The Corvette is going electric! This fall, customers start taking delivery of the quickest Corvette ever, the E-Ray hybrid. Combining combustion and electric power, the E-Ray is designed to deliver the ultimate street Corvette experience. Just as the 2020 mid-engine Sting Ray realized a Corvette layout first promised more than 50 years ago, the E-Ray’s all-wheel drive delivers on legendary Corvette engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov’s vision and experiments with all-wheel grip for the Vette even before that. The E-Ray is available in coupe and convertible models, starting around $105,000. A full electro-Vette is in the pipeline, too.
Happy 60th birthday, Porsche 911! In fall 1963, Porsche unveiled a new sports car, at first called “901,” as a successor to its first model, the 356. The new car entered production a year later and not long after got a badge change to “911.” This sports car icon remains in production, in much evolved form and with a choice of 25 variants this year. To celebrate 60 years, Porsche is offering a new pinnacle 911 model, called “S/T,” after a lightweight race-prep 911 from the early Seventies. Porsche will build 1,963 of these special 911s, with a starting price of $290,000.
Just a few months after unveiling its new DB12 “super tourer” coupe, Aston Martin has introduced the convertible version, called Volante. The British automaker first used the Volante name on a special run of 37 DB5 convertibles in 1965 and has used it on its convertibles since. The name is Italian for ‘flying’ or ‘moving lightly and quickly.’ The 671-horsepower DB12 Volante can certainly do that. The newest Aston Martin would seem to have just two direct rivals, the Ferrari Roma Spider and Bentley Continental GTC. Which would you choose?
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.
What better prelude to the 72nd Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance® than to buy a car (or few cars) from the auctions held in conjunction with this pinnacle event? If you’re bidding or selling, the action is at the auctions, of course. We’ve assembled the auction itinerary here and selected some highlights from the Bonhams, Broad Arrow, Gooding & Company, Mecum, and RM Sotheby’s sales.
Giotto Bizzarrini, who died in spring 2023, left a legacy that includes the Ferrari 250 GTO, the first Lamborghini V12 engine, and the car that bore his name, the Bizzarrini 5300 GT. Few of these stunning Italian sports/GT cars were made, all powered by Chevy Corvette V8s for spellbinding performance and easy serviceability. A class win at Le Mans in 1965 established racing pedigree. At its Monterey Auction this month, RM Sotheby’s is offering an impeccably finished 5300 GT with a pre-sale estimate of $880K-$1M.
The spark that launched Porsche’s road racing dynasty began with the “Fuhrman engine” in the landmark 550 Spyder racecar. Bringing that engine to the 356’s option list in 1956 and calling it “Carrera” boosted Porsche’s racing pedigree while also setting the foundation for special high-performance Porsche models to come. The expensive and complex Carrera engine was rarely ordered when new, and cars so-equipped demand a huge premium in the collector car market today. A 1956 Porsche 356A Speedster Carrera offered by Mecum Auctions in Monterey is expected to sell for up to $1.2M, or nearly 400% more than a Speedster without it.