In order to give himself more family time and make a living from his passion, Jean Guikas quit his successful day job in 1989 and started GTC, specialising in the finest road and race cars. For over thirty years Jean - and more recently his daughter Camille – have sourced and traded exceptional examples of automobiles and now as they shift the business in a new direction, they have consigned some of their stunning collection for auction. This November RM Sotheby’s will be selling 76 cars from the collection, and they are all listed as no reserve.
It’s hard to decide what to pick out from the selection to focus on, this is road and track heaven, so that’s why we have split it in to those two categories to try and digest some of this automotive gold. But first we sat down with Jean Guikas to understand how this magnificent sale came about.
So, what brought on this sale? You would be forgiven for thinking that Guikas is selling his entire collection, but this is just half of the existing collection and represents a change of direction for the business as Jean and Camille look to the future and strengthen their ethos of ‘buy what you love’ with another factor, exceptional rarity. I asked Guikas what led to this auction.
“The fact is that we own 160 cars, which is too many, and we have decided to sell part of the collection so we can concentrate on the very special cars. This is the end of GTC? No, this is a new GTC, today my company owns one of the best inventories in the world. We have recently bought some very, very important cars and that is where we want the business to be concentrated. I think the market in the future will be extremely good for the very rare and collectible cars. So, by the end of the year, the GTC garage will not be as full as before, but we'll have 60 very important cars.”
The GTC collection is all owned by the family, there is nothing consigned, and as such Guikas has made very personal choices during buying these cars over the years, reassurance I am sure for any bidders that these cars were bought in the correct way. I ask Guikas how it will feel seeing the cars pass over the gantry in a few weeks time as they all find new owners.
“I am excited, yes, but interested also. I think that the people working at RM Sotheby’s wanted to present something exceptional with this sale. They are very happy because the auction has very different cars from 1933 to 2012. They tell me that today on the market it is extremely difficult to find great cars for sale. Proof I think that today the collectors who own the important cars, they just want to keep them and add to their collection with more.”
With so many competition cars in the auction I am interested to hear if he is keen to see the cars being used as intended.
“This would be a big pleasure for me. The BBLM I bought several years ago, for me it was a dream because this was the quickest of any BBLM made. I used the car just for private tests and I wanted to enter Le Mans Classic this year, but sadly it was impossible, and then I decided to sell the car. I hope that the next owner will race the car because this is the quickest of all the BBLM. And if the new owner would like a driver… I am more than happy to help!”
We took some time to examine the vast array of auction lots and decided to spilt our choices in to road cars and race cars.
For the road
You could easily just assume that this collection is full of pure unobtanium, but you would be wrong. With lowest estimates under €50,000 there are cars like the Rolls-Royce Corniche, Mercedes 190E 2.3, 1969 Innocenti Mini T and Alfa Romeo Giulia GT Junior. At the very top end there are some Italian stallions that will go for millions. A 1955 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta is expected to realise over €7,000,000 close behind is a gorgeous 250 GT Cabriolet and 275 GTB. The Iso Grifo and Bizzarrini 5300 are also full of temptation.
But here at Classic Driver it’s the 1975 Lamborghini Countach LP400 ‘Periscopio’ that grabs our attention. Just 175 of these models were produced and it really is hard to believe what it would have looked like driving along the road in the mid-70s. This black-on-black example is also an early car that featured the adjustable suspension and lightweight mechanical components. Understood to be the 55th Countach produced by Lamborghini, what a way to celebrate the 50th anniversary year of this iconic by adding this to your collection.
Out on the race rack
This is perhaps where Guikas’ passion truly lies having raced competed himself for many years, of the 76 cars offered for sale over 20 of them are pure bred competition cars, not to mention the road cars that could be used in historic competitions. The star of the show is really the sensational 1976 Renault Alpine A442, the only example to be privately owned outside of the Renault factory and one of just four cars built. This example raced at Le Mans in 1977 and 1978. While it is now eligible for events such as Le Mans Classic, its provenance makes it a car that requires serious consideration before competitively taking to the race track.
Fear not though as there is a whole host of GT cars from the 90s to 00s that are also eligible for historic racing events. The XJ220 C LM, Lister Storm GT and Saleen S7R all make a great case for entry into the Endurance Racing Legends series, but perhaps the 2005 Ferrari 575 GTC is the car that demands the closest look.
This car is considered to be the very last competition V12 race car to leave the Ferrari factory, and this is the final of the 12 cars to be built. Close your eyes and imagine lapping Le Mans in a V12 Ferrari, its sounds good right? Well, this car will be welcome in a selection of prestigious events that mean you can continue to use this car how it was intended, still in its period livery and with a spare engine there really is no reason why you wouldn’t get this car straight out on track.
You can view the full selection of lots available for auction with RM Sotheby’s in the Classic Driver Market. The sale will take place on November 19th at Le Castellet.