Three Open Wheel Cars in Monterey

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 15-17, 2019


1997 G-Force-Oldsmobile GF01

Photo – Mecum

We’re starting here with Arie Luyendyk’s 1997 Indy 500-winning car. I have an unpopular opinion (influenced heavily by nostalgia) that the 1996-1998 Indy 500s were the greatest. I was up there for Fan Fest (or whatever it was called) as a kid and fell in love this era of open wheel cars. Between Arie and Buddy Lazier, I’m not sure who had a more profound impact on my love for the 500.

G-Force was founded in 1991 by Chip Ganassi and Ken Anderson, and they began building cars for the Indy Racing League in 1997. The car above was the very first GF01 constructed. And it was a beast. Powered by a 4.0-liter Oldsmobile Aurora V8, this GF01 took pole and the win at Indy in 1997 (other GF01s swept the podium). The competition history for this ex-Treadway Racing chassis includes:

  • 1997 Indianapolis 500 – 1st (with Luyendyk)
  • 1997 Texas 500 – 1st (with Luyendyk)
  • 1998 Las Vegas 500 – 1st (with Luyendyk)
  • 1999 Las Vegas 500 – 1st (with Sam Schmidt)

The car was restored by Treadway Racing in its ’97 500 racing livery and is just missing onboard telemetry and an ECU to make it functional. Indy 500-winning cars don’t change hands often, which makes this pretty special. Oh, by the way, the second-place car from ’97 is also offered at this sale. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $440,000.


1995 Lola-Menard T95/00

Photo – Mecum

In 1995, the Indy 500 was still part of the CART season. We’ve actually featured another Lola T95/00 with Indy history, but it was Cosworth-powered. This car is “Menard”-powered, which mostly means it features a turbocharged 3.6-liter Buick V6 built by-and-for Team Menard.

This Menard-entry in 1996 ended up winning the pole with Scott Brayton behind the wheel. Unfortunately, he was killed testing a back-up car in practice a few days after securing pole. Menard pulled Danny Ongais out of a nine-year retirement to run the car. He was 53-years-old on race day. This car’s competition history includes:

  • 1996 Indianapolis 500 – 7th (with Danny Ongais)

Both of Brayton’s pole-winning cars (1995 and 1996) are being offered at this sale. I chose this one because of its amazing Glidden/Menards livery (and Campbell Hausfeld, a company local to me)… although the other Quaker State/Menards car is quite attractive (and a photo of a similar-liveried car hung on my bedroom wall as a kid). Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $150,000.


1967 Gerhardt-Ford

Photo – Mecum

Here’s something a little older. Fred Gerhardt’s Fresno, California-built open-wheelers were all over the USAC circuit in the late 1960s. They were a competitive chassis that ran many races between about 1965 and 1971. Somehow, it is said that Gerhardt only built 11 examples. I think the “in 1967” part of that sentence was missing from the catalog.

This example is powered by a rear-mounted Ford 4.2-liter DOHC V8. It was purchased new by Walter Weir, who entered the car in the ’67 500 for F1 driver Lorenzo Bandini, who died at Monaco a few weeks before Indy. Thus, the competition history for this car includes:

  • 1967 Indianapolis 500 – 28th, DNF (with Al Miller)
  • 1968 Indianapolis 500 – DNQ, (driver unknown)
  • 1969 Indianapolis 500 – DNQ, (driver unknown)
  • 1971 Indianapolis 500 – DNQ, (with Bill Puterbaugh)

It has had several owners since and has been restored. It’s eligible for historic events and can now be yours! Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $115,000.

Jaguar Pirana

1967 Jaguar Pirana by Bertone

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 15-17, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

What we have here is a one-off sports car financed and built for the motoring department at a British newspaper in the late 1960s. It used off-the-shelf components and a very nice exterior design from Marcello Gandini at Bertone. The bodywork clearly foreshadows the Lamborghini Espada.

Power is from a Jaguar 4.2-liter inline-six, and the car uses an E-Type 2+2 frame and chassis as well. It also carries Jaguar badging, even if Jaguar didn’t officially have much to do with the final product. The car debuted at the 1967 Earl’s Court Motor Show and was first sold at auction in 1968. It stayed in the US for a long time and was purchased by its current owner in 2011.

The auction catalog makes a big deal of the fact that the car is called a “Pirana” – without the “H” – and how it was Bertone’s personal choice to spell it that way. It then goes on to say that the car was restored to its Earl’s Court specification. Photos clearly show “Piranha” badging on the rear. What’s the deal with that? At any rate, it will sell at no reserve this August. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $324,000.

330 GTC Zagato

1967 Ferrari 330 GTC by Zagato

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Villa Erba, Italy | May 25, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Okay, let’s review the line of Ferrari road cars that carried the “330” name. The 1963 330 America kicked things off and gave way to the 330 GT 2+2 the following year. The 330 GTC and 330 GTS were the final versions, and they were on sale between 1966 and 1968.

The 330 GTC was powered by a 300 horsepower, 4.0-liter V12. Both coupe and convertible variants were bodied by Pininfarina. Unless you were special. This car was delivered with such coachwork, but after sustaining damage in a 1972 accident, it was sent by Luigi Chinetti to Zagato for repairs. And this is what they came up with.

It’s the only such example built and is actually a targa, with the black section of the roof being removable. It is the only existing 330 GTC with Zagato coachwork and is one of only 598 330 GTCs produced in total. You can read more about it here and see more from RM here.

Update: Not sold.

Serenissima Agena

1967 Serenissima Agena

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 8, 2019

Photo – Artcurial

Here is another car from Serenissima, though this one was not one of the original run of a handful of road and race cars. This is an unregistered prototype that was built by Giovanni Volpi, and it is unclear if the prototype was ever officially shown.

It features tubular subframes and a look similar to that of the Lamborghini Miura and DeTomaso Mangusta. Power is from a 3.5-liter twin-cam V8, and it was modified with a revised front end at some point including covered headlights instead of the original louvered units. Period photos also show the car fitted with a large rear spoiler which has since been removed.

The car was never used all that much, even when new. It is being sold in need of a recommissioning by Volpi himself and should bring between $450,000-$675,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $500,360.

Soviet Microcars

Three Soviet Microcars

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | September 26, 2018


1969 ZAZ-965A

Photo – Brightwells

The Zaporizhia Automobile Plant in Ukraine has been producing cars under the ZAZ brand since 1960. They’ve also built cars from other manufacturers for local sale and built some heavy trucks and buses as well.

Zaporozhets were a series of microcars produced between 1960 and 1994, with the ZAZ-965 built in two series between 1960 and 1969. This car is listed in the catalog as a 1969 965. But the 1969 model was actually the ZAZ-965A. It’s powered by a rear-mounted 887cc V-4 capable of 27 horsepower.

When production ended in 1969, 322,116 examples of all types had been built. This car was imported to the U.K. from Lithuania and is all-original. You can read more here.

Update: Sold $475.


1987 SMZ S-3d

Photo – Brightwells

The SMZ was a microcar built in Russia and between 1970 and 1997 they built a car called the S-3d – this. Based on the ZAZ 695, it features a 346cc single-cylinder engine from an earlier model. Designed as a car for invalids, this car was technically classified as a motorcycle in Russia.

They built 223,051 of these – quite a lot – but they still aren’t that common. This original example was imported into the U.K. from Lithuania in 2016 and will sell at no reserve. Click here for more from Brightwells.

Update: Sold $719.


1967 ZAZ-968A

Photo – Brightwells

Here’s another Lithuanian import into the U.K. from the same collection. It’s another Zaporozhets, but slightly larger than the ZAZ-965. The “second generation” of these cars were introduced in 1966 as the ZAZ-966. It would evolve into the ZAZ-968 in 1971 and this model would last through 1980, while the later 968M would last through 1994.

Power here is from a 1.2-liter V4 capable of 30 horsepower. The 968A was actually built between 1973 and 1980 and had some safety improvements, like a plastic dashboard instead of a metal one designed for maximum carnage. This one is also no reserve. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $719.

Matra Jet Prototype

1967 Matra Jet 6 Prototype

Offered by Aguttes | Linas, France | September 30, 2018

Photo – Aguttes

The Djet was a product of the Rene Bonnet company but when they went bankrupt in 1964, Matra bought it out and continued production of the little sports car. They iterated on the cars, selling the Djet 5 and 5S. Eventually they dropped the “D” and the car became the Jet 5S.

And then came version 6. What we have here is a prototype that used a Jet 6 as the starting point and is now a purpose-built race car. It’s powered by a bored-out 2.0-liter Gordini straight-four from an Alpine.

It was raced by its original builder, Marcel Moissonnier, in hill climbs around France. The current owner acquired it in 2015 and has used it on closed-circuit tracks. One-of-a-kind, it should bring between $17,000-$23,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Miura P400

1967 Lamborghini Miura P400

Offered by Coys | Monaco | May 11, 2018

Photo – Coys

The Lamborghini Miura is largely considered to be the first supercar. And rightfully so as it checks most of the supercar boxes: outlandish, racy looks (check!); unreal speed (it was the world’s fastest car upon introduction… so… check!); a mid-engined layout with a V-12 (check!) and a very exotic name (check!).

Miuras were built between 1966 and 1973 and the first model offered was the P400. Produced between 1966 and 1969, when it was replaced by the P400 S, the base P400 is powered by a 4.0-liter V-12 producing 350 horsepower. These cars were capable of about 170 mph, making them quicker than anything else on the road at the time.

This example, one of just 275 produced, was sold new to a rich Texan via Lambo’s London dealership. He kept the car until 1987 when he donated it to a museum in San Antonio. From there, it was purchased by a German owner in 1994. Another German had it until it was purchased by its current owner in 1999. A rare, well-maintained survivor, this 26,000 mile car will likely break the bank if it finds a new owner this weekend in Monaco. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

ASA Spider

1967 ASA 1100 GT Spider

Offered by Russo & Steele | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 17-21, 2018

Photo – Russo & Steele

Autocostruzioni Societa per Azioni, or ASA, was a small Italian car company that got their start in 1962. They built small, attractive sports cars through the end of the decade. Interestingly, the cars were developed with a little help from Ferrari’s top guys, namely Gioacchino Colombo and Giotto Bizzarrini.

Colombo was responsible for the 1.1-liter straight-four that put out 95 horsepower. Bizzarrini designed the tubular chassis, work he was familiar with from his time spent on the 250 GTO. ASA’s most popular model was the 1000 GT, with a 1.0-liter engine, but two cars – this being one of them – snuck out of the factory with an extra 100cc.

Most of ASA’s cars were coupes. They only built a few convertibles, and this convertible, like the hardtops, wears a body by Bertone. ASA built about 125 cars before production ceased in 1969. Check out more about this car here and see the rest of Russo & Steele’s lineup here.

Update: Sold $67,100.

TVR Tina

1967 TVR Tina Prototype by Fissore

Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Birmingham, U.K. | November 11-12, 2017

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

Few car companies have undergone more corporate ownership changes than TVR. In 1965 the company was purchased by Arthur Lilley and his son. It took a while for production to get going again on previous models but the demand really wasn’t that strong. So the new TVR commissioned Fissore to build a prototype two-door sports car. Fissore returned with this, the Tina (named for the daughter of Gerry Marshall, a British racing driver and associate of the TVR owners).

Unveiled at the 1966 Turin Auto Show, the Tina was shown as both coupe and convertible. They were based on the Hillman Imp, so the 55 horsepower 875cc straight-four is located in the rear. TVR lacked the funds to get this project off the ground and in 1967, once the Griffith had been put out the pasture, TVR went with the new Tuscan instead.

Tina Marshall, this car’s namesake, inherited it when her father passed in 2005. It was restored to the condition you see here. The Tina Convertible Prototype is still out there, but here’s your chance to acquire the coupe. It should bring between $40,000-$52,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Microplas Mistral

1967 Microplas Mistral

Offered by Historics at Brooklands | March 4, 2017

Photo – Historics at Brooklands

Imagine if you and a group of your car-loving friends decided to start building your own car because one of your friends’ family was big into the fiberglass business? Well that’s pretty much exactly how it went down for Microplas Ltd. In 1954, six members of a British car club formed a company that built shells to turn ordinary British cars into sports cars.

The first model was designed for the Austin Seven. The second car the company introduced was a roadster called the Mistral. It was a popular body style and a number of different companies marketed the body under various names. The Mistral, introduced in 1955, was intended for the Ford Ten, but the car you see here is based around the chassis of a Triumph TR3. And it has an engine from a TR4, which is a 2.1-liter straight-four which put out 105 horsepower when new.

The car was put together in the late 1960s and the fact that it is based on a Triumph is good news for anyone who has to work on it as parts are readily available. It’s an all-original car – a popular kit that is rarely seen today – and it should bring between $12,500-$19,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.