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.
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.
Ferrari had Pininfarina, and Aston Martin had Zagato, at least for a small number of very limited-edition models. The first was in 1961, the DB4 GT Zagato, with just 19 made. One of those sold for $9.5M a few years ago. The most ambitions collaboration between the British automaker and Italian designer/coachbuilder was a quartet of special bodies built around the second-generation V12-powered Vanquish model from 2017-2019. RM Sotheby’s 2024 Phoenix, Arizona auction is offering #33 of the 99 Vanquish Zagato coupes built, with an estimated selling price of $600K-$650K.
The 1960-1962 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II may not have starred in a blockbuster movie about a mischievous Chicago high-schooler playing hooky, but it is nevertheless one of the brightest stars in the Ferrari universe. A bit more focused on touring comfort than its athletic California Spider sibling, the Series II Cabriolet was nearly as fast. Its Pininfarina-designed-and-built body easily draws admiring glances more than six decades later. Just 200 were built, and the RM Sotheby’s Phoenix, Arizona auction is offering one with a plethora of concours and show trophies. The pre-sale estimate is $1.5M-$1.75M.
Porsche last offered its blisteringly fast, track-optimized 911 GT2 RS for 2018-2019, selling about 1,100 in the U.S. It may not be the rarest modern 911 special model, but it remains among the most desirable by the automaker’s ardent collectors and track mavens. Typically optioned, the 911 GT2 RS easily exceeded its $294,000 base price. The 2024 Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona is offering a well-optioned 2019 Porsche 911 GT2 RS formerly owned by IndyCar champion Paul Tracy. Offered at no reserve, it will be going to the highest bidder in January.
Just 10 supercar connoisseurs were able to buy a McLaren 570 MSO-X, a special track-oriented model, in 2018. Each was decked out in livery inspired by McLaren F1 GTR racecars, and each is unique. At Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction in January, the #8 MSO-X will go to a new owner thanks to this auction company’s all no-reserve policy. McLaren built these cars as dual-purpose road and track machines, ready pile on the miles in either setting.
Closing in on the end of another year, Premier Financial Services looks back on its Top-10 exotic cars leased for 2023. This year, Ferrari pushed Porsche out of the #1 leased marque for the year in terms of volume of leases. Lamborghini, however, made a stronger showing on the list with three models in the Top-10. Porsche’s two top sports cars, the 911 GT3 and 911 Turbo S, both made the cut, as well. With its new MC20, Maserati has returned to the mid-engine exotic category after a 45-year absence. The new Maserati grabbed the #10 spot on the list. What’s your favorite?
While EVs may grab headlines with their acceleration performance, the latest gas/electric hybrid supercars throw down the gauntlet with some track-burning speed and excitement. The early tests of the Ferrari 296 GTB and Lamborghini Revuelto show that, with a little help from electrons, cars with roaring engines can still melt the asphalt … and blow their drivers’ minds. Though far apart from each other in price, the Ferrari and Lambo make the same emphatic point about the still-thrilling potential available from cars with pistons and pipes.