever assembled,” Gooding & Co. said.
“During this period, the Berlinetta GT has been featured in countless books and articles on Ferrari, Pininfarina, and the Dino model.”
Also featuring custom coachwork on the Gooding & Co. docket are a 1952 Siata 208 CS Corse Spider not only bodied by but formerly owned and raced by Nuccio Bertone ($1.8 million to $2.2 million) and a 1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Super Sport cabriolet by Pinin Farina with special-order blue-metallic paint ($800,000 to $1 million).