Pre-war exotics to star at Monterey

| 15 Jul 2011

Last year it was 1950s and ’60s Ferraris that helped Monterey week’s two biggest auction players to rake in a combined $132m. This year pre-war exotica looks set to take centre stage, with RM and Gooding both anticipating marque records in the run up to Pebble Beach on 21 August.

Gooding’s star consignment at its 20–21 August onsite sale is likely to be California Gold Rush heir George Whitell’s 1931 Duesenberg Model J Coupe. Complete with nautical styling touches and a secret compartment for hiding liquor during the Prohibition era, it’s expected to bust the $4m mark.

Rival RM has an arch competitor of the Duesie on offer at its shortened, two-day auction starting on 19 August: a 1937 540K Spezial Roadster that’s believed to be one of just three remaining of the desirable ‘high door, long tail and covered rear spare wheel’ specification 540ks.

Delivered new to a retail king in Buenos Aires for the princely sum of $12,000, the Canadian sale house is confident that the car’s rarity will help it smash the record, $8.2 million it pulled in for F1 mogul Bernie Ecclestone’s example in 2007.

The Roadster will be one of four pre-war Mercedes from the Lyon family collection to go under the hammer, with other highlights including the 1935 Berlin Motor Show 500K Roadster (estimate: $4–5m) and a rare (in coupé form) 540K (below) that debuted at the 1936 Paris Salon car. It’s expected to change hands for $3.2–4.5m.

Gooding is promising some big numbers on the pre-war front, too, including a 1927 Mercedes-Benz S-Type 26/180 Sportwagen that’s expected to headline the sale at $5.5–6.5m and 1932 Alfa Romeo 6C-1750 Series V Gran Sport that’s been entered with a $1.5-2.2m guide price.

And both sale houses will have plenty to keep Maranello fans sated with Gooding’s consignments including five desirable, coachbuilt post-war Ferraris headed by two early Pinin Farina-bodied cars: a 1955 250GT Berlinetta (estimate $650–800,000) and a1957 Ferrari 410 Superamerica (estimate on request) that was the styling house’s 1957 Paris Salon car.

Included, too, is a later Pininfarina-bodied 1963 400 Superamerica Coupé Aerodinamica ($1.2–1.5m), while a Vignale-bodied 1953 Ferrari 375 America (below) is expected to be the sale’s lead Ferrari result thanks to its lofty $2–2.4m guide price. Also on offer is a1950 Ferrari 195 Inter by Touring ($900–1.2m).

RM won’t be outdone, though, thanks to a 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza Spyder (estimate on request) that was sold off the Brussels Motor Show stand to Jacques Swaters before being raced by US Ferrari importer John von Neumann and later starring in the post-WW2 apocalyptic film, On The Beach.

It’ll go under the hammer with a desirable 1952 Ferrari 340 Mexico Berlinetta (also on request). One of three 340 Ferrari factory-prepared entries in the 1952 Carrera PanAmericana, it was raced by Alberto Ascari – then a Ferrari factory driver – in the epic trans-Mexico race.

ival Bonhams is unlikely to disappoint either, thanks to the half a dozen racing Porsches it has consigned for its traditional Quail Lodge fixture on 18-19 August.