Monterey Car Week

Ford Just Unveiled a New 660 HP Heritage Edition GT Inspired by an Early Prototype From 1964

Ford Just Unveiled a New 660 HP Heritage Edition GT Inspired by an Early Prototype From 1964

Ford is sending off the famous GT with another tribute to an iconic model from the ’60s. The Blue Oval has just unveiled a new Heritage Edition inspired by one of the very first prototypes to roll off the line back in 1964.

The special edition, which will debut during this week’s Monterey Car Week, takes cues from the seminal GT/105 prototype—the fifth GT to exist. This car also happens to be the only surviving ‘64 prototype still sporting its original livery. (The first two prototypes were scrapped after collisions while the other early examples have been repainted.)

The next-gen GT is finished in Wimbledon White paint with Antimatter Blue accents and an over-the-roof triple racing stripe. The contemporary interpretation is also replete with glossy exposed carbon fiber components, including the front splitter, side sills, mirror supports, engine louvers and rear diffuser. It rides on 20-inch carbon fiber wheels that are tinted in a matching blue hue.

The 2022 Heritage Edition sports livery inspired by the fifth GT to roll off the line. 

Ford

The interior features a mix of ​​black leather and black Alcantara as well as Lightspeed Blue Alcantara seats with silver stitching highlighting the GT logo.
Under the hood, there’s a clear distinction between the two four-wheelers. The new Ford GT boasts a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 that’s good for 660 horses. Its muse was powered by a naturally aspirated V-8.

The next-gen GT packs a twin-turbo V-6 whereas its predecessor was powered by a naturally aspirated V-8. 

Ford

Since the current-generation GT first debuted at the Detroit Auto Show in 2015, it’s spawned several Heritage Editions that pay homage to the Fords of the past and their distinctive racing liveries. Just last year, the marque unveiled a special speedster inspired by the very car that won the Daytona 24 Hour Continental in 1966. This may be the final Heritage Edition we see, though, given 2022 marks the final year of GT production.
“This is the first Ford GT Heritage Edition that goes beyond celebrating race wins—this one goes deep, and honors the earliest of Ford supercar heritage,” Mike Severson, Ford GT program manager, said in a statement. “The Ford GT ’64 Prototype Heritage Edition is a modern interpretation of the original, with no mistaking what this car is paying tribute to.”
If you want to see the formidable duo in the flesh, the 2022 Ford GT ’64 Heritage Edition will be on display at The Quail and Pebble Beach this week alongside the 1964 GT/105 prototype.

Check out more photos below:

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Ford

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Ford

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Ford

Sir Jackie Stewart Shares His Thoughts on Racing and Rolex in Time for Monterey Car Week

Sir Jackie Stewart Shares His Thoughts on Racing and Rolex in Time for Monterey Car Week

Even for those who don’t know a checkered flag from a tablecloth, the name Jackie Stewart instantly conjures images of racetracks and victory laps, so pervasive is the hall-of fame driver in popular culture nearly five decades after retiring. His is a legacy that includes a top-10 finish at the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Rookie of the Year honor at the 1966 Indianapolis 500 early on in his career, then escalates to a total of 27 Formula 1 Grand Prix victories, three Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship titles and a knighthood.

With that résumé, and by being a vocal proponent for increased safety protocols, Stewart has had an impact on motorsport that is still felt today, and all accomplished with a demeanor as charming as his Scottish brogue and personal style. Contributing to the latter is the ever-present Rolex timepiece that graces his wrist. The accoutrement is reflective of his 53-year role as a Testimonee, or ambassador, for Rolex—the official timekeeper at this weekend’s preeminent automotive events in Northern California, including the Quail Motorsports Gathering, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion (of which it’s obviously the title sponsor) and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

As the 2021 edition of Monterey Car Week ramps up, Sir Jackie Stewart shares with Robb Report some of his backstory, why his partnership with Rolex has been such a winning one and what makes the next few days in Monterey so special.

Jackie Stewart back behind the wheel for the Goodwood Motor Circuit’s 2019 Goodwood Revival in the UK. 

Photo by Nick Harvey, courtesy of Rolex.

How, and when, did you first get involved with motorsport?
I left school at not quite 15 years of age. I’m an extreme dyslexic and couldn’t read or write correctly, things that everybody else does so easily. So I was well pleased to be out of school. I started off selling gas at fuel stations and then became a mechanic at my father’s and mother’s wee garage in Dumbarton, Scotland.
One of our customers was a very rich young man, named Barry Filer, whose family did not allow him to race because he was the only son and the business was a big one. I was his mechanic and, as a reward, he had me drive his Porsche Super 90 and I finished second in a race. He said I should do it again, and I won the next race. I then drove for him in an E-Type Jag until Ecurie Ecosse, the Scottish team, picked me up. That took me down south to England, and from there I was picked up by Ken Tyrell [in charge of the Cooper Formula Junior team] and began single-seater racing. It was a bit of a rocket ship that took off from a very shallow beginning.

What are the strengths you possess that helped you succeed despite the early challenges?
I was lucky that I was very good at a sport that was not motor racing, and that was trapshooting. I started when I was 14 years of age and went on to shoot for Scotland and Great Britain. I did that until I was 24 and got married, as I was unable to be involved in an amateur sport and be a married man. But I shot my way around the world, won most of the big events and came in fifth or sixth at the World Championship.
The thing I learned from shooting that I took to motor racing was what I call, “mind management.” When you go to shoot in a major championship, you get nervous, as you would in any sport. I learned how to remove emotion so that when that target came up at 135 mph, I wasn’t uptight. Because once you miss the target [in shooting], you never get it back. I can make a mistake in a racing car, not a big mistake but a mistake in one corner, and make it up in the next four or five corners. Shooting taught me how to remove emotion, because emotion is dangerous. I think that was the biggest thing that I had to my advantage and was able to use to get success.

Competing at the Grand Prix of Italy in Monza, circa 1969. 

Photo by Bernard Cahier, courtesy of Rolex.

You are known for your first-place finishes, but what defeat stands out in your career?
Indianapolis [the 1966 Indianapolis 500]. The three Brits were in front; I was leading and Graham Hill and Jim Clark were behind me, but were nearly two laps behind me—I was having a hell of a good race, but it disappeared. With only eight laps to go, an oil pump from the bottom of the engine seized, which meant there was no more oil coming up into the moving parts. Sadly, I just had to cruise in with no power and walk the rest of the way [to pit lane]. But I did win Rookie of the Year because it was my first year at Indianapolis.
Which victories are you most proud of?
I suppose it’s my first-ever grand prix that I won, which was Monza in 1965. That was a big deal for me to win that, and it was at the end of my first year in Formula 1. Then, in 1966, I got pole position at Monte Carlo and went on to win that race.

Switching gears to watches, what was your first Rolex timepiece?
Well, I go back to that race in Indianapolis. The owner of the team flew me to Texas, where he had a home, and took me to a Rolex store in Houston. He said, “Look, you’ve done so well that I’ve got a surprise for you, I’m going to give you a Rolex watch.” I had never had a proper watch in my life, and there it was, a Day-Date—top of the line. I wasn’t with Rolex at the time. It was a tremendous thing for me to have, and that was my first Rolex experience. Of course, now I’ve been with the company for 53 years.

Sir Jackie sporting a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona. 

Photo by Audoin Desforges, courtesy of Rolex.

How has Rolex contributed to racing?
The company is present in every sense. It’s the official timekeeper for Formula 1 right now. At Laguna Seca [WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca] it’s the official timekeeper, and it has been at Daytona for stock-car racing for many years; it has been at Le Mans for a great many years, playing a really important role. It’s so blue chip, and does everything with such taste.
Which timepieces stand out in your collection?
A man I used to drive for gave me his Rolex watch before he died at the age of 92. It had been his father’s back when Rolex first produced a watch. That’s the most treasured one I have. I was also given a Rolex called the King Midas, which hardly anyone knows about. It’s very heavy and very unusual in every way—Elvis Presley had one. And then I love a steel Rolex GMT-Master that I wear around the house and do all sorts of things with. I’m lucky enough to have a few, and they’ve all got a special story to tell. It’s a very long relationship, not many sports people have relationships of that period, but then again, that shows the integrity of the company. Arnold Palmer, Jean-Claude Killy and I signed [with Rolex] on the same day—the 28th of April, 1968.

Jackie Stewart participating at the 2019 Goodwood Revival. 

Photo by Nick Harvey, courtesy of Rolex.

When did your involvement with Monterey Car Week begin?
My first attendance was at Laguna Seca driving a Lotus Cortina [also known as the Ford Cortina Lotus]. I drove Laguna Seca for Ford while I was doing Formula 1. I went to Laguna Seca a lot. I remember driving [Tazio] Nuvolari’s Maserati, and [Juan Manuel] Fangio and Phil Hill were there driving Alfa Romeos—so many happy memories. Sadly, I don’t think I’m going to be there this year; well, the fat lady hasn’t sung yet—I might show up.

What is it about Monterey Car Week, and the Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion in particular, that brings you back?
I think it’s the best collection of performance cars in the United States; I can’t say the world, but certainly North and South America. People come from all over to have their cars race, properly race. They’re not pussycats, they’re all driving like hell—it’s hardcore. [The Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion] is a special event in American motorsport, and it’s the same weekend as Pebble Beach, so it’s a big weekend.
Does motorsport need to change to stay relevant?
Not much. It’s the most advanced form of engineering that I know of in the world. Of course, we’ve got to move for not only the current generation but future generations with regard to energy. There’s only going to be maybe two or three forms of energy, not electric by the way, other forms of energy, which could include even nuclear energy. What we’ve got to have is an energy that will be able to continue the current Formula 1 engine. We might end up with a smaller engine with even more power, and still environmentally strong.

The hall-of-fame racer at a previous edition of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. 

Photo by Tom O’Neal, courtesy of Rolex.

How does Formula 1 play a part in the charity you founded?
Formula 1 still is the fastest problem-solving example in the world, even beyond aerospace. Races sometimes take place within one week of each other, and there may be as many as six major changes from one grand prix to the next. The speed of change in Formula 1 is extraordinary.
My wife, very sadly, has dementia. I started a charity called Race Against Dementia and use Formula 1 as an example. We take young PHDs from the best universities and bring them to McLaren and Red Bull to see how they problem-solve at a speed that the medical world simply doesn’t know how to do yet. We’re getting them to accelerate their knowledge and, hopefully one day, find a cure and preventative medicine. That’s the same challenge with regards to energy, the world we are living in and all that’s happening. Everybody’s got to pull their own weight in a stronger way than they’ve ever done before.

Learn more about Robb Report’s 2022 Car of the Year at the event taking place in Napa Valley here and in Boca Raton here.

First Look: Audi’s Skysphere Concept Is a Self-Driving Shapeshifter

First Look: Audi’s Skysphere Concept Is a Self-Driving Shapeshifter

Audi‘s first in a trio of electric autonomous concept cars, signifying the marque’s future direction, will greet the public as part of Monterey Car Week. The Skysphere is a sporty roadster that, with the push of a button, physically stretches into a grand touring car that drives itself while passengers relax—at least in theory.

“The experience we wanted to recreate with Skysphere is grand touring” says designer Gael Buzyn, head of Audi’s new design studio in Malibu, Calif. “In the 1930s, there was a leap in technology that made cars more comfortable and easier to use. Today we are also coming into a new era of driving, also driven by technology, so we tried to project that into the future and look at how we could elevate that experience to a new level. We did this by creating two driving modes with two distinct personalities.”

Audi’s Skysphere concept car. 

Photo: Courtesy of Audi AG.

The Skysphere features classic proportions with a long dash-to-axle, short overhangs, huge wheels and elegant lines. But it’s also thoroughly modern, with a new interpretation of Audi’s single-frame grille that doubles as a lighting signature, communicating the drive mode as well as the charging status of the car.
Intricate textures and patterns can be found throughout the vehicle, including the 3-D-printed daytime running lamps and tail lamps. Side-view mirrors are replaced by cameras and, in the rear where an engine might normally be, a clear hatch showcases custom-made luggage that nestles perfectly into the Skysphere’s sleek, shooting-brake-style trunk.

The Skysphere presents a new interpretation of Audi’s single-frame grille that doubles as a lighting signature. 

Photo: Courtesy of Audi AG.

Buzyn says the Skysphere was inspired by the Horch 850 roadster and the shorter-wheelbase 853 model—an example of which won best of show at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2009. “We came up with the idea for two sizes very early on. I love driving, so wanted to make a car that I’d love to drive but at the same time meets the requirements of level 4 (autonomy).”
The cabin itself also reconfigures based on driving mode: In autonomous touring mode, driver and passenger sit side-by-side while the large display screens show art or other entertainment. In sport mode, a steering wheel emerges from under the dash, the driver’s-side screen moves forward and the driver seat is positioned slightly ahead of the passenger for better command of the road. In addition, art-deco elements that pay homage to the Horch can be found within the cabin as well as on the wheel design.

The cabin reconfigures based on the driving mode selected. 

Photo: Courtesy of Audi AG.

Notably, the entire Skysphere was designed digitally in Audi’s Malibu studio, without the milling of clay models traditionally used during the development process. Designers “met” in virtual reality to review and refine the design, which took only six months to complete. (In the past, developing and building a concept car could take years.) The physical model was fabricated in Germany over the span of two months, then sent to California ahead of its public debut.

A clear hatch showcases custom-made luggage tailored to fit into the Skysphere’s sleek trunk. 

Photo: Courtesy of Audi AG.

Audi’s Skysphere and subsequent concepts come at a time when the marque, along with much of the automotive industry, is shifting to electric power-train configurations and continuing to advance toward self-driving vehicles. Late last year, Audi—owned by Volkswagen Group—announced it would invest $12 billion in electrification and, more recently, said it would stop development of new combustion engines by 2026.

In autonomous touring mode, driver and passenger sit side-by-side while the large display screens offer various entertainment. 

Photo: Courtesy of Audi AG.

Yet the brand that turns out motorsport-bred performance models like the V-10-powered R8 and RS Q8 isn’t looking to reduce the thrill-level of its cars to that of automated rolling toasters. Instead, it’s showing a new vision for an electrified future where, even though machines can drive themselves, enthusiasts can still grab a steering wheel and take control of the open road.

The entire Skysphere was designed digitally in Audi’s Malibu studio. 

Photo: Courtesy of Audi AG.

“The car [Skysphere] is a perfect fit in our strategy from VW group because we think both new and current customers will be reminded about an experience that has been forgotten, a glamorous experience about using the automobile,” Buzyn says. “I hope this will resonate with a lot of people.”
The Audi Skysphere concept will appear at the Quail, a Motorsports Gathering on August 13 in Carmel Valley, and will next grace the Concept Lawn at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on August 15.

Learn more about Robb Report’s 2022 Car of the Year at the event taking place in Napa Valley here and in Boca Raton here.

Val Kilmer’s Old ’68 Pontiac GTO Convertible Is Heading to Auction This Weekend

Val Kilmer’s Old ’68 Pontiac GTO Convertible Is Heading to Auction This Weekend

Muscle cars don’t come much cooler than the Pontiac GTO. And a particularly desirable example of the muscle car is about to hit the auction block—that is, if you’re a fan of Val Kilmer.

Mecum Auction will put a stunning 1969 GTO convertible that the Iceman himself used to drive up for bid as part of its annual Monterey Car Week sales event this coming weekend. The commanding drop-top has been given a full makeover since changing owners and might even look better than it did when the actor was tooling around in it.

Val Kilmer’s old 1969 Pontiac GTO convertible 

Mecum Auctions

First introduced in 1963, the GTO is one of the cars most responsible for popularizing the muscle car in the US. The powerhouse proved to be such a hit that several other GM brands introduced high-performance coupés of their own, including the Chevrolet Chevelle, Oldsmobile 442 and Buick Gran Sport. The Top Gun star is said to have loved his GTO, but parted ways with it in the middle of last decade. Since then, the car has undergone a frame-off, a full, ground-up restoration that even changed its body color.

Inside Val Kilmer’s old GTO 

Mecum Auctions

While classic car purists may be let down by this, that feeling such dissipate once you get a look at the car. The GTO, which was formerly light blue, is now coated in a rich black with a mirror finish. The reimagined interior is done up in cream white leather, has a new dash and gauges, a custom vintage-style radio and an OEM shifter positioned in the center console. The soft-top is also cream white, giving the car an appealing high-contrast, two-tone look. It’s a true beauty.
Pop the hood and you’ll find that just as much attention was paid to the car’s matching-numbers engine. The 6.8-liter Pontiac V-8 is mated to a rebuilt, four-speed transmission and has been upgraded with a dual-snorkel air cleaner, polished intake manifold, Patriot headers and upgraded belt pulleys. Performance numbers haven’t been made available, but when new the engine was capable of generating between 265 and 370 horsepower. Suffice to say, the GTP can go fast.

Under the hood of Val Kilmer’s old GTO 

Mecum Auctions

Kilmer’s old GTO is one of the star lots of Mecum’s Monterey Car Week offering and is schedule to hit the block this Friday. Expect to pay somewhere between $120,000 and $140,000 to get your hands on the drop-top, which is significantly more than the $29,000 it sold for in 2017. All that work comes at a cost, apparently.

Check out more photos of Kilmer’s old GTO below:

Mecum Auctions

Mecum Auctions

Mecum Auctions

Mecum Auctions

Lamborghini Is Reviving the Classic Countach—and This Time It May Be a Hybrid

Lamborghini Is Reviving the Classic Countach—and This Time It May Be a Hybrid

Lamborghini is bringing a legend back from the dead.

On Monday, the Italian automaker announced the official return of the Countach. It’s been 50 years since the original made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show as the LP500 prototype. But don’t expect your father’s supercar: The latest iteration may feature a hybrid powertrain.
A teaser video accompanied the announcement. Scored with a Giorgio Moroder-style beat, the 21-second clip intercuts images of a young boy putting up a poster of the classic Countach on his bedroom wall with shots of a vehicle sporting pop-up headlights tearing across the desert. Even louder than the pulsating synths is the booming roar of the vehicle’s engine.

We make dreams come true. We did it with the classic Countach in the 1970s. And we’re doing it again. The new Lamborghini Countach is coming. ​#Lamborghini #Countach pic.twitter.com/nXctgIuyqe
— Lamborghini (@Lamborghini) August 9, 2021

“We make dreams come true,” the company wrote on Twitter. “We did it with the classic Countach in the 1970s. And we’re doing it again. The new Lamborghini Countach is coming.”

The company also released a mysterious photo of a car underneath a Lamborghini-branded cover. The new supercar is well hidden, but you can clearly make out its wedge shape. Luckily, we shouldn’t have to wait much longer for more info, as the company is expected to publicly unveil the vehicle within days at Monterey Car Week.
If you can’t wait, though, there are plenty of rumors about the new Countach bouncing around the car internet at the moment. Chief among these is that the supercar, like the recently revived Hummer before it, will be electrified.

Unlike GMC’s supertruck, Lamborghini’s latest won’t be entirely battery-powered, but a leaked image suggests it will feature a hybrid powertrain. That photo, which was posted by the Instagram account @Lamborghini.specs (via CNET Roadshow), shows the car’s full name to be the Countach LPI 800-4. Lamborghini has only used LPI in the name of one other vehicle, the Asterion hybrid concept from 2014. (LPI stands for Longitudinale Posteriore Ibrido, indicating the car has a mid-mounted engine with a hybrid system.) As for the rest of the name, the 800 likely stands for 800PS, meaning the car will boast 789 hp, and the 4 suggests it will feature all-wheel drive.
Lamborghini did not immediately respond to Robb Report’s request for comment.
The new (and likely limited-edition) supercar’s debut won’t be the only Countach-related event to look forward to at Monterey Car Week. Countach will also be one of the featured classes at this year’s main Concours event. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the iconic vehicle’s 50th.

Car of the Week: This Ultra-Lightweight Porsche 911 R Will Be Heavily Coveted at Auction

Car of the Week: This Ultra-Lightweight Porsche 911 R Will Be Heavily Coveted at Auction

Few taxonomies are as complicated as the classification of Porsche’s venerable 911 sports car, a model line that started as the 901 in 1963 and has spawned an alphabet soup of numbers and alphanumeric suffixes ever since. Many Porschephiles have committed them to memory, like tribal elders who pass on genealogies to new generations in an effort to preserve oral history without benefit of a written language.

Thankfully, Porsche historians have it easier, to the extent that few marques can boast as comprehensive an archive as does the factory. This is surely a reassuring thing for collectors whose memories aren’t exactly steel traps when trying to recall a bewildering number of model distinctions that include CIS, E, GT, GTS, L, MFI, R, RS, S, SC, ST and T, many with a trail of dot-versions behind their series number.

That the single suffix “R” can add a couple of zeros to the value of an early 911 is a fact not lost on collectors, who will have an opportunity to acquire this most prized 911 of them all at the upcoming RM Sotheby’s auction in Monterey, Calif., on August 14. Lot 339 is a 1968 Porsche 911 R, and if ever the overused term “Holy Grail” applies, it’s in the case of this model, limited to 20 production examples (plus four prototypes) built by the factory in 1967.

The 1968 Porsche 911 R being offered at the 2021 RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction. 

Photo by Robin Adams, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

The lightest production-based 911 ever, the “R” is a featherweight made for racing, and the model that has inspired countless clones and whose name was appropriated to christen the 2016 911 R, of which 911 units were produced. Although collectible in their own right, those 3,021-pound modern counterparts are hard to compare with their forebear, which tips the scales at a svelte 1,810 pounds.

This is one of only 20 production examples of the original 911 R. 

Photo by Robin Adams, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

While the 911 R resembles an “ordinary” 911 S from the period, the details are what make it a fascinating exercise in weight reduction and performance enhancement. Although using the standard steel body shell, the 911 R has other elements—like the steel fenders, doors, hood, rear decklid and bumpers—replaced by lightweight fiberglass. Plexiglas replaced side and rear glass, and the gutted interior features deep Scheel racing seats and little else. Under the rear decklid, a 210 hp flat-six engine from the 906 race car—featuring a magnesium crankcase in this example—replaced the stock 160 hp engine from the 911 S.

Under the rear decklid is the original 210 hp flat-six engine with a magnesium crankcase. 

Photo by Robin Adams, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

Complications arose when motorsport’s Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) refused to homologate the 911 R as a variation of the 911 S, forcing the model to run in the Prototype class against some powerful opponents. Without a competitive edge, most were sold to privateer racers, with eight of the Rs finding their way to France.

The gutted interior features deep Scheel racing seats and little else. 

Photo by Robin Adams, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

A total of 18 out of the original 20 production 911 Rs were painted Light Ivory, a most handsome color for any 911. Having left the factory in October 1967, this particular vehicle competed in period, beginning with the 1967 Tour de Corse. Chassis No. 006 saw a spate of owners and engines early in its life, until it was acquired in the mid-1980s by a collector who embarked on a restoration, which, like so many well-intentioned endeavors, stalled.
The uncompleted project was sold to another steward in 2002. The fortune of the car changed in 2014, however, when it was discovered by Belgian Porsche restorer and dealer Kobus Cantraine. Establishing that its sheet metal and critical components were intact, Cantraine sourced the original magnesium-cased engine in 2015. With power plant and chassis reunited at last, chassis No. 006 was meticulously restored using new-original-stock parts, and is finished in its period-correct livery.

The vehicle’s first race was the Tour de Corse, where it wore No. 96. 

Photo by Robin Adams, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

This automobile remains one of very few 911 R examples with a numbers-matching chassis and engine, and is accompanied by a Porsche factory Kardex. An estimated value as high as $5.5 million makes the very lightest 911 of them all a genuine heavyweight in the marketplace, and the centerpiece of any Porsche 911 collection.

Learn more about Robb Report’s 2022 Car of the Year at the event taking place in Napa Valley here and in Boca Raton here.

Car of the Week: Bonhams Brings Back the Golden Age of Mercedes-Benz with This 1928 Sports Tourer

Car of the Week: Bonhams Brings Back the Golden Age of Mercedes-Benz with This 1928 Sports Tourer

Every country has its iconic automotive marques; names stretching back to the earliest years when opulent coach-built cars expressed the epitome of luxury and advanced technology. France has its Bugatti, England its Rolls-Royce, America its Duesenberg and Germany has an automaker that goes so far back in time that its first model didn’t even look like a car—the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, which rolled its spindly wheels onto public roads in 1886.

Advances in engineering, metallurgy, rubber and even fuel accelerated progress almost exponentially, and by the Roaring Twenties, cars had become international symbols of power, wealth and style. Few prewar automobiles had the panache and presence as did the Mercedes-Benz sports cars, whose supercharged flagships proved their mettle in motorsport competition, attracting customers that included racers, royals, celebrities and industrialists as rich as ancient king Croesus.

The 1928 Mercedes-Benz 26/120/180 S-Type Supercharged Sports Tourer being offered by Bonhams during Monterey Car Week. 

Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

One notable Mercedes-Benz is among an exclusive array of collector cars offered at the Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction in Carmel, Calif., on Friday, August 13. The antique automobile is a 1928 Mercedes-Benz 26/120/180 S-Type Supercharged Sports Tourer, estimated to fetch as much as $4 million.
Supercharged prewar Mercedes-Benz sports cars are rare, and are regarded by collectors and historians as some of the most significant vehicles of the era, based on technological advancements, high performance and reliability that set standards for the day. “These cars were the zenith of the industry in 1928, and have been coveted ever since,” says Rupert Banner, director for Bonhams Group Motoring. “Bonhams is delighted to present this car from its custodian family of more than 57 years. Freshly repainted in the strikingly beautiful black guise, its sale provides a baton-passing, generational opportunity for a new collector to continue to show or tour this wonderful Mercedes.”

One of only 146 examples made, this rare Mercedes-Benz is expected to fetch as much as $4 million at auction. 

Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

Built during the Golden Age of Mercedes-Benz and one of only 146 examples made, this model was the flagship of the marque between 1926 and 1930, attracting buyers including Al Jolson and the Marx brothers, as well as land speed–record holder Sir Malcolm Campbell. But the Great Depression changed the fortunes of many, with luxury carmakers in Europe and the United States feeling the effect of a suddenly altered economic landscape.

This model was engineered by Ferdinand Porsche to win on the racetrack and dominate hill climbs and, fortuitously, won its debut race at the Nürburgring. The “icing on the cake” was a Roots supercharger force-feeding a 6.8-liter, 6-cylinder engine, boosting output from 120 bhp to 180 bhp in mere seconds.

The vehicle carries a 6.8-liter, 6-cylinder engine bolstered by a Roots supercharger. 

Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

Remarkable about this example is that it’s been retained in one family’s ownership for nearly six decades. During that time, the car has proven its mettle as a “driver,” most recently participating in the 2015 Colorado Grand. Put in perspective, the price of the chassis was a staggering $7,000 when new, and this specific car was bought sight unseen for $15,000 by the current owners’ father in 1964.
An extensive restoration was undertaken in 1968, and the car was finally handed down to the owner’s children in 2016, who commissioned a repaint in black, with accents that include copper brake drums and chrome accessories. The automobile will be presented publicly with these aesthetic changes for the first time at the Quail Lodge Auction. 

The pristine interior dressed in black. 

Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

Collectors whose interests include French and Italian masterpieces will also appreciate other cars on offer at the sale, including a 1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Sport Cabriolet that features remarkable coachwork by Figoni et Falaschi, a 1952 Ferrari 212 Europa Cabriolet with body by Ghia, and a perineal classic, the 1955 Lancia Aurelia B24S Spider America with exquisite coachwork by Pinin Farina.

Learn more about Robb Report’s 2022 Car of the Year at the event taking place in Napa Valley here and in Boca Raton here.

Car of the Week: This Coveted 1959 Ferrari California Spider Competizione Could Fetch Over $10 Million at Auction

Car of the Week: This Coveted 1959 Ferrari California Spider Competizione Could Fetch Over $10 Million at Auction

There are Ferraris, and then there are Ferraris. One of the most sought-after comes up for sale at Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auctions to be held on August 13 and 14. With Monterey Car Week scuttled in 2020, there is a lot of pent-up demand to see and buy great cars, and this year’s auctions—more like a world-class concours event where everything is for sale—will not disappoint buyers in the market for the best-of-the-best. In fact, along with this vintage Ferrari, other significant offerings at the Gooding sale include a 1957 Maserati 200 SI, a 1958 BMW 507 Series II, a 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT, a 1963 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (one of the final examples built), and an ultra-rare 1998 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLK GTR Strassenversion.

“This selection of cars, from the Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione to the Mercedes-Benz AMG CLK GTR Strassenversion, is an especially enthralling group bound to catch the eye of any enthusiast or collector,” says Gooding & Company president and founder, David Gooding. “We are incredibly thrilled to return to our live auctions this year at Pebble Beach.”

The 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione being offered by Gooding & Company. 

Photo by Brian Henniker, courtesy of Gooding & Company.

Among 1950s- and early 1960s-era sports cars, the ones in Ferrari’s 250 series, with their V-12 power and unmistakable Italian style, are at the top of collectors’ lists. Of those, the California Spider looms large, and some examples more than others. The 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione soon available is one of them.
Created as an open-top counterpart to the 250 GT Tour de France Berlinetta, the California was developed for the growing North American market at the urging of Ferrari’s West Coast representative John von Neumann. Between 1957 and 1962, Ferrari built just 106 California Spiders on two chassis variants: a total of 50 examples on the original long-wheelbase (LWB) followed by 56 of the later short-wheelbase (SWB). The LWB variants are most desirable, and as with other models in the 250 range, all were built on the contemporary 250 GT chassis, with bodies supplied by Carrozzeria Scaglietti.

The pristine, left-hand-drive interior of chassis No.1235 GT. 

Photo by Brian Henniker, courtesy of Gooding & Company.

Of the 50 examples of the LWB California Spider built, only about 10 were originally supplied with the rare competition features found on chassis No.1235 GT, and in the spirit of hand-built Italian competition cars of the era, no two examples are the same. Along with the preferred covered-headlight design, important factory-competition features include velocity stacks and a cold-air box atop three Weber 36 DCL3 carburetors. The 2,953 cc Tipo 128D SOHC V-12 engine developed 253 bhp at 7,200 rpm on the factory dyno, and is fitted with hi-lift cams and a four-speed competition gearbox housed in a ribbed aluminum casting for improved cooling under load.

At the rear, a limited-slip differential, a long-range fuel tank and an external fuel filler punctuate the vehicle’s competition credentials. Important to Ferraristi is originality, with correct number stampings topping the checklist. According to factory build sheets, chassis No.1235 GT retains its matching-numbers engine, gearbox and differential.

Only about 10 cars were originally supplied with the rare competition features found on this Ferrari. 

Photo by Brian Henniker, courtesy of Gooding & Company.

Most 60-year-old cars, especially those that were involved in racing, have gaps in their ownership, often spanning decades. Remarkably, the provenance of this California Spider reveals an unbroken history of 11 owners, beginning with Ottavio Randaccio, an amateur racer from Milan, who bought the car new in 1959. Though its motorsport career was brief, the Ferrari enjoyed some success in Italian hill-climb events, taking a couple of first-in-class wins with Randaccio behind the wheel. Randaccio also took fifth place overall in the Coppa Inter-Europa di Monza in September of 1959.

The vehicle has been restored and painted with its original tricolor livery. 

Photo by Brian Henniker, courtesy of Gooding & Company.

Notably, while American motorsport success for the model in general included class wins at Bridgehampton, Watkins Glen and the 12 Hours of Sebring, few competition-equipped California Spiders were delivered and raced in Europe, making this car especially rare. Immediately following his last race, Randaccio sold the car in October, 1959, to Giuseppina Piatti in Bergamo, and by 1960, it had found yet another owner. The Ferrari stayed in Italy through a succession of six additional stewards until being sold to Californians Charles Betz and Fred Peters in 1999, from whom the consigner acquired it in 2004.
The example on offer was first published by the factory in its 1959 Ferrari Yearbook, and has been featured in the publications Ferrari Spyder California by Stanley Nowak, Modena Racing Memories by Graham Gauld and The Spyder California: A Ferrari of Particular Distinction by George M. Carrick.

The 2,953 cc Tipo 128D SOHC V-12 engine develops 253 bhp at 7,200 rpm. 

Photo by Brian Henniker, courtesy of Gooding & Company.

Recently restored and painted with its original tricolor livery—a beautiful period embellishment—the car is accompanied by a Massini Report verifying its originality and specification. It also comes with an extremely rare, unrestored hardtop along with many period photos and supporting documentation.

As with other important automobiles, this one has been followed by Gooding & Company for a considerable amount of time, the team even assisting the current owner with its acquisition 17 years ago. So, it only seems right that the auction house should be the one to have this particular Prancing Horse cross the block at Pebble Beach next month.

Car of the Week: The One-of-a-Kind 1954 Dodge Firearrow II Concept Is a Jet Age Flight of Fancy

Car of the Week: The One-of-a-Kind 1954 Dodge Firearrow II Concept Is a Jet Age Flight of Fancy

RM Sotheby’s will bring some significant automotive treasures to Monterey for its 24th annual auction held August 13 through 14 at the Monterey Conference Center. As is the auction house’s tradition, the sale includes dozens of important European sports and competition cars, as well as a unique concept car that wowed spectators when it was unveiled in 1954.

Concept cars were all the rage in the early postwar years, but the trend was actually begun by Buick’s Y-Job from 1938. Although Word War II put a hold on all civilian automotive production, within a decade, the motoring public was chomping at the bit to get behind the wheel of cars that reflected American postwar prosperity and the promise of the Jet Age.

The 1954 Dodge Firearrow II concept car to be auctioned by RM Sotheby’s. 

Photo by Darin Schnabel, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

General Motors fueled public fantasy from 1949 to 1961, showcasing futuristic creations at its circus-like Motorama auto shows. Meanwhile, Chrysler was busy developing its own vision of the future with concept cars that—today—are among the most enduring designs. One that has aged particularly well over the intervening years is the 1954 Dodge Firearrow II by Ghia. The design was a hybrid, long before the word suggested gas and electric power-train configurations, but rather, the combination of sleek Italian coachwork and a powerful American V-8 engine.
One reason Chrysler’s concepts were so well received—and have remained such timeless designs—is the man who spearheaded them, Virgil Exner. Chrysler’s chief of advanced design, Exner had a flair for style that, while exuberant, emphasized balanced proportions and sophisticated lines, avoiding gratuitous chrome and gee-gaws popularized by GM stylists. Although the Firearrow II was designed and fabricated by Italian coachbuilder Ghia, the fact is, Exner’s aesthetic actually influenced many Italian stylists during the 1950s, resulting in a creative give-and-take that makes cars from the era among the most fascinating.

The minimalist two-seat interior. 

Photo by Patrick Ernzen, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

Unlike most other design chiefs, Exner was also quick to give credit to the men who actually penned his concepts. It was Ghia stylists who envisioned the signature wrap-around beltline and bisected grille of the Firearrows, which evolved quickly from 1953 to 1954. Four different cars were made, each with hand-formed bodies crafted by Carrozzeria Ghia in Turin, Italy. The Firearrow I, which debuted at the Turin Auto Show in 1953, was a “pushmobile,” lacking an engine and strictly made for the show turntable.

The 1954 Dodge Firearrow II was the first fully functional Firearrow and was widely exhibited at a time when America was infatuated with low, two-seat roadsters. The nation had recently embraced Chevrolet’s 1953 Corvette and was about to be introduced to the Ford Thunderbird for 1955.

Ghia stylists envisioned the signature wrap-around beltline and bisected grille of the Firearrows. 

Photo by Patrick Ernzen, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

With an estimate of $900,000 to $1.2 million, the Firearrow II represents a significant design landmark, about which Gord Duff, global gead of auctions at RM Sotheby’s says: “We are thrilled to offer the Dodge Firearrow at the Monterey auction, as this show-stopping example has brought one of the most memorable concept cars to life and is sure to capture the attention of collectors and enthusiasts today as much as it did in period while on the show circuit as a concept car.”

The car’s Chrysler 241 cu in “Red Ram” Hemi V-8 engine. 

Photo by Patrick Ernzen, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

The Firearrow II is long and sleek, with its Italian body atop a Dodge chassis with a 119-inch-wheelbase—17 inches longer than the Corvette and Thunderbird. Painted a light yellow, the shape was clean and embellished with even less trim front and rear than the Firearrow I. The design featured round headlamps, and a quartet of exhaust pipes were integrated into the rear fenders. The car is powered by a Chrysler 241 cu in “Red Ram” Hemi V-8 engine with a Gyro-Torque fluid-drive four-speed automatic transmission.

The Firearrow II has a 119-inch wheelbase, 17 inches longer than the Corvette and Thunderbird of the era. 

Photo by Patrick Ernzen, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

Following the success of the Firearrow II, Exner created a coupe (the Firearrow III) and a final roadster (the Firearrow IV), the latter in anticipation of a production version. While the Firearrows were never given the greenlight for production, the design inspiration afforded by them was put to good use. The elegant Dual-Ghia, made from 1956 to 1958 by Dual Motors in Detroit, was a Ghia creation powered by a big Chrysler 315 cu in Hemi V-8 in a Dodge chassis.

Carrozzeria Ghia’s body sits atop a Dodge chassis. 

Photo by Patrick Ernzen, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

The unique automobile crossing the block through RM Sotheby’s was restored in the early 1990s as a part of the important Joe Bortz concept car collection, and is finished in its original light-yellow paint. And the black two-seat interior is punctuated by an Italian wood-rimmed Nardi steering wheel. The Firearrow II represents a Jet Age flight of fancy with few equals when it comes to concepts of the era.

Learn more about Robb Report’s 2022 Car of the Year at the event taking place in Napa Valley here and in Boca Raton here.

Car of the Week: This 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Trans Am May Fetch $2 Million at Auction

Car of the Week: This 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Trans Am May Fetch $2 Million at Auction

On August 13 and 14, Gooding & Company comes to Monterey Car Week as the official auction house of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, once again offering some choice rolling stock at its annual sale that coincides with the 70th anniversary of the world’s most esteemed concours. Highlights of the sale include a very special automobile that will doubtless attract the attention of collectors who value legendary race cars with looks to match their unimpeachable provenance.

Some of the most notable American competition cars took part in Trans-Am racing, which began in 1966 when Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) president John Bishop established the series as a manufacturer’s championship for modified sedans and coupés. Essentially modified production cars, the early Trans-Am Series featured two classes: the under 2.0-liter field, comprising European and, eventually, Japanese marques, and cars with displacement between 2.0- and 5.0 liters, which were primarily powered by small-block V-8s from the US.

The 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Trans Am being presented by Gooding & Company during Monterey Car Week in August. 

Photo by Dynamic Photowerks LLC., courtesy of Gooding & Company.

The timing was perfect, coinciding with the public’s infatuation with America’s pony cars, a new segment of smaller, sportier two-doors inspired by the introduction of Ford’s Mustang in late 1964. By 1967, in addition to the overwhelmingly popular Mustang, marques such as Chevrolet, Pontiac, Plymouth and Mercury had exciting new models in showrooms. And they all had names evoking power and speed, like Camaro, Firebird, Barracuda and Cougar. Soon, Dodge’s Challenger and AMC’s Javelin joined the party. Today, these remain some of the most desirable automobiles from the muscle-car era, a short period that flourished from 1967 through roughly 1972. Those handful of examples that competed in Trans-Am racing are at the very top of the collector-car pyramid.

The race-focused cockpit of the 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Trans Am crossing the block in Monterey. 

Photo by Dynamic Photowerks LLC., courtesy of Gooding & Company.

In an almost frantic response by GM, the Chevrolet Camaro was released in 1967 to counter Ford’s market blitzkrieg with the Mustang. Chevy’s pony car was a success, and was quickly thrown into the Trans-Am series. “As the first Sunoco Camaro, this car is not only a successful racing machine, but the product of collaboration by three giants of the automotive industry: Chevrolet, Roger Penske and Mark Donohue,” states Gooding & Company Specialist Hans Wurl. “Its desirability and historical significance cannot be overstated.”

A small-block V-8 powers the Camaro Z/28 Trans Am on offer. 

Photo by Dynamic Photowerks LLC., courtesy of Gooding & Company.

This 1967 Camaro Z/28 Trans Am is only the 14th example of the Z/28 model built, and it became the first Chevrolet Camaro to ever win a professional race. Throughout its extensive competition career, it was primarily driven by racing legend Mark Donohue. Penske Racing campaigned Camaro Z/28s through 1969, with Donohue behind the wheel and winning the series in 1968 and 1969. In 1967, Jerry Titus took the victory driving a Ford Mustang for Shelby American. Ford’s Mustang won again in 1970, with Parnelli Jones driving for Bud Moore Engineering. By 1971, Mark Donohue, once again driving for Penske Racing, won with the AMC Javelin. Other racing greats, including Dan Gurney, Sam Posey and Bob Tullius, competed in 5.0-liter cars.

Penske Racing’s famed driver Mark Donohue was the one who primarily campaigned this car. 

Photo by Dynamic Photowerks LLC., courtesy of Gooding & Company.

Estimated to fetch between $1.4 million and $2 million, and with an illustrious competition history, chassis No. 7N163378 has been fastidiously restored by notable Chevrolet expert Kevin Mackay to the specification of its first victory. Acquiring one of the most significant Chevrolet racing cars ever produced is an opportunity rarely afforded collectors, and for those Robb Report readers who remember Bitchin’ Camaro from The Dead Milkmen’s 1985 debut album Big Lizard in My Backyard, this Z/28 has got to be the coolest Camaro of them all.

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