Monterey 2014 – 5 Days of Automotive Porn – Day 5

Sunday – Concours d’Elegance

Best in Show Ferrari

Jon Shirley’s 1954 Ferrari 375 MM with Coupe body designed and built for Roberto Rossellini by Scaglietti. It placed 1st in Class M1 (Postwar Preservation), and also won the Most Elegant Sports Car Award and Art Center College of Design Award. Its Best in Show selection was the first post-war car to win in 46 years, and the first Ferrari ever to win.

Sometimes we agree with the selection of the Best in Show. In 2008 it was hard to argue against the beautiful 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Berlinetta with coachwork by Touring. On the other hand, although its speed record credentials were impressive, the Ab Jenkins Duesenberg “Mormon Meteor” (2007) has to be the ugliest car to ever have won the honor.

This year? Sorry. Yes, it was high time a post-war car won again, and few would deny that Ferrari as a marque was overdue for recognition. Yes, we understand the judges may have more esoteric criteria than ours, but it sure looked as though there were more elegant Ferraris present (even in its own class – ahem! – see below). Anyhow, it’s difficult not to suspect that there was an element of “lifetime achievement award” in the choice of the marque, and somehow this was the best Ferrari they could find on the field.

Glickenhause Dino

James Glickenhause (right in straw hat) proves as accessible as any enthusiast as he answers questions about his unique Postwar Preservation Class 1967 Ferrari Dino Pininfarina Competizione Coupe.

Someone who amasses enough wealth to take a million dollar Ferrari Enzo, throw away the body, and pay Pininfarina another four million to build a tribute to the magnificent Ferrari P3/4 (the Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina, below) on the chassis might be expected to be unapproachable, or at the very least impatient with strangers who just walk up to him and his car. Not so, James Glickenhause. Like any enthusiast with a project car, he was eager to answer questions about his unique 1967 Ferrari Dino that was competing in the Postwar Preservation class, the same one that produced the Best in Show car.

Glickenhause Ferrari Pebble 2006

The Glickenhause Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina, on the practice green at Pebble Beach 2003.

Other Ferraris

The 250 Testa Rossa (250 cc per cylinder X 12 cylinders = 3,000 cc or three liters) was the Ferrari that dominated sports-racing in the late fifties and early sixties. The name derives from the red wrinkle finish on the cover of the single overhead cams on each cylinder bank.

Testa Rossa Engine Laguna Seca 2004

The origin of the “Testa Rossa” name. Twin banks of six cylinders with single overhead cams covered with cast alloy covers painted in red wrinkle finish. Six dual downdraft Webber carburetors complete the look.

Any driver who was anyone drove one, and they won the 24 Hours of Le Mans outright in 1958, 1960, and 1961. Although rarer than the GTO, they have lagged somewhat behind it in collector lust at auction.

Prototype TestaRossa at Gooding 2011

 Gooding & Co, Pebble Beach 2011. Charley Ross asks “Are we all done?” before dropping the hammer on the 1957 prototype Ferrari Testa Rossa at $14,900,000. Such a price was a record for a car at auction at the time, but that was then.

Testa Rossa Number 38 Ephraim

“The car we’d  most like to drive.” That’s the way Road & Track describes the Ferrari that got their award (the one with the steering wheel). Tom Hartley Jr.’s 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa Scaglietti Spyder number 0704TR also won the REVs program at Stanford award and the FIVA Postwar Trophy. The second prototype, it was raced by such names as Phil Hill, Peter Collins, Olivier Gendebien and Maurice Trintignant. It is the only Testa Rossa to retain its original unrestored body and drive train. Said to be the most valuable car ever sold by a dealer.

Testa Rossa Number 7

John and Gwen McCaw’s 1959 Ferrari 250TR59 Fantuzzi Spyder won Class M3 for Testa Rossas, as well as the Enzo Ferrari Trophy

Special Classes – Ruxton

Ruxton Terra Cota

Edward C. Budd Manufacturing was responsible for the unit chassis of the Citroën Traction Avant, so they were a natural to build the first of the front wheel-drive Ruxtons. These available multicolor paint jobs were the creation of graphic designer Joseph Urban.

The Tucker story is full of narrow escapes, specification instability, publicity hyperbole, and eventual collapse, but it’s child’s play compared to the machinations behind the first commercial front-wheel-drive cars in America, the stunningly low Ruxton. Archie Molton Andrews was the businessman behind William J. Muller’s design. Andrews had no factory, and such was the atmosphere of distrust around him that he went through Budd, Hupp (Think Huppmobile.), Kissel and Moon to get fewer than a hundred cars built. Of the 19 said to survive, 16 were at Pebble Beach.

Ruxton Lit

Although available on other cars as options, Woodlight headlamps, standard equipment on the Ruxton, became a trademark. Here they light the way up the cart path by the Lodge at Pebble Beach for Petersen Automotive Museum Curator Leslie Kendall as he wheels the Museum’s rare 1929 Ruxton C Baker-Rauling Roadster up to the 18th Fairway in the pre-dawn Monterey mist.

Special Classes – Streamlined Tatra

Tatra K-01

The very definition of the “odd duck,” the aerodynamic Czech Tatras of the immediate pre-war era not only looked strange but also incorporated a rear-mounted alloy air-cooled V8 to maximize interior space. Its slick body allowed it to reach 90 mph on only three liters. This is Pavel Kasik’s 1936 T77, brought all the way from Prague. It won the Streamlined Tatra Class K.

Other Favorites

XK-120 Record Car

In the early fifties, Jaguar carried on a campaign to retain the title of “World’s Fastest Production Car.” It started in 1949 with the second XK120 built. With a few minor modifications it set the record at an official 132.596 mph. In 1953 a Pegaso Z-102 set a new mark at 151.042. In response,  Jaguar used this aerodynamically cleaned-up car, with its bolt-down bubble canopy, to recapture the record with a speed of 172.412 mph. It won Kurt Englehorn of St. Moritz first in Postwar Sports Racing Class O1, and the Montagu of Beaulieu Trophy.

Duesenberg Limo

With no 4WD, Duesenberg never built a real SUV, but this is close. With 400 hp from its twin-carburetor version of the supercharged SJ engine, this 1934 Rollston Limousine of Cedar Grove, New Jersey’s Sonny and Joan Abagnale is ready for serious touring.

Saoutchik Bentley

Double winners, John and Gwen McCaw’s 1929 Bentley Speed Six got a 1st Place Trophy in class J1 for Early European Classics to go with their Testa Rossa Class win. The chrome flourishes and blue livery are hints of its French coachwork by Soutchik. With 6.6 liters, 5.3:1 compression (up from 4.4:1), single overhead cam, four valves per cylinder, two carburetors, and dual ignition, these cars were indeed built for speed, with racing versions winning Le Mans in 1929 and 1930.

1933 Auburn 12-165 Salon Speedster 02

When a Ford cost $500, a luxurious Auburn Salon Speedster with a V12 for $1,275 was a galloping bargain! Bill and Barbara Parfet of Hickory Corners (You can’t make this stuff up!), Michigan won American Classics Open Class C-1 with this 1933 example

HRH Rolls

Peeking out from behind the Pebble Beach Placard, the number plate hints at the intended passenger of this 1970 Rolls Royce Phantom VI Mulliner Landaulette, exhibited by Stephen F. Brauer of Saint Louis. Her Royal Majesty got side tracked in Australia and never used it their but Lady Margaret Thatcher did, for the 50th Anniversary of Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri.

The Tour start, the static display at Carmel, and the Concours itself are wonderful opportunities for mascot hunters. Below, clockwise from upper left: The Ruxton Griffin, a golden version of the traditional Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy or “Flying Lady,” a less traditional (and less modest) interpretation of the Rolls mascot, a Cadillac attempt at a flying lady, and the traditional Duesenberg Art Deco “Flight.” 

Mascots

Silver Dawn with Insets

With its wealth of intriguing details, impeccable presentation, and history, the 1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Portholm Alpine Touring of Steven and Susan Littin (That’s her with the polishing cloth.) was my favorite car at the Concours. This is the car (chassis anyway – that’s its third body, probably why it was skunked in the awards) that James Radley drove in the 1914 London-Edinburgh Alpine Trials.

Ferrari and CHP - PCH Monday

For those of us visiting Monterey from Southern California, the action is not over when the last hammer falls at the Gooding & Co. Auction on Sunday night. There’s a perfectly good freeway 24 miles up highway 68 at Salinas, but with US1, one of the world’s great driving roads, going right through Monterey, there’s really only one choice. That is, unless you’re driving a Ferrari and your luck runs out.

Carma is a publication of
The OM Dude Press
a service of
Options in Mobility

Author, Editor, Publisher, Reporter, Historian, Archivist:
Dick Stewart.

All photographs are by the Author unless otherwise indicated.

Click on the images to view more detail. If the cursor is a plus sign in a circle, clicking again will yield full resolution.

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Monterey 2014 – 5 Days of Automotive Porn – Auction Results

Saturday/Sunday – Auctions 2

You can go online and read the results of each auction, but it’s a hassle to work your way through all the individual menus, and anyway if a car did not sell, it won’t show up.

SWB Berlinetta Gooding

One mustn’t read too much into an individual result, but the moderation shown in the record-setting but myth-busting selling price of the GTO at Bonhams seems to indicate a trend. The beautifully turned-out Ferrari SWB Berlinetta (above) that Gooding & Co. offered started encouragingly at eight million dollars, but stalled at ten, and went unsold (unless they worked it out backstage afterward, which is not uncommon)

SWB Spider California Profile

The luscious “Ferris Bueller” Ferrari 250 GT California Spider was bid up to $13,800,000 where it sold.

Bubble Gives Way to Restraint

There was some concern that ever-climbing sales prices leading to a rash of records might be, in the words of Alan Greenspan, “irrational exuberance.” It seems those fears were unfounded, as several highly publicized cars failed to sell, indicating that some self-discipline was being exercised.

Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 Speciale

Perhaps an encouraging sign that sanity will yet prevail in collector car sales, the anteater-like 1966 Ferrari 330 2+2 Speciale was not special enough to meet its reserve, failing to sell when bidding ceased at $330,000. The owner of an unmodified  330 GT 2+2 was less picky and it sold for $290,000.

Jay Leno With Two Charity Cars (2)

Two vehicles that sold for well beyond the pre-bid estimate were a couple of charity sales. Jay Leno was on hand to do his usual pitch for various causes. BMW donated a special Concours Edition of the not-yet-for-sale i8. The Pebble Beach Community Foundation benefits from the $750,000 sale, and Gooding donated its commission as well. Topping that was a 1957 Buick Caballero Station Wagon signed by George W. Bush and estimated at $100,000 to $175,000. When bids reached $280,000 the next bidder offered to give the car back to be re-bid, so the underbidder declined to counter his $300,000 bid. Thus he got the car for $280,000 in the second chance sale, for a total of $580,000 going to the Wounded Warrior Project.

The Dreaded “DNS”

Many consignments did not meet their reserves and did not sell included the following.

Gooding’s Marquee lot, the 1966 Ferrari 365 P Tre-Posti (three place. The driver was in the middle with a passenger on each side slightly behind, foreshadowing the McLaren FI by 26 years.) built on spec by Pininfarina. It was the first mid engine street Ferrari to carry the famous V12. Gooding thought enough of the car to include a separate slick catalog supplement with an interview with Luigi Chinetti Jr. No estimate was given but I am sure they were disappointed when bidding stopped at $22.5M

Others, with the high bid reached before declaring “Did Not Sell:”

The 5th production Shelby Cobra, Number CSX2005; $1.7M
McLaren F1 estimated at $12 – 14 Million; $10.75M.
Ex-Briggs Cunningham 300SL; $2.8M.
Another 300SL Gullwing; $1.2M
1988 Porsche 959 Komfort;$1.35M
1969 Ferrari 365GTB/4 Daytona Competizione; $4.4M
The unrestored Duesenberg; $0.90M
1965 Ferrari 275 GTS; $1.5M
Two late-’30s Alfa Romeos; $3.6M and $1.5M
1967 Champion-Season Race-Winning Brabham-Repco; $0.85M

Others with perhaps a more realistic assessment of their value included Steve McQueen’s Ferrari 275 GTB/4 that briefly occupied the space next to his Jaguar XK-SS at the Petersen. It was estimated to go for eight to twelve million dollars and it sold for $9,250, 000 plus commission.

McQueen 275GTB4 And XK-SS

1963 Le Mans winner Vern Schuppan loaned his ex-Steve McQueen Ferrari 275 GTB/4 to the Petersen Automotive Museum, where it shared a space with the Museum’s ex-McQueen Jaguar XK-SS before both headed for Monterey. The Ferrari went to the RM Auction where it drew a winning bid of $9.25M, while the “Green Rat” went to the Quail Motorsport Gathering. The “McQueen Bump” looks to be about 2.7, as that is the amount the ex-McQueen 275 GTB/4 brought in above a similar car at RM.

Silver 289 Cobra Interior

Shelby 289 Cobra CSX2567 did not have the provenance of CSX2005, but neither did its owner have unrealistic expectations. It’s hammer price of $770,000 was below the low estimate but apparently over the reserve. That price (plus commission) gets the car as is (including rather sad upholstery), but with a long list of original parts that can be used to bring it back into original shape should the new owner wish to do so.

Of course there are always a few cars that do inspire a bidding frenzy. At RM for instance, a special bodied 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB brought in more than double the McQueen car at $24 million.

A 1974 Lamborghini Countach LP400 “Periscopo” that was estimated at between $600,000 and $800,000 sold for a new world record of $1,700,000 plus commission.

A couple of 1967 Japanese cars confirmed a trend, with a Toyota 2000 GT bidding for $1,050,00 and a Mazda Cosmo 110 Sport reaching $240,000.

The Gooding’s Tucker 48 edged past the $1.7M high estimate to sell for $1.8M, while RM’s just passed its low estimate to get to $1.425M.

I always watch E-Types with interest, and a particularly interesting car, one with the outside latches, flat floor and patched-in bonnet louvers of the earliest cars, called the “Blue Diamond,” sold for $400,000, a bit better than estimated.

A rare 1955 Alfa Romeo 1900C SS Coupe with alloy bodywork by Zagato, mostly original and in desperate need of loving care, brought a high bid well over the high estimate at $920,000.

And among the classics, a 1938 Packard Twelve Model 1608 All-Weather Cabriolet with a high estimate of $300,000 drew a high bid of $400,000, and a 1936 Auburn 852 SC Boattail Speedster with a high estimate of $700,000 bid for $1,100,000.

Just to show the common touch, a lovely 1963 MG TD, the car that introduced many Americans to the concept of the sports car, beat its $40,000 high estimate but still landed in the mortal range of $45,000.

Carma is a publication of
The OM Dude Press
a service of
Options in Mobility

Author, Editor, Publisher, Reporter, Historian, Archivist:
Dick Stewart.

All photographs are by the Author unless otherwise indicated.

Click on the images to view more detail. If the cursor is a plus sign in a circle, clicking again will yield full resolution.

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Monterey 2014 – 5 Days of Automotive Porn – Day 4

Saturday – Concorso Italiano

Ferraris Among the Pines

Approached from the public parking area, starting at the tee of a long fairway flanked by tall old Monterey pines and spilling down the hill, a flood of red (with a scattering of other colors for variety) greeted spectators at the Concorso Italiano. Looking down the hill, Monterey Bay offered the view we’d been missing for six years.

As I posted in my blog on “The Most Beautiful Ferrari,” the first time I attended the Concorso Italiano, it was held on the Blackhorse Bayonet Golf Course. 2008 saw the event move to the tarmac of the airport, a development reviled by all. The next year the event was moved to the turf of the Laguna Seca Golf Ranch, a big step in the right direction, but that valley could not live up to the memory of old-growth Monterey pines and Monterey Bay vistas from the course on Old Fort Ord.

Ferrari Row 1 at Concorso

Ferraris were displayed with the newest at the top of the hill and descending roughly chronologically with the slope. Here the view uphill past three front-engine models and three mid-engine examples shows the hill topped with Italian coachwork on other marques.

Scuderias

Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradales. One of these set a “European” pace for us and finally cleared the CHP from our path on the way up PCH in 2008. We expressed our gratitude on meeting the driver, who was philosophical about the citation, at Ragged Point.

There is a good reason why so many Ferraris are painted in that eye-searing shade of Rosso Corso, or Racing Red (the official national racing colors of Italy). Ferrari is the only team to have competed continuously for the Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship since it began in 1950. Ferraris have won 16 of those championships, by far the most of any manufacturer. Ferraris also hold the lap record on eleven of the 19 F1 tracks used in 2014.

Black Ferrari 458 Italia Spider

Is a black Ferrari 458 Italia Spider a Black Widow? Note how far we’ve come down the hill, and we’ve barely covered a third of the Ferraris on display. Maranello magnificence!

Thanks be to whoever, this year we walked from our cars to find ourselves strolling through a stand of majestic pines, cottonwoods, and eucalyptus onto a fairway lined with Ferraris, much like the one that mesmerized me eleven years before. I don’t think I am exaggerating to say I sensed a collective sigh of relief from the veterans of this delightful event.

Black Ferrari f12 Berlinetta

This black Ferrari is a current F12, out of order chronologically, but who cares? Of course all production is spoken for, but if you wanted to buy this one, the sticker on the windshield lists a price of $419,888. Here the Monterey Bay provides a dramatic backdrop, along with Alfa Romeos on the left and Maseratis on the right.

The other major change this year was to hold the celebration of all things Italian on Saturday rather than Friday, to avoid conflict with the Motorsport Gathering at the Quail Lodge in Carmel.

Some complained that this required attendees to decide whether to forgo Saturday’s Historic Races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in order to attend the Concorso. One option was to save some bucks by seeing the Pebble Beach cars at the Tour on Thursday, and attend the races on Sunday.

Petersen Ghia Plymouth Explorer

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles exhibited their 1953 Ghia Plymouth Explorer “dream car.” Like most such styling exercises, it’s meant to be pretty (and succeeds at that) but performance was not a priority, as was demonstrated when the Museum had one of its (sadly) infrequent “hoods up” days, revealing that instead of a mighty Chrysler Hemi, the car is powered by a lowly 110 horsepower flathead six.

Petersen Cisitalia 202

The direct ancestor of every fastback sports coupe made since, is the 1949 Cisitalia (“Cheese-Italia”) 202. It’s integration of an envelope body, with continuously flowing curves and the first hood lower than the adjacent fenders, headlights at the ends of the fronts, the rears flaring subtly rather than being separate elements, can be seen in every front-engine rear-drive fastback sports coupe since, right up to the current Ferrari F12. Only 170 examples of this car were made, and it was the first automobile to be accepted into the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. This one was exhibited by Los Angeles’ Petersen Automotive Museum.

The event has grown so large that it can be a challenge to take in all the different marques.

Diablos At Concorso 2014

The Devil wears a Fighting Bull. A herd of Lamborghini Diablos lines up for inspection.

Lamborghini Barn Find

Lending an entirely new meaning to the term “barn find” a Lamborghini tractor serves to remind us of the foundation of some of the most exotic sports and GT cars ever produced.

Ephraim With Apple Green Gallardo

Friend/Photographer Ephraim wisely protects his eyes from the brilliant sun highlighting the laser green livery of a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder.

Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4

The Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4’s name reflects the 700 horsepower generated by its 6.5 liter V12. (The Gallardo makes do with a V10). Chrysler’s 707 hp Challenger Hellcat tops it, but those horses have to contend with almost a half ton more weight than the  LP700-4’s 3,472 (dry) and the Lambo doesn’t resort to a supercharger to get that power.

Alfa Romeo 4C

Subtract another half ton from the Aventador and you have Alfa Romeo returning to the market with the bantamweight Alfa 4C at 2,347. Only 237 hp, but then it only lists for a base $55,195, not $397,500. Reports say it brings a refreshing purity to the sports car genre, with its manual steering. Sadly, it’s available only with a dual-clutch automanual transmission.

Alfas & Masers

Casual camaraderie characterizes the contingent of Alfa Romeo connoisseurs. Over the shapely shoulder of a GTV6 a couple of earlier GTVs inspire admiration. In the field beyond, Maseratis celebrate their marque’s centennial, while the blue Pacific horizon peeks between the trees in the distance.

Yellow GTV

One gets tired of posting a bunch of “those red Italian things” as Thomas Crown (Steve McQueen) described Vicki’s (Faye Dunaway’s) Ferrari 275 GTB/4S, so why not a yellow Alfa GTV. After all, that’s the color that exact Ferrari had been repainted in 1967 when Denise McCluggage took second place at Sebring with Marianne “Pinkie” Rollo codriving.

Fiat 124 Spider Turbo with Ferrari 275GTS

For those who couldn’t scrape together a million and a quarter bucks for a Ferrari 275 GTS (inset) but wanted most of the style, there’s the Fiat 124 Spider. The basic engine was designed by ex-Ferrari chief engineer Aurelio Lampredi and the body by Pininfarina’s Tom Tjaarda whose credits include the De Tomaso Pantera and that Ferrari Spider. This one has the rare Turbocharged two liter engine, with 105 horsepower.

White Pantera

If a yellow Alfa Romeo is okay, why not a white De Tomaso Pantera (above)? While this one appears bone stock, among Italian car buffs, De Tomaso owners seem the least concerned with keeping their cars original. Many get hot-rodded until they end up looking like this “BLK PNTR” under the rear hatch (below).

Black Chrome Pantera Drive Train

Red Mangusta

The Pantera was by far the better-selling car, but IMHO (uninfluenced by the fact that my dad had one in fly yellow) it’s predecessor, the Mangusta, was the hotter-looking of the two. The menacing glare of those low-set quad headlamps in your rear-view mirror was enough to convince any driver to pull over and let it by.

Orange Mangusta

This example of the de Tomaso Mangusta, with its signature butterfly engine hatches open, was chosen by the judges over all the sparkly Panteras to represent the marque in the Best in Show competition.

Concorso Best in Show Lamborghini

I admit I wanted the Mangusta to win, but Dr. Raphael Gabay’s 1966 Lamborghini 400 GT was every millimeter a worthy victor, as well as a terrific restoration story.

This year’s Concorso Italiano was easily the best in recent memory. The setting, the presentation, and the turnout were terrific, and the weather cooperated too. If you only attend one ticketed event, you’d be hard pressed to find a better value.

Carma is a publication of
The OM Dude Press
a service of
Options in Mobility

Author, Editor, Publisher, Reporter, Historian, Archivist:
Dick Stewart.

All photographs are by the Author unless otherwise indicated.

Click on the images to view more detail. If the cursor is a plus sign in a circle, clicking again will yield full resolution.

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Monterey 2014 – 5 Days of Automotive Porn – Day 3

Thursday/Friday – Auctions 1

The Benefit of Experience

This year there were at least six car auctions in Monterey. At times there were four going on at once. You get used to it, and learn where to be at what time, and what to skip altogether.

Now it seems there’s a new auction, Bonhams, debuting with a powerful attraction. The presentation did not match the quality of the consignment though, and after attending the first day’s bidding, it’s unlikely we will return unless they make some changes.

The Thirty-Eight Million Dollar Ferrari

Publicity Photo Bonhams Ferrari GTO

Bonham’s publicity photo of their 1962 Ferrari GTO #3851. Styling cues include a nose with a hint of E-Type Jaguar, punctured with multiple vents to supplement the obviously inadequate primary air intake. This one shares a difference with the car currently on display in “The World’s Greatest Sports Coupes” at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles. Nearly all 250 GTOs have a pair of small rectangular driving lamps flanking the central oval air intake, those two do not.

Bonhams held the auction of their highly anticipated “Violati Collection,” of which the GTO was part, at the Quail on Thursday evening. Parking was on a mulched field. If you were driving a low-clearance car such as are common among those able to bid successfully on million-dollar collectable cars, you’d have been seriously annoyed, if not angry.

The signature consignment, Ferrari 250 chassis number 3851GT, is one of 41 Ferraris with the designation GTO (some quite different than this example). The name derives from their certification or “Homologation” (thus Gran Tourisimo Omologato – GTO, in Italian) for competition in the GT class. Ferrari was supposed to make 100, but the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile winked, and they were allowed to compete with the lower production.

They were very successful racing cars, with many victories around the world, although the most coveted prize, overall victory in the 24 hours of Le Mans, eluded them. This particular car’s curriculum vitae included 2nd place in the 1962 Tour de France with Jo Schlesser at the wheel.

The auction itself was held in a rather small tent, considering the crowd one would expect. It was standing room only, and since there was no ramp to raise the cars into view, and no cameras flashing live pictures of the cars on the big screen TV monitors (only publicity stills), most of the audience couldn’t see a thing.

Please excuse the stock photo. We didn’t attend the preview, and after the bidding concluded, the car was whisked away behind a screen and covered, so we never got a picture of the star GTO.

Was the Price Right?

As the only example of the model to be offered at auction in many years, there were two possibilities. It could set a new record, or it could be a mythbuster, proving the “$50 million dollar Ferrari” hype was all eyewash. It did both. The hammer price was $34,650,000, setting a new record, but nowhere near what the buzz had the crowd expecting. Of course the popular media called it $38 million, because it’s more sensational. The buyer actually paid $38,115,oo0 plus taxes.

Pundits blamed the “low” price on the car’s unfortunate history, with the only fatality attributed to the model, and the fact that it had been rebuilt after the crash. But the latter is a common issue with old racing cars, and the former is sometimes a factor in inflating a car’s value if it’s infamous enough. We won’t know until the next one comes up at auction. Don’t hold your breath.

The Classy Ones

Among the other live auctions over the long weekend (Rick Cole’s is by remote only) there are two styles.

Mecum, Barrett-Jackson and Russo & Steele are of the circus ring variety, with floor managers hollering and an auctioneer rattling off the patter of a livestock auction. Not our cup of Earl Grey.

Gooding & Co. and RM are of the Sotheby’s style with dignified auctioneers playing the individual bidders against each other with respect, patience and wit as in a fine art auction.

Of the two, RM has the advantage  of being right in downtown Monterey, with ample public parking at a reasonable price and free if you don’t mind walking. Cars are displayed inside the Portola Inn and outside on the large brick-paved plaza. You have to pay to see the cars on the plaza, more if you want to see many of the marquee consignments, even more if you want to be in the hall during bidding.

Both typically have star offerings, and they usually vie with each other for top sale and most total sales. Last year RM had the Ferrari 275GTB/4S that beat Gooding’s 2011 auction record for Ferraris, set with the prototype Ferrari Testa Rossa.

Gooding displays their cars in large well-lit tents where the shuttle buses drop you off from the public parking at Spanish Bay. Since one is right there after watching the awards at the Pebble Beach Concours, and Charley Ross is easily the best auctioneer in the business, the Gooding wins our loyalty.

Gooding's Ferris Bueller Ferrari

Gooding & Co. offered an example of one of the most sought-after open Ferraris, the 250 GT Short Wheelbase (SWB) California Spider that was immortalized (and wrecked) in the teen-rebellion comedy, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Not to worry. The one in the movie was a fake.

Ferrari 365 GT 2+2 Special

There was considerable debate as to whether this 1966 Ferrari 330GT 2+2 Special, coachwork by Drogo, and consensus selection for “worlds ugliest Ferrari” would meet expectations that had Gooding estimating its value at between $400,000 and $600,000.

Ferrari SWB Berlinetta at Gooding

Successful precursor to the Ferrari 250 GTO, the 250 GT SWB Berlinetta (Italian for “little sedan”) is the next most sought-after Ferrari Coupe. Gooding declined to list an estimate range for this car.

Unrestored Duesenberg With Dash Inset

Fewer than 1,000 Duesenberg Models J, SJ and JN were made. Most of those still working have been restored at one time or another, but this Murphy-bodied J Convertible Sedan is, in the collector-car vernacular, “unmolested.” The cliché is “A car is only original once,” and Gooding estimated that meant it would bring between $1,350,000 and $1,750,000.

Silver 289 Cobra

Unlike the Duesenberg above, while the patina on this 1965 Shelby 289 Cobra CSX2567 is well-earned, you would never accuse the car of being “unmolested.” The original owner is unknown, and it has been modified for racing. So while a more original Cobra with better provenance might expect to bring up to a million and a half, this one was estimated to bring about half that.

CSX 2005 In McCluskey's Shop

The Gooding people though Mike McCluskey’s reputation for expert work on Cobras would boost the value of this, the 5th production Cobra, CSX2005,  and they mention it in their catalog. Here it is in his shop ready for trimming out a month or so before the 50th Anniversary tribute at the NHRA museum in Pomona back in 2012. It bears a “T” for “Training” instead of a race number because it was used in the Shelby School of Performance Driving. It also appeared in a couple of movies. Gooding thought that history would help it sell for over $2,000,000.

Other Interesting Consignments

There were hundreds of cars being offered at all those auctions, but the one I was looking forward to was a car at RM that had been on display at the Petersen Museum up until about a week before. Displayed with a couple of others previously owned by Steve McQueen, it’s a Ferrari 275GTB/4.

McQueen 275 GTB4

I admit that curiosity over the “McQueen Bump” had me awaiting bids on the Ferrari 275GTB/4 he once owned. This car was briefly displayed with others from his collection at the Petersen. At least five other 275 GTBs were on the block in Monterey so we’ll see how much that “bump” is worth now.

That takes care of Friday. The Concorso Italiano was Saturday this year, so we’ll have our report on that event in the next issue – along with Saturday’s auction results. Stay tuned.

Carma is a publication of
The OM Dude Press
a service of
Options in Mobility

Author, Editor, Publisher, Reporter, Historian, Archivist:
Dick Stewart.

All photographs are by the Author unless otherwise indicated.

Click on the images to view more detail. If the cursor is a plus sign in a circle, clicking again will yield full resolution.

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Monterey 2014 – 5 Days of Automotive Porn – Day 2

Thursday – The Tour

The Morning Mists of Monterey

If, like your correspondent, your accommodations are outside the local (read: event-inflated) area, you have to get up pretty early to park within walking distance of the start of the Tour d’Elegance. They don’t leave until 8:00 but it’s exciting to watch them unloading their precious cargo from the transporters and staging them, while munching a donut from the Hagerty courtesy tent.

Among the first cars staged was Jon Shirley’s unusual 1954 Ferrari 375 MM Coupe, rebodied by Scaglietti after a crash. It went on to be the first postwar car in 46 years to win Best in Show at the Big Event.

1954 Ferrari 275 MM

Lucas King of the Road Headlight on Daimler

Above: Last year’s sunny start was an anomaly, and this year Monterey’s usual morning mist sparkled the gleaming brass of the 106 year-old Daimler TC48 Roi des Belges’ Lucas King of the Road Headlamp.

1910 American Underslung

The first car one sees upon entering the Streetscape at the Petersen Museum is a 1911 American Underslung. Seeing William Johnson and Ronald Elenbaas’ 1910 Traveler Toy Tonneau (above) gives one hope that when the Museum is through with its remodel, their car will have been restored to this level of quality.

Ruxton at Tour Start

The Petersen Automotive Museum entered one of the rarest cars from the classic era, a 1929 Ruxton C Roadster built by Baker-Rauling. There were some sixteen Ruxtons entered in a special class this year, out of a total production of fewer than a hundred.

Yellow Testa Rossa

This year there was a special class for the legendary Ferrari Testa Rossas, like this 1959 example from Bruce McCaw, in Belgian racing colors. It won ten international races between 1959 and 1961. I don’t speak Italian, but if the name of the carrozzeria that designed and built its body – Fantuzzi - doesn’t mean “fantasy,” it should.

NART Spyder

Dr. Rick and Angie Workman of Windermere, Florida brought one of ten Ferrari 275 GTB/4S Spyders built. If two is a trend, then these cars tend to be sold at auction for good causes. Last August a one-family car sold in Monterey at RM for 25 million dollars (plus fees) with all proceeds going to charity. The guide does not say how much this one brought for its causes in 1998.

Bojangles Duesey

Rob Hilarades of Visalia, California drove the 1935 Bill “Bojangles” Robinson Duesenberg JN. Much of the uproar over the divestiture of some of the cars in the Petersen Collection was just noise, but this one must have hurt. An African-American who could afford a $17,000 Duesenberg during the depression, when a Ford was about $500, was a historical phenomenon. But the Petersen also has a terrific SJ. Tough decision.

GT40 MK III

Like the Jaguar XK-SS, the Ford GT40 MKIII was essentially a race car made street legal (With more ground clearance, the 40 inch height that inspired the name probably does not apply.), and even fewer – only seven – were built. One is in the Petersen Museum’s collection and on display in Los Angeles in their “Worlds Greatest Sports Coupes” exhibit. This is Gary W. Bartlett’s of Muncie, Indiana.

Multiple Chances

Fortunately, if all you want to do is see the cars, there are at least three other opportunities.

Along the Route

Download the 75-mile route from the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance website and choose a spot where you can see and photograph the cars against a scenic backdrop, of which there is an abundance.

Bixby Bridge is a popular spot, but you either get good pictures of the cars, or an image that shows the bridge to advantage. It’s a problem of scale.

Bixby Bridge

Coming north from the Los Angeles area in 2009, I timed my arrival (you have to leave really early) at Bixby Bridge so that I could photograph the Tour cars as they passed in both directions. I also saved a night’s lodging. This is the one shot that showed the bridge’s historic concrete arches. If there had been cars on the bridge, they’d have come out tiny.

Bixby Bridge Variety 02

 With patience and a tripod in 2010. A Bugatti leads Aston Martin, Tatra, Bentley, Rolls-Royce and Duesenberg, with a Packard bringing up the rear. Usually the tour cars are mixed in with rented tourist Hyundais, construction contractors’ rigs, and trucks delivering supplies to the shops and restaurants in Big Sur.

Right at the corner of Rio Road and Pacific Coast Highway is where I first saw them, and there is parking nearby. Or just park along PCH south of there, anywhere it’s legal.

The Carmel Assembly

The next opportunity is when the cars are gathered on Ocean Avenue for public display. Be warned. It appears the entire Monterey Peninsula knows about this and descends on Carmel for this event. Parking within ten blocks is nearly impossible after about 10:00, and the cars do not start to arrive until about noon. Wear comfortable shoes and carry liquids.

Despite the hassles, this is an extraordinary opportunity, one that must give the owners of these beautiful, valuable, and meticulously prepared cars ulcers. If you attend, you are begged to exercise restraint, and keep your children, pets, riveted Levi’s, dangling cameras, and belt buckles well away from them.

Sir Sterling

With the press of the crowd, photography at the Carmel display is hard to get, and besides, for me there was the start, and there’s always Sunday. I concentrated my efforts toward elbowing my way through the mob trying to get a shot of Sir Stirling Moss, author of the greatest open road race performance of all time, the 1955 Mile Miglia, in Mercedes SLR number 722 (for its order of departure), sitting in his 300SL Gullwing.

Lastly and most obviously, you can pay the $275 per person ($300 on Event Day) and actually go to the Concours on Sunday. You can get a free program, poster, catered breakfast and lunch, and VIP parking by purchasing Club d’Elegance passes. Last I looked these were about $450 per person, but by 2015 they may have gone up. If you split the cost of one pass among a carload of attendees, the parking alone is almost worth the premium. (It’s only good for two admissions.) You’ll need to draw straws to see who gets the free stuff.

Carma is a publication of
The OM Dude Press
a service of
Options in Mobility

Author, Editor, Publisher, Reporter, Historian, Archivist:
Dick Stewart.

All photographs are by the Author unless otherwise indicated.

Click on the images to view more detail. If the cursor is a plus sign in a circle, clicking again will yield full resolution.

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Monterey 2014 – Five Days of Automotive Porn – Day One

Wednesday

Little Cars, Big Deal

There are events at Monterey as early as Monday, but for those who don’t have a car that qualifies for the Quail Tour, your best bet is to arrive before noon Wednesday for the Little Car Show in Pacific Grove, free to the public. The name is quite literal, but while there is a specified upper displacement limit of about 1,500 cc, there were cars on display with up to 2,196 cc.

Among the prettiest cars on display was the Abarth Allemano Coupe below.

Abarth Allemano Coupe

Meyers Manxes

Above: This year there was an entire row of Meyers Manx dune buggies. Note the red flag with the Isle of Mann heraldic symbol. Some might have thought the show was for the birds (upper right).

Craig Vetter with YR-1 and Sigil

That Isle of Mann sigil was the inspiration for Craig Vetter’s Logo (inset left). Craig (above), his brother Bruce and your correspondent were at the University of Illinois in the late ’60s when he started his motorcycle fairing business. That’s his second fairing (with graphics by yours truly and Carroll Shelby) on my Yamaha YR-1 on the right. His aerodynamic studies have led to this all-day comfortable luxury motorcycle that only needs 16 horsepower to reach any legal speed.

Mini

Those familiar only with today’s Minis would be astonished by the dimensions and austerity of the original. This 1973 version has all of 37 horsepower.

Volkswagens, DKWs, Renault 2CVs, MGs, a couple of Bantams and their predecessor, the American Austin, Porsches, Fiats and Minis of course, and the marque conspicuous by its absence the last time I blogged about it, Alfa Romeo, all in a lovely setting with good food available on every side.

Alfa Jr Zagato

Ruth Ann Yager rolls onto the Little Car Show field in her sexy Alfa Junior Zagato. It seems the philosophy when Zagato designed it was that sports cars are for driving, not for parking.

To dive into the Monterey experience with one of the big events like the Concorso Italiano, the Tour d’Elegance, or – Oh my! – the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance itself way be a bit overwhelming for some. The Little Car Show in Pacific Grove, coming as it does before these three, is a perfect way to dip a toe in the water and mix with a smaller, more low-key crowd. If you still have not experienced this August ritual, you could do worse than start here. If the drive is short enough, you wouldn’t even have to book lodging.

 

Carma is a publication of
The OM Dude Press
a service of
Options in Mobility

Author, Editor, Publisher, Reporter, Historian, Archivist:
Dick Stewart.

All photographs are by the Author unless otherwise indicated.

Click on the images to view more detail. If the cursor is a plus sign in a circle, clicking again will yield full resolution.

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The Most Beautiful Ferrari?

Rotating Exhibits

Greatest Sports Coupes Burgundy Lusso

Los Angeles’ Petersen Automotive Museum has an extensive collection but they count on a long list of friends and associates for the loan of many cars for special exhibits. Since their “The World’s Greatest Sports Coupe” exhibit opened, two of the cars that were displayed the first day had to find substitutes. One was the burgundy Ferrari 250GT Lusso (above), which was absent for a few days until they found a blue car to take its place (below).

World's Best Sports Coupes Lusso Blue

Form and Function 

I once read the opinion that there have been few really beautiful Ferraris. That could be argued either way, but it is true that their reputation tends to get in the way of an objective assessment. Founder Enzo Ferrari always admitted that he only sold road-going Ferraris so that he could race, and a racing car is as a racing car does, so styling is not a high design priority. That being said, the customer cars had to please the client, and anyway, Italians seem genetically incapable of making anything actually ugly, so even the racing cars were at least attractive.

Barchetta

With its overhead-cam 2.0-liter Giacchino Colombo-designed V12, Ferrari’s 166 MM Barchetta was outrageously exotic in 1948. Its Superleggera styling by Carrozzeria Touring was certainly influential (See AC’s Ace and by extension Shelby’s Cobra), a bit brutal perhaps, but calling it pretty seems to me to be a stretch.

As a youngster my knowledge of Ferrari style was limited to what  I saw on the pages of Road & Track. I thought the Testa Rossa looked cool, but I’d be embarrassed to recall what my undeveloped sense of automotive aesthetics would have called “beautiful” then. Some of the road-going Ferraris of the late fifties and early sixties were handsome, but by then I knew what they cost, and that probably interfered with an unbiased assessment.

Seeing one at rare car events in Illinois did not change that, and it was not until the seventies that I saw one that I would have said was beautiful, a 275 GTB owned by a neighbor of my folks on Lido Island in Newport Beach, California.

Then I went to Monterey in 2003. On a glorious California day in August I found myself standing between rows of old Monterey pines halfway up the fairway on a par five hole at Black Horse Bayonet Golf Links in Seaside. There were Ferraris staged nose to tail all the way up either side. Down the middle was another row arrayed side-by-side – and that was only a fraction of the entire show. As a car nut, on my first visit to Concorso Italiano, I had achieved Nirvana. I stood there in a sea of Prancing Horses, and I did not have to do anything. Just being there was deep down soul-satisfying.

Ferrari Row Concorso 2003

No matter how much you may think you appreciate cars, nothing can prepare you for your first experience of Monterey’s Concorso Italiano in August, where you will see more Italian automotive art than any other place on earth. This year they’ve returned to the setting where I first saw them.

That’s where I saw my first Ferrari 250 GT Lusso.

Lusso-Red Dick and Ephraim

My co-conspirator (and now credentialed photographer) Ephraim Levy and me at Concorso Italiano, on Black Horse Bayonet Golf Links in Seaside, California, August, 2003. That was my first experience of the Ferrari 250GT Lusso, and memorable enough that we coerced another spectator into snapping this picture.

Something about this car’s proportions, the airy interior with its slender roof pillars. the fastback roofline and Kammback tail, the long low nose, the subtle rise of the fenders over the rear wheels – details like the polished aluminum-rim Borrani chromed wire wheels, bumperettes, driving lamps – all comes together in perfect harmony. The interior, with its diamond-pattern italian leather, especially in the color the British call “biscuit” is luscious. I fell helplessly in love.

Lusso Interior Biscuit

When Nissan introduced the Datsunj 240Z in 1969, the interior featured diamond-pattern quilted vinyl on the luggage deck. Not quite the Lusso’s butter-soft Italian leather, but you know what they say about imitation. Roomier than the typical Ferrari sports coupe, one might expect fitted luggage, but no. To be honest, the Jaguar E-Type’s side-opening hatch was way more convenient on that score.

Lineage – Italian Sports Car Luxury

Ferrari’s 250 GT line was very successful, but it was drawing to its close. They needed a car to follow the 25o GT SWB – something with more than the shell bucket seats and bare aluminum panels of the racing cars to attract the kind of buyer who would shell out $13,000 for a two-seater when the average American car cost under $2,500, while they developed the 275 GTB. Elegance was the word, and the 250GT Berlinetta Lusso (Italian for “luxury) was the answer.

Masterfully designed by Pininfarina (whose escutcheon is unaccountably absent from the fender of some examples) and executed in steel by Carrozzeria Scaglietti on a modified GTO chassis, it was roomier than the SWB, and yet relatively light for a luxury GT, weighing 2,249 pounds. (The SWB weighed 2,420.) It was a short-lived model, with only 351 produced from 1963 to 1964, with a list price of $13,375.

The short production run is what invites speculation that it was a stop-gap measure, to fill in while the 275 with its sophisticated transaxle and independent rear suspension, was developed. The Lusso was burdened with the previous model’s antedeluvian live axle and leaf springs, at a time when E-type Jaguars and even Sting Ray Corvettes had adopted IRS. At least they’d gone to four-wheel disc brakes by then.

Of course the 250GT’s 60° three-liter single-overhead-cam 24-valve Columbo V12 continued as the power plant. In this form it produced 250 horsepower, redlined at an ear-pleasing 8,000 rpm. Contemporary road tests put the zero-62.5 mph (100 kph) time at between six and seven seconds. An E-Type might outrun it at the top end, but the Ferrari sounded better doing it!

Lusso Profile

Is there a more elegant profile? Never mind that the restorer left the front marker  light drooping.

Me In Lusso 2010

I can dream, can’t I? Three years after a similar car failed to sell for a high bid of $400,000, Ephraim catches your correspondent in this Lusso (in the proper red/biscuit colors), which was gaveled at $550,000 at Gooding & Co. at Pebble Beach in 2010. This year they have two, one (Chassis 5791 – Number 324 out of 351) with a pre-auction estimate of $1,750,000 – $2,500,00, and the other (5249GT, unrestored, original, 20,350 miles) is what the Tour de France Cyclists might call “hors categorie” – beyond category. In other words, if you have to ask, you won’t be bidding.

Provenance is the Thing

The automotively aware responded favorably to the new design, and well-known owners included Formula One racing team owner and distillery scion Rob Walker, Eric Clapton, and Steve McQueen.

Matt Stone devotes more than six  pages to McQueen’s Marrone (the color of the chocolate on your ice cream sundae) 250GT Lusso in his McQueen’s Machines. Most of it is complimentary, with references to long fast road trips and cruising around Los Angeles, with one photo that would not have been out of place in The Thomas Crown Affair for Cosmopolitan in 1964. Although he kept the car for about four years, eventually soft valve guides that led to persistent oil burning and expensive repairs (Is there another kind on a Ferrari?) had him selling the car in 1967, according to Stone.

In late 2000, Nethercutt Collection President Mike Regalia, who bought the car in 1997, began a painstaking restoration. As often happens, the work dragged on, finishing up just in time for the car to appear by invitation to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where I saw it in 2005.

Steve McQueen Lusso LF

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, 2005. Fresh from a comprehensive restoration by Nethercutt president Mike Regalia, former Steve McQueen chocolate/caramel Ferrari 250GT Lusso receives admiring gazes. Any car that looks that good in brown deserves a place among the greats.

It went on to achieve a Platinum Award at both the January Cavallino Classic and Rodeo Drive Concours in 2006, and best in Class at Amelia Island in March.

It will be interesting to see where prices for these cars have gone. In 2007, the same weekend a Lusso without provenance failed to sell for $400,000 at the RM Auction, McQueen’s sold for $2,300,000 at Christies. This year a late production car is up at Gooding & Co. with a pre-auction estimate up around the McQueen car’s territory – between $1,750,000 and $2,500,00, and another is listed at “Available on Request” which usually means  they expect bids to go through the roof. Stay tuned!

CARMA is a publication of The OM Dude Press
a service of Options in Mobility

Author, Editor, Publisher, Reporter, Historian, Archivist:
Dick Stewart.

All photographs are by the Author unless otherwise indicated.

Click on the images to view more detail. If the cursor is a plus sign in a circle, clicking again will yield full resolution.

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