A dazzling array of racing cars and motorcycles -- and some pretty impressive road machines as well -- will cross the block at RM's Monaco sale May 11-12. The sale is held in conjunction with the eighth Grand Prix de Monaco Historique, an every-other-year gathering of vintage racing cars on the historic Grand Prix circuit.
Certainly not the most valuable vehicle being offered but among the most unique is the 1951 Piero Taruffi "Italcorsa" or "Tarf II" speed-record car (see photo) with its twin-boom "bisiluro" architecture. Powered by a 1.8-liter Maserati four-cylinder engine and with adjustable "rudders" able to compensate for crosswinds, the car set speed records over the course of two seasons and then spent many years on display in museums in Australian and Europe.
Also being offered at a Ferrari-engined hydroplane (to see it in action, click here), historic racing motorcycles and one of two 1957 Ferrari 625 TRC Spiders, a 1966 Ferrari 206 S Dino Spyder that has coming on the market for the first time in 40 years, a 1948 Ferrari 166 Spider Corsa (the sixth built), the 1968 Rondeau M378 which holds the record for the most starts at Le Mans, and the finned, 1958 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I "Honeymoon Express" roadster, and much more.
And while we're writing about RM, the company has just opened a new office and vehicle showroom in Southern California. Shelby Myers (founder Rob Myers' son) is managing director of the new facility at Culver City and Vinnie Mandzak is the resident car specialist. Shelby Myers had been working at RM's European facility on events at London, Monaco and Villa d'Este. Mandzak had been with Mercedes-Benz of BeverlyHIlls for more than 30 years and coordinated the Classics for Charity car show for 16 years.
"Over the past several years, we have worked actively in serving and representing Californian collectors through the presentation of numerous successful private collection sales, along with our annual Monterey event," said Rob Myers. "Our new west coast office will not only enable us to better service the needs of California's extensive and important collector car community, but also surrounding states as we further grow our international footprint."
Running (and racing) for a good cause
I love teasing friends who are marathon runners. Why, I ask them, why run 26 miles, 385 yards when there are so many good cars you can drive that distance?
Well, I may finally have found an answer, of sorts.
As part of The Elegance at Hershey, a 1.5-mile run will be held, and the first seven-tenths of a mile of the running course will be the same route to be used later that day for the Historic Hershey Hill Climb.
Not only to runners get a run up the hill, but for their $25 entry fee they also receive T-shirts, snacks, VIP parking and free admission to the automotive events later in the day. Oh, and their entry fee also benefits The Elegance at Hershey charities including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the AACA Museum and the AACA Library and Research Center. Runners who choose to contribute $100 get all of the above, plus an invitation to the hill climb driver's breakfast.
The Historic Hershey Hill Climb is open to vintage race cars and is part of The Elegance at Hershey, an event that runs June 8-10 and concludes with a concours d'elegance. The running race is Saturday morning.
Dragone hosts its inaugural auction
For nearly 70 years, the Dragone family of Westport, Connecticut, has bought, restored and sold classic cars. At first, it was Peter Dragone, who acquired his first collector car in 1946. Later, Peter was joined by his sons, Manny and George. Since 1979, Dragone Classic Cars has been a business, known for doing museum-quality restoration and sales.
On May 10, the new Dragone Auctions launches with its first classic car sale with nearly four dozen vehicles crossing the bloc, including a 1931 Murphy-bodied Duesenberg Model J Custom Beverly (see photo) built over a 153.5-inch wheelbase. The car previously was part of the Blackhawk and Imperial Palace collections.
Also on the docket is a 1954 Porsche Speedster purchased new by racers Skip Hudson and Dan Gurney. The car spent several decades beneath a tarp before being restored. Former owners include comedian Jerry Seinfeld and Mike Kettredge, founder of the Yankee Candle Company.
Also being offered are a 1932 Packard 902 Victoria convertible that has spent half a century in storage, an unrestored 1949 Healey Westland, and a fully restored 1946 Indian Chief motorcycle with sidecar.
Fairfield concours on hiatus
While we're in Westport, we note that the Fairfield County concours d'elegance won't be held this year. The eight-year-old event no longer can use the Fairfield County Hunt Club as its venue. A search for a suitable site has not succeed -- so far -- but the organizing committee continues its search with plans to put vehicles back on display in 2013.
"Each venue we evaluated brought with it challenges and opportunities for an event of our scope, with regional reputation and headed for national repute," said Bill Scheffler, chairman of the Fairfield County Concours Consulting Group. "Ultimately, we concluded that none of the options enabled us to continue our steady growth over eight years and onward towards our greater goals."
In addition to the concours, for the past two years the event included a Bonhams auction.
Car, original owner reunited at Spring Carlisle
Nearly five decades after Leon Fake bought a new 1965 Ford Mustang GT, the Silver Blue convertible is back in his garage after the Auctions America by RM Spring Carlisle event at Carlisle, Pennsylvania (see photo).
"I put 85,000 miles on this Mustang and sold it," said Fake. "I tried to buy it back a few years ago for $30,000, but the owner wouldn't let it go. It's a good thing the bidding stopped when it did, because I was at my limit."
Fake reacquired the car for $34,000 at the auction. It was part of a 15-car John E. Craft collection offered at no reserve.
Total sales were more than $2.5 million with a 53-percent sell-through for the 267 vehicles across the block.
"Auctions America is all about getting people into the collector cars they love," said Donnie Gould, president of the RM division. "The standing-room-only crowd cheered when Mr. Fake won the bid because word had gotten around that he was the car's first owner."
Fake wasn't the only person reunited with a long-lost vehicle.
"My first new car was a 1963 Ford Falcon," said 71-year-old David Selle. "And I've been trying to find another one like it for years. I called Auctions America because I saw one on their website that I liked. This was my first time to ever bid on a car, and I was ecstatic at the outcome."
"Mr. Selle thanked us many times while we were processing his paperwork after the sale.," Gould said. "It means a lot for us to see how happy he is."
Selle bought his Ragoon Red, V8-powered 1963 Falcon Sprint for $23,650, some $21,000 more than he'd spent on a similar car back when it was brand new.
The high sale of the event was $99,000 for a 1957 Chevrolet Corvette. A '69 Buick GS 400 convertible brought $78,650, a '69 Shelby GT350 went for $77,000, a 1956 Jaguar XK 140 got $72,050 and a 1950 Cadillac Series 62 sold for $62,000.
Auctions America's next event is its annual Auburn Spring sale, June 1-3 in northeastern Indiana.
Click here for event calendar.
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