PH Preview: 2018 Monterey Car Week


From the outside at least, it looks like Monterey Car Week & Concours is as close as it gets to nirvana for petrolheads. For a week in California during August, there's historic racing at Laguna Seca, concours events, brand-specific expos, memorabilia for sale, and one or two auctions as well...

Yep, if you want to buy some of the very finest automobiles ever produced, Monterey car week is the place to don the bright trousers and stretch your paddle arm as far as it will go. Goodingand Co, Mecum and RM Auctions (amongst others) hold extensive sales throughout the week, auctioning off some exquisite cars. To give you a flavour of what's being sold we've each picked our three favourite lots from the trio of flagship sales taking place. Sitting comfortably? Here goes...



RM
"Even amongst a list of cars as exotic as this, nothing catches my eye more than a game-changing thoroughbred racer like the Cooper-Climax T54. Dubbed the 'British Invasion' at the 1961 Indianapolis 500, it bucked tradition by placing its engine behind the driver, sacrificing ultimate pace for superior handling. While the concept had already been used with success in Formula 1, it was the first time this side of the war that a serious contender for a win at Indy's Brickyard had used such a layout. Although it didn't win (Jack Brabham drove it to ninth), this little Brit caught attention and practically changed the course of Indy's technical history on its own."
SS


Mecum
"I'm not sure why, but the Plymouth Prowler has long been a guilty pleasure of mine. This is a car that arrived in 1997 from a brand that was designing pretty dull cars. This was a real break from the norm. OK, it used a 3.6-litre V6-engine mated to a four-speed automatic, neither of which were particularly interesting to most American buyers, but it had hot-rod-esque looks and sports car performance. It was like Chrysler's designers thought "sod this, let's make something silly". For that reason, this yellow one gets my attention."
SS


Gooding
"Holy moly, this thing is cool. Possibly the most ostentatious listing in Gooding's auction, this 1954 Cadillac Series 62 Eldorado is enormous yet it seats just four. Back in '54, however, size really did matter and so did chrome and brass, so the Caddy gets all of that and more. I love that the designers felt no shame in fitting the interior out with the most brash trimmings, making the car appear like a rolling high end American diner, complete with a miniature jukebox. Under the lengthy bonnet lives a V8 (obviously) that drives through a four-speed auto, practically forcing you to burble along at low revs with your arm resting on the door."
SS



RM
"From RM there's really only one choice for me - the 250 GT SWB. It's one of my favourite ever Ferraris; beautiful, fast, and hailing from that gloriously romantic era of genuine road racers. While all relative, I like that it's slightly less revered than a GTO as well. This one, chassis 2163 GT, has spent its life split between Italy and the UK, with race finishes at Silverstone, the Nurburgring and the Tour Auto Historic in France. It's Classiche certified, quite impossibly lovely, and the best way to spend 10 million bucks I ever saw."
MB


Mecum
"I love an old BMW. Arguably there isn't one cooler or more desirable than a 2002 Turbo, as the $200k estimate on this one would corroborate. Interestingly this example was fitted with a five-speed close ratio 'box from the factory (as opposed to the standard four-speed), and it's been restored to a seemingly fabulous standard. On those BBS wheels I'd be happy just to ogle it, but I suspect this 2002 is a right giggle to drive, too."
MB


Gooding
"I couldn't leave a fantasy auction shop at Monterey car week without some kind of American muscle. Unsurprisingly you're not short of options at these three auctions, though Gooding's Mustang Boss 429 is just spectacular. I love the Grabber Green paint, I love the tyre writing, I even love the white vinyl - I love everything. Well, apart from the fact I don't have anywhere near $300,000..."
MB



RM
"No explanation needed here, of course. Being able to reply 'Stratos' when someone asks what car you drive is probably reason enough to go all in on lot number 238. If you need another, then there's Bertone's timeless wedge to consider and the mid-mounted 2.4-litre Dino V6 powering it. Finally, there's the outrageous rally-based myth and legend, which shroud the homologated High Fidelity like a frozen mist. The car in question is as original as they come and has only suffered wear on the seat bolster as a result of a technician climbing in and out every week to start it. A literal slice of history."
NC


Gooding
"Ford Broncos are cool, get over it. But if you're going to the trouble of acquiring a first generation model (i.e. the version launched in '66, which is obviously the one you want), why not have one breathed on by Holman & Moody, the Ford-backed racing firm? Even better than the absurd Series II-like nostalgia value is the fact that the car was special even before that; built as a development test vehicle, and outfitted with special options like front and rear limited-slip differentials, larger tyres and the Bronco Sport pack. Did we also mention that it's a V8? With a 3-speed manual 'box? Sold."
NC


Mecum
"As we're playing with monopoly money, why not have a museum-worthy piece? The 550 is possibly most famous now for being the 'Little Bastard' that killed James Dean - but the fact that he owned one signifies just how famous the car was in its own era. Porsche's first purpose-built race car, powered by a 1.5-litre air cooled flat-four, was a class-winner at Le Mans, and earned a stellar reputation despite its comparative rarity. The 550A version up for auction featured a five-speed 'box and a tubular space frame chassis, and is a proven race winner in its own right. Then there's the way it looks. Yours for $5m."
NC



RM
"Rather than going to the trouble of developing a GT1 race car from one of its roadgoing machines, Mercedes took the decision to simply make the best track car they could, and then just build a few roadworthy examples. As a result only 25 CLK GTRs were produced, with 5 roadsters and 20 example of the coupe variant - which is what's up for grabs here. And just look at it; provenance, condition and value aside, it remains one of the most awe inspiring cars ever produced"
DW


Mecum
"As with many limited-run performance specials, the laws of supply and demand have led to Demons selling for well above their sticker price. But the resolve of Dodge's adoring fan base should not be underestimated, and such has been the clamour around the 840hp dragster that stories of cars going for upwards of $200,000 are not uncommon. This lot features not one but two of the mind-blowing muscle cars; with 1,680hp and just 120 miles travelled between them, the $275,000 estimate looks like a steal."
DW


Gooding
"The story of this car is almost as beautiful as the car itself, it having been owned by the same man, Admiral Robert Phillips, for 58 years. Before his ownership this Ferrari 500 Mondial was a successful racer - driven by none other than Porfirio Rubirosa - and during it became an award winning concours car. That's not to say it wasn't driven, though, with the tale of Phillips' man and machine relationship brilliantly told in the Petrolicious video below."
DW

 


P.H. O'meter

Join the PH rating wars with your marks out of 10 for the article (Your ratings will be shown in your profile if you have one!)

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Rate this article

Comments (11) Join the discussion on the forum

  • howardhughes 17 Aug 2018

    That BMW 2002 Turbo - yes please!

    I'm hedging bets that Wayne Carini from Chasing Classic Cars will be there either selling or buying...

  • MikeT66 17 Aug 2018

    What? No mention of the Ford GT40 that took 3rd place at Le Mans 1966?
    https://rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/MO18/Monterey/l...



  • Snubs 17 Aug 2018

    If i were a billionaire I'd buy the 250 SWB for my dad and the AMG CLK GTR for myself, plus possibly in an HGV license to get used to driving something that big!

    Worth a look at the Merc on the RM website as there're some terrific pictures:

    https://rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/MO18/Monterey/l...

  • havoc 17 Aug 2018

    I've just been through the catalogue and there's NO way I could pick just one car. in addition to the above:-
    - Blower Bentley
    - Most significant road-going Ferraris and plenty of 'mainstream classics'. F50 and Enzo are the only two I could see missing...
    - LFA cloud9
    - LM002 eek
    - Trio of RUFs yikes
    - Continental Drophead Coupe (and a pre-war Lagonda Drophead)
    - Pair of Countach's, pair of Diablos, 1x Miura
    - 911 2.7RS and a 991R
    - Carrera GT
    - 908K and the aforementioned GT40 driving
    - A few Aston specials
    - Pair of 300SL Gullwings and a Roadster


    You'd have to say the Catalogue price would be worth it to get two of you in just to have a nose around all day...

  • PSB1967 17 Aug 2018

    Sorry but the Merc looks like a pimped Taxi cab to me. I would rather have this weeks shed offering, the beautiful Alfa GT than any of these. Save maybe the Beemer.

View all comments in the forums Make a comment