Monterey Car Week is back and hundreds of amazing vehicles will be on offer at the five auctions this week on the Northern California peninsula. A large number of those vehicles are quite significant and among the most valuable in the world.
That group includes storied racing cars that competed at at Le Mans, Daytona, Sebring and the Mille Miglia. There are also a large number of significant sports and GT cars on offer.
Looking for a car that is, quite literally, extra special, you should find it this week at the Monterey auctions.
One reason for the delightful dockets this year is that the coronavirus pandemic cancelled Monterey Car Week in 2020. One result was that the traditional auction companies and others involved in the collector car business moved to their own online auctions, while virtual venues such as AutoHunter and Bring a Trailer helped to move the metal as well.
Many so-called experts said last year that live auctions were dead. They couldn’t have been more wrong.
Just the opposite has taken place. While online auctions continue to do quite well, the return of live, in-person sales have produced staggering hammer prices with buyers who are eager to get out there and start spending again willing to pay whatever it takes to get the cars they want.
Look for what some call a bidder feeding frenzy to continue during Monterey Car Week. There are cars being offered from important collections and I anticipate that we will see record prices at the auctions.
Yes, many of the European bidders will be unable to attend in person, but they will have friends and agents bidding for them. Though not in the room physically, they will be there virtually, bidding by phone, internet or agent.
While going through the various Monterey Car Week auction catalogs, I have picked eight cars that are the ones that are among the most significant crossing the blocks, or at least the ones I’ll be most curious to see how the bidding goes and where the hammer falls.
The why is easy: It’s a 917K that ran at Le Mans and is even seen in the film of the same name. It was driven by my friend and racing legend David Hobbs. The estimate is $16 million to $18.5 million, and I would be surprised if bidding doesn’t at least reach the lower of those figures.
To me, this is the pick of the litter of the Aston Martin cars offered at Monterey this year. It is a GT that was driven by Roy Salvadori to a second-place finish in 1962 at Brands Hatch. This car also is a DB4GT, my all-time favorite Aston Martin behind the DBR1 that Salvadori and Carroll Shelby drove to victory at Le Mans in 1959. A car with this history is one to be cherished forever. The pre-auction estimate of $11 million to $14 million. That seems quite fair. I hope it reaches the high estimate.
Yes, another Aston, but the DB MK III is considerably more affordable than the DB4GT and would make a wonderful car for every event I can think of, including Pebble Beach. I also fit in the MK III better than in any other classic Aston DB. I would have it repainted in its original color of Cardinal Grey and have the wheels painted to match, but at the per-auction estimate of a very fair $120,000 to $160,000, that would be financially doable without being upside down in the car.
I have seen this car on concours lawns and I love the quirky Ghia styling. I also love the fact that it is an early Ferrari and has so many interesting elements in its trim and interior. That this car was on the Ferrari stand at the 1952 Geneva Motor Show and then at the Turin show adds to its allure. Fully documented by a Ferrari Red Book and a Massini report, this gem of an early Ferrari would be a joy to own, even at the $1.7 million to $2.1 million estimate. I’m betting it will hammer a little above the low estimate.
This is the winningest Shelby ever with 17 consecutive vicdtories in 1967-68, and winning 32 more times on through the 1971 season. It was clocked at Daytona in 1968 at 184 mph, the fastest 289-powered Shelby ever. Do you really need more than that? It would be great to race it in the Monterey Reunion next year, and the estimate of $1.25 million to $1.5 million seems pretty fair to me.
Having owned a 1955 Porsche Speedster, I have to say that the Convertible D is a better car, having a slightly taller windshield, roll up windows, and comfortable seats. It is the thinking person’s Speedster and this car is documented as the final Convertible D Porsche built and is a completely matching numbers and correct car. The pre-auction estimate is a bit high at $500,00 to $600,000 dollars. Were this car mine, I would keep it forever.
Who doesn’t love the Iso Griffo? Italian styling with big American power in the form of a 427cid Corvette engine makes it a high-powered, dramatically styled Italian GT with the ease of use of an American car powertrain. This car is finished in Sera Blue and is truly road rally ready. I can’t think of a more fun car to take on the Copperstate 1000. The pre-auction estimate for this car of $550,000 to $650,00 might be a bit light, I would not be surprised to see it exceed the high estimate.
This amazing Porsche racing car has all the history you need to enter any vintage event on the planet. It is the first of 10 934/5 cars built by Porsche and was originally delivered to none other than Peter Gregg at Brumos. It immediately finished third overall in the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1977. It’s a true weapons-grade Porsche racing car that was campaigned by one of the most famous American Porsche racing teams. The pre-auction estimate of $1.3 million to $1.6 million dollars seems more than reasonable to me for such a car.
These are the cars, among a few others, that I will be watching with special interest this week at Monterey. To see the full dockets, visit the various auction websites or the actual auction venues in person.
Russo and Steele will be at Fisherman’s Wharf, RM Sotheby’s in downtown Monterey, Mecum is at the Hyatt Regency, Bonhams is at The Quail Lodge, and Gooding & Company is at Pebble Beach. Collector cars also are being offered for sale (without bidding) during the week at the Blackhawk Collection Expo at Pebble Beach.