17th Aug 2003 Christie's at Pebble Beach
Pebble Beach, CA – Christie’s 14th annual sale of Exceptional Motor Cars at Pebble Beach on August 17 will highlight the Concours d’Elegance weekend with an exceptional offering of exceedingly rare and historic sports racing and touring motor cars, such as the sleek 1913 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, the striking Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage, and the currently eligible historic F1 racer, the 1972 BRM P180. Motor cars with celebrity status will also be offered in the sale, including Academy-Award® Winner Adrien Brody’s 1955 Cadillac Series 62 Four Door Sedan, featured in Liberty Heights, and Director and three-time Oscar nominee Frank Darabont’s 1952 Mercedes-Benz 220A Cabriolet, featured in The Majestic.
One of the most exotic and celebrated sports racing cars from the late 1950s-60s, is the Maserati Tipo 61 ‘Birdcage,’ chassis No. 2461 (estimate: $1,500,000-2,000,000). More usually referred to as the ‘Birdcage’ because of its intricate metal framework under the body, this sports racing car was famously driven by Stirling Moss and Dan Gurney to victory in the 1960 Nürburgring 1,000km race. Only 16 Birdcages were ever produced.
Once a champion racer, and currently highly competitive in historic racing, the 1972 BRM P180, chassis No. 2 (estimate: $250,000-300,000) hails from the era of F1 motorsport, which has recently become eligible for several historic GP series. This V12, 3 litre BRM debuted at Monaco in May 1972, and subsequently won the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch, England in October 1972.
The beautifully restored 1935 Miller-Ford Indianapolis 500 Race Car (estimate: $300,000-400,000) documents Harry Miller’s prestige as perhaps the most famous American engineer who incorporated ideas far ahead of the times, including front wheel drive, independent suspension and aluminum fairings over the axles. The celebrated engineer built only 10 Miller–Ford race cars for the 1935 Indianapolis 500 in a remarkable 79 days.
Conceived in honor of Ford Motor Company's Centennial, the highly-anticipated 2005 Ford GT (estimate: $150,000-180,000) is a modern tribute to motorsports' most famous endurance race car, the GT40. Ford GT chassis No. 10 will be the first one of Ford's supercar sold to the public. The car will be produced to the successful bidder's specification, including the color and options, for delivery in 2004 when production begins.
Henry Royce’s greatest achievement was the introduction of the six-cylinder 40/50hp model, later dubbed the Silver Ghost. It was considered the finest in luxury motoring and mechanical excellence, and soon gained the title “The Best Car in the World.” The low, sleek and fast open tourer gained this ultimate recognition for its success both on the race course and on the road. A total of 188 examples of the iconic London-To-Edinburgh model were built, and in 1913, chassis No. 2484 with Tourer coachwork by Cann Ltd. (estimate: $550,000-650,000) was delivered to the Rt. Hon. Lord Carbery. From 1916 onwards, it has resided in the United States under the ownership of various well-known car collectors, such as Cameron Peck, Alton Walker and Donald Gilmore. At Pebble Beach in 1962, the 1913 Silver Ghost won the top honor “Best in Show.” This stunning vehicle has kept most of its original coachwork after restoration, making it an exceedingly rare and original survivor.
Tagged simply as “The Car Magnificent” when first introduced, the majestic 1908 Delaunay-Belleville with coachwork by Mulliner (estimate: $220,000-280,000) is a beautifully designed and technologically advanced automobile, found in the garages of such notables as King Alphonso XIII of Spain, George I of Greece and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. Ordered new by Mr. Barber of Barber Threads Company in Ireland, the 1908 Delauney passed through only two further ownerships, and remains in remarkable original condition from coachwork and detail features to the original upholstery. With its pressure-fed engine lubrication system, potent six-cylinder six-litre engine and four speed transmission, the graceful and refined 1908 Delaunay-Belleville can reach a comfortable touring speed of 50mph.
The 1931 Alfa Romeo 8C-1750 Le Mans Tourer (estimate: $300,000-400,000) claims a fascinating history. This Alfa Romeo ‘Special’ was owned and raced for many years by the well-known Alfa aficionado Viscount Ridley. Today it sports replica coachwork copied from the famous Leslie Hawthorn Le Mans-winning Alfa. As in Lord Ridley’s days, this Alfa Romeo is powered by an eight-cylinder engine.
Intended for the famous and most affluent car enthusiast, the 1967 Ferrari 365 California (estimate: $550,000-750,000), was one of just 14 built between 1966-67 that showcased the 4.4 litre engine. This 12,000 mile example, which was owned by the same family from 1967-2001, received the National Vintage Preservation Award from the Ferrari Club of North America in April 2003.
Combining elegant Italian styling with American muscle under the hood, the 1952 Siata 400L Spyder Prototype (estimate: $280,000-380,000) was featured at the 1952 Turin & New York Auto Shows. The steel body prototype caught the attention of Bill Devin, founder of Devin sportscars, and he subsequently purchased it directly following the Auto Show.
Celebrity Motor Cars
Nicknamed “Cupcake,” the 1952 Mercedes-Benz 220A Cabriolet (estimate: $50,000-70,000), was featured prominently in the major motion picture The Majestic (2001) starring Jim Carrey, and will now be offered in the sale. Accompanying the motor car are actual frames and still photos from the motion picture (courtesy of Castle Rock Entertainment and Warner Bros.). The 1952 Mercedes-Benz has been beautifully restored by the owner Frank Darabont, the director of The Majestic and three-time Oscar nominee for such films as The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and The Green Mile (1999).
The Academy-Award® Winner for The Pianist (2002), Adrien Brody, has consigned his 1955 Cadillac Series 62 Four Door Sedan (estimate: $15,000-20,000, To be Sold Without Reserve), which was used in the filming of Liberty Heights (1999). All the proceeds from the sale of the Cadillac Sedan will benefit a children’s charity of the actor’s choice. Also, included with the car is a signed movie poster and a DVD of the movie.
Auction: Exceptional Motor Cars. August 17 at 6 p.m.
Viewing: The Pebble Beach Equestrian Center August 14, 15, 16 (10 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
(corner of Portola Rd. & Stevenson Dr.) August 17 (9 a.m. - 2 p.m.)
Photos/text - Christie's.
Photo credits; Maserati Birdcage - Simon Clay, BRM - LAT archives, Rolls-Royce - John Fasal, Siata - Christie's, Cadillac - Christie's.