Remarkable pair of 1950s Mercedes head to auction at Pebble Beach

Annual classic car spectacular will also feature sale of “the most important Aston Martin ever produced”

The legendary Pebble Beach classic car show arrives at California's Monterey peninsula on August 16-20 this year, bringing together some of the finest and most valuable collectable vehicles in the world. Inaugurated in 1950 as a 30-car event staged off the back of the Pebble Beach road races, the modern incarnation runs to a limited entry of 175 blue chip automobiles, with the Concours d’Elegance and the activities that surround it now lasting five full days.

The Mercedes-Benz 300SLs 1955 Gullwing coupé, which Gooding and Co expects to sell for $1m-$1.3m
The Mercedes-Benz 300SLs 1955 Gullwing coupé, which Gooding and Co expects to sell for $1m-$1.3m | Image: Brian Henniker/Courtesy of Gooding & Company

Central to the show is a plethora of classic car sales by no fewer than six auction houses. Official on-site auctioneer Gooding and Co (August 16-19) will field a star car in the form of a Ferrari 275GTB/C once owned by Italian racing driver Renzo Sinibaldi. One of just 12 275GTB/Cs with lightweight alloy bodies that were built for the 1966 racing season, it has “paper thin” Scaglietti coachwork, the correct 250LM-type engine, and is tipped to fetch $12m-$16m.

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Gooding and Co will also offer a remarkable single-owner pair of Mercedes-Benz 300SLs, one a 1955 Gullwing coupé, the other a 1957 roadster (see video). The two cars were bought new by a Mercedes enthusiast who passed them on to his son in the early 1960s. They have since been kept in original, unrestored, fully running condition, and are expected to realise $1m-$1.3m and $800,000-$1m respectively.

The Aston Martin DBR 1, which RM Sotheby's expects to fetch $20m
The Aston Martin DBR 1, which RM Sotheby's expects to fetch $20m | Image: Tim Scott Fluid Images/Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

At nearby Quail Lodge, Bonhams (August 18) will seek bids for a 1963 Jaguar E-Type lightweight that raced at Le Mans in 1963 in the blue and white livery of celebrated American “gentleman driver” Briggs Cunningham. One of 12 original lightweights built, it has been owned by leading collectors Lord Bamford, Sir Paul Vestey and Campbell McLaren and immortalised in books, toys and models. Presented in Cunningham colours and described by Bonhams as “highly original”, it could threaten the record of $7.3m achieved for a similar car by Bonhams in January.

The dashboard and steering wheel of the Aston Martin DBR 1
The dashboard and steering wheel of the Aston Martin DBR 1 | Image: Tim Scott Fluid Images/Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The auction house will, however, have to compete with RM Sotheby's (August 18-19) which will field what it calls “the most important Aston Martin ever produced” in the form of the DBR 1, chassis number one, which was built to contest the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1956. The car failed to finish the race but went on to compete in dozens of other high-profile events, where it was driven by the likes of Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham, Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori. It is expected to fetch $20m.

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Of the remaining three auctioneers selling, Worldwide (August 17) will ask for in excess of $350,000 for a 1958 Porsche 356A Speedster that was collected from the Stuttgart factory by its original owner, a US Air Force lieutenant who kept it until his death last year at the age of 87; Russo & Steele (August 17-19) will feature hot rods and American staples from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s; and Mecum (August 16-19) will offer several modern classic supercars including two Ferrari La Ferraris, a McLaren P1, an Aston Martin Vulcan, a Bugatti Veyron and a Koenigsegg Trevita.

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