Magnate Barchetta

2005 Magnate P708 Barchetta

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February 7, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Giotto Bizzarrini stopped building “production” cars (even though they were all very limited in number) in 1969. Since then, a number of cars have shown up wearing his name, including a few P538 cars built using leftover components, and a number of concept cars.

There were concept cars using the Bizzarrini name in 1990, 1998, and a couple since the year 2000, including one called the P708 Barchetta. Developed with input from Bizzarrini himself, the P708 was shown around, seeing if there was any interest in a production version. It was supposed to be seen as a modern take on the classic P538.

Power comes from a 7.0-liter Chevrolet V-8 making 505 horsepower. The body is carbon fiber and it was built by a company called Magnate out of Thailand. It was purchased by an American in 2013 and only then was the car made driveable. It has since covered 1,000 miles. It’s listed as a “2005” because that is when construction of this car began, even if it took many more years to fully realize the final product.

At some point, the branding on the car switched from Bizzarrini to Magnate. What country of origin would you file this under? It had an Italian name, originally, but now sports a name (and body) from Thailand. It was completed in America but started out in Germany. It’s multi-national, for sure, and should bring between $335,000-$565,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $109,198.

Bizzarrini 1900 GT Europa

1968 Bizzarrini 1900 GT Europa

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February 7, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Giotto Bizzarrini founded his company in Livorno, Italy, in 1964 after getting canned by Enzo Ferrari and after having worked at ATS and Iso. Bizzarrini S.p.A. built some race cars and their first road car was based on the Iso Grifo A3C and it was called the 5300 GT Strada.

It was a stunning road car and sold in small numbers and would ultimately be their most successful model. Meanwhile, Bizzarrini was working on a version of the 5300 GT for General Motors’ Opel division. It was a lighter model with a smaller engine. He liked it enough that he ended up building the car himself, and he called it the 1900 GT Europa.

It’s powered by a 1.9-liter Opel straight-four that makes 110 horsepower (a few cars had a 1.5-liter Fiat unit). With a fiberglass body, these cars are extremely light, making them good performers. Only 17 left the factory between 1966 and 1969, though a few more may have been assembled after the company closed down using spare parts.

Bizzarrinis rarely come up for sale, and the Europa model comes up for sale even less often. This one should bring between $300,000-$350,000. Click here for more info and here for more from RM in Paris.

Update: Sold $260,667.

December 2015 Auction Highlights

This month, we’ll start with a brand new auction, the inaugural sale by the Keno Brothers held in New York. The top sale was a 1967 Bizzarrini 5300 Strada for $1,010,800.

Photo - Keno Brothers

Photo – Keno Brothers

The “cars as art” thing isn’t anything new, but this sale really pushed it hard. Hopefully all of the new owners realize they can still use these beautiful machines. Full results can be found here.

Next up, Bonhams’ December sale. We featured one car here, a 4¼-Litre Bentley that brought $144,019. The top sale was another Bentley, a 1926 3-Litre Light Tourer by Vanden Plas for $419,251. Complete results are here.

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Auctionata’s Mercedes-Benz-only sale saw a few sellers, with this 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Coupe topping them all at $91,775. Click here for more.

Photo - Auctionata

Photo – Auctionata

RM Sotheby’s “Driven by Disruption” sale was a headline-grabber with our featured ex-Fangio 290 MM selling for $28,050,000. The other mega-dollar car was the Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato that went for $14,300,000. But among all of the million dollar cars were a parade of no-sales, including: the Lambo Concept S, the 300SL Race Car, the 500 Mondial, and the Ferrari 212 Inter. Interesting sales included an ever-increasing-in-value Countach – a 1981 Lamborghini Countach LP400 S for a crazy $962,500.

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

The Siata 208S sold for $1,650,000 and the Delage $1,430,000. The Pegaso was a relative bargain at $742,500. And a previously-featured Ferrari 250 Europa sold for $3,300,000. Check out full results here.

And finally, Mecum’s Austin sale. The top sale was a 2006 Ford GT Heritage Edition with 573 miles on the clock for $440,000.

Photo - Mecum

Photo – Mecum

Our featured Aston Martin Virage sold for $97,500. Click here for full results.

Bizzarrini P538

1967 Bizzarrini P538

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 14-15, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

We’ve actually tried to feature one of these before but there was a problem. You see, there are two kinds of Bizzarrini P538s. The first batch were built by Bizzarrini in the 1960s. The other batch were built to-order by former-Bizzarrini engineer Salvatore Diomante between the mid-1970s and early 1990s. Not many of either were built. The car we were going to feature months ago was of the latter variety. But this is a true, Bizzarrini-built P538.

It was a race car that debuted at Le Mans in 1966. This wild prototype racer is powered by a 5.3-liter Chevrolet V-8 engine making 365 horsepower. At least two of these were built with Lamborghini V-12 engines.

It’s unknown how many were built in total. It is thought about eight were built by Diomante and at least four by Bizzarrini (at least two of which are V-8 cars like this one). If you’re familiar with numbers, you’ll know that “two” is super rare for just about anything. It’s been beautifully restored and price reflects its greatness: a pre-sale estimate of between $700,000-$900,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Alloy-bodied Bizzarrini

1968 Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada Alloy

Offered by RM Auctions | Monaco | May 10, 2014

Photo - RM Auctions

Photo – RM Auctions

Bizzarrinis are stunning cars to see in person – especially when they’ve been restored to such magnificence. Giotto Bizzarrini was an engineer at Ferrari where he was responsible for the 250 Testa Rossa and the 250 GTO – two of the most sought-after Ferraris in history. He then moved to ATS and then on to ISO. When he left ISO in 1964, he formed the company that bore his own name.

In 1966, the company began marketing a street-legal version of its race car. This new road car was the 5300 GT Strada. The car here is an aluminium-bodied example and they use a 5.3-liter V-8 (from a Corvette) that makes 355 horsepower. It was – and is – a race car for the road. Top speed eclipsed 160 mph and approached 180, for those daring enough.

Bizzarrini didn’t build many examples of the 5300, but there are a number of them still out there. They have become a very collectible Italian exotic from the 1960s. Bizzarrini ended production in 1969. This car should bring between $625,000-$750,000. Click here for more info and here for more from RM in Monaco.

Update: Sold $755,204.

1971 Bizzarrini Prototype

1971 Bizzarrini 128 Sport Barchetta

Offered by Russo & Steele | Monterey, California | August 15-17, 2013

1971 Bizzarrini 128 Sport Barchetta

Ever seen this car before? Me neither. Giotto Bizzarrini was active in automotive design and engineering back in the day. Specifically, he got his start at Alfa Romeo in the mid-1950s. He wasn’t there long before he jumped ship to Ferrari (you can thank him for the 250 GTO). In the early-1960s, he worked for Iso Rivolta.

In 1964, he left Iso and founded his own company, Bizzarrini S.p.A. He wanted to build race cars and as an aside to that, he built precious few road cars. This lasted until 1969. Strangely, however, once his company shut down, Bizzarrini continued to churn out cars – and still does today – mostly one-off prototypes. In the early-1970s, he built a pair “single-seat competition barchettas” – and this is the prototype (the other is a race car).

Though titled as a 1971, the car was built in 1972 and shown at the 1972 Turin Motor Show. The engine is a 1.3-liter straight-four from Fiat. It makes 130 horsepower and can power the car up to 140 mph.

The race car variant is in the Italian National Car Museum in Turin – making this 128 the only one in private hands. And it can be yours. No pre-sale estimate is available. Click here for more info and here for more from Russo & Steele in Monterey.

Update: Sold $77,000.

Update: Sold, Bonhams Retromobile 2019, $110,907.

2012 Ault Park Concours d’Elegance

The 2012 Ault Park Concours d’Elegance, held in one of Cincinnati’s most beautiful parks in one of Cincinnati’s most uppity neighborhoods, was held two weekends ago. The show was full of some of the finest cars from around the mid-west. This year’s featured marque was “A Century of American Power.” Classic Car Weekly was in attendance and here are some of our favorites.

Our pick for best in show was this 1929 Stutz Model M Lancefield Supercharged Coupe.  It came out of the Mitchell Collection in Texas and is the only surviving example of the five originally built. The low roof-line and gives this car a truly sporting presence.

One of the other awesome rides was this 1910 Oldsmobile Autocrat Prototype Race Car built for the 1910 Vanderbilt Cup. Old race cars like this are fascinating – they’re as big as trucks and the driver and riding mechanic were just hanging on, completely exposed to the elements in tiny little seats with absolutely no protection whatsoever. Also, don’t forget about the 7.7-liter four-cylinder hanging out front.

Oh, and check out these exhaust, which look like something of a battle tank:

I really enjoyed this 1911 Lozier Briafcliff, as it was gigantic. A gentlemen hanging around it all day tried to convince me that it was worth $40 million. I nodded and smiled but politely declined to tell him he was insane.

This 1968 Bizzarrini 5300 Spyder is one of three 5300 Spyders built. It has a 327 Corvette engine making 350 horsepower and a stunning interior.

One of the most mind-blowing aspects of this show, was that, on either side of the Stutz mentioned above, there was an SJ Duesenberg. Not a bad day when there are multiple SJ Duesenbergs vying for your attention. This one is a 1929 Bohman & Schwartz Disappearing Top Roadster. 320 horsepower and 140 mph in 1929 must have been incredible.

Another exotic was this 1969 Lamborghini Miura S, one of 338 built. Only when standing next to one of these do you realize how impossibly low they sit to the ground. What a wonderful machine.

MG was a featured marque this year. Two cars that really stood out included this brilliant blue 1934 NA Evans-Wilkinson Special, one of three built.

There other super-cool MG was this crazy 1985 Metro 6R4 Group B Rally Car from the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. It was built by Williams F1 for the rally circuit and, yes, crazy is the correct word.

Some other interesting, newer cars include this 1991 BMW Z1, a car you don’t see often, especially in America.

This track-day special (although it was listed as “street-legal”) 2009 Ariel Atom 3 drew a crowd, as you could look around it and see just about every part on/in/within it.

American classics (and muscle cars) were prevalent, with muscle cars being part of the featured “American Power” motif. Easily the most interesting among them was this 1964 Studebaker Commander Super Lark – the only production steel-bodied R-3 package car with the 5.0-liter supercharged V8, which was built for Studebaker by the Granatelli Brothers. It was the fastest compact car in the U.S. when it was built, turning sub-13 second 1/4 miles in excess of 110 mph.

Other fantastic American (or semi-American) classics include this 1957 Dual-Ghia D-500 Convertible. Dual-Ghias are simply beautiful cars and this one in red was no exception.

And finally, this 1964 Buick Riviera looked amazing in Coral Mist, my new favorite automotive color. It has the 425 cubic inch Super Wildcat V8, making 360 horsepower.

And what would any good car show rundown be without a trip through the parking lot, a car show in itself. Some of the more impressive cars I saw included a 2013 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Convertible. It looked mean, and made me wonder why GM hadn’t built these before.

This Mercedes-Benz 190SL Roadster was pretty classic and it looked fun, as it drove past me with four people packed in and on it, having a good time.

This Lamborghini Diablo SV got the attention of the high-school student within me – and plenty of others.

And finally, from the environmentally responsible crowd, this Fisker Karma gathered a lot of interest from onlookers saying things like “What is that?” and “I’ve never seen one of these.” While this car might look like some kind of extended coupe, it is actually a very long car in person – much bigger than you’d think.

Artcurial Rétromobile Highlights

The Artcurial auction at Rétromobile in Paris had a high sell-through rate with a variety of interesting cars. Unfortunately, we only had time to feature two of them. First was the 1938 Horch 853 Cabriolet that ended up selling for $520,732, slightly exceeding its pre-sale estimate. Our other feature car was the awe-inspiring 1913 Delaunay-Belleville that has been in the same family since new – almost 100 years. Artcurial provided a rather large range for the car’s estimate and it sold right in the middle for $600,834.

There were numerous really interesting cars (I keep mentioning that, don’t I?). Some were extravagantly priced while others were downright affordable, like this 1965 Renault 4 that was modified to a convertible shortly after purchase. Renault did produce a 4 convertible – called the Plein Air, but this car pre-dates that model. It sold for $16,690.

The next car was not, well, affordable. But it certainly is jaw-dropping. It’s a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet B with a 180 horsepower 5.4 liter straight-8. This particular car was once in the Rockefeller family and has an awesome paint scheme with black and silver with red highlights. It was the second top seller at $629,961.

A quartet of interesting pre-war cars from lesser-known manufacturers than Mercedes-Benz include this 1908 Lorraine Dietrich 12 HP Touring car. It sold for $72,831.

Even older is this London-to-Brighton eligible 1898 (or 1899) Decauville Voiturelle. It’s an early French car that appears to be quite rudimentary by today’s standards. But this was quite a vogue car back in 1898 when over 600 of them were sold. I’m sure they cost a lot less in the 19th century than the $106,212 it went for in Paris in 2012.

The 1912 Gobron-Brillie 12 CV Torpedo Skiff by Rothschild (below) had been on sale in St. Louis at Hyman Ltd. for $325,000. It’s the only one in existence and it could have been yours for $273,117. That’s about a $50,000 savings over buying it off the lot.

The cheapest car (by price) in the entire auction (including motorcycles and scooters) was this 1933 Rosengart LR4 Torpedo that missed its estimate and was sold for $6,828.

Slightly newer is this 1969 Alpine A110 1600 Coupe – a great looking car with racing pedigree. It sold for $84,970.

Cisitalia is best known for their 202 road car and even their monoposto race cars. But they also built about 15 of the 33 DF Voloradente model in the mid-1950s. This 1954 model brought $189,665.

Something I personally thought was really cool was this 1977 Fiat 131 Abarth Rally – a homologation rally car built for the street. 500 were built with a 140 horsepower 2.0-liter straight-4. It’s boxy, so you know it means business. Sale price: $71,314.

Top sale of the auction (which it as by nearly a factor of 10) was this 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spyder. It sold for $5,740,248. The average price for a LWB California Spyder over the past five or so years is about $3.4 million. Prices are rising.

Two other Italian gems were this aluminum-bodied 1967 Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada – one of only 72 alloy 5300 GTs. A very desirable car, selling for $447,608.

The other was this 1947 Fiat 1100 S MM by Rappi. It’s eligible for all kinds of historic events including the Mille Miglia. These cars are very rare and, although it only has 51 horsepower, they are apparently quite fun – and stylish. $166,905.

This auction also featured more than a dozen rare cars in their original condition. Multiple cars from Talbot-Lago, Hotchkiss, Panhard, Talbot, and Salmson. Most were sedans from the late 1940s and early 1950s. They all looked stately and dusty and ready to be freshened and brought back to life. Prices ranged from about $27,000-$90,000 for the cars as they were in various conditions. None of them were especially extravagant, but the one that keeps catching my eye as I look through the results was the last lot in the sale – this 1939 Hotchkiss 686 Chantilly Limousine. It is in need of a restoration – but imagine how good it would look all prettied up. It sold as is for $39,450.

For complete results, click here.