One of three historic 1960 Chevrolet Corvette race cars run by the team of American privateer Briggs Cunningham during the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans will be auctioned May 22 during RM Sotheby’s annual sale on Amelia Island, Florida.
The Corvettes raced by Cunningham’s team were developed with clandestine assistance by a Chevrolet contingent led by legendary Corvette guru Zora Arkus-Duntov, and represented Cunningham’s final assault on the French endurance classic with an American car driven by US racers.
This roadster at auction was the No. 1 team car, and while it crashed out of the race on lap 32, the team was successful with its No. 3 Corvette, driven by John Fitch and Bob Grossman, winning its class.
“Considered lost until its rediscovery in 2012, the Corvette has been extensively modified during private ownership but still retains many extant features which confirm its historic provenance,” according to a RM Sotheby’s news release. “Chassis 3535 is surely among the most iconic of Corvette race cars offered at auction in some time, and its history offers an important testament to American motorsport efforts on the world stage.”
Despite being in rough condition, the Corvette is valued by the auction company between $900,000 to $1.3 million because of its iconic status.
Another special American roadster to be auctioned by RM Sotheby’s in Florida is a 1965 Shelby 289 Cobra, CSX 2547, that originally served as a demonstrator car by Shelby American. A low-mileage example documented in the SAAC Cobra Registry, the Cobra is in driver-ready condition and value at $850,00 to $950,000.
Among the pre-war classics offered is a 1929 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing Top Torpedo with aluminum coachwork by Murphy, one of just 25 built and a Best of Class winner at the 2020 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. The convertible, with a top that folds beneath the rear bodywork, has a fascinating history of California ownership and a piece of Hollywood provenance. The estimated auction value has not been listed.
A group of three spectacular competition cars from the estate of John Campion, who was a well-known Florida collector of race and rally greats, also will be offered without reserves at Amelia Island. They are:
• A 1981 March 811 Formula 1 that was driven by Derek Daly during the 1981 Formula One World Championship season. Fully rebuilt, tested and prepared for historic racing, the March is valued at $300,000 to $400,000.
• A three-time IMSA race-winning 1983 March-Chevrolet 83G IMSA GTP “Spirit of Miami” driven in period by Randy Lanier to win the 1984 IMSA Camel GT Championship and by double World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi to pole position in the 1984 Miami Grand Prix. The car was two-time competitor at the Sebring 12 Hour, finishing second overall in 1984. Restored in its Miami GP “Spirit of Miami” colors and ready for track use, it’s valued at $200,000 to $300,000.
• A 2005 Lola B05/52 A1 Grand Prix that was used by the A1 Team Ireland franchise throughout the 2007-8 A1 Grand Prix season, scoring a victory in Mexico City and a number of podium finishes. Rebuilt by Coloni Motorsport in 2020, the Lola was supplied with a fresh Gibson engine with only minimal mileage covered. Estimated value is $150,000 to $175,000.
RM Sotheby’s will present 80 collector cars and a selection of memorabilia during the auction, held at the Ritz-Carlton Resort adjacent to the golf links where the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will be held May 23.
For more information, visit the RM Sotheby’s website.