Bonhams & Butterfields at Quail Lodge 15th August 2003 - Preview

In line with other Houses over the Monterey weekend, Bonhams have gathered an impressive selection of entries to their event at Quail Lodge. To cater for all (well-heeled) tastes the cars range from the 1967 New York Motor Show street Ford GT40 to the 1968 Howmet TX gas-turbine race car via the most gorgeous, ex-Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1963 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Series II – at an estimate of $350,000 – 400,000.

Racing machinery is in evidence and Bonhams are hoping that the success of an Alfa Romeo T33 at the Classic Le Mans last year will reflect on the ex-works 1971 car they have for auction. The winner of the Watkins Glen race of that year, the car was sold after the US event to American Otto Zipper who installed the factory 4-litre engine for unlimited capacity Can-Am racing. An estimate of $650,000 – 680,000 is strong, but restored to its original 1971 configuration, and with the possibility of wailing round the Le Mans circuit next year, the car may well achieve these figures.

The 1967 Ford GT40, estimate $500,000 – 550,000, is believed to be the lowest mileage production example in existence with just 892 recorded miles showing on its odometer at July 2003. Having experienced the usual production alarums and excursions in the sixties (when the cars were not really in demand, and something of a sales problem for Ford), the (unusually) LHD GT40 M3/1101 passed via Ford dealerships to the Mellon, ‘Gulf Oil’, family and Ralph Brass who bought it in 1978. Resprayed yellow in his ownership the car completed just 160 miles in 25 years.

Included in the sale is the Robert Hood Collection which comprises many British cars from the 30s, 40s and 50s such as a 1937 Alvis 4.3 litre Charlesworth Tourer, $50,000 – 60,000, a 1938 Lagonda LG6 Drophead Coupé, $150,000 – 180,000, and a 1926 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Newmarket Convertible Sedan, $80,000 – 100,000. Many of these cars are being sold Without Reserve.

The 1963 Ferrari 400 Superamerica, once owned by Nelson A. Rockefeller, is finished in red Ammeranto metallic with red interior and Borrani chrome wire wheels. Its name says it all, and at the time you had to own an own oil company, Esso in this case, in order to buy one and run it in the manner required. Only film stars, European Royalty and the American super-rich could afford one of the some 48 examples built from 1961 to 1964.

That unique Stateside phenomenon, the Hot-Rod based on 1930’s Ford running gear, is represented in the sale by a 1932 Ford Roadster, $150,000 – 200,000. Described as “The Ricky Nelson Roadster”, after the popular singer of the time who drove it in a contemporary TV series, the car appears immaculate in metallic green with its original 1965 Chevy Corvette engine under the ‘hood’.

Back to reality, so to speak, final word must go to another Ferrari. The 1967 330 GTC Speciale, $450,000 – 500,000, was one of just a handful of special cars based on a design originally commissioned by Princess Liliana of Belgium, the wife of King Leopold – long time bespoke Ferrari enthusiasts. Like the red Superamerica it is redolent of the times when Ferrari courted old-money rather then new, and the term 'transfer' related to moving funds from Switzerland to the Bahamas rather than the off-pitch activities of modern football.

The Motor Car Sale starts at 4.00 pm, having followed a selection of Automobilia and Jewellery. The Sale is at Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club, Valley Greens Drive, Carmel, California 93923.

For a full lot listing, see the Provisional Auction Entry

Bonhams next European sale is on 9th of August at the Nurburgring Oldtimer GP meeting. To see the complete entry of cars, with photographs, in the Classic Driver Cars for Sale Database please CLICK HERE .

Text - Steve Wakefield