Two years out from COVID, the in-person auction scene is back at full blast and then some. The books have barely closed on a record-setting August, and already earlier this week Gooding & Co. sold a Ferrari 250 GT SWB Competizione for £7,762,500 ($8,990,528) in London, and Worldwide sold a 1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe for $3,305,000 in Auburn, Indiana.
Expect more of the same in the coming months. Between now and the end of the year there are dozens of sales from the big-name auction companies in the United States alone, with many more happening across the pond. For a comprehensive list of what’s happening when and where, check out our auction calendar.
More big 2022 consignments will be announced in the coming weeks and months, but here are nine of the most significant auction cars we’re keeping an eye on during the fall/winter auction season.
Broad Arrow, Passion for the Drive, October 14th-15th
In his admirable but ultimately unsuccessful effort to win Le Mans with an American car, Briggs Cunningham needed to build 25 road cars at his West Palm Beach factory in order to homologate a competition version version for the 24-Hour French race. The C-3 was that road car.
Like the racing version, the C-3 combined Chrysler Hemi power with a large diameter tube chassis. Quite unlike the race cars, the road cars paired that brute of an engine with either a Cadillac 3-speed or a Chrysler Fluid-Matic semi-automatic with column shift. And, of course, it wore street-car sheetmetal— handsome coupe or convertible bodywork penned by Giovanni Michelotti at Vignale. The result looked like a sort of American Ferrari.
Cunninghams were fantastically expensive when new, and fewer than 30 were built, so seeing one for sale is a treat. RM Sotheby’s sold one earlier this year for $1,215,000, but that was the first time since 2018 that we had seen one at auction. This one out of the Jim Taylor is represented as the second-to-last coupe built, and received a concours restoration that won it several awards in the 2010s. It has a presale estimate of $900,000–$1,100,000.
Mecum, Dallas, September 7th-10th
If you like your Mopar-powered homologation specials to look more, shall we say, Mopar-y, then allow us to steer your attention to the car Mecum is offering this weekend. With fewer than 2000 built, the Plymouth Superbird is a rare bird, one that will excite any Mopar maniac. Yet it looks downright common next to the Dodge Daytona that preceded it, of which only 503 were ever screwed together.
Not to be confused with the blocky, front-drive sports compact of the ’80s, the original Charger Daytona was the first of Chrysler’s short-lived aero-cars and the first NASCAR to reach 200 mph. Funky-looking, impractical and expensive when they were new, the Chrysler aero cars offered to the public didn’t sell well initially, but those extreme proportions plus their performance and race history make them some of the most valuable pieces of vintage Mopar muscle today. Back in May, a Hemi 4-speed Daytona sold for a record $1.32M. This car in Dallas won’t touch that since it’s “just” a 440 Magnum/Torqueflite car, but it’s always a big deal when a genuine Daytona comes to market.
1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 Drophead Coupe by Graber
RM Sotheby’s, Gene Ponder Collection, September 22th–24th
The word “unique” gets thrown around way too much in the collector car world, but this Aston really is one of a kind. It’s the only DB2/4 Drophead Coupe to wear this open coachwork by Swiss coachbuilder Graber. Better known for its association with another British carmaker, Alvis, Graber also built bodies on Alfa Romeo, Bentley, Bugatti, Duesenberg, and Rolls-Royce chassis from the late 1920s until founder Hermann Graber died in 1970.
Restored in the late 2010s, the one-off Aston last sold for $715,000 at Pebble Beach in 2011. When it crosses the block again later this month it has an $800,000–$1,000,000 estimate.
Broad Arrow, Passion for the Drive, October 14th-15th
Along with his unrestored 289, another highlight of the Jim Taylor sale is this 427 Cobra. CSX3299 was originally fitted with the less expensive/less powerful 428 cid Police Interceptor engine, but has since gotten a fresh 427 (the original engine is included in the sale), and the whole car has been set up for touring.
This Guardsman Blue beauty has a $1,200,000–$1,400,000 estimate.
Bonhams, Audrain Concours, September 30th
The 507 was a developmental dead end, as BMW (wisely) moved from expensive cars to the small but profitable Isetta, the 700, and eventually the small sports sedans. Hard to argue against that pivot, given how it’s worked out. Yet 507s remain the most beautiful BMWs ever made and, in recent years, have become seven-figure collectibles.
One of just 252 of these svelte roadsters built, Bonhams’ 507 is an unrestored car out of single family ownership that has not been seen publicly for over four decades. It also has the two most desirable 507 options—Rudge wheels and a hardtop—which each carry a $75,000 premium in the Hagerty Price Guide. Another 507 will be up for grabs at Bonhams’ Zoute sale in Belgium next month.
1993 Lola-Ford Cosworth T93/00
RM Sotheby’s, The House That Newman/Haas Racing Built, October 29th
A partnership between actor/racer Paul Newman and team owner Carl Haas–Newman/Haas Racing– produced 105 CART/Champ Car wins and eight championships. Next month, 40 cars from Newman/Haas’s fruitful history are up for auction at the team’s headquarters in Illinois, in what RM Sotheby’s is calling “the largest single collection of open-wheel race cars ever offered at auction.” This includes cars driven by the likes of Mario and Michael Andretti, Cristiano da Matta, Christian Fittipaldi, Sébastien Bourdais.
One of the main highlights of the sale is this 1993 Lola driven by Nigel Mansell. Fresh from his dominant F1 World Championship-winning 1992 season with Williams, the Englishman decided to cross the Atlantic and try open-wheel racing in America, signing with Newman/Haas Racing and teammate Mario Andretti. With five race wins in 1993, he won the championship and became the first person ever to win back-to-back titles in F1 and Indy cars. The Lola up for auction next month is the one that took the mustachioed Mansell to four of those five wins.
Broad Arrow, Passion for the Drive, October 14th–15th
The star of Broad Arrow’s Jim Taylor sale, which includes over 20 other classic Jags, is the 1955 Jaguar D-Type, and it is the only car out of that group that will carry a reserve. Delivered new to Colonel Ronnie Hoare, who later founded British Ferrari importer Maranello Concessionaires, it was only raced briefly in period (although it does have a handful of wins and podiums to its credit), and served as a road car instead. But what it lacks in on-track glory it makes up for in originality. It still has its original chassis, engine and bodywork, which is remarkable for a car like Jaguar’s slippery D-Type that was so often raced hard, wrecked, cut up, modified, or all the above.
1936 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante
RM Sotheby’s, St. Moritz, September 9th
Bugatti built hundreds of Type 57s, but just 17 examples of the Type 57S (Surbaissé, or “Lowered”) wore the glorious Atalante bodywork penned by Jean Bugatti, son of founder Ettore.
This one is represented as the first Atalante to leave the factory in Molsheim and has having raced in an all-women’s international rally in 1937, making it one of the few examples to be used in competition. During World War II it was hidden underneath piles of wood in a barn, and in the 1950s it made its way to the United States. It was even offered for sale in a 1954 issue of Road & Track. The asking price? $4500.
Later restored, the black-and-red Bug now sports a Type 57SC (Compresseur, or “Supercharged”) spec engine. Another Atalante just sold in Pebble Beach for $10,345,000, and this one has an equally stratospheric estimate of CHF10,000,000–CHF12,000,000 ($10,276,650 – $12,331,980).
Bonhams, Goodwood Revival, September 17th
The headliner of the Goodwood Revival auction is this works Aston Martin DB3. Indeed it would look right at home on the racing grid at Goodwood as well, because it won there in 1953. In addition to victory at the Goodwood 9-Hours, it took second place at Sebring in 1953 and ran as high as third at Le Mans before retiring after 230 laps. Drivers included British greats such as Peter Collins, George Abecassis, Reg Parnell, and Lance Macklin.
After a crash at the Mille Miglia, it was rebodied twice under private ownership, but later had an original-style body fitted in 1990. It also has a new engine built around an original spare block (the rebuilt original engine is included in the sale). A perfect car for the Goodwood grid, this three-eyed Aston has a presale estimate of £2,800,000–£3,300,000 ($3,217,018–$3,791,486).