Updated: Aug 2
Welcome to our fourth annual roster of the top 24 auction vehicles slated for the coming Monterey car week. I've invited seven esteemed market insiders to join me by sharing their three "gotta have" rides, and I think their choices speak directly to the hearts and soul's of our writers and the market at large.
Each panelist has picked one lot from the three signature auctions at Monterey Car Week: Bonhams, Gooding and RM-Sotheby's. Selections are based on the individual's personal preferences, and not necessarily the most valuable or popular vehicle. Each contributor has also offered up their personal auction presale estimates in conjunction with house estimates. All prices are in U.S. Dollars.
This year we have two former panelists rejoining the fold plus a new contributor making for an exciting and eclectic mix of varied perspectives. Welcome: Nick Candee, Rich Doucette, Mark Lizewskie, Tim McGrane, Glenn Mounger, Verity Spencer, Bill Warner... and yours truly.
Our Top 24 Monterey Auction Insider Top Picks is sure to raise the temperature at this year's event! Thanks so much to all of you.
We look forward to reading your comments. Please scroll down to the comments section and have at it!
IMAGE COURTESY BONHAMS, GOODING, RM-SOTHEBY'S
BILL WARNER - Founder & Chairman Emeritus Amelia Island Concours
#1 1969 Lamborghini Miura S P400 - Bonhams
BILL'S ESTIMATE: $2.6M
BONHAM'S ESTIMATE: $1.7 - 2.2M
Great looking car but a shame it is not an SV. Restored by the dean of Lamborghinis, Gary Bobileff. A La Jolla shop isolated engine from the gearbox by splitting the sump as per SV specs yet the difference in the S and SV goes beyond that. The chassis on the SV was more robust, hence more desirable, but any Miura is highly regarded among the cognoscenti. Originally sold in La Jolla, California it was used sparingly until later in its life; Lamborghini engineer and factory test driver in the Miura era, Claudio Zampolli, performed a full restoration. These cars could be thought of as being aerodynamically challenged at over 120 MPH as they are subject to nose lift. At the time—and even today—it is a groundbreaking design which over 50 years later still makes a design statement that is fresh and exciting. Arguably the best of builder Bertone and designer Gandini. The late General Motors manager of Design, Dave Holls, once commented to me that the magic of the Miura design was that if you did not know any better, you were really not sure just where the motor was located! With 385 HP on tap and a wonderful carbureted transverse V-12 just behind your ears, it offers an experience that few cars can meet. It is a car that would be welcome at any concours in the world and give the owner great pride in owning one of the most beautiful sports/GT cars ever built.
... if you did not know any better, you were really not sure just where the motor was located.
#2 1985 March 85GTP/Chevy - Gooding
BILL'S ESTIMATE: $325,000
GOODING'S ESTIMATE: $250,000 - 350,000
You have to want one as if you are a serious racer and you’ll be in with the Porsche 962’s. Eleven March 85GTPs were made in 1985 with no particular exceptional history or wins. It is the Uncola of GTP cars once owned by airline pilot and race driver, William “Bill” Wonder who also owned an early Ford GT40 and a McLaren M8F. Nice car, but expensive to maintain even with a Chevy motor.
... the Uncola of GTP cars.
#3 1968 Maserati Ghibli Spyder - RM-Sotheby's
BILL'S ESTIMATE: $850,000
I used to own one of these and they are great drivers; in fact, wish I had kept it. Not a sports car per se, but a wonderful road car capable of covering long distances in great comfort. I found it to be easier to drive (power steering) than my Ferrari Daytona. The belt drive system for the air pump, AC, alternator, etc. is a real Rube Goldberg design and can be problematic. The water pump drive is equally a nightmare with two Heim joints on a short cable tying the two pulleys together. Break the cable then look for a hotel room. With only 125 Ghibli Spyders built (both 4.7 and 4.9) it is rare to see one today. It is outstandingly beautiful. Being a prototype carries some panache but being a prototype can be both a blessing and a curse. You choose! Other’s have sold in the $700-800K level. I sold mine, with cooling upgrade for $725K at Amelia several years ago. I’d love to see it break $ 1M and would be well worth it. Figure if a Daytona Spyder is north of $2M, then a Ghibli Spyder should be a bargain at $1M—providing any car at $1M can be considered a bargain!
Being a prototype carries some panache but being a prototype can be both a blessing and a curse.
GLENN MOUNGER - Chairman Emeritus The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
#1 1937 Bugatti Type 57 SC Atalante - Gooding
GLENN'S ESTIMATE: $9-10M
GOODING'S ESTIMATE: $10-12M
While perusing the Gooding & Company catalog, several cars caught my eye. However, this Bugatti Type 57SC was just too special to pass up. It’s the kind of car that dreams are made of. These extraordinary cars capture the passion, imagination and sublime motoring adventure like no other car. Essentially the last of the great supercharged sporting coupes from this era. The encroaching war would put a halt to the flamboyance and artistry of the Art Deco period, and this is partly why I’ve selected this absolutely sublime example. The low chassis, curvaceous Jean Bugatti coachwork, the delicately bobbed roofline and impossibly low hood, create a car that seems to have stopped time; like all great moments of artistry, we stand in awe. This Bugatti Type 57SC Atalante has the additional distinction of being a rare, supercharged car, inclusive of historically important ownership, but most importantly, captivatingly beautiful in every respect. I anticipate a very strong result for this example.
... a car that seems to have stopped time.
#2 1929 Duesenberg Murphy Sport Sedan - RM-Sotheby's
GLENN'S ESTIMATE: $1.5 - 1.8M
RM-SOTHEBY'S ESTIMATE: $1.2 - 1.5M
This choice was driven by the clean and pure look of this exemplary marque and therefore my top pick from a strong group of cars in this auction. Every automotive decade offers a pinnacle of performance, prestige, and elegance, but Duesenberg managed to hit all those qualities in their cars. It’s not a stretch to say that Duesenberg remains today the best American car ever built and quite possibly will continue to be for decades to come. Not only does this Sports Sedan deliver all the elegance and refinement of a Duesenberg, it goes several steps further: The stunning Murphy body design, the Fran Roxas restoration and a list of previous owners that reads like a Who’s Who of Classic Car Collecting. Add the understated black wall tires, dark body color and raked windscreen and you have a certain statement of American hand-crafted excellence that we may never see again.
It’s not a stretch to say that Duesenberg remains today the best American car ever built...
#3 1963 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight Competition - Bonham's
GLENN'S ESTIMATE: $6-7M
BONHAM'S ESTIMATE: $7M+
Of the three auctions we were asked to cover, there were a lot of Porsches, Ferraris, and other wonderful postwar sports cars, however this one stood out to me. The Jaguar E-Type Lightweight Competition sports car exemplifies the international excitement of the world of motorsports racing, especially in the halcyon days of 1960s racing. A gorgeous British car, backed by American Briggs Cunningham and raced at Le Mans makes for a diverse history united by performance excellence. But on top of that, this is one of just a handful built using a light alloy body coupled with Jaguar’s brilliant twin-cam engine in competition tune. If you’ve never owned an E-Type, the lightweight is the epitome of one of the most beautiful cars ever built—design perfection seamlessly framed into legendary competition history. With previous record sales in the millions of dollars it wouldn’t surprise me to see this one hit the estimate.
... design perfection seamlessly framed into legendary competition history.
#1 1933 Rolls-Royce PII Tourer by Barker- Gooding
MARK'S ESTIMATE: $525,000
GOODING'S ESTIMATE: $375,000 - 400,000
This particular offering from Gooding was not my first Rolls-Royce pick from their catalog, but for sentimental reasons I must go with this one. While it has a lot going for it, the top reason I want this Proper Motor Car in my garage was its most recent owner, the late Bill Davis. If you have been a RROC or CCCA member and attended any number of concours, then Bill needs no introduction. If you didn’t know him, look up any dictionary under “Gentleman” and his picture by all rights should be there. Out of 1,681 Phantom IIs produced, only 281 were the short wheelbase Continentals. 4PY took center stage at the 1933 Paris Salon, and was used by King George V for inspecting RAF planes. Both Bill and the previous owner meticulously maintained this car, upgrading with a roller cam and overdrive. Bill drove this Rolls in a numerous Motoring Classics to Pebble Beach, always adorned with the honorary #1 license plate. It is a fabulous car, well documented and sorted, which is reason enough to have it. Bill nicknamed her, “The Green Dragon” for obvious reasons, but the underbidders will be green with envy for missing out! Raise your hand a few extra times and pay a premium to honor him and own a Bill Davis Legacy car.
... used by King George V for inspecting RAF planes.
#2 1936 Lancia Astura Cabriolet Series III 'Tipo Bocca' by Pinin Farina - RM-Sotheby's
MARK'S ESTIMATE: $1.65m
RM-SOTHEBY'S ESTIMATE: $1.5 - 2M
Once again, I am going with sentimental value with this pick. RM Sotheby’s sale of the late Oscar Davis’ collection is a great addition to their Monterey sale, and any of his cars could be a crown jewel in someone’s collection. Oscar was a great person and will be missed by all who knew him. This Lancia Astura was always one of my favorites in his collection—I was at the 2017 Orin Smith sale when Oscar acquired this car, and was fortunate enough to go over it briefly before delivering it to him. Lancias have always been known for being technologically advanced, so marrying the great narrow V8 engine and other chassis features to this gorgeous coachwork is the best of both worlds. This short wheelbase Astura was Pinin Farina’s show car at the 1936 Milan Motor Show, and lists Barney Pollard and the former President of the American Lancia Club in its provenance.
... any of his [Oscar Davis] cars could be a crown jewel in someone’s collection.
#3 1925 Bentley 3-Litre Speed Model Tourer
MARK'S ESTIMATE: $415,000
BONHAM'S ESTIMATE: $350,000 - 450,000
The 3 Litre was W.O.’s introduction to the company bearing his name, and everyone who owns a 3 Litre loves driving them. This Vintage Bentley is a nice alternative from the ‘typical’ Vanden Plas Tourers that usually people (including me) desire. Chassis 921 is one of only 130 highly-desirable Speed models built that year, so it features the short 9 x 9 ½ chassis and the high compression engine with the twin SU sloper carburetors. It wears its original Taylor body, which casts a striking silhouette. The better view would be from behind the wheel as the next owner motors down the road! You can spend a lot more on one of the bigger Vintage Bentleys offered during the Monterey week, but this is the one I would choose and happily drive everywhere.
... you can spend a lot more on one of the bigger Vintage Bentleys offered during the Monterey week, but this is the one I would choose and happily drive everywhere.
RICH DOUCETTE - Founding Chair The Boston Cup
As a Benzaholic since birth owning a 190SL, 230, 250, 280, 380, 450, 560 and many more. I love these roadsters having just purchased a 1978 450SL in Scottsdale at Gooding in January once owned by Hollywood movie star and teen recording idol James Darren. I spoke with 86 year old "Jimmy" Darren about the car which he loved but is culling the herd. He was and is a real car guy.