Starting this Friday, RM Sotheby’s upcoming Florida sale features 91 lots, only four of which don’t come with wheels. The event will be a livestream auction with limited attendance, and those looking for the latest and greatest won’t be disappointed. The list of cars on offer includes a 2019 Ford GT with the 600A “Lightweight” package, a 2019 McLaren Senna, a 2019 Koenigsegg Regera, and even a 30-mile 2020 McLaren Speedtail that is estimated to fetch slightly less than what somebody is asking for one in Germany.
However, as usual, when it comes to high-end auctions, I’m here to focus on the classy, the rare, the bold, and the just plain crazy. Staying on the topic of insanity, how about spending an estimated $30,000-$50,000 on the clay model of Carroll Shelby’s Series 1 Roadster? Back in the day, it was a clean-sheet-design V8 sports car that saw a total of 249 series production units leave Shelby American as 1999 models, followed by several more as “component cars” without drivetrains up until 2005, due to legal reasons. As RM Sotheby’s details, the Shelby Series 1s featured an all-aluminum chassis, carbon-fiber bodywork, and a Shelby-modified Oldsmobile twin-cam L47 V8 engine tuned to 320 horsepower.
While this styling model does roll, it’s also definitely missing a drivetrain, as well as other components you may want to have in your collector car. For that reason, I would direct your attention to other really nice pieces of history, including these five vehicles we’d not only watch out for during this auction, but also drive away in:
1952 Tojeiro-MG Barchetta
The auctioneer’s story confirms that famous racing car designer John Tojeiro started out with a Bristol-engined prototype they made to look like a Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta. He then continued with what is believed to be a pair of MG-powered Barchettas, as well as a third car built with a Lea-Francis engine. The supplier of AC Car, a certain man called Ernie Bailey at Buckland Bodyworks suggested that AC should feature one of Tojeiro’s cars on their stand at the 1953 Earls Court motor show. AC picked the Lea-Francis engined car, re-registered it as a blue roadster packing their own engine, and called it the AC Ace. Almost a decade later, it was this British two-seater that Carroll Shelby turned into the 289 Cobra.
The Tojeiro in question here, the MG-engined “Low 77,” isn’t the Earls Court car, yet an original that was raced in the early 1950s in England, only to land in America some 15 years ago. Eligible for most of the world’s classic racing and touring events, it’s a nice piece of lightweight engineering from before the straight-sixes and V8s would take over. Estimated at $200,000-$250,000, and as rare as they get.
1989 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC AMG 6.0 “Widebody”
An estimated $175,000-$225,000 (at no reserve!) may feel somewhat steep for a gas-guzzling Mercedes from the late 1980s. However, this Japanese market 560 SEC 6.0 is a fine survivor of a rare AMG breed built by the original crew of around 150 people at Affalterbach, with its final assembly done by AMG Japan. When new, this widebody Benz was one of the most expensive cars on the market, powered by a fully built engine bored from the stock 5.5-liter M177 V8 into AMG’s 6.0. As RM Sotheby’s explains, the tuned engine features hotter cams, and 16-valve, three-piece, sand-cast cylinder heads. AMG also modified the throttle body, ported the intake manifold, and gave the 530 SEC a happy exhaust for a claimed output of 385 horsepower, and twice the torque at half the engine speed. A beast by any standard, and the nicest cruiser for fans of cheerful excess.
Video: ’56 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing sells for $1.425M (NBC Sports)
Mind you, for the budget-conscious custom Benz fans out there, RM Sotheby’s will also sell a tasty wagon known as the 1990 Mercedes-Benz 560 TEL Estate by Caro, while the Arizona sale’s no reserve Homologation Collection continues with such gems as a 1972 Lancia Fulvia Coupe 1600 HF Series 2 “Fanalino,” a 1983 Audi Ur-Quattro, a 1990 BMW M3 Sport Evolution, a 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II, and a 1995 Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione II finished in Blue Lagos.
1956 Ferrari 250 GT Alloy Coupe by Boano
When Ferrari launched the second series 250 Europa GT, the car may have been designed by Pininfarina once again, yet the coachbuilder was still in the process of moving into a larger facility, thus unable to keep up with Enzo Ferrari’s production demands. According to RM Sotheby’s, as a result, 1954’s 250 GT contract landed at freshly established Carrozzeria Boano, headed by the former chief of Carrozzeria Ghia, Mario Felice Boano. Enzo chose Boano despite the fact that at the 1953 Geneva Motor Show, his 250 GT-based cabriolet was much more extreme than Pininfarina’s design, which Enzo preferred.
Over a two-year production run, an estimated 68 to 80 of the “low roof” Boano coupés where made, mostly using steel bodies. Only 14 cars were finished in aluminum, which made them much lighter and competitive with their 229-horsepower, 3.0-liter Columbo V12s. This is one of those alloy cars, as well as a numbers-matching example certified by Ferrari Classiche, and estimated by RM Sotheby’s to command $1,200,000-$1,400,000.
1932 Cadillac V-16 Convertible Coupe by Fisher
Your friends drive W16-powered Bugattis? Good for them! However, if you’re looking for the original, pre-war sixteen-cylinder experience, look no further than the Cadillac V-16, the built-to-order luxury car designed by Harley Earl for the most influential people on this planet at the time. Between 1930 and 1940, only 4,076 chassis left Detroit, and while Europe had the Bentley 8 Litre, these V-16s had a few tricks up their sleeves against America’s other fully-loaded contenders, the mighty Duesenbergs.
Delivered new to Brooklyn, New York, this V-16 is one of just 14 featuring the sporty Convertible Coupe body by Fisher, only four of which are known to have survived. Its build sheets prove a delivery with stainless steel wire wheels and a single rear-mounted spare, while a second page of additional options includes the Heron radiator mascot still on that massive radiator. RM Sotheby’s estimates this majestic Cadillac at $750,000-$850,000, which feels reasonable for a former Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Best in Class car with the most cylinders in sight.
1959 Moto Guzzi Ercolino
After million-dollar Ferraris and sixteen-cylinder Cadillacs, how about a vehicle that is easy to use for the sort of short drives collector cars are usually reserved for, all while being excellent on gas? Fully restored in 2018, RM Sotheby’s sums this Moto Guzzi up as the famed motorcycle-builder’s take on the cargo trike. It is powered by a 192cc single-cylinder two-stroke, and after purchasing it for your most important errands, all you need to do is convince your friends to grab RM Sotheby’s other star in this segment, a 1954 Piaggio Ape Calessino powered by only a 154cc mill.
Moto Guzzi introduced its three-wheeler Triporteurs in 1928, while the Ercolino line in question here was launched in 1956. In 2021 at the Arizona auction, this fine specimen is estimated to reach $20,000-$30,000. Cheaper than the last of the combustion-engine Morgan Three-Wheelers, and also significantly slower. Fun, however, is guaranteed, and the Piaggio Apes, you’ll just smoke.
These are just five of 91, albeit with a few more mentioned. Looking at this lot list, what would you add before the hammers start falling on the 22nd of January?
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