Christie's at The Monterey Jet Center

At this year's Christie's Auction of Exceptional Motor Cars in Monterey, CA there were 45 items offered with 33 finding new owners. The most anticipated sale was the 1928 MERCEDES-BENZ 26/120/180 TYP S Torpedo Roadster that was estimated to sell between $3,000,000-$4,000,000. At the conclusion of the bidding the magnificent creation with coachwork by Saoutchik had been sold for $3,645,000. The second highest sale of the day was the 1952 Ferrari 225 Sport Spyder with coachwork by Vignale. It carries chassis number 0160ED with matching engine number, finding a new owner at the price of $1,280,000. One of the more successful sales was the 1972 Lamborghini Miura SV which was expected to sell between $375,000-$425,000 but after some lively bidding the price was driven upwards to $477,000.

There were forty-five items that crossed the auction block. In the audience there were at least a couple hundred people in attendance. Most of the chairs were occupied and there were even large groups of people standing in the rear. Judging from the people-to-auction lot ratio it became apparent that this event was entertainment, educational, and social for many enthusiasts and lovers of art. Prior to the auction, the viewing was tranquil and peaceful. There were people socializing, admiring the cars, and preparing for the auction. The unique location of being at a Jet Port offered visitors the opportunity to either drive or fly to the auction.

The auction focused on quality over quantity. Many of the vehicles on sale had unique stories and backgrounds. One of those examples was the 1931 Packard 840 with coachwork by Waterhouse. At this year's Meadow Brook Concours one of the honored classes was the Waterhouse category which paid tribute to the coachwork of the Waterhouse firm. During their short existence there were 300 examples created with 100 of those being adapted to Packard chassis. Though this 1931 Packard 840 example was not shown at this year's Meadow Brook Concours, it did make an appearance at the 1997 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where it was awarded a 'First in Class' and was a contender for the coveted Best in Show. This example is very clean, void of side mounted tires, allowing the elegant body to flow without disruption. It was expected to sell for $400,000-$500,000 and bidding ended right in-between that estimate at $449,500.

A stunning collection of eight Porsches sourced directly from a private U.S. collector was expected to fetch between $2,600,000-3,330,000, and each car presented a unique insight into the history of the illustrious German manufacturer. The eight were auctioned separately and include a 1960 Porsche 356 GTL Carrera-Abarth (estimate $600,000-$800,000), a 1964 Porsche 904 Carrera GTS (estimate $450,000-$550,000), and a 1967 Porsche 911R (estimate $475,000-$575,000).

The Porsche 904 series made its racing debut in 1964 where it shocked the world by winning its class at Sebring running as a non-homologated prototype. Christie's Auction was selling chassis number 904-003 which was the third pre-production prototype used for testing. It was sold for an impressive $565,000. There were additional Porsche's that were equally impressive at auction. The 1960 356 GTL Carrera-Abarth is an aluminum-bodied car that was built atop a 356B chassis. The Carrera-Abarths are one of the rarest Porsche models, with the production vehicles carrying serial numbers 1001 to 1021. The 1997 Porsche 993 Turbo S houses a remarkable 424 horsepower and is matted to a six-speed manual gearbox. It was given livery that was similar to the Porsche 917/30 driven by Mark Donohue in the Can-Am series. The 1992 Porsche Type 964 Carrera Cup USA offered by Christie's is one of the rarest of the street-legal 964 derivatives. The 1967 Porsche 911R Prototype is one of three prototype 911 R's built before the 'production run' of 20 cars at Karl Baur, the same shop that built the 904 fiberglass bodies.

The most successful racing car designer of all time, Ettore Bugatti, spent the Second World War planning future models with his designers Noel Domboy and Antoine Pichetto – one of which was a 1,500cc car to be produced in a wide variety of forms, including a single-seater racing car. Postwar, more details were released and only twenty examples were to be built. Five sets of parts were produced along with two chassis, but Bugatti died in August 1947 before a single example had been assembled. In late 1960 a Belgian Bugatti dealer constructed a Type 73C from the stored parts – and produced an example which was shipped to the United States body-less. It became the only Type 73C listed in Hugh Conway's 1962 Bugatti Register and by 1973 was fitted with a Donington Collection's rendering of the second of Pichetto's 1945 73C body designs. The 73C may be an unfinished factory prototype, but can claim to be the very last racing car designed by Bugatti himself. This exquisite vehicle was offered for sale with an estimated value of $300,000-$500,000. As the hammer fell for the final time, a new owner had been found at a price of $323,000.

During a very hectic and busy Pebble Beach Concours weekend, the Christie's auction is very relaxing. The Jet Port location is tranquil with the focus on quality over quantity allowing for the enjoyment of each vehicle in great detail.

About Christie's
Christie's is the longest continuous name in the collectors' car market, having held auctions devoted solely to motor cars since 1972. Christie's remains the choice of the individual who wishes to sell a unique and rare motor car or collection. Uniquely placed in the market, Christie's International Motor Cars concentrates on quality rather than quantity.