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By Ben Selby
Monterey Car Week is one of the biggest events of the motoring year. For a handful of days in mid-August, incredible classic, vintage and veteran cars descend on the Monterey Peninsula in California.
It also where we see some of the most coveted classics go under the hammer. Some of which change hands for an eye watering sum. With a comprehensive catalogue of rare metal up for grabs, here are my Top 5 Classic Cars up for auction during Monterey Car Week.
- 1924 Hispano-Suiza H6C “Tulipwood” Torpedo
Estimated Sale Price: $8 Million – $12 Million US
Regarded as the most famous Hispano-Suiza in the world, the H6C “Tulipwood” Torpedo was a one-off Hispano-Suiza built for keen racer and heir to an aperitif empire, André Dubonnet. Based on the regular H6C chassis, the bespoke bodywork for the 8L straight six powered Torpedo was built entirely of what Ron Burgundy would call, “rich mahogany.”
The bodywork, designed by Nieuport-Astra of Argenteuil, weighed only 160 pounds and allowed Dubonnet to contest the 1924 Targa Florio and Coppa Florio where he finished 6th and 5th overall. The car has remained in numerous private collections over the years and often features in numerous books about classic cars and modern design.
Whoever bags this will have something really special
- 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spider
Estimated Sale Price: $25 Million – $30 Million US
When it comes to Ferrari sports racing cars of the fifties, the 410 Sport Spider stands out. Packing the mighty Aurelio Lampredi designed “big block” 400hp 4.9L V12, the 410 Sport Spider was helmed by racing heroes like Phil Hill, Jo Bonnier, Ritchie Ginther and the great Juan Manuel Fangio, the latter competing in the 1956 1000km of Buenos Aires.
Chassis number 0598 CM was an evolution of the 375 Plus Sports Car. It was also driven to victory by Carroll Shelby in a vast number of events in America and the Bahamas. It even has an inscription from Shelby himself saying, “Mr Ferrari told me this was the best Ferrari ever built.”
With its Scaglietti penned lines and that race winning V12, for many the one-of-two 410 Sports Spider is the absolute pinnacle of fifties Ferrari sports racing cars. Someone is going to have to be mighty well-off to bringing this automotive art piece home
- 1938 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS Teardrop Coupe
Estimated Sale Price: $9 Million to $11 Million US
Built during the golden age of French coach-built motoring, this achingly pretty 1938 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS is one of just 11 “New York” style coupes styled by renowned Parisian stylist Figoni et Falaschi.
Based on the regular T150 with a 4.0L straight six, this stunning collaboration of French and Italian engineering and craftsmanship was coupe version of the T150 Super Sport Roadster. Like its open top counterpart, the coupe was built in extremely limited numbers due to the aftermath of the great depression during 1937 and 1938.
This example, chassis number 90117, was the only coupe built for motorsport in mind. It even rang at the 1939 Le Mans 24 hours. During war, it was acquired by a German businessman and it remained entombed in East Germany for 50 years until the Cold War came to an end.
Having undergone a comprehensive restoration, this icon is nothing less than automotive art
- 1954 Ferrari 625 F1
Estimated Sale Price: $3 Million – $4 Million US
Based on the all-conquering 500 F2 which Alberto Ascari used to win back to Formula One Drivers Championships in 1952 and 1953, the 625 F1 was built to comply with new season rules for 1954. With an enlarged 2.5L four cylinder based on Lampredi’s original 2.0L design, the 625 F1joined the 553 Super Squalo for the 1954 season.
This car, chassis number 0540, was upgraded from 500 F2 specifications to 625 F1 spec to comply with new rules. Rather than run this 625 as a works entry, it was sold off to Belgian privateer team Ecurie Francorchamps. After seven races in the Belgian stable, it was acquired by the legendary Marquis Alfonso De Portago in 1955.
De Portago campaigned the 625 in Grand Prix events throughout 1955 including Silverstone, Pau. Bordeaux and Turin. It remains the only Monoposto he drove as he tragically lost his life contesting the 1957 Mille Miglia.
With several passionate enthusiasts acting as custodians for nearly 70 years, this 625 F1 is an icon of Formula One’s golden age.
- 1998 McLaren F1
Estimated Sale Price: POA
The McLaren F1 really needs no introduction. Winning Le Mans outright in 1995 on its first attempt and holding the record for the fastest production car in the world for 14 years, Gordon Murray’s three-seater supercar masterpiece is becoming even more highly sought after as the years go by.
With its BMW V12, central driving position and Murray’s fastidious attention to detail when it came to creating the “perfect” supercar, the McLaren F1 is tipped by experts to quickly become one of the all-time great collector cars.
This example is number 59 of 106 road cars built. It is unique as it features the MSO (McLaren Special Operations) High Downforce Kit. The F1 also has one-off headlights borrowed from the BMW Z1. It also has an original 16,400 miles on the clock.
At the time of writing, there is no word as to the estimated sale price for this automotive unicorn. However, there is already talk it will fetch in excess of $20 Million US.