Nearly 3000 classics came close to raising $300m at this year's Scottsdale auctions, with the lion's share of top prices being paid for Ferraris.
A 1964 250 LM created headlines when it sold for $9,625,000. The most valuable car of the week was bought at RM Auctions' 16 January sale and was the ninth example of just 32 250 LMs produced.
The Ferrari was delivered new to Swiss racing team Scuderia Filipinetti in June 1964, taking victory at the Sierra-Montana Crans Hill Climb with Formula One ace Ludovico Scarfiotti at the wheel just two months later. It came first at the XV Coppa Inter-Europa at Monza the following weekend, this time driven by Nino Vaccarella.
Its success continued with another Swiss racing team, Ecurie Basilisk, until a crash at the SAR Engelbern Hill Climb in 1965, after which it was sold and underwent heavy modifications, including the addition of a Porsche 906 body and four-litre Ferrari 330P engine.
It was eventually returned to its former glory by Eric Stewart of the pop band 10CC, after which it passed through a number of collections from the United States to Japan, undergoing further restoration in the ownership of Lord Irvine Laidlaw in the mid-'90s. It returned to the track in 2000 and was awarded Ferrari Classiche certification in 2005.
Selling for a fraction less – $9,405,000 – was another Ferrari from the Filipinetti stable, this time a 1966 275GTB Competizione. The car picked up a class win at the Le Mans 24 Hours and victories at the 1000kms de Spa-Francorchamps and 500kms de Imola throughout its racing career, which began in 1967.
Just 12 examples of the 275GTB Competizione were ever built, with this the penultimate car. The Ferrari passed through the hands of a number of American collectors following the end of its racing career, with its restoration by marque specialist Brandoli prompted by a minor fire in 1985.
It has since taken honours at a number of world class concours, including Pebble Beach, while also taking a starring role in the marque's 60th anniversary celebrations in Beverly Hills.
(Photo credit: David Bush)
The third highest figure was scooped by a 1959 Ferrari 250GT LWB California Spider, which sold for $7,700,000 – under its pre-sale estimate of $8m – at Gooding & Co's sale. Offered for public sale for the first time since 1969, the car was one of just 50 LWB California Spiders built and, as a late production example, featured a cold air box with velocity stacks.
(Photo credit: David Bush)
The California Spider had been in the collection of Jack Castor since '69 and had been exhibited at the Concorso Italiano in Monterey in 2007 and 2010. Castor rebuffed countless offers to buy his Ferrari, with it only coming onto the market following his recent passing.
A 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 'Super Snake' was one of three non-Ferrari lots to break into the top ten, selling for $5,115,000 at Barrett-Jackson's 17 January sale. The car was, at one time, the personal transport of Carroll Shelby, and featured a number of modifications.
The most notable is the automatic transmission, which was chosen over a manual gearbox in order to help tame the Super Snake's 800bhp – a figure made possible by the addition of two Paxton superchargers. A second Super Snake was built, but that car was destroyed in an accident in 1969, making Shelby's the only in existence.
Next in line – and selling for $4,070,000 – was a 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Aerodynamico, with stunning bodywork by Pininfarina. Seven examples were built in the same specification, with covered headlamps and a short-wheelbase chassis, out of an approximate total production run of 35.
The Superamerica is followed by the second American-built classic to fetch a top ten figure, a 1950 General Motors Futurliner Parade of Progress tour bus, which sold for $4,000,000. It was one of just 12 examples built, and only three survivors have been restored to their original condition.
It was originally used as a promotional tool by GM staff under the direction of Harley Earl, going on to join the Ron Pratte Collection in 2006. The proceeds of the Futurliner's sale were donated to the Armed Forces Foundation in Scottsdale.
The seventh highest seller was a 1967 Ferrari 275GTB/4, which fetched $3,657,000. Delivered new to renowned film director John Frankenheimer, it subsequently passed through the hands of a number of collectors, including two as far afield as Japan.
Since then, the car has undergone a sympathetic restoration, including having the undercarriage and engine compartment finished in the same shade of Fly Giallo as the exterior. A new master cylinder was installed, while the interior, seats and carpets were renewed.
There was nothing to separate a 1973 Ferrari 365GTS/4 Daytona Spider and 1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special Motorama concept car, both of which sold for $3,300,000 at RM Auctions and Barrett-Jackson, respectively.
The Daytona had covered 17,000 miles since new, and was a Platinum Award winner at the 2014 Cavallino Classic. Only 14 out of 121 examples were finished in Argento Metallizzato, and a full restoration by Bobileff Motorcars and Chris Dugan Enterprises made it seem even more special.
By comparison, the Pontiac Bonneville was an even rarer proposition, being one of just two specials built by Hommer LaGassey and Paul Gilland in 1954. The car was unveiled at the Pan Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles that year, later touring dealerships throughout the US.
The final position in our top ten round-up is also shared between two cars, both of them Ferraris from RM Auctions. It's perhaps no surprise that a 1966 275GTB/2 Longnose Coupé sold for $2,750,000 – especially when you consider the enormous figure realised by its Competizione cousin – but that it was equalled by a 1984 car is more of a shock.
The Ferrari 288GTO also sold for $2,750,000 – a new world record for the model.
The twin-turbocharged Ferrari's huge price tag can be attributed partially to its stunning condition. It had less than 11,000km on the clock and had been in the stewardship of its first owner – Yoshiho Matsuda – until 2010.