HomeThe MarketHigh-performance classics reign at RM Sotheby’s Amelia auction

High-performance classics reign at RM Sotheby’s Amelia auction


Editor’s note: The ClassicCars.com Journal is your source for Amelia Island news – from collector car auctions and shows to the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Read more of our coverage on our dedicated page.

RM Sotheby’s has released its catalog of the 141 automobiles, automobilia and a motorcycle that will be offered March 8-9 at the annual Amelia Island collector car auction, including “a roster of incredible performance automobiles from the 1930s through today.”

Stars of the auction are two pieces of high-powered exclusivity from very different times and places: a 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Tourer, its engine boosted to 200 horsepower by a Roots-type supercharger, and a rare 1965 Shelby 427 Competition Cobra, one of just 19 produced by the factory, and with significant racing history.

Shelby Cobra
The Amelia Island auction typically attracts a crowed of spectators

The official auction of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, the RM Sotheby’s sale is held at the Ritz-Carlton Resort where the concours takes place Sunday, March 10, on the fairways of the resort’s golf course.

The sale also will feature the continuing offerings from the Youngtimers Collection of future classic cars from the modern era, as well as a specially painted Fender Stratocaster electric guitar that honors the “Cars of the Rock Stars” concours class, and which will be sold to benefit the charities of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Foundation.

Only a handful of Type 57s were bodied by Corsica

Just over 40 Bugatti Type 57S cars were built, adding power and performance to the standard Type 57, with 16 made with open coachwork like this dramatic-looking 4-seat tourer designed by Corsica. The added supercharger raised the Bugatti 57SC’s top speed to 12o miles per hour, making it the fastest French production car of the time.

“The Bugatti comes to Amelia Island having formerly been a centerpiece in the Judge North, General Lyons and Blackhawk Collections,” RM Sotheby’s says in a news release. “While in the hands of the Blackhawk Collection, a full restoration was performed, and the car was displayed on the lawn at Pebble Beach in 2003 to much fanfare.”

The Type 57SC, which retains its original body, chassis, engine and gearbox, has a pre-auction estimated value of $6 million to $7 million.

The competition Cobra still has its original body

The Shelby, chassis CSX 3006, has the distinction of being the only 427 Cobra to win a major European race outright.

“Equipped from the factory with a potent competition 427 side-oiler aluminum-head engine, the Cobra on offer was delivered new to William G. Freeman of Muncie, Indiana,” the release says. “Freeman campaigned the car in two SCCA races before he was offered a contract in Europe and had to put to put it up for sale.

“It eventually landed with The Chequered Flag in England, where its debut was in the 1966 Brands Hatch Ilford 500 at the hands of former Shelby American Team driver Bob Bondurant, paired with unparalleled long-distance racer David Piper. With wet conditions looming, the Cobra left two Ford GT40s, a lightweight Jaguar E-Type, and a Ferrari 250 LM in its trail spray, taking the overall win after six grueling hours.”

The Shelby is right-hand drive, as raced at Brands Hatch

The Cobra was owned by a number of noted Shelby collectors, finally arriving in the hands of Larry Bowman, who in 2003 “sent the car to Legendary Motorcar Company for a no-expense-spared restoration to its Brands Hatch-winning configuration, even finding the original lightweight custom seats that Piper and Bondurant used in 1966 – which are included with the sale.”

“The car would then land with Gary Bartlett of Muncie, Indiana, the same town the car was delivered to nearly five decades earlier,” the release notes. “Under Bartlett’s ownership, it was presented at such important events as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Goodwood Revival and the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.”

The Cobra, which the auction says is ready to drive on the road, in a rally or on the track, has an estimated value of $3 million to $4 million.

Other high-performance sports cars, GTs and racers that will be offered (with descriptions by RM Sotheby’s) include:

1965 Ferrari 275 GTB, chassis 06899, retaining its original, matching-numbers engine, meticulously restored by Motion Products, Inc. in 2017 to its original Argento color over Nero seats with grey cloth inserts, and wearing its original sunburst wheels (Est. $2,200,000-$2,400,000).

2005 Maserati MC12 Corsa, the incredible 755-bhp, track-only version of Maserati’s iconic 21st century supercar, one of just 13 examples built, and the ultimate private racing car (Est. $1.6 million to $2 million).

2015 McLaren P1, one of 375 examples built, finished in optional Volcano Red, showing less than 750 miles and recently serviced by McLaren Tampa (Est. $1.4 million to $1.6 million).

2015 Porsche 918 Spyder, exceptionally well-optioned, showing less than 1,300 miles and finished in dark blue metallic over black interior (Est. $1.250 million to $1,5 million).

1960 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II, chassis 1805 GT, the 19th Series II Cabriolet built, fully restored by marque specialists in Modena and accompanied by a factory-correct hardtop (Est. $1.15 million to $1.3 million).

2009 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722 S Roadster “McLaren Edition,” the only example like it ever built, showing less than 4,900 miles and coming to Amelia Island with full McLaren upgrades, including unique engine (Est. $800,000 to $1 million, offered without reserve).

2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring Package, one of just 50 Nürburgring Package cars, offered from single ownership, showing just 1,615 km and accompanied by a factory luggage set (Est. $825,000 to $925,000).

For more information about RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island sale, and to view the newly released digital catalog, visit the auction website.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


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