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.
For those who have ever argued whether the 1968-1974 Dino was a “real” Ferrari, rest assured, it is. The debate was rooted in Enzo Ferrari’s decision to name the sports car for his son, Alfredo “Dino” Ferrari, who died in 1956. The young engineer had provided inspiration and technical input for a race-winning V6 engine that, a decade later, powered this pivotal road car in the Ferrari lineage. It was the exotic automaker’s first mid-engine model and the progenitor of a line that continues today. Recent near-million-dollar auction sales for Dinos have drawn attention.
It’s good to be king, because then you can order yourself a custom-built car like the Maserati made for the Shah of Iran in 1959. The monarch and budding car collector requested that Maserati build a special car by installing the V-8 engine from its 450S racecar into the 3500 GT production coupe. The result was the 170-mph 5000 GT. Maserati made 34 with bodies by various coachbuilders. At its Amelia Island auction, Bonhams is offering one of the 22 with bodies by Allemano, a restoration candidate with a pre-sale estimate of $500K-$800K
While the “Imperial” and “LeBaron” names became diluted on mainstream Chrysler cars in more recent history, the two had once created great American luxury together. LeBaron was America’s most distinguished designer of the period, creating bodies for the world’s top luxury automakers. The early 1930s Chrysler Imperials designed by LeBaron are among America’s most beautiful classics. Marjorie Merriweather Post, who owned General Foods Corporation, must have thought so when she purchased this 1933 Chrysler Imperial CL Dual Cowl Phaeton. Bonhams is offering the car at its Amelia Island auction, with a $375K-$450K pre-sale estimate.
The letters on your modern car’s trunk lid might have no real meaning, but the “S” on the back of a classic Porsche 911 signified a major performance upgrade over the standard car. Porsche’s marketing for the original 911S cautioned, “This is no car for a novice.” The 911S rewarded skilled drivers while being known to put a scare into those unfamiliar with its handling traits. RM Sotheby’s is offering a rare concours-restored 1968 911S at no reserve at its Amelia Island auction in March. Expect hot bidding.
Major auto auctions held in conjunction with the world-renowned Amelia Island Concours d’ Elegance in Florida offer some of the world’s most desirable collector cars, and Premier’s regional sales managers will be there for the action and to meet customers. In the meantime, they have posted their own “Cars to Watch” as picks for cars most likely to sell well. Except for one American supercar making the list, it’s a German and Italian feast.