9 August 2012

Monterey Cars To Watch - Million Dollar Plus

There seem to be more million-dollar consignments filling up the dockets for the upcoming Monterey auctions that start on Aug. 16 than there have ever been (72 cars have high estimates that eclipse seven figures), which makes it difficult to pick just three cars to watch in the million-dollar-plus category. After all, this year’s selection of cars is as good as any in recent memory. Nonetheless, in the interest of brevity, below are three particularly notable cars that are expected to achieve fantastic prices.

 1997 McLaren F1 GTR
Bonhams

McLaren F1s are praised with a near universal fervor, and some enthusiasts have even gone so far as to call the cars modern equivalents to the Ferrari GTO. Prices for F1s in general have been appreciating swiftly (up 16.5 percent in the past 12 months, according to Hagerty Price Guide), with most of that movement being driven by private party sales. This makes it particularly difficult to estimate for how much this year’s McLaren F1 will sell.

More interestingly, the McLaren Bonhams has consigned is no ordinary F1: GTR spec, longnose variant, the last F1 GTR produced, and Gulf livery to boot. With all the right boxes ticked, and with the marque’s recent reentry into the U.S. market, this car could absolutely stun on the block.

1968 Ford GT40 Gulf/Mirage lightweight coupe
RM Auctions

Ford GT40s will be all over the Monterey peninsula this year, with no fewer than four slated to cross the block, and two at the RM sale alone. This particular GT40 has been heavily publicized, which is no surprise given its impressive pedigree. In addition to outstanding period race history (Brian Redmond, Jacky Ickx, Mike Hailwood, etc., as both a Mirage M1 and a Gulf GT40), the car also benefits from Steve McQeen luster, as it was a camera car in the movie “Le Mans.” Add in the extra weight that anything touched by Carroll Shelby currently carries, and this car is primed to outperform the market in a big way.

1931 Bentley 4 1/2-Litre supercharged boattail sports racer
Gooding & Company  

Earlier this summer, Bonhams set the record for price achieved for a British car at auction. That honor went to the 1929 Bentley 4 1/2-Litre supercharged single-seater at $7.8 million. A month and a half later, Gooding & Company is bringing a similar car that some circles consider to be a superior example. While the former car was owned and driven by Sir Henry “Tim” Birkin himself, chassis number SM3916 that Gooding will sell is a matching-numbers example that has retained its original body, and has been in single ownership for the past 54 years. Gooding estimates the car will fetch between $8 million and $10 million, which will firmly establish the new tier of pricing for these exceptional cars.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article read, “There seem to be more million-dollar consignments filling up the dockets for the upcoming Monterey auctions that start on Aug. 16 than there have ever been (72 cars have high estimates that eclipse six figures), which makes it difficult to pick just three cars to watch in the million-dollar-plus category.”

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