Can a car crash ever be positive? Just ask collectors who seek the rare Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ, a lightweight racer that could also be road driven. In major European sports car races, the Alfa became known as a giant killer for its winning ways. It all started when a race driver had an older Alfa re-bodied by Zagato after a crash. Alfa Romeo like the result enough to commission 200 copies from the famous coachbuilder. Bonhams is offering one of those at its Amelia Island auction, with a pre-sale estimate of $350K-$400K. Meanwhile, Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction also has one of these rarities, also red, with an estimate up to $500K.
Ferrari draws on its heritage for design inspiration and, sometimes, model names. That’s why there were three different Ferrari GTO models over a half century period. While not intended as a racecar like the legendary 250 GTO and later 288 GTO before the 2011 599 GTO was developed from an experimental track car program, called 599 XX. Ferrari built just 599 of these later GTOs, with 125 coming to the U.S. Gooding & Company is offering one of these rare machines at its Amelia Island auction, with a pre-sale estimate of $800K-$1M.
Could you imagine referring to a modern high-end luxury grand tourer as “Queen Mother” today? It happened to Ferrari 55 years ago with its 365 GT 2+2. After testing the model in 1969, Road & Track magazine called the car “The Queen Mother of Ferraris.” Ferrari buffs embraced the nickname for this car and use it to this day. RM Sotheby’s is offering one of the 800 built at its Miami auction March 1-2, with a pre-sale estimate of $225K-$275K.
Mercedes-Benz, through its Mercedes-AMG performance division, has launched a new AMG GT coupe, after discontinuing the successful original 2015-2023 model. The king of the hill in that original run was the AMG GT Black Series, a track machine with few peers. For those who put down a deposit for the hyper-limited $2.7 million AMG Project One hypercar, Mercedes also offered the opportunity to buy an AMG GT Black Series Project One Edition for nearly $400,000. Just 25 were believed sold in the U.S., and RM Sotheby’s Miami sale in March is offering one, with a pre-sale estimate of $550K-$700K.
January kicked off collector-car auction season with a big bang and big dollars. Following Mecum’s $275M haul in Kissimmee, Florida mid-month, the traditional Arizona auctions added about $245M more to the tally, with $200M of that from Barrett-Jackson’s no-reserve sale in Scottsdale. Bonhams, though, had the highest-priced auction sale in Arizona, with $5.175M buying a Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ (as in 300+ mph test-track capability) for a car with just Bugatti’s test and delivery miles.
To see and be seen in the toniest zip codes, you could hardly do better than a Bentley Azure, a convertible built in two design generations from 1995-2009. The second-generation design introduced in 2006 was based on a more modern chassis and offered performance that belied its size and elegant demeanor. The hand-built Azure was 213 inches long, weighed close to three tons, and used a 450-horsepower twin-turbo V-8. Bonhams is offering a 2007 Bentley Azure in Silver Lake Blue at its Scottsdale auction – at no reserve.
What does $400 million buy today? It was enough to take home about 1,200 of the world’s finest collector cars offered at the 2023 Monterey auctions held from August 17-19. That was down from $475M in 2022, and the sell-through rate was lower, too. Just the same, some stellar automobiles traded hands in Monterey at auctions held by Bonhams, Broad Arrow, Gooding & Company, Mecum, and RM Sotheby’s. The top sale was a 1967 Ferrari 412P racecar for $30.2M at Bonhams, while a 1957 Jaguar XKSS, one of just 16 made, was #2 at just over $13M.
Revered by Corvette enthusiasts, the 1963 Sting Ray, especially when equipped with the fuel-injected 327 engine, remains a legend among the car’s 70 years of production so far. The radical new design covered a new, more advanced chassis than the first-generation Corvette had, and both performance and refinement edged closer to the European GTs. Sales soared, and the “fuel-injected Sting Ray” ended up in pop songs. Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance® auction is offering a multiple-award winner with a pre-sale estimate of $250K-$300K.
With the added perk of super-rarity, the Bentley Continentals of the Sixties remain among the most sought-after of the marque’s classic cars. Gooding & Company’s 2023 Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance® auction is offering a rare left-hand-drive 1961 Bentley S2 two-door saloon with coachwork by H.J. Mulliner that exemplified this model’s divergence from the parent company. It has a pre-sale estimate of $400K-$500K.