The 2017 Bonham’s Gooding & Co, and RM Sotheby’s Scottsdale sales were held in parallel with those held by Barrett-Jackson and Russo and Steele. Here are eight of the highlights:
1986 Ford RS200
Sold at $236,500
S/N: SFACXXBJ2CGL00169, Lot 115 Gooding & Company
White over grey/red interior. 1.8-liter, 250-hp, turbocharged DOHC I-4. 5-speed manual transmission. Showing just 2,004 km (1,245 miles) on the odometer, this 1986 Ford RS200 is virtually as-new and still retains its factory break-in procedure sticker on the windshield. Said to be one of the last RS200s to roll off the assembly line in England.
Built to homologate Ford’s Group B rally car, this is number 169 of just 200 street-going RS200s produced. In street form, the car had 250 hp from its little turbocharged I-4, but race-spec cars made up to 900 hp and allowed for 0-60 mph sprints in the three-second range (no doubt assisted by all-wheel drive). Street cars like this one also got full interiors with carpeting and door upholstery but were still far from comfortable daily drivers. Well bought for a piece of Group B rally history that will always attract a crowd and deliver thrills.
1969 American Motors AMX/3
Sold at $891,000
S/N WTDO3632/55/55, Lot 132 Gooding & Company
Copper over black interior. 390-cu-in, 340-hp, OHV V-8. 4-speed manual transmission. A prototype and development car that was very well finished and presented by the consigner with a recent repaint and many detail items that were never completed by the factory. Said to be completely usable on the road with special attention paid to the cooling system.
It wasn’t until the latter half of the 1960s, with sales in decline, that American Motors began producing vehicles that could really be embraced by enthusiasts. The AMX and Javelin road cars were among the hot, new muscle car offerings from the brand, as was the AMX/3, which never truly got beyond the prototype phase. With styling by Dick Teague, suspension and chassis design by Giotto Bizzarrini, and development by BMW, the AMX/3 could have given AMC a true supercar. Instead, just five were completed by AMC before the project was shelved. Bought below estimate and fairly considering how infrequently these come up for sale. If you wanted one, here it was.
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing
Sold at $1,457,500
S/N 198.040.5500098, Lot 18 Gooding & Company
Red over tan/tartan interior. 3.0-liter, 215-hp, SOHC I-6. 4-speed manual transmission. Said to be a single-family car from new, heavy patina inside and out from over 60 years of ownership. The car shows just over 30,000 miles on the odometer and has been in static storage for the past 15 years.
To buy a single-owner Mercedes-Benz 300SL in this day and age is a remarkable opportunity. Sold by the family of the original owner, a Merchant Marine and private pilot, this 300SL shows touches of his ownership throughout including curb feelers and several aviation gauges mounted in the cabin. This is a case where a car becomes a legacy to an individual’s life. With that in mind, a mechanical restoration is in order while leaving the cosmetics as-is. $1.45 million would have bought a restored Gullwing, but this car is far more interesting.
1965 Ferrari 500 Superfast
Sold at $2,915,000
S/N 5989 SF, Lot 126 Gooding & Company
Light blue over red interior. 5.0-liter, 400-hp, SOHC V-12. 4-speed manual transmission. Excellent condition throughout with Ferrari Classiche certification and receipts for recent service including a gearbox rebuild and a repaint.
When new, the Ferrari 500 Superfast was the most expensive Ferrari road car on offer, with a price nearly double that of a 275 GTB. With 400 hp, luxury interior appointments, and plenty of cargo space, the 500 Superfast – the name alone is exciting! – was the ultimate grand touring machine, capable of carrying two people and their luggage across Europe at triple-digit speeds and in total comfort. Just 36 were built and virtually all to spec by very wealthy owners. This car is an early example with a number of features exclusive to early-build cars and shows that collectors are still paying up for the best examples of the best Ferraris.
1995 Ferrari F50
Sold at $3,135,000
S/N ZFFTG46A6S0104092, Lot 227 RM Sotheby’s
Black over black/red interior. 4.7-liter, 520-hp, DOHC V-12. 6-speed manual transmission. Number 62 of 349 ever built and one of four produced with black paint. Showing just 2,090 miles, includes hard roof still in storage box, as-new soft top, recent service with new fuel bladder.
When the Ferrari F50 was launched in Geneva in 1995, it was billed as a Formula 1 car for the street. The carbon fiber chassis weighed just 225 lbs and the stripped down interior (with wind-up windows) spoke to the true nature of the F50. The limited production numbers above only tell half the story of the F50’s rarity. Of the 349 cars built, just 55 were U.S.-spec cars. The world-record price paid at RM Sotheby’s shows that F50s have finally gained the respect of collectors.
1948 Tucker 48
Sold at $1,347,500
S/N 1044, Lot 160 RM Sotheby’s
Brown over brown interior. 335-cu-in, 166-hp, OHV flat-six. 4-speed automatic. Recently removed from long-term storage and mechanically refreshed. 1970s cosmetic restoration showing signs of aging including peeling paint. Interior restoration of same vintage holding up well.
This is the 44thTucker 48 of 51 total to be produced (just 47 survive) and has one of the more interesting histories behind it, as Tuckers go. First sold in the Tucker Corporation assets auction in 1950, the car passed through a series of hands and was repainted twice before being acquired by an owner who immediately put it in storage in the early 1980s, rebuffing anyone who inquired about the car. Recently purchased and put back on the road by the consignor, this Tucker is ready for the next stage in its life. Tuckers will always be of interest for reasons beyond the car itself. Fairly bought.
1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II
Sold at $220,000
S/N: WDB2010361F734005, Lot 214 RM Sotheby’s
Black over black interior. 2.5-liter, 235-hp, DOHC I-4. 5-speed manual transmission. Well presented with just 5,000 km on the odo and fresh out of Japanese ownership. Modifications include DTM spec exhaust, throttle bodies, fuel cell, OZ wheels and Motec ECU.
If you read AUTOMOBILE in the late 1980s, you know about the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evo II. Built to homologate revised German Touring Car Championship contenders, the Evo II was the ultimate iteration of the Cosworth-modifed Mercedes 190E sedan. In the U.S., we were only able to buy the standard 2.5-16 which was capable enough for its day, but lacked the race-bred aggression – both visually and dynamically – of the later Evo II. Today, the Federal 25-year exemption law permits cars like the Evo II in the U.S. and we’re guessing the buyer of this example will find it’s been worth the wait.
1961 Borgward Isabella Rally Car
Sold at $27,500
S/N 1169189, Lot 180 RM Sotheby’s
Silver over grey interior. 1.5-liter, 80-hp, OHV I-4. 4-speed manual transmission. Very good condition overall, showing light wear cosmetically from decades of enjoyment. Not completely original but rally-style modifications add to this appeal.
Borgward produced cars in Germany for just over 30 years until 1961, including this Isabella coupe. Positioned beneath a comparable Mercedes-Benz, but above entry-level Opels and Fords, Borgwards were marketed as value-conscious alternatives to Mercedes with strong performance and feature-heavy spec sheets. It was the performance aspect that led to the Isabella being entered occasionally in rally racing and this car is built to reflect period examples with engine and transmission modifications. A handsome, usable and unique car for an affordable price – well bought.