By Johnny Miles
How do you stand out in the faux-wilderness of Nantucket or the Hamptons when seemingly everyone has a Land Rover Defender 90 or a spotless Toyota FJ40? You need a vehicle no-one else knew existed. Enter the 1952 Alfa Romeo ‘Matta’, an actual Alfa off-roader built 66 years before the new Stelvio crossover. Essentially an Italian Willys Jeep, Alfa Romeo only built some 2000 Mattas, and most, including this example, were delivered to the Italian Ministry of Defense. Who would have thought the iconic Alfa grill would translate so well to a Jeep-like truck? Gooding & Co estimates it will sell for $45 to $55k, but can you put a price on exclusivity?
Another car that sits apart from its peers is Gooding & Co’s 1952 Allard K2. While any Allard is a rare sight, this particular car was lightly modified by George Barris and painted in-period by legendary pin-striper Von Dutch. Its psychedelic yellow and black paint scheme, complete with a small dancing hobo skeleton, may not be to everyone’s taste. However, while hot rod aesthetics don’t usually gel with vintage race cars, in this Allard’s case, it makes for one stunning mash-up. For $250-$300k at Gooding & Co’s Pebble Beach auction, you can ruffle some feathers at the next Concours or British car meet.
To fully appreciate the Pagani Huayra, you must inspect it in person. Practically any piece of the car could be put under glass and displayed at a design museum, whether it’s the leather glovebox that emulates a woman’s handbag, the perfect carbon fiber weave no matter where you look, or the titanium exhaust system, which is heat-treated to achieve a luminous purple and purple glow. This is a “hypercar” on par with any offering from Ferrari or Bugatti. Unlike the LaFerrari, the McLaren P1, or the Bugatti Veyron, which were built by the hundreds, the Huayra is limited to 100 copies. As such, they rarely appear at auction. RM Sotheby’s estimates that this example, the first one to arrive in the U.S., will fetch $2.2-$2.8m, which is a million dollars cheaper than the $3.3-$3.8m LaFerrari in the same color that they also have on offer. If I had it, my money would be on the Huayra.
The Ford RS 200 left an impression on anyone who ever watched the legendary Group B rally cars race in the mid 1980s, or anyone who has seen the harrowing footage since. Ford poured millions of dollars into the RS program and just when the vehicle achieved total dominance, winning the national championship and finishing on the podium in 32 races, the entire series was cancelled because it was deemed too dangerous. This example is one of only 24 converted by the factory into ‘Evolution’ trim, which was even higher performing than the “regular” RS 200. Given its rarity and its highly original condition, it is estimated to sell for up to $600k at Bonham’s Quail Lodge Auction.
A Ford Pinto featured on The Revs Institute website? This must be a first. Surprisingly, this car does fit with The Revs Institute’s focus in one important way: it is completely original. It still has its factory chassis, paint, interior and trim. If you owned or enjoyed a Ford Pinto in a previous life, this example will serve as the perfect time-travel device. A contender for future Worst-In-Show at the Concours d’Lemons! (Although it looks too good.) Mecum Auctions estimates it will sell for $15-$20k.
Readers from the Boston area will know the name Herb Chambers, as his car dealerships are ubiquitous in the area. His savvy business sense also extended to his car collection when he purchased what would be the first McLaren F1 imported into the United States. While the F1 has earned its place in the pantheon of automotive greats, it was still a gamble to pay a million dollars in 1995 for a car with a yet unproven reputation. Chambers’ bet has paid off, and after 27 years he is selling his prize. While any F1 is supremely desirable, this particular example, with only one owner and less than 10k miles, should fetch all the money, which likely means up to $15 million (Bonham’s lists it as ‘Refer to Department for Estimate’).
Who doesn’t love a classic fire truck? This particular example combines the timeless appeal of an old red fire engine with the gorgeous front end of a 1938 Packard Super Eight. It was one of only four fire engines made by the Detroit based General Fire Truck Corporation on a Packard chassis. Just like the Von Dutch Allard, it is an unlikely combination that works. What a way to fulfill a childhood dream! Yours for only $250-$350k at the Gooding & Co. Pebble Beach Auction.
Emulating the almost angelic lines of the Bugatti T57 Atalante, this Delahaye was actually bodied by a Dubos, a largely forgotten French carrossier. The design is a masterpiece of the French streamlined design ethos. Furthermore, it features a “rollback” roof that functions like a rolltop desk to allow for open weather cruising. Curiously, it was purchased by a German diplomat stationed in Barcelona, where the car would live until the late 2000s when it was imported to the US and restored. With a known history and a one-off design on the legendary Delahaye 135 M chassis, it seems a good value at $1.7-$2.1m at Worldwide Auctioneer’s Pacific Grove Auction.
The Jeep Wagoneer did not see any real change in its body style over the 28 year course of its life. However, collectors seem to prefer the later “wood” bodied versions, especially the ‘Final Edition’ vehicles from 1991. The market has largely neglected the earlier examples which have a purer design, with elegant round headlights and no gaudy faux-wood ornamentation. This particular example, estimated to sell for $50-$75k at the Mecum Monterey Auction, is the one to get. These trucks were bought to be used, and to find one this well preserved after 49 years is rare.
The big pre-war Mercedes all have one trait in common: presence. The 1928 Mercedes-Benz S-Type that Gooding & Co is auctioning may not have the flowing lines of Worldwide Auctioneers’ 37 Delahaye, but it is equally impressive, with a one-off bodywork by Gläser that is both beautiful and imposing. The S-Types are all the more special because of their dominance on the racetrack at the hands of driver Rudolf Caracciola, and because they were designed under the supervision of no less than Dr. Ferdinand Porsche himself, before he started his eponymous Stuttgart firm. With only 146 built, and only some 58 surviving today, these do not come up for sale very often. As illustration, Gooding & Co’s example is being sold by the family that has owned it for 53 years. For $5-6m, you can own an important and unassailable piece of Mercedes-Benz history.