We marveled yesterday at the tremendous lineup at Gooding’s Scottsdale auctions next weekend. With this remarkable list of lots crossing the stage, it isn’t easy for pretend-billionaires like ourselves to decide which cars we’ll be raising our paddles for. Then again, if I was a pretend-billionaire, I’d probably be taking all of them home… Let’s make it pretend-millionaire to keep it interesting.
This 1947 Cisitalia 202 SMM Spider Nuvolari is certainly a beautiful option. It is the esoteric hipster’s choice—why bother consorting with common 50′s and 60′s racing cars when you can hang with the racing machines of the 1940′s. Rare stuff indeed. If you’re an Abarth fan, there’s no reason to immediately dismiss the Cisitalia either. Carlo Abarth was still an employee of Cisitalia when the 202 was designed.
Of the handful of 202 variants (including the 202 and 202MM), the Stabilimenti Farina penned Spider Nuvolari is my favorite. It has all the visual hallmarks of what were to become iconic sports and racing design elements. The oval grille, the beginnings of tail-fins, that low windscreen: They all combine beautifully in this gorgeous little package. Just look at those mesh air intakes! Simply stunning.
There’s no such thing as a bad Abarth. Although I prefer my Abarth coupes with the double-bubble up top—I doubt I’d fit in otherwise—There’s no shortage of beautiful curves and sexy angles of this 1960 Fiat-Abarth 850 Record Monza. I particularly like the details on this particular example. At first glance it’s a bit jarring to see a bright red Italian beauty of this vintage without the required Route Borani wires, but I’m a huge fan of these purposeful (and original) pressed steelies. I think they give it a racier look than wires would.
If you’re planning on going to the track with one of these machines, the Abarth might be right choice. Designed for the racing class changes of 1960, the 850 was a step above it’s 750 brother and remained competitive in club racing throughout the decade. Sadly, this example is fitted with a later 903cc engine.
With such remarkable company, you might think the 1960 Autobianchi Bianchina Trasformabile here doesn’t even enter into the equation. It certainly isn’t going to compete with the other two on the track—and you might not even consider it an able racing machine. You’d probably be right. The only sporting Bianchini that comes to mind for me is the tale of George Lucas’ crash in one that prompted his exit from the California sports and racing scene.
Even so, I’m a fan. Italy’s take on the practicality and aesthetic that propelled the Mini to huge successes is clearly in evidence here. Of course, the Fiat 500 clearly is what comes to mind when we think of an Italian version of the Mini. I like the Cincuento, but as a long-time supporter of underdogs, I think I’d take the Bianchina if given the choice between the two. And just dig this two tone interior.
Then again, with an estimate of $35-$45,000, maybe pretend-millionaire me would just take home the Autobianchi as a side dish alongside the Abarth or the Cisitalia. What’s your choice?
The auction is complete and the estimates all pretty much nailed. They all came in at the low to middle of their estimated range. If you picked the Cisitalia, you sir, have expensive tastes. Yeah, me too.
1947 Cisitalia 202 SMM Spider Nuvolari $650,000
1960 Fiat-Abarth 850 Record Monza $89,100
1960 Autobianchi Bianchina Trasformabile $40,700
When you’re buying, you want an auction catalog that is mostly uninteresting. Lot after lot of uninspiring cars won’t draw the crowds so you can hope you won’t have much competition when that one special lot comes to the stage. Next weekend’s Gooding auction at Scottsdale is not the auction for that kind of buyer. This is one for the seller; or the buyer that thrives on the competition of outbidding all comers. A marvelous collection of cars. So marvelous, that it leaves us with some decisions to make while we pretend we’re hundred-millionaires.
Like this one: which of the two Lamborghini Miuras on offer should we go home with?
Both are S models. So no immediate disqualifiers for the “lesser” version. One example is largely original. The other is the result of a 4-year restoration. One in subtle (yeah, right.) white, the other in an unconventional and charming gold. Decisions… Decisions…
Gooding gives the 1970 goldie (chassis 4548) a higher estimate range than the 1969 white one (3982). What do you think? Which Miura would you want to take home.
This is the first time I’m noticing that I’m just not that into the Miura’s interior. That central gauge panel jutting out like the prow of a ship from the dash just isn’t to my taste.
Money talks. And the buyers at the Scottsdale Auctions agreed with most of us that Goldie came out on top. The 1970 Lamborghini Miura P400 S brought in $660,000, while the 1969 Lamborghini Miura P400 S brought in only $577,500. Both notable in that another Miura, on offer from Bonhams recently broke a million.
Then again, if our earlier Meadowdale post has you particularly inspired. You could just cut to the chase and buy this available copy of the original blueprints for the track. Grab a few friends, a few shovels, a bulldozer or two, and a whole lot of asphalt. Call me when you’re done.
If contemporary blueprints had more of these charming illustrations in the corners, we might be able to get more interesting work through planning boards.
This one couldn’t have stayed on the market for long. Even with the skyrocketing prices that 550s are fetching, this one had a small perk thrown into the bargain: a 1957 Opel Blitz Porsche transporter. Belgian dealer Art2Drive had (has?) this duo available. Surprisingly, I’m not finding much specifics on them, but how could I not at least share these images?
I can’t imagine a single auto event that wouldn’t be silenced by pulling up in this gorgeous truck with the 550A in tow. From Ville d’Este to the Mille to Monterey, It would have to be a very special event indeed for these two to not steal the show.
The Anamera listing shows it as sold, but Art2Drive’s own site still features them prominently. This is one of those sales that is probably best kept secret. I know that these two must have a few of you considering donning a black balaclava, calling your least wholesome friends, and taking up a life on the lam. No? Just me?
I love the track at Paramount Ranch. That tunnel is so romantic and deadly, and the location in the Santa Monica Mountains ensured that Hollywood stars and starlets made appearances both mixing it up on course and spectating trackside.
A good example of the program for that first race at Paramount in August 1956 has come available on eBay. The price might drive some away, but what a marvelous reminder of the golden era of the California Sports Car Club. Just take a look at the footage of the race from our earlier post on the Ranch. How could you not want a reminder of this kind of immediate, friendly, competitive-as-hell era in motorsport.
Keep your eye on the auction. Thankfully by pointing you to it, I don’t have to be the one to buy it.
It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that friend-of-the-blog, Rich Stadther, is parting with his 1969 Merlyn 11A Formula Ford. She’s a lovely machine to be sure and, more importantly, it offers you entry into what I consider to be one of the most fun and challenging series in vintage racing.
It’s not just the series that I’m attracted to though. Maybe it’s just the time I’ve spent helping my buddy Eric with his, but there’s something in particular about the Merlyns that I really love. Granted, I’ve not been exposed to as many Titans or Alexis (Alexese?) or Hawkes, but the lines and mechanicals of the Merlyns have really struck a chord with me. The fact that Colchester Racing Developments is still alive and kicking and supplying many of the parts for it doesn’t hurt either.
The price is definitely right for a ready-to-race Formula Ford. I know plenty of people that have spent more than that to get their cars ready for “more affordable” classes. I’d race her as-is for a few years until you’ve got a feel for her before diving in to a rebuild or restoration. Knowing Rich’s work though, she probably won’t need either.
More information on Rich’s site. Need more? Check out this video of her wiggling through the chicane at a recent running of the Waumandee Hillclimb.
I was contacted last week by an antiques dealer in Southern California that acquired these marvelous Southern California road racing posters from the estate of California Sports Car Club racer Noble Bishop. Bishop raced at these events in Crosleys and Triumphs and has kept these mementos in fantastic shape.
A couple of these are posters that I’ve never seen before and they are just heartbreakingly lovely. There’s a stark simplicity in these earlier generations of posters and handbills that is left lacking in most modern racing ephemera. The cheap availability of full color photographic printing is part of the problem. After all, why bother investing the time and creativity in something when we can just print up a photo?
Good design requires constraints: constraints of budget, of technology, of time. The more we strip those constraints away, there more contemporary racing poster design seems to suffer. Even the events that take the time to hire good designers and artists to craft a program or poster usually end up cluttering it with sponsoring logos. Thankfully, these posters lack most of that clutter. They’re fantastic. Unfortunately, they’re a bit out of my price range otherwise I would have bought them already instead of sharing them here with you. Contact the Blue Heron Gallery in Fallbrook, CA for more information.
It’s not often that a Porsche 4-cam pops up in my occasional Ebay Motors searches, but here it is. She looks like a miraculously beautiful sculpture.
Assembled by Porsche restoration specialist, Paul Willison, the engine is claimed to turn 169 HP and 150 ft. lbs. of torque on the dyno after raw assembly with no performance tuning. The engine’s current owner seems have sold off his RS60 before the engine was completed. So here she sits on the stand with zero miles.
$170,000 opening bid is no small change, but would be worth it just for the sound.
Lately I’m smitten with pre-war monopostos; often as much for the idea of them as for the machines themselves.
To be more specific, part of me wishes it was still possible to buy chassis and engine packages from manufacturers and then drop it off at your local coachbuilder. What a glorious age that must have been. When a particular chassis/engine combination might have dozens of variants on the road or track, with many of them being truly unique creations. Not cheap when you ding the bodywork, but a marvelous era for displaying individuality through transportation that no amount of ground effects and neon underlights and vinyl graphics and wings can replicate today.
This Lagonda Rapier being offered as part of Coy’s Ascot auction this weekend certainly fits that description. Just compare these photos to the more sedate—though no less beautiful—road-going bodywork that most Rapiers bore when they rolled out of a small British coachbuilder’s workshop. This gorgeous example is sure to draw plenty of attention and I don’t doubt she’ll meet her £50,000 – £70,000 estimate.
Like many of the surviving Rapiers, the machine on offer has had her powerful but fragile Coventry Climax-tuned 1104cc engine swapped. Here it’s with a beefier AC 2 liter unit. With this combination, the car was campaigned for many years by former Vintage Sports Car Club president James Crocker. More recently, the car has been campaigned and partially restored by an unnamed Swiss collector. With the recent rebuild of her engine, new crank, pistons and other bits, she’s bound to be a lovely competitor.
I find that I grow more and more interested in the pre-war group at the vintage events I attend. It’s hard to listen to them pass by and not think of the barnstorming thrill seekers that originally wrestled these giant beasts through around-the-house races in villages throughout Europe. It conjures such a romantic vision that, instead of my old mood of simply waiting through the prewar group to get on to the 50s and 60s racers, I look forward to the old girls’ time on the track with eager anticipation.
This is what it looks like when a 1973 Porsche 917/30 Can-Am Spyder sells for $4.4Million (inclusive of buyer’s premium). Gooding’s sale of the Drendel Family Collection as part of this year’s Amelia Island auction had some marvelous Porsches, with several ex-Martini team cars, a 935, 962, and many other exotic Porsche racing models.
917/30-004 was to be Mark Donohue’s 1974 car, but rule changes delayed and ultimately halted construction for the Can-Am series. The car was completed and sold to Australian Porsche importer, Alan Hamilton, who displayed the car in her plain white livery in his Melbourne showroom. Porsche reacquired the car in 1991 and restored her in the 1973 Can-Am championship winning Penske-Sunoco livery she wears today.
Just sit back and take in these amazing statements from the lot detail page:
The Most Powerful Road-Racing Car Ever Built
An Undisputed Masterpiece of Automotive Engineering
One of Only Six Examples Built
Sold New to Australian Porsche Importer Alan Hamilton
Meticulously Restored in Penske Racing’s 1973 Sunoco Livery
Rennsport Reunion, AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix and Monterey Historics Participant
Featured Prominently in Pete Lyons’ Can-Am Cars in Detail
Eligible for Leading Historic Races and Porsche Gatherings
The Ultimate Evolution of the Porsche 917
Some of these things sound like hyperbole, until you realize they’re mostly true.
Rumor has it that she ended up in Seinfeld’s collection.