Over the decades, Monterey Car Week has grown in size and significance. While there are many events at the gathering, the auctions are some of the most compelling and exciting. For 2019 we chose the top three vehicles from each of the six major auction houses. Considering the amazing lots included in each one, it’s no easy task to choose the very best. Now, we're following up on which cars sold and for how much, plus which ones didn't and what the highest bid was for each.
With only 5 of these Roadsters ever built, and a mere 2 surviving today, this car is a red-hot item. Add to that the fact this is the only Roadster surviving with actual Le Mans racing history, and all expectations are that bidding will be fierce. This car is also packing a nice HiPo 289, while the Ford 4-cam Indy engine is also included with the sale. This was part of the Mecum Blackhawk Exposition Sale at Monterey, with the results not known yet.
This rare and highly desirable front-engined, V12 Ferrari is one of just 200 produced, making it a unicorn for many collectors. It sold for $1,100,000, meeting the low-end estimate. This particular one has been stripped to bare metal and repainted Rosso Corsa Italian lacquer as part of a cosmetic restoration, with a separate professional mechanical restoration also performed. Striking looks, engaging performance, and undeniable prestige combine to made this Ferrari one to watch at the Mecum Monterey auction, and it didn't disappoint.
The third of the Mecum highlights, this first-year C1 boasts high historical significance. As everyone knows, Chevrolet only made 300 of these for 1953, and this one is number 300. This ‘Vette has quite the past, including being on display at GM’s World of Motion at Disney World. Being the final 1953 model to roll out of the factory on December 24, 1953, this car has benefited from the improvements made to the production process, so its fit and finish are excellent. It has also undergone multiple restorations. Unfortunately, the highest bid of $320,000 didn't meet reserve, so this C1 remains unsold.
Part of the RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2019 auction, this Porsche predictably caused a huge stir, but a flub on behalf of the auction house caused an even bigger one. The end result was a $17,000,000 high bid and the car not selling, which was quite shocking. Representing the genesis of the historic brand, this is the only survivor out of 3 that historians believe were completed. It was also the personal car of Ferdinand Porsche and his son Ferry and was owned by the Porsche family for some time. Every legend needs an origin, and while many incorrectly think the 356 is it for the German automaker, this is indeed the first car to wear the Porsche name.
Another heavy hitter from RM Sotheby’s, this McLaren F-1 was estimated to fetch between $21 million and $23 million once the bidding has closed. The reality is it sold for $19,805,000 setting a record as the most expensive McLaren to ever sell at auction. That might sound high for a regular F-1, despite these supercars being highly regarded, and it is. What’s different about this is it’s 1 of only 2 F-1s modified by the factory to LM specifications. Among the upgrades is an Extra-High Downforce Kit and an unrestricted GTR racing engine. This McLaren has been well-maintained and preserved and has under 14,000 miles on the odometer.
The last car on this list from the RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2019 auction, this is the final of 5 surviving Scuderia Ferrari Sports Prototypes made for the 1961-1962 race season, so it was anticipated to be hotly contested. Final bid estimates for this car ranged from about $8 million to $10 million, but when the hammer fell the highest bid was recorded at $7,000,000. That didn't meet reserve, so this classic did not sell. The car was key to Ferrari creating the famous and highly successful P-car series and raced at events like the Nurburgring 1000 KM and 12 Hours of Sebring.
Moving on to the Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction, we have another Porsche with an impressive racing pedigree. While any 718 RSK Spyder is rare, this is one of precious few with a center-seat layout. This classic racer comes with its original engine, gearbox, and bodywork, boosting the value further. Whomever buys this vehicle will be able to enter it into the most exclusive driving and concours events in the world. Unfortunately, a $3,700,000 final bid failed to meet reserve, so this Porsche is still on the market.
Some people have forgotten about the brief collaboration between Carroll Shelby and Italian de Tomaso. The two created this revolutionary P70 racer to take on the likes of McLaren, using a 289ci HiPo Gurney-Westlake V8 and 5-speed manual. Thanks to disagreements, conflicting schedules, and Shelby taking over Ford’s GT40 program, this collaboration ended with only one P70 built. That rarity led to estimates of bids up to $3 million, but in the end the highest bid was just $1,600,000, failing to meet reserve.
You might be surprised to see a newer car on the list, but this is a truly special vehicle. The Porsche 918 Spyder uses hybrid power and advanced aerodynamics to put incredible performance at the driver’s control. This one is number 846 and is one of fewer than 295 which were sold to buyers in the United States. It comes with the Weissach package, an electro-pneumatic front-end lift system, Special Wishes options, Sapphire Blue Metallic paint, Platinum Metallic Salzburg livery, and more. This 918 Spyder is completely unique, but the $1,325,000 highest bid wasn't enough to reach the $1.6 million to $1.9 million experts estimated or reserve, meaning this Porsche is still in search of a new owner.
The first car on this list from the Russo and Steele Monterey 19 auction, this electric E-COPO Camaro made quite the fuss when it debuted at SEMA 2018. It’s 1 of 1, so you’re not going to run into someone else with the exact same car at a show or the track. The whole reason GM built this drag racer was to show that muscle cars could be electrified, and the fun wouldn’t end. The two permanent magnet AC motors produce over 700-horsepower and 600 lb.-ft. of torque, which helps with the 9.51-second run at 140+ mph. Nobody really knew what this one-off would be worth, but some experts estimated it would fetch upwards of $500,000. The highest bid was half that at $250,000 and the electric car went unsold.
A more vintage car, this Gullwing coupe was supposed to fetch between $1.2 and $1.4 million at auction. Not one to disappoint, it netted a final price of $1,210,000. It’s already a rare and highly sought-after car, but this particular example is free of rust and looks amazing yet is mostly original and numbers-matching. The history of the car is known, having been kept in one family for over 40 years, with extensive documentation including service records, the factory MBZ Build Sheet, and the original toolkit. This means for the first time in almost 50 years someone outside of that family now owns this classic.
This 1965 Shelby Cobra 289 is also from the Russo and Steele Monterey 19 auction, preserving an American automotive legend. What makes this different from other Cobras is the fact it was made later in the production series and comes with rack-and-pinion steering, making it a little more civil. The roadster went through a recent restoration process, which brought it back to factory spec. A full ownership and vehicle history were offered as well. This car is so clean, it’s won multiple prestigious awards. That probably helped this roadster sell for $962,500, barely falling short of the $1 million price some were estimating.
Moving on to the Worldwide Auctioneers Pacific Grove Auction, the selection wasn’t nearly as wide at under 45 cars, but each one was quite amazing. One of the most compelling was this 1953 Jaguar XK120 SE, which is rightfully a symbol of great national pride in Britain. With the horrors of WWII still fresh, this curvaceous and fun roadster debuted in 1948, providing direction for roadster design moving forward. Those looks are backed by the original 3.4-liter inline six-cylinder, which was the first high-volume twin-cam engine. A no-expenses-spared nut-and-bolt restoration leaves this car looking beautiful and running solid, capturing perfectly what made it special when new. That wasn't enough motivation to meet reserve, with the highest bid reaching $125,000.
Offered without reserve, this 1946 Pontiac Streamliner Station Wagon is one of the most desirable vehicles made by Pontiac post-WWII. Woodies are highly collectible and always draw plenty of praise when they’re in excellent condition like this one. This Pontiac is mostly original and has gone through a comprehensive restoration, which you can see in the details both outside and in. To maintain the ash and mahogany without warping, splitting, or dry rot is absolutely incredible. On top of that, the original 248ci inline-eight has been fully restored and is also correct, making this Streamliner as genuine as they come. Since there was no reserve, this classic woody sold for $55,000.
An Oldsmobile Toronado might seem like an odd choice to have on this list, but this isn’t just any Toronado. This particular car was customized by George Barris for use on the American television show “Mannix.” The vehicle is completely original, including a real rotary dial phone located in a compartment between the two seat backs. Introduced by the show’s producers to jazz things up, this car worked like a charm, mesmerizing audiences with its flashy appearance. Eight successful seasons later, this television car is packed with Hollywood nostalgia. That likely helped fuel some intense bidding, leading to the highest bid of $101,200 and the celebrity car selling.
That brings us to the Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auctions and this first example of what it offered, an elegant and exceptionally rare Ferrari. There are many things which made this Italian classic one to watch when it crossed the auction block, including the covered headlights, matching numbers, and the fact quite a few well-respected collectors have owned the car. It also has period SCCA racing roots and has gone through a thorough and no-expenses-spared restoration. This example is also Ferrari Classiche Certified. Professional projections estimated this 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider would sell for upwards of $13 million, which those were a tad overly optimistic as the highest bid was $9,905,000, but that still met reserve.
It should be no surprise an example from a French automaker has appeared on this list. While there are other compelling examples, this rare and exceptionally restored Bugatti is a true piece of artwork on four wheels. Jean Bugatti himself designed the Type 57 Atalante, which has a poise of grace and athleticism simultaneously. Just as impressive is the inline 8-cylinder engine with a single twin-choke Stromberg UUR2 carb and a Roots-style supercharger included. This vehicle has the numbers-matching chassis and drivetrain, plus a sumptuous interior which includes plenty of rich woodwork and other fine details. Estimates were that this example would go for upwards of $2.25 million. Those were off by quite a bit, but the $1,325,000 highest bid was enough to meet reserve and this car sold.
This car has been called one of the most important Alfa Romeos from after WWII in existence today. It mixes motorsports and great beauty. A Pinin Farina body combines with a competition chassis, plus a DOHC inline-6 engine with 6 Weber 48DOM carbs for a truly dramatic vehicle. Not only has this Alfa Romeo 6C 3000 CM Superflow IV won prestigious awards, it’s been featured in quite a few books, thanks to its immaculate condition down to the finest details. That reputation fed into estimates that it would go for up to $8 million, but bidders were having none of that. The highest recorded bid was just $4,300,000 and this classic went unsold.