the view through the windshield car blog

Monterey Week - 2014 (posted 8/18/14)

Monterey Week: Last week's annual August carfest offered the usual mix of spectacular and interesting auto auction results.

RM Auctions sold Steve McQueen's Chianti Red 1967 275 GTB/4 by Scaglietti that the actor ordered from the factory in Italy and had delivered to the San Francisco set of the iconic movie 'Bullitt'.

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The car fetched over $10,000,000. McQueen owned the car for more than four years before selling it.

RM also sold a metallic bronze 1948 Tucker for $1.57 million. A red 1964 Ferrari 250 LM offered by RM brought in $11.55 million. And a 1965 Ford GT40 Roadster Prototype (white with twin blue stripes and a 380 horsepower midship-mounted V8) garnered $6.93 million. A 1992 Vector W8 Twin Turbo brought in $250,000. RM also sold a maroon 1958 Dual-Ghia Convertible at no reserve for $385,000.

Bonhams sold a RHD white with blue stripe 1953 Ferrari 250 MM Berlinetta with body by Pinin Farina for $7,260,000.

A 1966 Ferrari 365P Berlinetta Speciale, the road-going ‘P’ car with three-seater, center-drive coachwork by Pininfarina, was sold new for $26,000.

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Gooding and Co. handled the auction of this rare Ferrari and it fetched $26.4 million. Only three examples were produced.

At the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, the featured categories were Maserati, Ruxton, Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, Fernandez et Darrin Coachwork, Early Steam Cars, Rolls-Royce Phantom Postwar, Streamlined Tatra, 1914 French Grand Prix and Eastern European Motorcycles.

Pebble Beach's 2014 Best of Show was awarded to a 1954 Ferrari 375 MM Scaglietti Coupe owned by Jon Shirley of Medina, Washington.

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It's the first time that a Ferrari won Best of Show at Pebble Beach and the first time a postwar car has won since 1968. This car was once owned by Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman.

Armchair Auction Viewing: I watched the Mecum Monterey Auctions on television over the weekend. I experienced most of it on super fast-forward because .... well ... how many overrestored Camaros, Mustangs, Chevelles and other muscle cars can one bear to watch, anyway? And the same for the plethora of Porsches that crossed the block, including a lot of 356s - glorified Volkswagens - that commanded seemingly outrageous prices.

Here is a sampling of cars that caught my eye:

A striking tan over cream, Murphy-bodied 1930 Duesenberg Model J torpedo Berline four-door convertible, once owned by actor Tyrone Power and later part of the Nethercutt Collection and then Bill Harrah's Auto Museum in Reno, Nevada, sold for $1,425,000.

A fire engine red, freshly-restored 1932 Ford roadster/pickup with a four-cylinder flathead motor went under the gavel for a surprising (to me) $60,000.

A gorgeous dark blue 1935 Lincoln Model K town car, described as a non-collapsible cabriolet and powered by Lincoln's big 414 cubic-inch V12, sold for $180,000.

A maroon 1936 LaSalle convertible with dual sidemounts and a rumble seat fetched $80,000.

A tan 1937 Cord 812 Custom Beverly supercharged sedan sold for $115,000.

A very nice-looking light blue 1937 Ford cabriolet with rumble seat hammered down for $40,000.

A maroon 1939 Ford Deluxe Tudor sedan with the stock 86 hp flathead V8 engine sold for $30,000

A burgundy 1947 Ford Super Deluxe convertible with a tan canvas top was bought for $38,000. This vehicle had a frame-off restoration and won the AACA National 1st place Award Hershey, Pennsylvania.

A light green 1947 Lincoln Continental cabriolet sold for $42,500. Twenty years ago, LC's of this vintage commanded higher prices. But the market has moved on to muscle cars and demand for most non-coachbuilt '30s and '40s cars has generally stagnated. Or, insome cases, fallen.

A restored-to-original, cream-colored 1947 Oldsmobile woody wagon fetched $57,500. And, a maroon 1949 Ford woody wagon brought $37,000. These prices were lower than I expected.

A couple of years ago at Monterey, a postwar Mercury woody station wagon sold for $79,750 and a very rare 1946 Mercury Sportsman woody convertible brought the gavel down at $368,500. At the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction this year, a black 1950 Ford Country Squire woody wagon fetched $130,000. In 2013, B-J sold a professionally-restored dark green 1948 Packard Bathtub Woody wagon for $85,000.

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On the other hand, a freshly-restored, medium green 1940 Ford Deluxe woody sold for $100,000 ... but '40 Fords always command a premium. And, a rare, dark green 1947 Ford Sportsman woody convertible sold for $240,000. Less than 100 '46-'47 Sportsmans are believed to exist today.

A canary-yellow 1948 Buick Roadmaster convertible with a deep red leather interior sold for $45,000. I really like this popular exterior/interior color combo on early postwar Buick convertibles.

A 1950 MG TC roadster in proper British Racing Green fetched $27,000. TC's were really small (only 140 inches long) and were slow, powered by a 1,250 cc motor. From 1945 to '50, about 10,000 were made.

A 1950 MG TD roadster sold for $24,000. A cream-colored 1953 example was gaveled at $25,000. My good friend, the late Mike Stevenson, had a TD in college. I enjoyed riding in it, even though it wasn't very fast. From the passenger's seat, the hood seemed to be a mile long. Mike's MG was painted British Racing Green.

A swoopy red 1951 Muntz Jet convertible with a red snakeskin interior, powered by a modified Lincoln flathead V8 - offered in "non-running condition" - sold for $50,000.

A pale green 1954 Buick Skylark convertible sold for $110,000. This was a rare beauty - only 836 examples were manufactured.

A red and white 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible brought $80,000. It had the 265 cubic-inch V8 engine with two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission and had been treated to a frame-off restoration.

Chevies were all-new for '55.

It was the first modern-era Chevy with a V8 available. People my age have a soft spot for the 1955 models, especially the convertibles, hardtop coupes and Nomad wagons.

A freshly-restored 1956 DeSoto Fireflite convertible in Iridescent Plum and Iridescent Lavender paint with a matching Plum fabric soft top and chromed Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels sold for $140,000. I continued to be amazed at the auction prices restored DeSoto convertibles seem command these days.

No one wanted DeSotos when Chrysler made 'em; now they're hot-n-pricey auction fodder.

A triple-black 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible fetched an amazing $175,000. 1,800 Eldo drop tops were produced in the '57 model year.

A black 1957 Thunderbird with a black and white interior and powered by a stock 245 hp, 312 cu.in. V8 sold for $62,000. 16,155 Thunderbirds were produced in '57.

A 1958 black Corvette with contrasting silver side coves went under the hammer at $81,000. It had dual quads and a 4-speed manual transmission.

A red 1958 Messerschmidt KR200 sold for $28,000. In early 1963, I had the opportunity to buy one of these bubble-topped microcars for $125 and passed on it. No regrets.

A lovely white 1958 Jaguar XK150 drop head coupe with period whitewalls and chrome wire wheels was auctioned for $100,000.

A maroon 1961 Jaguar XK150 fixed head coupe sold for $59,000. This late-production example was a multiple First Place Award winner in Jaguar Club North America Concours competition, with scores ranging from 99.93 to 99.96 out of 100 points. It had the same owner since 1980. The 1961 model was the last of the sporty 140/150 Jags and was replaced mid-year by the E-Type (aka XKE).

A gorgeous green 1961 E-Type fixed-head coupe crossed the auction block at $95,000.

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Older Jags are masterpieces of style. I think everyone should have a Jaguar at least once in their lives.

A sleek red 1961 Ferrari 250 Series II cabriolet fetched $2,250,000.

A navy blue 1963 Corvette StingRay split-window coupe with the 360 horsepower fuel-injected 327 motor went under the gavel at $150,000.

A 1965 Corvette StingRay coupe, painted in Nassau Blue with a 375 hp fuel-injected engine, sold for $74,000.

A white 1963 Mercedes-Benz 190SL with a black convertible top sold for $100,000. These cars were underpowered and fairly slow. I think 190s were popular because they looked like their more expensive and powerful brother, the Germanically handsome and awesome 300SL. Two silver 1955 300SL gullwings went under the hammer at Mecum. One sold for $1,075,000; the other fetched $1,350,000.

A triple-black 1965 Lincoln Continental four-door convertible did not sell at a high bid of $42,000. That bid sounded like a high price to me.

A 1966 triple-black Shelby 427 Cobra roadster sold for $1 million even.

A white 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 fastback with twin blue stripes sold for $147,500. It had the 355 horsepower motor hooked to a four-speed manual tranny.

A red 1967 Sunbeam Tiger Mark II sold for $210,000. I believe that's a record for a Sunbeam Tiger. This example was one of just 536 produced in the final year of Tiger production. It had a black interior and a recent frame-off restoration. The Tiger has the original drivetrain comprising a matching-numbers Ford 289/225 hp V8 engine and 4-speed transmission.

A dark green 1969 Corvette L88 coupe sold for a remarkable $450,000. L88 models were built form 1967 to '69 and included a comprehensive racing package with a big-block V8 with solid-lifters and Can-Am-spec cylinder heads - the same engine that powered Sunray DX racer to a class victory at the 1967 12 Hours of Sebring.

A beautiful red 1968 Corvette L88 convertible sold for $800,000.

Only 216 L-88 Corvettes rolled off the assembly line during three model years. Earlier this year, a red 1967 Chevy Corvette L88 coupe was sold for a staggering $3.5 million (plus an additional 10% in fees) - a record price for a Corvette at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale. Chevrolet sold just 20 L88s in 1967.

A 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL roadster in a gorgeous silver blue with a blue leather interior gaveled down at $82,000. My good friend Marty once bought a new 280 SL. Nice car.

A white 2005 mid-engined Ford GT with blue stripes and less than 38 miles on the odometer commanded a price of $280,000.

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My identical 1:43 scale model has even fewer miles on it and only cost $7.95. At RM Auctions, a yellow 2006 Ford GT with just 13 miles sold for $407,000. Doesn't anyone drive these things?


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The facts presented in this blog are based on my best guesses and my substantially faulty geezer memory. The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and are protected by the U.S. Constitution. Probably.

Spelling, punctuation and syntax errors are cheerfully repaired when I find them; grudgingly fixed when you do.

If I have slandered any brands of automobiles, either expressly or inadvertently, they're most likely crap cars and deserve it. Automobile manufacturers should be aware that they always have the option of trying to change my mind by providing me with vehicles to test drive.

If I have slandered any people or corporations in this blog, either expressly or inadvertently, they should buy me strong drinks (and an expensive meal) and try to prove to me that they're not the jerks I've portrayed them to be. If you're buying, I'm willing to listen.

Don't be shy - try a bribe. It might help.


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