A treasure trove of classic cars will test the limits of your spending powers

The Monterey Car Week is arguably the most important week for a lot of auto collectors. More than your typical car shows, this week-long extravaganza plays host to must-attend events like the Monterey Motorsport Reunion, the Quail, A Gathering, and the world-famous Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, so there’s no shortage of things to do and places to visit during the event. One highlight — or is it seven highlights? — that I have yet to mention is the car auction aspect of Monterey Car Week. These auctions are where the heavy-hitter collectors usually come out and play. Whether it’s RM Sotheby’s, Mecum, Russo and Steele, or Bonham’s, millions of dollars fly around during these events. Perhaps we might even see a record-breaking sale this year, just as we did last year when a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sold for a world-record $48.4 million. It’s going to be difficult to approach that figure, but, who knows, right? In the absence of a Ferrari 250 GTO, we picked out 10 cars that will likely fetch king’s ransoms when they’re auctioned off during the 2019 Monterey Car Week.

1994 McLaren F1 LM

No high-end auction is complete without the presence of the iconic McLaren F1. As one of the finest supercars ever made, the F1 remains a holy grail for a lot of auto enthusiasts, so much so that previous examples of the model have fetched at least $10 million in public auctions. The last public auction of a McLaren F1 happened two years ago at Pebble Beach, and that model sold for $15.6 million. With all due respect to that model — chassis 044 — the one that will be auctioned off by RM Sotheby’s at the 2019 Monterey Car Week should easily command a higher price tag.

This particular version — chassis 018 — is one of only two McLaren F1s that have modified into “LM specifications.”

For all intents and purposes, the F1 018 is a two-off. That distinction comes with an “Extra High Downforce Kit “ and a hotter version of the F1’s BMW-sourced 6.1-liter V-12 engine, producing 680 horsepower instead of the “standard” 627-horsepower output of other F1 models. This particular model originally came with a dark blue finish, but it has since undergone a visual metamorphosis. Most of the OG bits remain, though, and since it rolled out of the McLaren’s factory in 1994, it’s only been driven 13,352 miles. It’s also been subjected to routine maintenance from McLaren Special Operations, typical of many McLaren F1 models. The fact that it routinely goes to the U.K. for maintenance is impressive on its own considering that the model resides in New Zealand, where it has lived for the past 12 years under the care of Andrew Bagnall. Now that it’s headed going to be auctioned off by RM Sotheby’s, the auction house estimates that this model could fetch anywhere between $21 million to $23 million, making it one of the undisputed stars of the 2019 Monterey Car Week.

McLaren F1 LM Specs

Engine 6.1-liter V-12
Power 680 hp
Wheels 19-inch GTR
Aero add-ons Front air vents, rear wing

1939 Porsche Type 64

Most people, even seasoned collectors, believe that the Porsche 356 represents the genesis of Porsche. While that may be true in some respects, one thing is also undisputedly true: there’s one model that predates the iconic 356 by almost a full decade. That model is the 1939 Porsche Type 64, the first and oldest car to ever wear Porsche’s iconic wide-font script badge. It’s easy to forget about the Type 64, in part because Porsche only made three units of the model. Forget about the small grille and the hidden wheels. Forget about the bulging fenders and streamlined body. This model represents the beginning of Porsche and this particular model also happened to be the personal car of no less than Ferdinand Porsche, the man who founded the company. His son, Ferry, also spent some time behind the wheel of this Type 64, ensuring that its provenance goes all the way back to the birth of the German automaker. This Type 64 has changed hands over the years — it has a 70-year documented chain of three private owners since the Porsche family — and it’s about to change hands for a fourth time when RM Sotheby’s auctions it off at the 2019 Monterey Car Week.

The Type 64 has also undergone multiple restorations, including a sympathetic refresh to highlight its originality.

Anybody who has any doubts about the model can take comfort knowing that the model also went through a thorough inspection by renowned Porsche specialist Andy Prill. We often wax hyperbole when it comes to describing important models that helped define an automaker’s history. There’s no hyperbole here. This 1939 Porsche Type 64 is, without question, the most historically significant Porsche model ever offered in a public auction. If you have to ask how much it could go for, then you probably won’t be able to afford it. Don’t be surprised if bidding for this model surpasses $10 million in a heartbeat.

1953 Alfa Romeo 6C 3000 CM Superflow IV

The 1953 Alfa Romeo 6C 3000 CM Superflow IV doesn’t have as rich of a history as, say, the two models above it on this list. But make no mistake: the 6C 3000 CM Superflow IV is regarded as one of the most significant Alfa Romeo models that still exist to this day.

The 6C 3000 CM Superflow IV is essentially a one-of-a-kind model that came to life as the final iteration of a design test mule that Alfa Romeo gave to Pinin Farina. One look at it and you can immediately tell that this isn’t your ordinary Alfa Romeo.

It comes with a Pininfarina-styled body that featured covered headlamps, a tapered tail, and a Plexiglass bubble roof with certain sections — the central one — that could be slid rearward. The 6C 3000 CM Superflow IV also sits on a race-spec competition chassis and is powered by a DOHC inline-six engine, producing an impressive-for-its-time output of 270 horsepower. Needless to say, this particular Alfa has received prestigious awards and has been featured in several publications. It remains in pristine condition, which should explain why Gooding and Company has placed an estimate of around $8 million on the legendary Alfa.

1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider

The next three cars on this list are Ferraris, but this one is the one that you should really pay close attention to. It’s a 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider and it’s the top car on offer at the Gooding & Company auction at Pebble Beach. Specifically, this 250 GT LWB California Spider is the 11th of 50 long wheelbase units that Ferrari built specifically for the American market.

One look at it and it’s immediately recognizable as one of the most desirable and sought-after Ferraris ever built. It’s long and sleek with covered headlights and a race, swept-back windscreen.

It also comes with a lightweight folding top and a somewhat bare interior with minimal appointments beyond the obligatory bucket seats. What it lacks in creature comforts, the 250 GT LWB California Spider made up for it with everything else. It’s powered by a 3.0-liter V-12 engine that produces 240 horsepower, an impressive figure for its time. It also comes with an independent coil-spring front suspension and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Specs aside, this particular 250 GT LWB California Spider has passed through several owners over the years. Fortunately, all of its owners have taken good care of it through several no-expense-spared restorations to make it look as if it just came out of Ferrari’s production facility. This unit is also certified by Ferrari Classiche. That should at least explain why the auction house has thrown an estimated value of more than $13 million for the car. Nobody’s going to be surprised, though, if it ends up breaching that threshold. This is, after all, one of the most desirable classic Ferraris in the world.

1962 Ferrari 196 SP by Fantuzzi

The second Ferrari on this list is the 1962 Ferrari 196 SP by Fantuzzi, a car that has seen and competed in its share of races throughout the ’60s and ‘70s. This particular model — chassis no. 0806 — is also the last of five surviving Scuderia Ferrari Sports Prototypes that was built for the 1961-62 seasons. It’s hard to understate how important this beauty is to Ferrari’s racing history. Ever since it was built in 1961, initially as a 248 SP, chassis no. 0806 competed in many races for all of its different owners. It also changed engine capacities in those times, culminating in 1962 when Ferrari converted it to 196 SP specifications by installing a 2.0-liter six-cylinder engine that produced 210 horsepower.

Mind you, that same engine still sits at the heart of this iconic race car, and despite having had multiple owners throughout its racing career, the 196 SP remained competitive in all the races it competed in.

This model also went through a few stylistic makeovers, none more significant than the rear panel it received from Carrozzeria Fantuzzi in 1972. The car has been in the U.S. for most of the current millennium and while it can still lay down the law on a race track after a bit of mechanical preparation, the 196 SP has become more of a show car, most recently appearing at the 2010 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, where it was awarded Best in Class for Racecars from 1956–1964. Considering its history and importance to the Prancing Horse’s racing history, the 1962 Ferrari 196 SP is expected to fetch a king’s ransom at the RM Sotheby’s auction on August 17. Put it this way: if you don’t have at least $8 million to spend, you might as well sit this one out when it hits the auction block.

1966 Ferrari 275 GTS

Ferrari only built 200 units of the 1966 275 GTS so by sheer numbers alone, it’s already one of the most desirable Prancing Horse models in the world. It’s also one of Maranello’s’ few front-engined V-12-powered models, making it doubly rare in the eyes of mode Ferrari collectors. The 1966 275 GTS was first unveiled at the 1964 Paris Auto Show. The coachwork was designed by Pininfarina while the body was constructed by Scaglietti. Power was derived from a 3.3-liter V-12 engine that produced 280 horsepower in Berlinetta form and 260 ponies in Spyder form. It’s worth noting that when you pop open the 275 GTS’ front hood, you’re going to see what is arguably one of the most beautiful engine layouts you’ll ever see in a Ferrari. I’ll go to the grave with that opinion. Fortunately, very little else about this classic Ferrari is opinion-based.

Almost everyone will agree that it’s one of the most desirable Ferrari models in the world.

This particular example underwent several restorations throughout its life. At one point, it was stripped to its bare metal and repainted in the iconic Rosso Corsa Italian lacquer that’s quintessential Ferrari. It also received a separate professional mechanical restoration. Even the interior wasn’t spared; classic Ferrari features like the wood-rimmed steering wheel, gated shift plate, and Veglia instrumentation set into the wood-trimmed dash can be found in the cabin of this specific example. It’s no wonder that Mecum Auctions has high hopes for this 1966 275 GTS. The auction house expects to sell this model for as much as $1.4 million. It’s not the most expensive Ferrari to attend the 2019 Monterey Car Week, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that this is an inferior Prancing Horse. That’s the furthest thing from the truth.

1936 Bugatti Type 57 Atalante

When it comes to artworks on four wheels, there aren’t that many cars in the world that can compete with the 1936 Bugatti Type 57 Atalante. It just so happens that if you’re looking for one to add to your collection, one specific example will be auctioned off at the 2019 Monterey Car Week.

No other than Jean Bugatti himself designed the Type 57 Atalante and this particular model — chassis number 57386 — comes with its history.

According to Gooding & Company, this unit was delivered new to Leon Tiberghien in 1936. Thirteen years later, the model resurfaced when it was traded back to the factory by Paul Haeffele of Molsheim. It took another 13 years — 1961 — before the 57386 Atalante again made the news, albeit this time when it was sold as a bare chassis to prolific Bugatti collector Fritz Schlumpf.

Three years after buying the 57386 Atalante’s chassis, Schlumpf acquired around 30 Bugattis from Illinois collector John Shakespeare, including a different Atalante — chassis 57686 — that had seen better days. Despite getting into an accident, the 57686 Atalante still had a body that was in relatively good condition. Schlumpf had the body removed from the chassis and stored it along with the 57386 chassis for a few decades. It wasn’t until the ‘90s when noted Bugatti enthusiast Uwe Hucke acquired the 57686’s body and the 57386 chassis in exchange for a large amount of Bugatti’s factory documentation.

The 10 Best Cars You Can Buy at the 2019 Monterey Car Week
- image 855728

After years of ownership changes and storage, Hucke mounted the aluminum Atalante coachwork into the 57386 chassis with the latter retaining its original engine — no. 281 — as well as its original gearbox, differential, front and rear axles, and chassis and patent plates. Hucke eventually sold the Atalante to Guy Huet in 2003, who refinished it in its current black and cream color scheme. It goes without saying that a lot of people had a hand in the fact that this particular example of the Type 57 Atalante will be auctioned off by Gooding & Company at the 2019 Monterey Car Week. It seems like an insult, then, that estimates for this particular model are pegged at just north of $2 million.

2019 Chevrolet eCOPO Camaro

Yes, you’ve seen this car before. It first appeared at the 2018 SEMA Auto Show as a flex on Chevrolet’s part to show everyone that even muscle cars could be electrified. Just as surprising as it was to see this one-off creation — yes, it’s the only one of its kind in the world — no one probably expected that it would go up for auction nine months after its debut. But it’s happening, folks. Russo and Steele will have the Chevrolet eCOPO Camaro on the stand as part of its Monterey Car Week auction.

There’s no expected price attached to this electric pony, but rest assured, it should fetch a hefty price.

An all-electric Chevrolet Camaro doesn’t pop up every day, especially one that has its own VIN number, not to mention a pair of BorgWarner electric motors powered by four 200-volt batteries, producing a stout 700 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque along the way. Here’s the thing, too. Apart from the lightning decals on the hood, the eCOPO Camaro looks like a standard Camaro, at least until you start it and people realize just how quiet it is. Don’t feel too bad, though. Before they realize what’s going on, the eCOPO Camaro should be long gone, leaving everyone to eat its dust. Prepare to open your checkbooks for this one. If the interest in the eCOPO Camaro is as high as I think it is, this should fetch around $800,000 to $1 million.

1965 Shelby/De Tomaso P70 Can-Am Sports Racer

The 2019 Chevrolet eCOPO Camaro isn’t the only one-off vehicle that’s going up for auction at Monterey Car Week. The 1965 Shelby/De Tomaso P70 Can-Am Sports Racer can lay claim to the same distinction.

This drop-dead gorgeous beast has been lost to time, but those who are old enough to remember Carroll Shelby’s brief dalliance with Italian de Tomaso should remember why this race car was created and why it never lived up to expectations.

See, back in the ’60s, Shelby was a stalwart in the racing scene with his lineup of Cobras and King Cobras. But with rivals coming into the picture — McLaren, most notably — Shelby needed to elevate his game to remain competitive in the sport. So he struck a partnership with Alejandro de Tomaso to build a new race car with a new engine that could compete with the McLarens. The result of that collaboration was the P70 Can-Am Sports Racer. Unfortunately, the Shelby-de Tomaso partnership fizzled out as quickly as it got off the ground as conflicts between the two companies torpedoed the project. In the end, only one P70 was made, and it’s the same one that Bonhams will auction off at Monterey Car Week. The racer went through a meticulous restoration program after sitting in the de Tomaso factory in Italy for almost 40 years before a chance encounter with one of its body panels spurred its restoration. Today, the P70 looks about as stunning as it did four decades ago. That’s partly why Bonhams is estimating that the car will sell for around $3 million this weekend.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL

The last car on this list is also my favorite car on this list. This is a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, considered by many as the most beautiful Mercedes-Benz model of all time.

I can fawn over the 300 SL’s design all day, but what makes this particular model unique, at least compared to a lot of other models on this list, is that it hasn’t changed hands since it was bought over 40 years ago.

While the identity of the owner wasn’t specified, documentation — that includes service records, original toolkit, and the factory MBZ Build Sheet — about this specific model revealed that it’s been kept by the same family. It hasn’t been sold at any time in the past. It hasn’t traveled extensive miles after ownership changes. And best of all, it’s been kept in pristine shape with no signs of rust and ageing. Some of its parts have been replaced, but most remain in original shape, complete with CA DMV registrations, period photos, and Log Book copies. Simply put, you’re not going to find a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL that has as straightforward a history as this specific unit. You can look for one, but you don’t really need to. This one is going up for sale at Russo and Steele’s auction at Monterey Car Week. If you have anywhere between $1.2 million to $1.5 million to spare, you know where that money should go to, right?

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
About the author
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: