These are the auction cars that will create the biggest buzz of Monterey Week 2016. With total auction sales estimated by Hagerty to reach $370 million, these twenty automobiles will undoubtedly play a major role on an auction company’s final sales numbers.
From pre-war Alfa Romeos and Bugattis to the latest hypercars from Aston Martin and Ferrari, these are the finest offerings from Bonhams, Gooding and Company, Mecum Auctions, Rick Cole Auctions, RM Sotheby’s and Russo and Steele at the 2016 Pebble Beach Classic Car Week. According to Hagerty, the number of cars over $15 million has also more than doubled over last year from three to seven, so the total sales value at the end of the week depends hugely on how many of these cars meet reserve.
1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Touring Spider, RM Sotheby’s, Estimate: $20,000,000 – $25,000,000
The Alfa’s presentation on the Monterey Peninsula marks the first time a “2.9” has been offered at public sale this century. The Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B incorporates independent suspension and a straight-eight engine with gear-driven overhead cams and two superchargers. It is believed that 32 original chassis were produced in various configurations and the survivors are among the most sought-after of all pre-war automobiles. One of approximately 12 Touring Spiders known to exist, the stunning Alfa, chassis no. 412041, has been a member of the Sam and Emily Mann Collection for two decades. Documented by Alfa Romeo authority Simon Moore in his book, The Immortal 2.9: Alfa Romeo 8C 2900, it is the recipient of a Pebble Beach Concours award-winning restoration by 2.9 guru, Tony Merrick, and has been a frequent participant in Concours d’Elegance and vintage rallies. The Manns have spent over 12,000 miles behind the wheel, including seven 8C Alfa Tours between 1999 and 2013, in addition to the Copperstate 1000, the Colorado Grand, the California Mille and the California Classic Rally.
1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza, Gooding & Company, Estimate: $12,000,000 – $15,000,000
The Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 was the most successful and technically advanced sports car of the early 1930s, featuring a supercharged twin-cam straight-eight engine. Available in both long and short chassis, the 2.3 was also offered in Monza — or Grand Prix — form, with an even shorter wheelbase, lightweight coachwork and high-performance features. This third-series factory-built Monza with Brianza coachwork was owned and raced by Genovese drivers during the 1930s and 1940s, including Renato Balestrero. In his hands, this 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza competed successfully at major racing events, including San Remo, Gran Prix of Bari, Circuito di Senigallia, Circuito di Modena, and Circuito di Voghera, all of which supported Balestrero’s achievement of winning the 1947 Italian National Sports Car Championship. Owned by California collectors since 1952, this 8C has participated in the Mille Miglia Storica, Colorado Grand and the Monterey Historic Automobile Races.
1932 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster, Gooding & Company, Estimate: $10,000,000 – $14,000,000
The 1932 Bugatti Type 55 is one of 38 examples of the Type 55 and one of 14 finished with Roadster coachwork. As one of the first examples completed, this car, chassis 55213, debuted at the 1932 Mille Miglia, where it was piloted by the Bugatti factory driver Achille Varzi. Mr. Varzi got off to a great start at the 1932 Mille Miglia, neck-and-neck with the leader until a rock punctured 55213’s fuel tank and it could not be repaired in time to continue. Prior to the race, historical photos show Ettore Bugatti discussing race strategy with Varzi seated in 55213. Presently, this matching-numbers car has undergone an extensive restoration that was completed in 2013 and has been fully documented by Bugatti historians Pierre-Yves Laugier and David Sewell. According to Mr. Laugier’s research, this Type 55 was registered to Carlo Cazzaniga at the address of the Bugatti shop in Strasbourg, which suggests that 55213 was kept in company ownership and retained for Jean Bugatti’s personal use. A historical photo confirms this, as Jean Bugatti was pictured next to the car at Monza in September 1932. Mr. Sewell inspected 55213 in 2006 and produced a report that concluded: “This car must surely rank amongst the very best of surviving Type 55 Bugattis, indeed it may well be the finest of them all.”
1931 Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix, Bonhams, Estimate Unavailable
Purchased new by famous privateer racer, Francis Curzon, the 5th Earl Howe, first president of the British Racing Driver’s Club and long-term Bugatti client, the Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix, chassis 51121, was one of the first Type 51s to be delivered and the first chassis number in a series of 40 cars. 51121 was entered by Howe four times in the Monaco Grand Prix, placing 4th in 1932, and running to the late stages in the 1933 event. Furthermore, the car was driven by Tazio Nuvolari, the Flying Mantuan, and fellow Italian Piero Taruffi at Brooklands in 1933. Never publicly offered for sale, in the present ownership for more than 30 years, unseen publicly for more than 20 years, and with just two owners since the 1950s.
1933 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe, Mecum Auctions, Estimate: $3,500,000 – $4,500,000
Purchased new by Academy award-winning actress Marie Dressler with LeBaron Convertible Sedan coachwork, this Model J Convertible Coupe, J-386/2421, was acquired by Hollywood director/producer Roy Del Ruth who commissioned Bohman and Schwartz to upgrade the coachwork in 1933. Formerly part of the Harrah Auto Collection, the Blackhawk Collection and the Imperial Palace Collection, the ACD Certified Duesenberg is one of six LWB Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupes and the only example to wear Bohman and Schwartz coachwork.