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Updated: Aug 16, 2021

This marks our third 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 Bonhams, Gooding and RM-Sotheby's. Selections are based on the individual's personal preferences, and not necessarily the most valuable or popular vehicle. At their discretion, each contributor may list their personal auction presale estimates in conjunction with house estimates.

To ensure an even distribution of coverage, this year’s article goes fully independent with three new guest contributors: Caroline Cassini, Tim McGrane and Donald Osborne. Together with Nick Candee, Gordon McCall, Glenn Mounger and Bill Warner, out 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.

The results are in! Post your comments below.

Thanks for reading our annual Monterey auction roundup—and enjoy the ride!

- Eric Killorin

Photos courtesy of Bonhams, Gooding, RM-Sotheby's


BILL WARNER - Founder & Chairman Emeritus Amelia Island Concours

#1 1966 Shelby Cobra CSX3205 - Bonhams


BONHAM'S ESTIMATE: $900,000-1.2M

SOLD: $995,000

This car began life in primer with a black interior under work order #18105 and was painted blue by the dealer, McCafferty Ford, Trenton, NJ. According to the SAAC Registry, this car was originally delivered with a 428 motor, but (it was) replaced by a 427 side oiler in 1974. The side pipes, roll bar and hood scoop and Halibrand wheels were added in 1975, and featured on the cover of Sports Car International. All this information is published in the SAAC World Registry. Now down to brass tacks. Do all the changes from 428 to 427, wheels, scoop, pipes, etc. have an effect on the value? To me, they do, because according to the great jazz man, Woody Herman, “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be." My Cobra Go-To friend, Ned Scudder agrees. The demand today is for cars as they originated at Shelby. That being said, I’m going to go low on this with an estimate at $950K. In my heart, I know someone will come out of the woods at more money, but with all the changes, the knowledgeable may prevail. We shall see!

#2 1970 Porsche 917K #031/026 - RM-Sotheby's




This car started as a team car for Mike Hailwood, but had only one race (Le Mans). The car was shared with David Hobbs who started in the car and took it up to 3rd before turning the car over to Hailwood who missed the pits and stuffed the car in the first turn. Afterwards, she was converted to an Interseries 917 Spyder and renumbered 026 by John Wyer Engineering. The cars best competition history was in the Interseries (under Shell livery) where it won seven races in 1971. At one time, the converted spyder was owned by Mike Amalfitano and was damaged in a truck hauling accident—the driver did not tie the car down. It then went through several hands before being properly restored in the UK by Dean Lanzant. All in all, a proper 917 with a minimal Gulf history. That being said, I would guess that someone out there in mega-bucks land may pony up over $15M. 917’s generally don’t come to auction but change hands privately, so to see one in auction is very rare. The Gulf livery is a real asset although its life in that livery was short.

#3 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Trans AM #7N163378 - Gooding



NO SALE, HI BID: $950,000

I know this car really well as well as the current owner. It is the first of the Penske Sunoco Camaros and was driven by Mark Donohue and Craig Fisher. It is the 14th Z/28 built (Dec. 29, 1966) and was assembled by GM for the racing community. George Wintersteen also drove this car with Joe Welch and Bobby Brown at the 1967 Daytona 24 hour where it DNF’d. The car originally had a Traco motor with a 283 crank in a 327 block, yielding the required 302 CI configuration. Historically, it is at the top of the heap for General Motors competition cars and represents the seminal start of the Camaro racing program. My guess is that the car should bring north of $1.6 M—maybe more. I wish I was younger and richer as it is my kind of car!


GORDON MCCALL - Founder & CEO McCall Events and Motorworks Revival

#1 1963 Jaguar S/1 Competition Coupe - Bonhams

BONHAM'S ESTIMATE: $200-250,000

NO SALE, HI BID: $165,000

In today's marketplace, there is no shortage of, or attention given to, the iconic Jaguar C & D-Types—with good reason as they are important motorcars. Following suit, the famously referred to by Enzo Ferrari as "the most beautiful car in the world," the Series 1 E-Type Roadsters have etched their place in the collector car circles as well. Bringing up the rear is a car that I have always enjoyed the design of, and for many years, unloved in the marketplace compared to its siblings. The Series 1 Coupe is such a usable classic, with all of the sexy bits of the Roadster, minus the drop top. Of the Coupes, the 12 factory lightweight racers are the high-water mark of course, which to me, leaves the door wide open for tastefully and period correctly modified examples, such as this one offered by Bonhams. Stylish & sporting all in one package, I'd take it!

#2 1975 Porsche 911 Turbo Carrera - RM-Sotheby's


SOLD: $179,000

In 1975, the arrival of the Porsche 911 Turbo was a game changer for a street legal car. in 1972, the first turbocharged Porsche seen by the public was the 917/10 at Mosport with Mark Donohue behind the wheel. The Carrera RSs, the street Carrera's from 1974 and 1975, were naturally aspirated—and then came this beast. One really had to anticipate the turbo boost to master, or at least think you were mastering the throttle! What intrigues me the most about these early cars is the low 274-unit production numbers, the 160 mph top speed and outright rarity. I suppose a re-stamped engine will affect the selling price to some degree on this example; however, still an important motorcar in my view. It has paved the way for all of the Porsche Turbos to follow which there are many.

#3 1964 Shelby Cobra 289 - Gooding


SOLD: $1.1M

Putting provenance aside, this 289 Cobra ticks all the boxes for an automotive enthusiast. Fun to drive, fun to look at, easy to work on and everyone you come in contact with has a Carroll Shelby story along with the inevitable—is it real? Real it is, and lovely at that. To me, the 289 Cobra epitomizes motoring of the 1960s; in other words, how do we make something go faster that its original form intended it to? Hot rods were becoming more sophisticated, and with the English flavor of the AC Ace, Carroll Shelby found a brilliant way to combine style and performance all in one package. As simple a motorcar as they are, this 289 Cobra tells a complex story of one man's dream, and owning a 289 Cobra puts one immediately in a club of fellow enthusiasts, with acceptance to any rally or show, or perhaps in this case, a rock concert.