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By Larry Edsall
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Turning Auction Results Upside Down
By Larry Edsall
1937 Bugatti Type 57 SC Atalante Coupe, 2008 Monterey Auction
  • Seven point nine million dollars - a record for a North American collector car auction - for a 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Atalante Coupe.
  • Four point five one for a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta.
  • Four point five for the 1960 Jaguar E2A "Missing Link" prototype racecar.
  • Eight hundred twenty nine thousand and change for a "never raced, wrecked or modified" 1967 Shelby Cobra (chassis CSX 3357).




Those were the top sellers at the collector car auctions held recently on the Monterey Peninsula in conjunction with the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. They represent the biggest sales, respectively, at the Gooding, RM, Bonhams, and Russo and Steele events.

They also represent numbers very few of us can contemplate. Four-point-five million....P-leeze!

But...that's right, but... there were cars sold at those auctions with which any car collector might identify, even aspire to afford. With that in mind, let's take a look at the other end of the results sheet, way down at the bottom of the results lists, where we find four cars that sold for between $13,750 and $42,900.

For example, at Russo and Steele, someone paid $829,250 for that Shelby Cobra, but someone also went paid only $13,750 for a "near dealership-fresh," 12,700-mile 1987 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS AeroCoupe, Tuxedo Black with red trim and dark maroon interior.

The AeroCoupe was a homologation special, equipped with a unique fastback style rear window that enhanced the car's aerodynamic performance in stock car racing. Dale Earnhardt drove a Wrangler Jeans-sponsored AeroCoupe to the 1987 NASCAR championship.

1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta, 2008 Monterey Auction At RM, someone paid $4.51 million for a Ferrari. But selling at the same auction - and for only $17,050 (albeit some $5,000 more than its most optimistic pre-auction estimate) was an immaculately restored 1957 Volkswagen Beetle, the last year the car had its iconic rounded rear window.

At the Bonham sale at the Quail Lodge, $23,400 took home the 1936 Voisin C28 created for the 2004 movie Sahara, a tale by well-respected car collector and novelist Clive Cussler, starring Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz. This replica was built in France using Gabriel Voisin's own C28 Clairiere as a pattern, though with the roof removed so the actors would be more visible in the movie. To deal with shooting in the Sahara, the car was built over a four-wheel-drive powertrain with a Jaguar V8 and Rover transmission.

Imagine: A real piece of movie memorabilia that you can drive and show for less than the price of a typical new car!

Finally, at Gooding, the 1934 Ford Geisen Special, a home-built and hot-rodded road racing special, built in the 1950s on a modified 1934 Ford chassis and raced in the first and several ensuing Monterey Historics vintage events, sold for $42,900, well below the pre-auction estimate of $50,000-$80,000.

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