Gooding & Company Amelia Island Auction PreviewBy: Jeremy McMullen
Gooding & Company, the auction house acclaimed for selling the world's most significant and valuable collector cars, will hold its annual Amelia Island Auction on Friday, March 7 on the Omni Amelia Island Plantation.
David Gooding, President and founder: 'Originality was the driving force behind our Amelia Island Auction. As always, our specialists have a keen eye for effective preservation of blue chip category cars. Many of the outstanding examples we selected for this sale are excellent candidates for sympathetic restoration. We also chose vehicles that benefited from precise care and restoration that has preserved rather than masked the beautiful patina these cars have earned with age. We believe this direction has proven itself through our phenomenal results, and is in line with the priorities of true connoisseurs.'
Nearly 90 cars are scheduled to cross the auction block beginning at 11:00 am. Included in the sale is a selection of the most collectible and superior post-war sports cars to come to auction in recent years. Several exceptional competition Porsches along with a single-marque collections of BMW automobiles are also among the many highlights of this year's event.
This article previews a few of the cars expected to appear at Gooding & Company's 2014 Amelia Island Auction. Additional information about the auction can be found at http://www.goodingco.com/
1968 Porsche 907 Longtail : Chassis # 907-005
Porsche's list of accomplishments in endurance sportscar racing is vast, almost overwhelming at times to ponder. The automaker has been so successful in the category that it becomes rather easy to overlook some of its most precious chassis. However, a mere perusal of the record books and important races in history will cause a handful to come to the fore. Chassis 907-005 is just such an example.
Prior to the 1970s, Ferrari and Jaguar were considered the best in sportscar racing. However, when Porsche finally got on top, they would never leave, and for more than a few decades, it seemed only a Porsche was capable of any kind of success.
Porsche's 907 would make its debut at Le Mans in 1967. However, that debut would come at a time when Ford's GT40s were ruling the Le Mans world, and so, it was easy to overlook the sleek new offering from Stuttgart.
Porsche had earned a very valid reputation for taking underpowered, light and nimble little cars and turning them into machines capable of punching above their weight. They knew, though, that to compete against Ford and Ferrari, they could not make do with less. They would need to start out on somewhat equal footing. This meant beginning work on an eight-cylinder boxer engine. By the time of Le Mans in 1967, power output from the engine had been increased to 270bhp. Unfortunately, the new eight cylinder engine wasn't ready in time to contest a 24 hour race. Therefore, Porsche would be left having to mount smaller six-cylinder engines into the 907. Against the 7.0-liter GT40s the 907 just didn't have the power and performance.
But whatever Porsche lacked in reliability and raw performance, the 907 made up for it with its incredible design. Aided by wind tunnel testing, Porsche would create the 907 to be unlike anything else it had ever produced before, and that would certainly be the case. From its shapely nose, to its aerodynamically-raked cockpit, to its long and smooth tail, the 907 was unlike anything else that would be positioned on the grid for Le Mans in 1967. It well and truly was the future look of prototype racing even before there really was such a thing.
Porsche had confidence that when its eight-cylinder engine was truly ready to race that it would take its place among the best in the world. When the engine was finally ready Porsche needed to find the right moment to test its abilities. The best opportunity would come in early 1968.
The big 7.0-liter engines had done themselves in. New regulations would limit engine size to 3.0-liters. Porsche's new eight-cylinder engine wasn't far from that goal so they would set about creating a new engine that would conform to the new regulations. Ferrari would protest by not even competing.
The first opportunity to race in a long-distance affair under the new regulations would come on the 3rd and 4th of February with the 24 Hours of Daytona. Though the weather conditions would be cold, the competition was going to be hot with the Porsches going up against Ford GT40s, Alfa Romeo and Lancia.
Two GT40s would start from the front row after Jacky Ickx took the pole in the number 8, J.W. Automotive entry, GT40. Porsche would enter four examples of the 907 longtails. Positions 3rd through 6th on the grid would all be occupied by the 907s. It was clear the new eight-cylinder engine was capable of competing, even with the bigger engines powering the Fords.
It wouldn't look that good at the start of the race as the GT40s would power their way into the lead. The Porsche 907s would keep things interesting as the number 53 Porsche 907 would suffer a puncture. The result of the damage from the tire would lead to the car being retired after just 104 laps.
The good news would be the fact the fastest GT40, that driven by Ickx and Brian Redman, would already be out of the race as a result of gearbox failure. This would be followed up by the number 9 GT40 dropping out after 430 laps as a result of a leaking fuel tank. The Porsches would suffer no such trouble, and, with time closing, would find themselves in the first three positions overall. Leading then all would be chassis 005 driven by Elford, Neerpasch, Stommelen, Siffert and Herrmann. Assembled in line-abreast formation, the three longtails would come across the line pronouncing Porsche's rise to dominance. As stated by Kim Chapin in a February 1968 issue of Sports Illustrated, 'The one positive result of the race is that Porsche—long overshadowed by the bigger cars despite its excellence and its consistency in winning prizes for medium-sized engines—is now the endurance star and may remain so all season long.' How true this would be, except the dominance wouldn't just last the season, but for decades to come.
Following the incredible victory at Daytona, 005 would go on to score a 2nd place result in the 1000 Kilometers of Monza. At the time, Porsche was already developing the follow-up to the 907, the 908, therefore, the action at the 1968 24 Hours of Le Mans would be palpable. Unfortunately, 907-005 would fail to finish when it suffered a broken rocker arm.
In spite of the troubles, 005 would be entered in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1969. The car would be driven by the same two men, Alex Soler-Roig and Rudi Lins, as had driven the car at Le Mans the year before. At the time, the car had been converted to short-tail specifications. And though Daytona would not prove all that successful, Sebring would offer a 4th place overall finish.
Following this 4th place at Sebring, 005 would return to the factory where it would take up a role as a fire suppression tester. It would fulfill this role very well and would only suffer limited damage as a result of the tests. Shortly thereafter, the short-tailed version 005 would be made available for private sale.
Purchased by a private team, 005 would continue its racing career. The 907 would continue to enjoy strong results, including a 1st in class in the 1971 24 Hours of Le Mans. Then, in 1973, though over four years old at this point, 005 would earn a 2nd in class result at Le Mans. The car's final race would come later that year in the Grand Prix de la Corniche.
Following its end of retirement from racing, 005 would pass through a number of owners including Sepp Greger of Germany and Sten Hillgard of Sweden. Henry Payne of the United States would then come across images of the car. At the time, the car was greatly disassembled, but it was still all there. This was enough for Payne to make the investment in the former winner.
Coming back to the United States, 005 would remain with Payne and would undergo a complete restoration by Willison Werkstatt of Florida. Great care would be taken to keep the car as original as possible. Concerned with maintaining the eight-cylinder engine in good working order, a six-cylinder would be purchased and used in historic events.
Payne thoroughly enjoyed the 907 and was convinced of its abilities even decades after it had retired from racing. This belief would go so far that Payne would petition Jurgen Barth for entry into the 1998 24 Hours of Daytona. Payne's argument: performance of the car in 1968 was quite similar to contemporary cars.
Payne would continue to race the 907 in historic events until 2007 when he would be sidelined by health concerns. This too would sideline the Porsche. Henry realized that it was time for the 907 to part his company, which it would do in 2010 when it was purchased by a noted Porsche collector.
Upon taking ownership of the 907, the collector set about restoring the car to its original look and feel from when it scored that historic win at Daytona in 1968. This meant the eight-cylinder engine would be put back inside the car. The final touches would be the very same livery from that historic race.
Since being completed, 907-005 has been seen at a number of events including the 2011 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance where it would receive the Judge North Trophy for the Most Historically Significant Race Car, a very apt award for this particular Porsche. Then, in 2012, Vic Elford would be reunited with the car at Daytona. It was part of Daytona's 50th anniversary celebration and an obvious key moment in the history of the speedway as well.
Certainly, the 917s would receive much of the glory for Porsche, to be followed on by the 936, 956 and 962. However, it would be inappropriate to overlook the achievement scored in February of 1968. And the car at the heart of that achievement would be 907-005, certainly one of the most significant Porsche prototype sportscars in history.
'1968 Porsche 907 News, Pictures, Specifications and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z6060/Porsche-907.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z6060/Porsche-907.aspx. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
Traver, David. 'This is the Porsche that Won Daytona', (http://www.roadandtrack.com/racing/race-car/this-porsche-907-won-daytona). Road & Track. http://www.roadandtrack.com/racing/race-car/this-porsche-907-won-daytona. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
'Chapin, Kim. 'Achtung! Achtung! The Porsches are Coming!', (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1080842/index.htm). SI Vault: Your Link to Sports History. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1080842/index.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
'Lot No. 66: 1968 Porsche 907 Longtail', (http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1968-porsche-907-longtail/#tab2). Gooding & Company. http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1968-porsche-907-longtail/#tab2. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
'24 Hours of Daytona', (http://www.racingsportscars.com/results/Daytona-1968-02-04.html). Racing Sports Cars. http://www.racingsportscars.com/results/Daytona-1968-02-04.html. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
Wikipedia contributors, 'Porsche 907', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 26 February 2013, 15:56 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Porsche_907&oldid=540658755 accessed 19 February 2014
1956 Lancia Aurelia B24S Spider America
Chassis # B24S 1155
image credit: Gooding & Co.
Vittorio Jano's abilities were already well-documented from his days prior to World War II. Not greatly educated, Jano's talent was still undeniable. Following the war, the talented engineer would play a small, but very important role in what would be considered one of Lancia's greatest achievements. It would be a production automobile, but it would have so much of Jano in it that it could not be so easily defined.
Following the Second World War, Lancia was already struggling as a result of little to no funds coming its way from reconstruction. This meant the company was forced to make do with older tooling and equipment. But, with Jano as part of the company's design team, there was hope.
Lancia's team would already have a small coupe design in the works, but there were some issues, most notably with the transaxle. Jano would help solve that issue and would also help to play a part in what would become known as the Aurelia introducing a number of firsts in production sports car history.
Introduced in 1950, the Aurelia would be Lancia's first post-war car. But while the company would be forced to make do in many ways, the company would still show the way forward by producing the first V-6 engine for production cars. Furthermore, the Aurelia would include such interesting features as inboard rear drum brakes and a gearbox of such quality that a fine watchmaker would have been proud.
Whereas car makers like Ferrari would be all about jamming as much performance into as small a car as possible. Lancia, as it would be proven, would go another direction. By strong engineering and innovative planning, Lancia would provide just enough performance with a greater amount of refinement.
The Aurelia would continue in production for a number of years and would help Lancia recover following the war. The Aurelia was simple, yet elegant, powerful, but not overly boisterous.
As the 1950s continued, the jet age and, later, the space age, would really begin to have an impact on car design. However, at a time when designers were coming up with radical looks, Pininfarina would keep the Aurelia tastefully simple. This would be best typified by its most desirable example—the B24S Spider America.
The intended audience was clear. Pininfarina would design a body that would embody the feel and the nature of the Californian. Including a wrap-around windscreen, simple touches of chrome, light folding top, split bumpers and upturned rear wheel lines, the Spider America included classic Aurelia lines with enough drama to lure in the most elite of Hollywood.
The first example of the Spider America would make its debut a the Brussels Motor Show in January of 1955. Though intended for the U.S. market, each Aurelia built by the company would be an exhaustive endeavor. As a result, only 240 Spider Americas would ever be built. One of those Aurelia Spider Americas is 1155.
Completed in the fall of 1955, 1155 would be completed in Lancia racing red, one of only a few to be finished in such a color. Though completed in 1955, the car would not arrive in the United States until it came with a group of Lancia Aurelias in early 1956.
Though 1155 would be in the United States by early 1956, not much is known of its history before the mid-1960s when it is known to be registered to Gary Vitale of Connecticut. In December of 1966, Robert Mellon, a fellow resident of Watertown where Vitale lived, would become the car's next owner.
In the care of Mr. Mellon, the Lancia Aurelia was to be restored. And though some of the restoration project would be completed, the Spider America would remain largely undone and left in a garage. The car would remain in the garage for 40 years until Mellon passed away in 2012. At that time, much of the estate, which included the Lancia, would be sold. This would be the first time in some 40 years the Lancia had been moved from its garage.
An east coast collector would purchase the car and would set about restoring the car. Tom Straubinger would be commissioned to complete a concours-quality restoration. Straubinger is a Italian car specialist held in high esteem, and therefore, was more than trustworthy to complete the car in top condition.
The car had 41,000 miles at the time the restoration began. Much of the car was without defect and corrosion. Aspects of the car would be shipped to other experts for completion. This would include David Carte's Classic & Sport performing work on the upholstery, electrical and other furnishing installation. One of the final details would be to refinish the car in the same Lancia racing red. The restoration process would take two years, but the result would be one striking Spider America, a fine example of the underrated Lancia Aurelia.
A great grand touring automobile, the Lancia Aurelia certainly deserves more credit for its achievements than it often gets. However, the Spider America, and certainly this example, certainly helps to right the notorious wrong.
'1956 Lancia Aurelia B24 News, Pictures, Specifications and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z13903/Lancia-Aurelia-B24.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z13903/Lancia-Aurelia-B24.aspx. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
'1951 Lancia Aurelia B50 News, Pictures, Specifications and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z12304/Lancia-Aurelia-B50.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z12304/Lancia-Aurelia-B50.aspx. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
'Lot No. 54: 1956 Lancia Aurelia B24S Spider America', (http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1956-lancia-aurelia-b24s-spider-america-2/). Gooding & Company. http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1956-lancia-aurelia-b24s-spider-america-2/. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
1958 Lancia Aurelia—Jay Leno's Garage. Video. (2013). Retrieved 18 February 2014 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lkHB2OExmM
Wikipedia contributors, 'Lancia Aurelia', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 7 December 2013, 23:18 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lancia_Aurelia&oldid=585054600 accessed 18 February 2014
1909 ALCO 40HP Runabout
Chassis # 3634018
image credit: Gooding & Co.
The automotive and locomotive industries have always seemed locked in a bitter struggle. However, one company, American Locomotive Company, or ALCO, would be one of the very few that would manage to bridge the gap.
Founded in 1901, ALCO would quickly become a popular builder of locomotives that would make their way up and down the eastern coast of the United States. The company would be birthed after a group of smaller railroad companies came together and formed the larger entity.
ALCO would be a rather big and influential company by 1905, just four years after it came into being. However, in spite of the growth of the company, those in management would realize there was a burgeoning market in the automotive industry. Instead of being an amalgamation of a number of smaller railroad companies to become one large company, ALCO could get the jump in the automotive industry and become one of the large companies straight-away.
Sparing no time, ALCO would begin producing automobiles in 1906. Initially, the company would build existing designs, particularly Berliets. A couple of years later, ALCO would begin producing cars of its own making. The company wouldn't just look into production road cars either. In fact, ALCO race cars would be rather popular and successful. In fact, in 1909 and 1910, an ALCO would win the Vanderbilt Cup.
But while the company's racing cars would be considered some of the best, ALCO automobiles for the road would have to be considered rather exceptional. The company would boast in its advertising that it took more than a year and a half just to build one car and chassis 3634018 would provide a good explanation as to why.
Being part of an influential, and therefore, wealthy company, ALCO automobiles would not skimp when it came to meticulously building and refining their road cars. Prices ranging from between $5,000 and $9,000 it would be little wonder why the automotive niche of ALCO would be defunct by 1913.
Chassis 3634018 is a 1909 ALCO 40HP Runabout. Its early history has been lost to time, but what is clear is that this particular is anything but commonplace. First of all, there are only to be around 12 ALCO automobiles known to exist anywhere in the world. However, this particular example features a dual-chain drive configuration. Such configurations were rare and that fact makes this ALCO all the more precious.
image credit: Gooding & Co.
Though its first 50 years of history has been lost, it is known to have been purchased in March of 1961 by Mr. Anton Hulman from a Mr. Curtis Blake of Massachusetts. Hulman is famous for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He would purchase the car to become part of the display at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. Before it would take its place within the museum collection the car would be carefully restored. From then on, the car would receive regular care and maintenance.
For the next 50 years of its existence, the 1909 ALCO would remain at the museum and would be maintained in good conditions throughout that time. Then, in 2011, the ALCO would become available for sale. Upon coming to its new owner, the ALCO would undergo some service and light restoration. Part of this work would include having correct Solarclipse brass headlamps installed on the 1909 Runabout.
Finished in blue-green with touches of copper and brass, the 1909 is a picture of opulence and quality. Though more than a hundred years old, the ALCO's tan leather seats, and other striking features, just beg to go for a drive. Even still, more than a hundred years on, the 1909 ALCO looks ready for a run-about.
'1909 ALCO Six Race Car News, Pictures, Specifications and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z13974/Alco-Six-Race-Car.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z13974/Alco-Six-Race-Car.aspx. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
'Lot No. 43: 1909 ALCO 40HP Runabout', (http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1909-alco-40-hp-runabout/). Gooding & Company. http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1909-alco-40-hp-runabout/. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
Wikipedia contributors, 'American Locomotive Company', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 14 February 2014, 00:58 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=American_Locomotive_Company&oldid=595383307 accessed 20 February 2014
1930 Minerva AL Three-Position Cabriolet
Chassis # 80139
Adorning the Minerva logo is the profile of the Roman goddess bearing the same name. In the early part of the 20th century, the Minerva line of automobiles would be worshipped by many, including Charles S. Rolls. However, even amongst so many deities, the AL would have to be considered the great goddess.
Minerva would actually be established by Sylvain de Jong. De Jong would actually be from Holland but he would set up business in Antwerp, Belgium. He would get his start manufacturing bicycles. In 1902, de Jong started producing automobiles. Using a Knight License he obtained, de Jong would start using the sleeved-valve engine in his designs and would begin producing luxury automobiles.
Throughout World War I, Minerva automobiles would be used in attacks against the Germans. But then, soon following the end of the war, the company would return to building luxury automobiles.
As the 1920s saw economies soar, de Jong's ideas for luxury automobiles would follow suit. He would have in mind what would have to be considered the ultimate luxury automobile when those same economies began to tank. Undaunted, de Jong would carry on with his remarkable AL.
Minerva automobiles had been a popular choice with royal families back in the days before the First World War. The AL would be every bit the royal goddess. Unfortunately, it would have the price to match. All kinds of luxury would not be able to carry Minerva over the storm. As a result, the company would begin offering cars at cheaper prices. Still, these cheaper alternatives would have every bit of the luxury as a more-expensive Rolls-Royce.
Unfortunately, it would be too little, too late. Minerva, the popular chariot of royals, would be lost to antiquity. By 1934, the company would merge with Imperia, another Belgian motor company. Though Minervas would continue to be made, they would last just a couple more years until the name was gone forever.
Though the company would be no more, the AL would remain; its commanding presence reminding of a day when Minerva held sway over the affairs of men. Because of its arresting price, production of the AL included just about 50 examples. In spite of the price, there were many that were faithful to the brand fully aware of the trustworthiness of the durability, elegance and its smooth and quiet ride.
Though there would be only about 50 examples of the AL ever built, there are only about eight that are known to still exist. There are even fewer examples of the AL Cabriolet. One of those eight ALs and fewer cabriolets is 80139.
Reflecting upon the car, it is not hard to understand why 80139 is considered by some to be, perhaps, the finest example of the Minerva AL, at least amongst those known to remain. The reason for such consideration is quite simple—Carrosserie Van den Plas.
Van de Plas got its start producing wheels and axle units for carriages. The company would move back and forth between Brussels and Antwerp and would have been an obvious choice for the Antwerp-based Minerva. At the same Minerva would become considered the automaker for royals, Van den Plas would have to be considered a coachbuilder for royals. Throughout the European continent, and especially in England, the Belgian coachbuilder was extremely popular.
Van den Plas custom bodies would be noted for their character and personality, and this suited the aristocratic and godly Minerva AL perfectly. For such a stately and imposing goddess, Van den Plas would fashion a design that would gracefully adorn the AL chassis. Graceful and flowing from nose to tail, the body captures the elegant dimensions of the car in simple, but dramatic, effect.
Then there are the many other refinements, beginning with the removable trunk, luggage hiding the car's tools, silver-plated hardware and ultra-rare Supralux lamps. The car is truly a work of art from beginning to end, inside and out.
Unfortunately, the first half of this car's history is lost to time. What is undisputed is that it was discovered in the late-1970s in the United States. When discovered it was in need of restoration. Minerva enthusiast, Philippe Boval would eventually come across the car and would just have to have it. He would purchase the car and would set about having the car fully restored.
The car would remain in Belgium with Boval for more than 25 years. Then, in 2004, the car would be purchased by a gentleman in California who had a great passion for cars from the pre-World War II era. Upon making the trip back to the United States, 80139 would then head to the Alan Taylor Company where its restoration could be fully completed. This was a daunting task as Taylor's company would be left having to restore a goddess to its place of prominence and influence, this meant incredible care and focus on even the smallest of details, details that were terribly difficult to address more than 70 years after the car had been originally built.
More than 18,000 hours would go into the restoration process. But, when the car was completed in 2007, the work would be fully appreciated as it would easily win its class at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. That same year, the Cabriolet would be invited to Pebble Beach and its concours event. The car would not only win its class, it would also be nominated for Best of Show. More achievements and awards would be won by the Minerva proving it still commanded the attention and respect among the serfs.
Impressive and commanding from any angle, the Minerva AL Three-Position Cabriolet certainly demands attention and accolade. It is also easy to understand why this particular chassis is worshipped above them all.
'1930 Minerva AL News, Pictures, Specifications and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z13370/Minerva-AL.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z13370/Minerva-AL.aspx. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
'A Resume of the Origin and Life of Vanden Plas', (http://www.vpoc.info/history.html), The Vanden Plas Owners' Club. http://www.vpoc.info/history.html. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
'Van den Plas', (http://www.coachbuild.com/index.php?option=com_gallery2&Itemid=50&g2_itemId=4050). Coachbuild.com. http://www.coachbuild.com/index.php?option=com_gallery2&Itemid=50&g2_itemId=4050. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
'Lot No. 41: 1930 Minerva AL Three-Position Cabriolet', (http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1930-minerva-al-three-position-sedanca-coupe/). Gooding & Company. http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1930-minerva-al-three-position-sedanca-coupe/. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
Wikipedia contributors, 'Minerva (automobile)', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 10 July 2013, 11:19 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Minerva_(automobile)&oldid=563651640 accessed 18 February 2014
1955 Ferrari 250 Europa GT
Chassis # 0409 GT
Seeing that only 43 examples of the 250 Europa GTs would ever be built every single one is a extraordinary and precious creation. However, even among those 43 there are still a handful that would have to be considered exceptional, 0409 GT would have to be just such an example.
The 250 Europa GT would be the replacement for the 212 Inter. The car would make use of a 3.0-liter Lampredi V12 and would, at least initially, have Vignale bodies similar to those of the 340 Mexico.
Pininfarina would pick up the design and production of the 250 Europa. The lines would be simplified and would have a look in common with the 375 America. The GT model would make its first appearance to the public at the 1954 Paris Salon. Though called the GT, there would be very little difference to the regular Europa. About the only noticeable external difference between the two would be the front wheel arch and the A-pillar.
The most significant difference between the two models would be in the chassis and engine. Not only would be chassis be wider and the wheelbase considerably shorter, but it would also benefit from improved suspension. Then there would be the engine differences. The Lampredi V12 engine would be replaced with the Colombo short-block V12. Though still 3.0-liters in size, the Colombo V12 was capable of producing some 220bhp.
Though Pininfarina would be involved in the design and construction of many of the Europa GTs, Vignale would still create a couple of examples for special clientele. Nonetheless, the Europa GT would be an important moment in Ferrari history as it would see Pininfarina take its place of prominence in the relationship to the automaker.
Only 43 examples of the 250 Europa GT would be built, and yet, it would constitute one of the longest production runs in Ferrari's history to that time. One of those 43 would be 0409 GT.
The car would be completed in July of 1955. When finished, the car would come with a red leather trim interior with grey cloth and an external finish consisting of Grigio and Amaranto. Registered by the end of July, the car would not be received by its first customer until the end of the year when it made its way to Rome.
For whatever reason, the Europa GT would remain in Rome for only about a year before it would be sold again. This time, the car would make its way to an owner living in Milan. In September of 1957, the car would be sold again. A Brazilian by the name of Jose Beruto Guiherme Mario would take ownership of the car. He was just 22 at the time but he would actually keep an address in Rome.
Throughout the early part of the 1960s, 0409GT would continue to change hands. It would spend time in Messina and Reggio di Calabria before it would end up in Taranto registered to one Giuseppe De Lorenzo. Still, the Europa GT would change hands yet again. Raffaele Lacarbonara, a mechanic working in the Taranto area, would end up becoming the car's owner.
Finally, the car would find an owner that appreciated it. Chassis 0409 GT would remain with Lacarbonara for more than four decades. In many respects, the Europa GT would become part of Raffaele's family and he would guard it as jealously as one would guard one of their own offspring.
The Europa GT would be driven sparingly by Raffaele, but then, in the early 1970s, the car would be secreted away in the family garage. The car would be effectively lost to the world as it remained tucked away in the garage for decades. Even after Rafffaele's death, it would be some time before the Ferrari would ever be discovered. Still, the car had been such an integral part of the family that they would not part with it until 2011 when a Swiss collector campaigned to purchase the car.
Nearly 40 years since its last public appearance, 0409 GT would reemerge to take part in the Uniques Concours held in Florence. A Californian would be awed by the Ferrari and would negotiate to buy the car in 2012.
Arriving in the United States, the Europa GT would be entered as part of the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Its highly original, un-restored state would garner much attention over the course of the event. Despite its obvious signs of wear and time in storage, 0409 GT offers something truly special. While there is something to be said about the meticulously restored automobile where everything is crisp and appearing untouched. The fact this Ferrari has obviously been touched, but remains highly intact, only adds to its intrigue and distinction.
'1955 Ferrari 250 Europa GT News, Pictures, Specifications and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z13221/Ferrari-250-Europa-GT.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z13221/Ferrari-250-Europa-GT.aspx. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
'All Models: 250 Europa', (http://www.ferrari.com/english/gt_sport%20cars/classiche/all_models/Pages/250_Europa.aspx). Ferrari.com. http://www.ferrari.com/english/gt_sport%20cars/classiche/all_models/Pages/250_Europa.aspx. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
'Focus On: 250 Europa (1953)', (http://www.ferrari.com/english/gt_sport%20cars/classiche/all_models/Pages/article_250_europa_gt.aspx). Ferrari.com. http://www.ferrari.com/english/gt_sport%20cars/classiche/all_models/Pages/article_250_europa_gt.aspx. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
'Lot No. 62: 1955 Ferrari 250 Europa GT', (http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1955-ferrari-250-europa-gt-2/). Gooding & Company. http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1955-ferrari-250-europa-gt-2/. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
1959 Porsche 718 RSK
Chassis # 718-023
photo credit: Gooding & Co
It is rare to find, or even think of, a more evocative spyder design than that which would be produced by Porsche in the late 1950s. Many would consider the 356 and 550 striking, compact spyder designs. However, the 718, which would come online mid-way through the 1957 season, would be all the more arresting and modern. But the Type 718 wouldn't just look the part. It would more than aptly carry on Porsche's dominance and would greatly influence sports car racing for years to come.
The design of the new car would be just the beginning. Revised suspension would give the new car even greater handling. On top of all this, the car was also much lighter than its predecessor. Therefore, even though it used the same 1.5-liter four-cylinder boxer engine that had been used on the 550, the overall performance of the 718 RSK would be greatly increased. The result would be that the RSK would continue Porsche's class dominance by either winning or ending up on the podium at Sebring, the Targa Florio and Le Mans in 1958. One year later, at the Targa Florio, RSKs would finish one-two-three.
Chassis 718-023 would be completed in March of 1959 by Porsche's racing department. Originally built to the specifications of a 1500 RSK, the car would receive an improved engine, the very same one it retains to this very day.
When completed, 718-023 would end up the property of Miami racer, Roy Schechter. Schechter had been racing Porsches for about a year before he would put up $8,000 for the 718. Receiving the car in September of 1959, Roy would head to Cuba for the 4 Hours of Alamar, an SCCA-sanctioned race held not far from Fidel Castro's home.
Slowed by the rainy conditions and clutch issues, Schechter would finish that first race in 4th place. This would be followed by a 3rd at Napier Field in Dothan, Alabama. Then, some time later, Schechter would head to the Bahamas for what was known as the Nassau Speed Week. Battling against strong competition in the Governor's Trophy race, Roy would finish the main event in 5th place, a rather impressive result against NART Ferraris, Lotus and other RSKs.
photo credit: Gooding & Co
Following a 3rd place result in the Riverside Grand Prix in April of 1960, Schechter would retire the car and would actually place an add for the car in Road & Track. Tom Beil of Pennsylvania would buy the Porsche and then would become part of Dr. William Jackson's collection in the late-1960s. Dr. Jackson's Porsche collection would be impressive and extensive, and this fact spoke volumes as to the value he placed on 718-023.
In 1999, after a long spell with Dr. Jackson, Heritage Classics of West Hollywood would purchase the 718-023 along with a number of other cars from his collection. Soon after, E. Kent Rawson, a collector from Florida, would come to own the car. Once again, the Porsche would join a collection filled with remarkable road cars and those created for the track.
The Porsche would undergo a full, concours-detail, restoration. Then, in 2006, the car would be sold again. This time the owner would be Peter Wirichs, another Porsche collector from Germany. Two years later, Jurgen Barth would produce a detailed report of the car's racing history and lineage. Jurgen Barth, the son of former racing driver Edgar Barth, is not only a former racing driver, but also, an authority on Porsche history. Therefore, such documents only add to the story of 023. Because of its history and condition, a prominent collector would become the car's next owner in 2013.
The car's new owner would commission Paul Russell and Company to ensure the Porsche was in full mechanical condition. However, because of its limited racing life and the great care it received over the course of its life, 023 remains a fine example of the 718 RSK.
Though some 55 years on now, the Porsche 718 RSK remains a remarkably modern design and a certain timepiece for the future. And, 718-023 remains one of its most outstanding ambassadors.
'1959 Porsche 718 RSK News, Pictures, Specfications and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z9973/Porsche-718-RSK.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z9973/Porsche-718-RSK.aspx. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
'1960 Porsche 718/RS60 News, Pictures, Specifications and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z9972/Porsche-718/RS60.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z9972/Porsche-718/RS60.aspx. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
'1959/60 Porsche 718 RS 60 Spyder', (http://www.porsche.com/uk/motorsportandevents/motorsport/philosophy/history/racingcars/1959-718rs60/). Porsche. http://www.porsche.com/uk/motorsportandevents/motorsport/philosophy/history/racingcars/1959-718rs60/. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
'1959 Porsche 718 RSK', (http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1959-porsche-718-rsk-2/#tab2). Gooding & Company. http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1959-porsche-718-rsk-2/#tab2. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
Wikipedia contributors, 'Porsche 718', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 23 December 2013, 20:14 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Porsche_718&oldid=587418975 accessed 18 February 2014
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300Sc Roadster
Chassis # 188.015.5500030
Photo credit: Gooding & Co.
In the years prior to World War II, German automakers like Mercedes-Benz would demonstrate the might of German engineering and power on the race track. Though defeated in the war, there was no dampening the engineering talents of the likes of those at Mercedes-Benz. While the company would quickly gain fame for the rawness of its 300SL Gullwing, the company would also claim its place amongst the refined elite once again. It seemed the company would never be able to reclaim the grandeur of its famed 540K. However, the 300Sc certainly stands as a proud reclaiming of decadence by Mercedes-Benz.
Mercedes' Type 300 would be produced for a period of some 11 years. And, from that first introduction at Frankfurt in 1951, the 300 would certainly one of the most luxurious automobiles available in the world. Merely half a decade removed from the grit and filth of war, the 300 offered its clients such amenities and comforts that it made all of those ugly memories quickly fade.
Not surprisingly, the numbers of Type 300 automobiles produced would be small. However, the number of Sc models of the 300 would be even less. In fact, just a total of 53 examples would be built between 1955 and 1956, with the majority being built in 1956. Therefore, chassis 00030 would be particularly worthy of note seeing that it would be one of the few actually built in 1955.
Chassis 00033 would be an example of one of Mercedes' magnificent 300 Roadsters. Besides its sporty, low windshield look and fine appointments in the interior, the Roadster version would come with a retractable top that folded neatly into its well and does not protrude like many other designs. Furthermore, the ride comfort and small touches of chrome and wood would make for a truly elegant touring automobile.
Lynn Yakel would come to own the car in 1972. Even then, the car would be considered to be in great shape. The car would remain with Yakel until 2005 when it would be sold to a noted Mercedes-Benz collector and historian. Restoration work would be performed on the car by Rudi & Co. of Vancouver Island.
Photo credit: Gooding & Co.
One of the elegant touches of the car would be the trunk, which would come with a set of fitted luggage that was available for the Roadster only. The concours-level restoration would take until 2008 to compete. Complete with the iconic silver finish and supple red leather interior, the 1955 300Sc would have be considered a stunning example of Mercedes' decadent luxury car.
Following the restoration the car would make its debut at the Mercedes-Benz Starfest in San Francisco. Not surprisingly, the car would win Best in Show. Thereafter, the car would take part in events in Palo Alto, Hillsborough and Marin-Sonoma where it would win Best in Class each occasion.
Though the Gullwing garners most all of the attention and collector interest, it cannot be overstated just how rare the 300Sc truly is. Entirely hand-built, the vast majority of the car is beyond rare with spare parts practically impossible to come by. Therefore, to say that the Type 300 would be amongst Mercedes' most rare, most exclusive and most luxurious would not be an understatement by any stretch of the imagination.
'1955 Mercedes-Benz 300Sc News, Pictures, Specifications and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z14290/Mercedes-Benz-300SC.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z14290/Mercedes-Benz-300SC.aspx. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
'Lot No. 80: 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300Sc Roadster', (http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1955-mercedes-benz-300-sc-roadster-2/#tab1). Gooding & Company. http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1955-mercedes-benz-300-sc-roadster-2/#tab1. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
'History of the 300 Convertible Sedan', (http://www.silverstarrestorations.com/300_con_sedan.htm). SilverStaRestorations. http://www.silverstarrestorations.com/300_con_sedan.htm. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
More information about the auction can be found at http://www.goodingco.com/
The Amelia Island Auction
Date(s): Friday, March 7 – 11:00am EST
Location: Omni Amelia Island Plantation, Racquet Park, 6800 First Coast Hwy, Amelia Island, FL 32034
Public preview: March 6-7
Auctions catalogues: $75, includes admission for two to the viewing and the auction
General admission: $30, includes admission for one to the viewing and the auction
Live auction broadcast: www.goodingco.com
About Gooding & Company
Gooding & Company, internationally celebrated for its world-class automotive auctions, provides unparalleled service in the collector car market, offering a wide range of services including private and estate sales, appraisals, and collection management. Gooding & Company has realized 50 world records and sold $192.6 million in auction sales in 2013. The annual Amelia Island Auction will take place on March 7 and The Pebble Beach Auctions on August 16 and 17. Gooding & Company is pleased to be the official auction house of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance®. Preceding each auction, a complete catalogue is made available online at www.goodingco.com and the sale is broadcast live on our website. For additional vehicle information and up-to-the-minute results, follow Gooding & Company on Facebook and Twitter @GoodingCompany.