Three Late Ferraris

1952 Ferrari 342 America Cabriolet by Vignale

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

RM Sotheby’s really packed their Monterey catalog this year, so much so in fact that I thought they were finished adding cars to it so I mapped out which cars to feature over the three weeks prior to the Pebble Beach Weekend. And then they added these three rare Ferraris. Time is tight, so they are being combined into one post. Enjoy the Ferrari overflow!

The 342 America was the second car in the Ferrari America line, produced in 1952 only. It’s powered by a 4.1-liter V-12 making 200 horsepower. This particular car is the only 342 America bodied by Vignale and it totally has that early-1950s Ferrari appeal.

The amazing thing about the 342 America is that Ferrari only built six examples (with this being the first). Six! That’s it. It’s one of the rarest road-going Ferraris ever made. Only three of them were drop tops and this car was delivered new to Switzerland. The current owners acquired it in 2007 and had it restored to the spec you see here. The estimate on this car is $2,250,000-$3,000,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $2,255,000.


1954 Ferrari 500/735 Mondial Spider by Pinin Farina

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 19, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The car in this photograph definitely has the look of a child’s car. But it is not, as it is a true Ferrari race car. It started life as a 500 Mondial, the third car in Ferrari’s Monza line of sports racers. Bodied by Pinin Farina, it doesn’t quite resemble other 500 Mondial Spiders by the same coachbuilder.

Before it left the factory, Ferrari installed an engine from the slightly-earlier 735 S race car. That means this 500 Mondial is powered by a 2.9-liter straight-four that puts out 225 horsepower. That’s actually quite an upgrade over the Mondial’s comparatively weak 170 horsepower, 2.0-liter unit. To this day, no one knows why Ferrari built this car this way.

Sold new to a man in California, it spent its early days tearing around tracks on the West Coast in regional sports car races. The current owner has had the car since 1999, meaning it is being offered from relatively long-term ownership. It’s one of only 13 Pinin Farina Spider-bodied 500 Mondials. And possibly the only one with a 735 S engine. It should bring between $4,000,000-$5,500,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $3,850,000.


1955 Ferrari 121 LM Spider by Scaglietti

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This is one of the more obscure Ferraris. But because it’s a sports racer from the 1950s, that means it’s worth a huge amount of money. Ferrari’s chief competition during the 1955 World Sportscar Championship were cars like the Jaguar D-Type. So Ferrari went head-to-head, developing a monster six-cylinder engine to take down the English.

This car is powered by a 360 horsepower 4.4-liter straight-six. This chassis began life as a 118 LM and was one of two examples of that model to be upgraded by the factory to 121 LM specification. In this new spec the cars were unbelievably fast: capable of over 180 mph! The race history for this car includes:

  • 1955 Mille Miglia – DNF (with Paolo Marzotto as a 118 LM)
  • 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans – DNF (with Maurice Trintignant and Harry Shell as a 121 LM)

After that, Ferrari sold it and it entered service as a privateer car in California road races. Unfortunately, driver Ernie McAfee was killed while racing this car in Northern California. The then-owner rebuilt it and the present owner acquired it in 1997. This is a rare chance to acquire a factory Ferrari Le Mans racer. One of just four 121 LMs built, it should bring between $6,500,000-$7,500,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $5,720,000.

RM in Arizona Highlights

RM’s big sale in Arizona (almost two weeks ago… we’ve kind of had a backlog of auction results to publish and they were the last to publish their results online). As I’m looking back at it, we featured a number of cars from this auction including their top seller: this 1957 Ferrari 410 Superamerica that sold for $1,815,000. The second highest-selling car was the first car we featured, the most fantastic looking BMW 507 Roadster I’ve ever laid eyes on. It sold for $990,000. RM sold 90% of their cars for a total of $25.6 million.

A trio of pre-1905 American cars all sold, including our featured 1901 Duryea Four-Wheel Phaeton that was purchased by Mr. Car Crazy, Barry Meguiar for $96,250. Also sold were the 1903 Waverely Electric Surrey for $110,000 and the 1903 Stearns Suburban for $82,500. One of two cars we featured that did not sell was the 1913 Pathfinder Touring car, which was bid to $90,000.

A giant 1956 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham Town Car Concept sold for $258,500, missing its reserve by $50,000. This car came from the John O’Quinn collection and had gone unsold at at least one other RM event.

From the 1950s we featured a 1953 Nash-Healey and a 1954 Allard K3. The Nash-Healey brought $71,500, just short of my projection and the Allard was a relative steal at $57,750 – less than half of what a similar car (or the same one) was listed as “for sale” for a few months back.

Other pre-war cars that sold were the very rare Brewster-Knight that sold for $88,000. And that wonderful, purple Isotta Fraschini sold for $407,000 – dead on what I said it would bring (no I’m not bragging). Also sold was this amazing 1937 Cord 812 SC Sportsman Convertible Coupe. One of 64 – yours for $385,000.

Supercar fans could have had their choice of our featured Tom Walkinshaw Racing prepared 1993 Jaguar XJ220 S that sold for $230,000. Or the always popular Ferrari F40, this a 1991 model that brought an astounding $781,000.

The other Ferrari we featured, a 1983 512 BBi sold for $96,250. And the other Jaguar, a 1967 Series I E-Type went unsold. There was another very rare old Ferrari at this sale, a 1952 342 America Coupe Speciale by Pinin Farina – one of six built and one of only three coupes built by Pinin Farina. It sold for $632,500.

There was a Duesenberg Model J sold at this sale and I’ve said previously that we’d feature every Model J Duesenberg that comes up for sale if at all possible. Well, we ran out of time before the sale. Once we clear the backlog and get caught up we’ll be sure to have a rundown of that car.

For complete auction results, click here.