Here are 7 classics you shouldn't miss at the Bonhams Scottsdale Auction
An astounding selection of automobiles has been gathered in Los Angeles for one of the world’s most renowned auctions, Bonhams Scottsdale Auction. The lineup of the cars is truly stunning, from pre-war Italian sports-racers to a record-breaking Bugatti Veyron. While the modern cars up for auction, such as the SLR Roadster, CCX, and the Z8 are notable, there are 10 classics on sale that you should not miss.
1. BMW 328 Roadster
Okay, first things first, this is not your average BMW 328i, but rather BMW’s pre-war sports car. The 328 was the first purpose-built sports racer from BMW. Under the bonnet lay a 2L inline-six that was fed by 3 Solex carburetors, producing 80hp. Although it may not seem like a lot, for a lightweight car of the era, it was plenty.
Along with the silky straight-six, a modern tubular frame, and a streamlining bodywork, the car was a blast to drive. The light steering and the nimbleness allow the car to move through corners swiftly, while the velvety engine and the modern chassis enabled it to be a comfortable grand tourer of the era.
As the base 328 was extremely well built, it has seen numerous motorsport success, such as class wins at Le Mans, Nurburgring, Targa Florio, RAC Tourist Trophy, Mille Miglia, and the Alpine Rally. With more than 100 class wins, the 328 was the first genuinely successful sport-racer from BMW, and when considering this car was only built 8 years after the founding of the company, it was undoubtedly an incredible feat.
The car up for auction is powered by a competition 328 motor along with lightweight wheels and a roll bar, therefore being in competition-spec. Still, the interior is finished in rich leather, while the bodywork is finished in white to create the perfect combination. Original motor and the wheels for the car are offered with the car and theoretically can be reused. Only one of 464 produced and with even fewer cars remaining today, this 328 is surely an automotive gem.
2. Austin Healey Sprite Streamliner Le Mans Coupe
Back in the 60s, Austin-Healeys were a common sight at numerous race events like the Targa Florio, Sebring, and 24 Hours of Le Mans. Austin-Healey’s lightweight coupes and roadsters were a great base to work on, and among them was the Austin-Healey Sprite. Factory backed Sprites were equipped with lightweight fibreglass body panels, and later with the use of wind tunnels, streamlined bodyworks were produced.
This example, presented at Bonhams, is one of these works race cars, however, with a unique history. The car is in full Le Mans spec, with a 1.3L inline-four fed by a Weber carburetor producing 110hp, streamlined bodywork, and front disc brakes. Finished in British Racing Green, the Sprite seems ready to be thrashed around at any track around the world.
Surprisingly, this car was rarely raced, with almost no record of motorsport participation despite being a race car. It was used as a promotional car in a dealership, and now only has 1,185 miles on the clock. Therefore, the car is in surprisingly pristine condition, both mechanically and aesthetically, making it an appealing addition to any collector’s stable.
3. Lamborghini Miura S
The Lamborghini Miura was the revolutionary car that changed the automobile industry forever. With the screaming 3.9L V12 positioned in the middle of the car, the Miura was able to achieve groundbreaking cornering performance, breaking the traditional reign of front-engined rear-drive super grand tourers. In 1968, the S version of the Miura was introduced with improved engine output(20hp more than the standard 345hp) and comfort features like A/C and more luggage space.
The example shown here today is one of the few unrestored examples left in the classic car market. Although being unrestored means that it is not in perfect condition, it also means that this is a chance for one to gain the experience of owning one of the most legendary supercars in history. Furthermore, despite being unrestored, the exterior and the mechanical parts are in good quality, while the interior and the underbody needs a bit more work.
This Miura was originally finished in Bianco Miura(White), which was a rare colour offered on the Miura. To add, this is one of the 140 Miura S ever built, and as quite a lot of examples have been lost through time, this unrestored Miura S is probably the best project car that one can ever get their hands on. The car is estimated to sell between $1,000,000 and $1,300,000, which is a bit overpriced as Concours grade examples are selling around the $1,400,000 mark. Regardless, this Miura is definitely a timeless classic!
4. Lancia Aurelia B24S Spider America
Okay, this car has quite a long name but can be easily understood if looked word by word. The code B24 stands for a 2-door spider version of the Aurelia, while the S stands for Sinistra, meaning left in Italian. Spider indicates the body form, and America indicates the market it was meant to be sold. In conclusion, this is a 2-door spider version of the Aurelia that was meant to be sold in the American market.
The Aurelia B24S was powered by the first series-production V6 in the world, the Lancia V6. This B24S was equipped with the largest variant, which was 2.5L in capacity. While most of the American market B24S were equipped with single carburetors, this specific example is equipped with two twin-choke Weber carburetors with a bespoke intake manifold and an air cleaner by Nardi&C. The result was the engine churning our 132 Italian ponies, which was 24 more than the standard versions. To handle the power of the engine, all four wheels were equipped with disc brakes and the suspension was reworked.
Nevertheless, it is not the engine, but rather the stunning bodywork that imbues the viewer with charm. The B24S’ bodywork was done by Pininfarina and is still considered one of their masterpieces. The panoramic windscreen gracefully curves around the bodywork and the door handles are removed, allowing better aerodynamic efficiency. Thanks to these features, the B24S was able to achieve an aerodynamic efficiency of 0.55Cd, which was superb for an open car of the era.
The split chrome bumpers on the front and the rear are exclusive to the B24S, being its signature design element. The paintwork is done in Verde Ascot Metallic, which makes a great combination with the fully restored Biscuit-coloured interior and the wooden handle. Along with the rare optional Borrani wire wheels, the bodywork is an impeccable harmony of sportiness and elegance that inspired numerous 50s legends such as the 250 GT California Spider.
This example of the B24S is a Concours-grade example with extensive restoration including every aspect of the car. The car is also well documented and preserved with matching numbers, original bodywork, and even the weather equipment are original. Although Bonhams predicts the car to be sold between $850,000 and $1,050,000, I personally predict this very vehicle should sell at least over $1,400,000 as the last Concours-grade example was sold just below $1,900,000. Therefore, if you have some cash to spare and some space in your garage, this is definitely an opportunity you should not miss.
5. Mercedes Benz 300SL Roadster
The Mercedes Benz 300SL is probably one of the most sought after classics in the market thanks to its timeless design and innovative engineering features for a car of that era. It is no surprise, as the 300SL finds its roots from Mercedes Benz’s incredibly successful post-war motorsport efforts. The 300SL Competition dominated Mille Miglia, Stella Alpina Rally, Carrera Panamericana, and most of all, 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Fueled by the success of the race program, Mercedes Benz decided to build a roadgoing version of the 300SL Competition, which was also named the 300SL. The 300SL featured the race-derived 3.0L straight-six, only to be revamped with the introduction of Bosch mechanical direct fuel injection. Another feature of the engine was dry-sump lubrication which ensured proper oil distribution during high-speed cornering. Furthermore, the 300SL Roadster was equipped with an even more powerful version of the engine, which was fitted with a sports camshaft and a higher compression ration of 9.5:1, thus resulting in a whopping 250hp.
Nevertheless, it was not only the engine that was presented the pinnacle of German engineering. The 300SL featured a tubular spaceframe chassis, which was not only lighter compared to conventional chassis of the era, but also stiffer, enabling high stability. Parts of the bodywork were also built out of aluminum to reduce weight further, while the interior still managed to feature plush leather and wood veneer. At the end of the day, the 300SL was a highly competitive sports car that was comfortable and luxurious at the same time.
This vehicle presented here in the auction is a Roadster version of the 300SL. Although it had lost the Coupe’s signature gullwing doors, the driver can now enjoy the breathtaking performance of the 300SL with a warm breeze of morning wind tickling his hair. Although the car was originally finished in red paint and beige interior, which was an optional extra, the car is now repainted in its well-known colour scheme of silver metallic bodywork and red interior. If you are looking for a vintage sports car, look no further. Why? Because you can never go wrong with a 300SL Roadster.
6. Ferrari 212 Inter Cabriolet
Don’t let the appearance of this car fool you. This car is the flagship of this exquisite fleet of post-war classics here on Scottsdale, the 212 Inter Cabriolet. For those who have been keeping a close eye on the classic car market will notice this car right away. Yes, it is one of four 212 Inter Cabriolets built by Vignale.
Ferrari 212 Inters were based on Ferrari’s race car, the 212 Export. The 212 Export had seen numerous success on the racing scene all over the world, including, Mille Miglia, 24 Hours of Le Mans, Targa Florio, Tour de France, Carrera Panamericana, and so on. While the 212 Export was gaining fame all over the motoring scene, Ferrari built a road-going version of the Export, known as the 212 Inter for their customers.
Like most sports cars of the era, Ferrari did not create their own bodywork. Instead, coachbuilders like Ghia, Pininfarina, Vignale, and Touring created their own bodywork. Most of the bodywork was created by Vignale; however, Cabriolet examples, like the one shown here today was quite rare. Only 4 examples were produced, and among them, this is the only one to feature chrome fender strikes, further adding its exclusivity.
While 212 Inters were powered by the same 2.6L Colombo V12 used in the 212 Export, quite a lot of the cars were equipped with single Weber carburetors, only producing 148hp. In contrast, this model is equipped with an Export-spec engine, meaning it was fed by three Weber carburetors, resulting in 163hp. Export-spec Inters were capable of reaching a top speed over 187km/h and a 0-96km/h time of 10.5 seconds, which both were jaw-dropping at the time.
The car offered here is the perfect example any collector would be looking for, thanks to its well preserved and restored condition. With matching numbers and well-documented papers, this 212 Inter will be able to satisfy even the pickiest cognoscente. This car won 2nd place for its class in 2014’s Concours d’Elegance, only to be seconded by the Best of Show, 375MM by Scaglietti. This 212 Inter Cabriolet will not only give the new owner the qualification to enter prestigious rallies and events but also will present a unexchangable experience of driving a classic Ferrari.
7. Jaguar E-Type Semi-Lightweight Roadster
Okay, another car with a long name. But this time, it’s quite understandable, except for one phrase, ‘Semi-Lightweight’. To understand what this ‘Semi’ actually means, we need to look at the E-Type’s history for a bit. Unlike C-Types and D-Types, E-Type’s primary focus was not competition use but rather mass production. Therefore, the E-Types were built to be more comfortable and daily usable compared to the older Jaguars.
Still, Jaguar had not totally lost interest in racing; thus, the E-Type Lightweight was born. Hence the name, standard steel body panels were replaced with aluminum alloy units, which shaved up a significant amount of weight compared to the original E-Type. Furthermore, the engine was tuned to produce 300hp, and as more developments occurred as the project continued, most Lightweight E-Types are known to produce around 320~340hp. Only 12 were ever produced, making it one of the most sought after E-Types ever built.
Still, quite a lot of gentleman racers of the era wanted their E-Type to be modified in Lightweight spec, and therefore the Semi-Lightweight E-Type was born. The E-Type being auctioned is one of the Semi-Lightweight examples which underwent conversion in the mid-90s. Although the original vehicle was an LHD E-Type Roadster, Zealia Engineering of Suffolk, UK, performed extensive modifications to convert the car into Lightweight specifications.
Firstly, the car was changed from a left-hand drive layout to a right-hand drive one to be used on the streets and tracks of the UK. Secondly, the 3.8L straight-six engine was revamped by a Jaguar Expert, Rob Beere, with 9.1 pistons, wide blade rods, larger water pump, custom radiator, and triple 45DCOE Weber carburetors. Zealia Engineering claimed that the car was able to produce 250whp, which is around 300hp in standard horsepower.
There were some differences with the standard Lightweight too. While the Lightweight E-Type used a 5-speed ZF, the car being auctioned here uses a 5-speed Getrag unit Also, while the original Lightweight used aluminum-alloy body panels to save weight, this very car uses composites. The result is astonishing, the car is not on the edge like a works race car, but still offers spirtitful driving for its lucky owner. If you always wanted a lightweight coupe but never could afford it, you should not miss this chance.