The 2015 Auctions at Monterey
Including a 2005 Ferrari 575 Maranello Superamerica Sold at $357,500.
August 13-16, 2015
Feature Car: 2005 Ferrari 575 Maranello Superamerica
Sold at $357,500
Black over tan leather interior. 532-hp, DOHC 5.7-liter V-12; six-speed automatic transmission. As seen at Bonhams, this Ferrari is less than 13,000 miles from new. It has been very well cared for, and the interior
The Story Behind the Sale
The Ferrari 575 is the second generation of the 550 Maranello, the retro-theme car with which Ferrari brought back a classic front-engine, V-12-powered coupe to its model lineup after a decades-long hiatus. The 575's bodywork carries a few more scoops and flares than the 550's similar Pininfarina-designed shape, and it also features some of Ferrari's latest technology of the times, as seen here in the racing-style, single-clutch, six-speed, F1 automated transmission with shift paddles on the steering wheel.
Ferrari built 599 examples of the Superamerica convertible with its "Revocromico" hardtop. This is actually a pane of glass that can be electrically dimmed to provide increasing levels of solar protection for the passengers, and it can be removed and stored on the rear deck. (You don't even want to know what one would cost if you had to replace it.) Monterey auction newbies always look over affordable Ferraris, but this shows us that it is the car that makes a smart purchase, not the price. As an exclusive model, the Superamerica has been increasing in value while many of the conventional Ferrari models of the day are still depreciating assets. Lesson learned: You should pay more for the exclusive features and options going in because they tend to make the car more exclusive and thus collectible as time goes on. You spend more, but you make more, too.
1969 Mercedes-Benz 280SL
Sold at $148,500
White over black vinyl interior. 180-hp, SOHC 2.8-liter inline-six; four-speed automatic transmission. This car, as seen at RM Sotheby's, has excellent paint and brightwork without pitting or cloudiness. The interior is in as-new condition. The engine and transmission are said to have been fully rebuilt recently.
This is one of the 23,885 examples of the 280SL built between 1968 and 1971, and it seems that these days every automobile collector worldwide wants at least one. This was a two-owner car with both hard and soft tops, along with factory air-conditioning. The collectibility trifecta in a 280SL is two tops, air-conditioning, and the four-speed manual transmission, but this one comes close to ticking all the boxes. No doubt this is expensive for a 280SL, but the value of these cars has been going up speedily for the past four years.
2013 Aston Martin Centennial DB9 Spyder Concept by Zagato
Sold at $693,000
Light green metallic over tan leather interior. 510-hp, DOHC 5.9-liter V-12; six-speed automatic transmission. As seen at RM Sotheby's, this car is less than 2,300 miles from new. It debuted at Aston's official centenary celebration at Kensington Gardens, London, in July 2013 then parked on the concept lawn at Pebble Beach. Though it was described a unique model, Zagato also built a DBS coupe and a Virage shooting brake for the same event. Beneath the Zagato coachwork is a 2013 Aston Martin DB9.
What was this buyer thinking? Aston Martin has been working with the Italian design house of Zagato for 50 years, and this car was built to celebrate Aston's 100th anniversary. It is unique but only in a marketing sort of way. Originally estimated at a value of $380,000-$450,000, this car brought a couple times more than what the average new house in the U.S. sells for. Sure, it's pretty, but we don't see it appreciating like a classic Duesenberg.
Best Buy: 1953 Jaguar XK120 Fixed Head Coupe
Sold at $77,000
Pastel blue over two-tone blue leather interior. 160-hp, DOHC 3.4-liter inline-six; four-speed manual transmission. As seen at Bonhams with very good paint, excellent chrome, and other brightwork. The interior shows well. The engine compartment is clean.
The seller has provided a Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust (JDHT) certificate that attests to the car's authenticity. Fewer than 2,800 XK120 FHCs were produced over three years; this one was originally exported to California, where it was painted black over red. It is said to have been restored in 1994 and again in 2009 by XKs Unlimited. It appears to be all about the color with this Jag, but the overwhelming blueness—including painted wire wheels—is not everyone's first choice. This is a value price for a car that might have been higher had it been in its original color scheme.
1953 Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica replica
Sold at $220,000
British Racing Green over green leather interior. 150-hp, DOHC 2.0-liter inline-six; four-speed manual transmission. As seen at Bonhams with very good paint and good brightwork, plus tidy under the hood.
In the early 1950s, Frazer Nash built a car called the Le Mans Replica. This celebrated a factory-built racing car that finished third at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1949. About 50 examples of the Replica were created, and this car is a replica of those Replicas. Confusing, but it's worth noting that this is one of six replicas built in the 1970s by Crosthwaite & Gardiner, and it features a correct 1949-style Bristol engine. Sold new to Australia, where it campaigned in vintage-type hill climbs. Crosthwaite & Gardiner is known for quality restorations and re-creations, so it brings value even to a replica.
1967 Maserati Mistral Coupe
Sold at $143,000
Medium-green metallic over black leather interior. 255-hp, DOHC 4.0-liter inline-six; five-speed manual transmission. As seen at Bonhams, this Mistral is in non-running "barn find" condition; it needs attention everywhere. The seats have been re-trimmed in vinyl, while the leather that remains is more rock hard than glove soft.
Selling for close to three times its low auction estimate by Bonhams, this Mistral would have been considered a parts car 10 years ago. It's possible to attempt a restoration of this car with its beautiful Frua-designed bodywork, but we haven't even talked about the visible rust, and there is plenty. Restorable only as a labor of love, where you do all the work yourself and charge 50 cents per hour for the ultimate tax write-off. More likely this purchase is off to a cheap restoration shop in Eastern Europe or South America.
1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302
Sold at $85,250
Bright yellow over black vinyl interior. 290-hp, OHV 4.9-liter V-8; four-speed manual transmission. As seen at RM Sotheby's, a concours-quality restoration with excellent paint and graphics. Inside, it's as nice as the day it was delivered new.
Complete with a Marti report and original dealer's invoice, this Boss 302 was judged at 690 points out of a possible 691 at a meet held by the Mustang Club of America. The car, which was delivered new to Canada, had the engine block replaced under the factory warranty in January 1970. A new engine block was what you wanted back then because the old one had failed. Sadly, it keeps this from being a numbers-matching car. Nevertheless, a great value on a Boss, evidence that American cars at Monterey are not necessarily there just to bait auction newbies.
1989 Ferrari Testarossa
Sold at $220,000
Blue Chiaro metallic over cream leather interior. 380-hp, DOHC 4.9-liter V-12; five-speed manual transmission. As seen at RM Sotheby's, this two-owner car is documented to have 2,025 miles on the odometer. Another almost new car that dates back 25 years.
Said to have been originally delivered by Ferrari of Houston, this Testarossa lived in Houston with its original owner until recently, when it was sold with tools, service and owner's books, and a clean Carfax. The value of the Testarossa—once thought to be too much like an outtake from "Miami Vice"—has been steadily climbing. Oddly enough, buyers value color combinations other than the classic red that was so popular when the car was new. (Testarossa means "redhead. ") Another poke in the eye for the people who insisted the Testarossa would never be collectible, especially at this price point.
1979 Cadillac San Remo Convertible
Sold at $11,825
White with red vinyl top over red leather interior. 170-hp, OHV 5.7-liter V-8; four-speed automatic transmission. As seen at Russo and Steele, this limited-production two-door convertible was created from a Cadillac Seville four-door sedan. Wire-basket wheel covers with spinners were added.
This car appeared at auction while joined at the hip with a 1978 Cadillac Seville Opera Coupe, a two-door made from the same Cadillac Seville sedan as the San Remo convertible, and it went for $13,750. Because the stars lined up right, this was a rare opportunity to see two of the more popular combinations of what people did to their otherwise helpless Sevilles in the 1970s. Both are best described as an acquired taste, and both took a good bit of skill and craftsmanship to make, although neither has aged well over the past 35 years. When the aliens land, perhaps they will give us extra credit for these Clénet-style retro luxury cars.