Archive for the ‘For Sale’ Category

New In the Chicane Shop: Legends of the 50’s

Legends of the 50's Shirt

Who am I to choose from among these names? How can I ask any of you to choose from the best of 1950s racing? Why argue the point when we can celebrate not any specific favorite, but the glory of this entire golden era of competition?

Available today in The Chicane Shop.

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Fangio’s W196 Brings In $29,650,095.

Fangio's Mercedes-Benz W196

Ladies and Gentlemen, the ex-Fangio Mercedes-Benz W196 is the most valuable motor vehicle ever sold at auction with a final price of $29.6 million.

I have been guilty of complaining about the skyrocketing prices of classic racing cars (after all, I’m still a buyer in this equation). I have complained about speculators buying these cars simply as investments rather than as an expression of their passion for motorsport… but if ever a car deserved the title of “the most”, it might be this one.

More at Bonhams.

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Available in Germany: 1964/5 Volkswagen Single-Cab with Porsche Formula V

Porsche Factory Formula Vee and VW Transporter

If there’s anything I’m terrible at hiding, it’s my love for Porsche, Formula V, and racing transporters. Rarely though, do I have an opportunity to wrap all of that volcanic enthusiasm in a single image. That changes today. Would you just look at that.

Wow.

Porsche Factory Formula Vee

I’ve seen a Porsche-powered Formula V car before. On that occasion, it was evident how much faster the Formula V platform could be pushed with just that bump in power that even a period Porsche powerplant could provide. In that introduction to the concept I believe it was a 356 engine doing the heavy work (or was it 912?). When I first saw this example, I assumed it would also have the higher powered 356 engine back there. This one, however, is powered, like all vintage vees, by a 1200 cc Volkswagen type 1 engine. Why then, are we referring to this as a “Porsche Formula V”, when it’s not much different than any other Formcar? What is that Porsche sticker doing on the engine cover? Is this just someone’s wishful thinking?

Porsche Factory Formula Vee and VW Transporter

No. This one was built by Porsche in Werk 1 and campaigned by Hans Herrmann, Gerhard Mitter and Ben Pon with support from the Porsche factory during their period promoting Formula Vee as a new feeder series. It may have a Formcar frame and a VW engine, but in a very real sense this is an authentic team Porsche open-wheel racing car. There’s mighty few cars that can fit that description. Even with the included (914 powered) custom—and amazing—transporter, this one is sure to be oceans cheaper than any other car that can fit that description. Except perhaps the single other surviving Porsche factory Formcar.

Can you imagine pulling into the paddock at the wheel of this red beauty with that seemingly ordinary Formcar perched so delicately on her haunches? Can you imagine pulling into the false grid at the wheel of a car once piloted by Hermann? Can you imagine doing it in one of the best vintage racing series? Whew.

More information on Jan Luehn’s detail page.

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Ebay Find: 1954 Carrera Panamericana Armbands

Carrera Panamericana Armbands

It’s a shame that the original patron and pilot who owned these armbands aren’t identified. Whoever they were, I’m a little surprised that the driver’s identification is in better shape than the sponsor’s. I would imagine that 1,910 miles of Mexican road dust would shred that piece of fabric during the race, but here it is looking damned good 60 years later. (The auction lists it as a “sponsor” armband, but I’ve also seen “patrocinador” used to mean “team owner”.)

Buy it now at $1,995. Sounds expensive to me too, but when are you going to see another one of these—let alone two of them?

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Ebay Find: 1957 Mille Miglia Trophy

1957 Mille Miglia Trophy

You never know what you’ll run across when you start digging in eBay’s basement. This trophy from the 1957 running of the Mille Miglia was presented to Georg Bialas for his co-drive with Harald von Saucken to a third place finish in the under 1500cc class. Bialas and von Saucken were scheduled to compete in a 356A but must have been pleased to instead run the event with a 550RS Spyder; examples of which took the top three spots in the under 1500cc class.

The eBay listing page shows a “Buy it Now” price of $11,000. I don’t know enough about silversmithing to understand whether the repairs made to the trophy are well done or if simply doing the repairs at all hurt its value as a collectible. What I do know is that it looks stunningly beautiful and would be an arresting addition to any garage. My hope, however, is that whoever owns the particular Porsche 550 driven by Bialas and von Saucken ends up with it.

They really should be together, don’t you think?

1957 Mille Miglia Trophy1957 Mille Miglia Trophy1957 Mille Miglia Trophy

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Available in California: Ex-Team Tyrell, Ex-McQueen Cooper T56 Formula Jr.

Ex-Steve McQueen 1961 Cooper T56 Formula Junior

Let’s take a moment to set aside the provenance of Steve McQueen’s car collection and the fervor that the mere mention of his name seems to send rippling through the racing community. Let’s ignore that baggage for a moment: that baggage that makes people spend one-and-a-quarter million dollars on a bone stock 911S; that baggage that makes people spend 150K on a well-worn old husky 400. Let’s ignore all that… Just for a moment. Let’s simply look at this beautiful little Cooper T56 and let her hold her own without the Hollywood associations.

Let’s just look at it for what it is, because—like the 1970 911S and the 1970 Husqvarna 400 Cross—this Cooper is a piece of motoring perfection that stands on its own just fine, thank you very much. Iconic design and racing lineage? Yep. There aren’t many machines with as close a familial tie to the rear-engined revolution and the Owen Maddock-designed T43 that shook open-wheeled racing to its very core when Jack Brabham took her to the 1957 Monaco Grand Prix.

Imagine the joy you would get walking up to this little piece of fantastic in your garage. Walking past that little ridge that flows along the engine cover that harkens to it’s larger cousin on the D-Type Jag and certainly to the mighty T51 that gave Cooper the constructor’s championship in 1959. Sure, you might not beat Jack Brabham’s 1959 Monaco GP fastest lap time of 1:40.4 with a 994cc BMC formula junior engine in place of the T51’s Cooper Climax. Then again, with the better tires you’d be running today, you might get close.

Steve McQueen in his 1961 Cooper T56 Formula Junior

Ok. Let’s face the inevitable and bring Mr. McQueen back into the discussion. The truth is that this example of the T56 has a remarkable history even without the Cooler King. The car was one of the two Cooper Works cars campaigned by Team Tyrell in 1961. With Tony Maggs winning at Goodwood, Magny-Cours, Monza, Kalskoga, Rouen, Zandvoort, Oulton Park, and Montlhery this car won Tony and Team Tyrell the European Formula Junior Championship for the season. After the season, the car was returned to Cooper and subsequently snatched up by McQueen while Steve was in Europe pickup up a Mini Cooper and attending John Cooper’s racing school. After taking the T56 back to the States, Steve captured a few wins with her in California. Indeed, this may be the car and the string of races that finally alerted the studio to Steve’s dangerous extracurriculars that famously resulted in the ultimatum that continuing to race would be the end of his acting career. The bastards.

Steve McQueen and his 1961 Cooper T56 Formula JuniorAfter Steve and this Cooper parted ways, the car continued on to greater successes stateside with Al ‘Buster’ Brizzard winning SCCA championships with this car (fitted alternately with the BMC, Alfa, or Cosworth engine). The car eventually made its way back to Steve McQueen’s racing mechanic, Skip McLaughlin, for many years before its magnificent restoration by Hardy Hall. Today the car is on offer from the Canepa Collection and looks ready to grid up at the Goodwood Revival.

Not bad. Not bad at all.

Steve McQueen's Cooper Formula Junior being restored at Hardy HallEx-Steve McQueen 1961 Cooper T56 Formula JuniorEx-Steve McQueen 1961 Cooper T56 Formula Junior

More information at Canepa’s inventory page and information on the restoration at Hardy Hall Restorations.

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Coming up for Amelia Island Auction: Porsche 908/3 004

Porsche 908/3 #004

The auction catalog isn’t complete yet, but RM is starting to tease the headliners for their upcoming auction at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Among the lots is this Porsche 908/3 chassis 004. Unlike her more famous sisters that dominated the 1970 and 1971 sportscar season, chassis 4 doesn’t have an exhaustive race history. Would I rather have Redman and Siffert’s Targa winning #12 in my garage? Sure. (Call me, Jerry). Am I going to quibble about it when this one looks so heartstoppingly gorgeous in the Gulf colors and looking ready for the Targa? Hell no.

I’m sure that this is one lot I’ll be revisiting as the auction approaches. I’ve been flabbergasted by the prices that the racing Porsches are bringing in lately and this little sex machine is likely to continue that trend.

More photos on RM’s Lot Detail page. Hat tip to Swiss Stash for pointing this one out.

Update: This beauty commanded a high bid of $1,300,000 but didn’t sell.

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Better Hurry: 50’s Racing Kodachromes on eBay

Maserati Transporter. Monza 1957

This series of eBay auctions of LeMans, Milwaukee and other venues in the 1950s are marvelous. How can you not love that Kodachrome oversaturation? Some of these items are only available for the next 20 hours, so you’d better act fast. See them all at the eBay listings.

Bugatti at LeMansVintage Racing KodachromeLeMans

Vintage Racing Kodachrome

Vintage Racing KodachromeMonza 1957. Race of Two Worlds?Le Mans 1957

Thanks for sending these in, Erik.

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Decision at Scottsdale: Which Little Italian?

FrontEnds

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.

1947 Cisitalia 202 SMM Spider Nuvolari Front

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.

1947 Cisitalia 202 SMM Spider Nuvolari three quarter1947 Cisitalia 202 SMM Spider Nuvolari Profile1947 Cisitalia 202 SMM Spider Nuvolari cockpit

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.

1960 Fiat-Abarth 850 Record Monza Profile

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.

1960 Fiat-Abarth 850 Record Monza1960 Fiat-Abarth 850 Record Monza cockpit1960 Fiat-Abarth 850 Record Monza Tail
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.

Gorgeous.

1960 Autobianchi Bianchina Trasformabile Three Quarter

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.

1960 Autobianchi Bianchina Trasformabile Front1960 Autobianchi Bianchina Trasformabile Profile1960 Autobianchi Bianchina Trasformabile 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?

More information and photos on the lot detail pages for the 1947 Cisitalia SMM Spyder Nuvolari, 1960 Fiat-Abarth 850 Record Monza, and 1960 Autobianchi Bianchina Trasformabile.

Update:

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

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Decision in Scottsdale: Which Miura?

1970 Lamborghini Miura P400 S Profile

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?

1969 Lamborghinhi Miura S1969 Lamborghinhi Miura S1969 Lamborghinhi Miura S

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…

1970 Lamborghini Miura P400 S Frond End1970 Lamborghini Miura P400 S Interior1970 Lamborghini Miura P400 S Deck

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.

1969 Lamborghinhi Miura S

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.

More details and photos on the lot detail page for the 1970 Lamborghini Miura P400 S (chassis 4548: in gold) and the 1969 Lamborghini Miura P400 S (chassis 3982: in white)

Update:

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.

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