The first round of high-end classic car sales is underway in Arizona. With specialist houses Barrett-Jackson and Mecum kicking off the blockbuster event, it’s now down to Bonhams, Gooding & Co, and RM Sotheby’s to appeal to the world’s top collectors in a trio of car auctions.
Starting on January 18 will be RM Sotheby’s two-day sale of 130 cars. Undoubtedly the star lot is the celebrated Jaguar D-Type Works Racing car – known as OKV 2 – which boasts a vast competition history and was driven by Sir Stirling Moss and Peter Walker at both 1954’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and that year’s 12 Hours of Reims. Described as a “veritable cornerstone of Jaguar’s racing history”, it has been piloted by no fewer than six Le Mans winners and was used as a factory development car for the 1955 season – all of which accounts for its pre-sale estimate of $12m-$15m.
The sale also includes a 1933 Cadillac V16 seven-passenger cabriolet – originally delivered to Hollywood legend Joan Crawford. Other cool collectables are a 1930s Austin taxi at $15,000-$20,000, a 1932 Ford Roadster hot rod ($30,000-$40,000), a 1967 Meyers Manx Dual Sport dune buggy ($45,000-$60,000), a child-sized, petrol-powered dragster ($20,000-$30,000) and a 1964 Ferrari 250GT/L Berlinetta Lusso that could realise up to $2.2m.
If you’re outbid on Moss’s historic Jag but still in the market for a D-Type, Gooding & Co has one in its January 19-20 Phoenix-based auction. Estimated at $10m-$12m, this 1956 model is one of only two delivered new in red livery. Its first owner was the celebrated British “gentleman driver” Peter Blond, who bought it new from ex-Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone when he was a car dealer in the 1950s. Blond raced it during the 1956 and ’57 seasons, in which he achieved a fifth overall at the Aintree 100 and an outright win at the Snetterton National.
Another highlight of Gooding & Co’s sale is a 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Speciale that is not only the sole example of the model to have been designed and built by Carrozzeria Pininfarina (rather than by Scaglietti), but was created for the personal use of founder Battista Pininfarina himself. As a result, it features a one-off interior with special seats and Heuer Rally-Master dashboard timers, unique headlamp covers, sleeker door handles and a rear air diffuser. Fully restored in the early 1990s, it was refinished in the same Alfa Romeo Verde Acqua metallic teamed with China Red upholstery that Pininfarina originally specified. It can be yours for an estimated $8m-$10m.
Bonhams’ auction, on January 18-19, has more than 100 cars at Scottsdale and one of its highlights is a 1958 Porsche 550A Spyder. It comes with a remarkable racing history, notably achieving a second-in-class finish at Le Mans in 1958, and has run in the Mille Miglia no fewer than 10 times. It’s offered in ready-to-use condition with a pre-sale estimate of $4.5m-$5.5m.
The first Mercedes-Benz 300SL exported to the US, a 1957 car in meticulously restored condition at a guide of $1.4m-$1.7m, is another Bonhams star along with a 1930 Bentley Speed Six with replica Le Mans bodywork ($750,000-$1m). The sale will also feature more than 20 “modern classic” supercars, among them a 1995 Ferrari F50 ($1.5m-$1.8m) that is one of just two black-painted examples sent to the US.