Gooding and Company offers another solid selection of sports cars, exotics and classics for Arizona Auction Week, holding its January 17-18 sale once again at the highly desirable venue of Scottsdale Fashion Square in the heart of the upscale city.
As usual, Ferraris and Porsches dominate the Gooding docket, with the 25 Italians edging out the 24 Germans for most numerous among the 140 or so collector cars. Also crossing the block are 11 Mercedes-Benzes, 10 Chevrolets (mostly Corvettes) and 9 Jaguars, including the imaginative XK140 Aerodyne coupe rebodied in the style of prewar French specials.
The auction queen is undoubtedly the 1965 Ferrari 500 Superfast, a curvaceous coupe with an estimated value of $2.5 million to $3 million, followed by an absolutely wonderful 1948 Tucker 48 that is highly original with just 6,200 miles, and valued at $1.75 million $2.25 million.
Admittedly a Porsche geek, I was roundly impressed with this year’s gathering of vintage 911s and 356s. Two of the most intriguing cars on site were a pair of ratty-looking 356s, a coupe and convertible, from a single owner who kept them in secret storage for more than four decades. They are presented as found, dirt and all, in reasonably intact and resto-ready condition.
There’s also a fine selection of pre-war classics, including a totally magnificent 1932 Hispano-Suiza J12 Dual-Cowl Phaeton and a very rare unrestored 1937 BMW 328 sports car.
It was not an easy task to pare down the docket to a group of favorites, but here is what I came up with:
1937 BMW 328
Although I’d have no prayer of folding my 6-foot-6 self being the wheel of this little gem, I can still admire the wonderfulness of such a special car coming out of single-family ownership after 75 years, with the remarkable back story outlined in the Gooding catalog. With its numbers-matching engine and originality, it’s valued at $350,000-$450,000.
1948 Tucker 48
Speaking of survivors, this ultra-low-mileage example of the 51 advanced rear-engine sedans built by Preston Tucker is a real dazzler. Well-documented and coming out of a prestigious collection, this “is among the finest surviving Tuckers, retains its original interior upholstery, and has never required a comprehensive restoration,” Gooding says in its description.
1960 Porsche 356B S90 coupe and 1958 356A cabriolet
Two more survivors, but of the less-glossy variety, these two rough Porsches received constant attention during Wednesday’s preview at Gooding, which always seems to dig up interesting “barn-finds” for its auctions. Selling one after the other without reserves late Saturday, these cars look like great candidates for loving restorations, although the coupe seems like it could be cleaned up and enjoyed as is. Not so much for the convertible, with comes with a removable hardtop but not much else.
1970 Porsche 911 2.2S
Of all the 911s at Gooding, this coupe was my favorite, most likely because of its bright-orange color and S performance configuration. This is also a numbers-matching “long-hood” car in mostly original condition with just over 39,000 miles on its odometer. So, I suppose it is yet another survivor on this list, but one that’s ready to put on the road and add on loads of miles.
1960 Ferrari 250 GT Series II Cabriolet
One of the most-pricey Ferraris on the docket, valued between $1.3 million and $1.5 million, this would be my main choice for a cross-country road trip that never ends. What a beauty, with understated styling by Pinin Farina and a powerful 3-liter V12 under its hood. Hard to beat, really.
1932 Hispano-Suiza J12 Dual-Cowl Phaeton
This majestic classic is another one of the marquee cars at Gooding, a massive J12 luxury craft that is considered the marque’s greatest accomplishment. These were among the most-exclusive and highest-priced cars in the world in 1932, with performance that matched their stunning appearance. This Binder-bodied example has the provenance of once being in the collection for 35 years of famed collector, designer and racer Briggs Cunningham.
1962 Volkswagen Beetle cabriolet
On the other end of the spectrum is this very attractively restored VW that I picked out just because it looks so nice. This Beetle also has some guts, fitted with a Judson supercharger and Abarth exhaust, and it is fitted with a passel of period accessories. A lovely and drivable little Vee Dub valued between $40,000 and $60,000.
1910 Knox Type O 5-Passenger Touring
While the Knox Motorcar company is little remembered today, it once was the maker of highly advanced and exceptionally built automobiles in the Brass Era, and one of the highest-priced vehicles of its day. This bright-red touring car with a tan tufted interior was restored about a century after it was produced, and remains in immaculate condition. A great car that celebrates the dawn of fine motoring.
1956 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce Alleggerita
The little blue coupe caught my eye as soon as I walked into the Gooding preview, a rare lightweight performance version of Alfa’s shapely Sprint model. One of just 600 built, the Alfa “retains the looks of a well-used competition car with evidence of repairs and corrosions common in these models,” Gooding says in its catalog. In other words, it needs some work before going out on rally duty, or possibly a full restoration. Still, it’s valued at $200,000 to $250,000.
1953 Jaguar XK120 roadster
Among the Jaguar roster, this XK120 with rear-wheel spats hits the spot. These evocative and competitive sports cars, powered by Jaguar’s robust 180-horsepower 3.4-liter dual-overhead-cam engine, are just as fast as they look, and they set the tone in the early 1950s for what a modern sports car should be.
1960 Peugeot 403 Estate
Common on French roads in their day but rarely seen in the US, the 403 station wagon is an attractive family cruiser styled by Pinin Farina and driven by commuters and country folk. I dig wagons, a guilty pleasure, I know, and this one’s handsome appearance does it for me