Barney Oldfield’s Benz

1908 Benz 75/105HP Prinz-Heinrich Raceabout

Offered by Bonhams | Los Angeles, California | November 11, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Benz has some automotive connotations, namely its current existence as half of Mercedes-Benz. But if you think back about Benz and know enough to know that Benz sort of started this whole car thing, you probably think of the Benz Patent Motorwagen. But they also built some amazing sports cars. Two engineers working for Benz in the early days developed what is, perhaps, the world’s first road-going sports car. It was built to compete in the Prinz-Heinrich Tour – a demanding 1,200 mile rally.

Hans Nibel and Georg Diehl created this car to compete in that race (note: this car is listed as a “circa 1908” but the catalog makes it seem like this model was first shown closer to 1910). It features a live rear axle and shaft drive (most big power cars from this era sported two semi-frightening chains that drove the rear wheels). The engine is fantastic for 1908: it’s a 7.3-liter straight-four that made 105 horsepower, which is a lot for the time. A team of three of these competed in the 1910 Vanderbilt Cup.

This model was only available through 1912 and very few were made as they were quite expensive. Only a handful survive – including, probably, the three Vanderbilt Cup cars. We pick up the history of this car around 1915 when it was being used by Barney Oldfield in appearances all over the country. He eventually sold it to a brewer in L.A. before it made its way into the Lindley Bothwell collection in the 1930s (where it’s been since).

Restored in 2006, just in time for the 2006 Goodwood Revival, this is an incredible piece of history with just three known owners going back 100 years. This is the type of car that only exists in one of three places: 1. museums 2. historical photos or 3. long-term European collections that are rarely, if ever, broken up. But here it is, straight from Los Angeles for you to bid on. No estimate is being provided because it’s one of the big money cars from this sale (which is likely to be remembered for some time). Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,870,000.

Sauber C9

1989 Sauber-Mercedes C9

Offered by Coys | Fontwell, U.K. | September 7, 2017

Photo – Coys

Coys has a serious race car for it’s Goodwood sale this year. The Sauber C9 was one of the preeminent Group C race cars from the late 1980s. Introduced in 1987, it was developed from the Sauber C8 race car and was much more successful than it’s predecessor.

Co-designed by Peter Sauber, the C9 is powered by a 5.0-liter Mercedes-Benz V-8 with two turbochargers. That combination made 700 horsepower in the most basic of forms and over 900 if you cranked up the boost. The most famous C9s were those painted solid silver that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans on their way to the World Endurance Championship in 1989 (and they won the Championship again in 1990). This car is the only C9 that still wears the 1988 AEG livery – it was retained by Sauber for display in his museum after the 1988 season.

I do not have access to any race records for this particular chassis (C9-A2). The current owner purchased this car from Peter Sauber in 2010 – after 20 years of museum duty. It was restored in 2015 and a fresh engine was constructed by the original engine builder. No pre-sale estimate is available but you can see more here and more from Coys here.

Lotus 34

1964 Lotus Type 34

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 18, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Lotus was far from the first European car company to try and conquer the Indianapolis 500, after all Peugeot won the third running. But there are few car companies that really left as an indelible a mark at the Speedway quite like Lotus did. They brought the rear-engined revolution. They were the rear-engined revolution. The 1964 Type 34 was their second “Champ Car” made specifically for American ovals.

The Type 34 was an evolution of Colin Chapman’s original Indy entrant, the Type 29. Lotus teamed with Ford for power and this car features by a 495 horsepower 4.2-liter V-8. It has a two-speed manual transmission. It’s racing heritage includes practice for the ’64 500 and the following:

  • 1964 Milwaukee Mile – DNF (with A.J. Foyt)
  • 1964 Trenton 200 – 1st (with Parnelli Jones)
  • 1965 Phoenix 150 – DNF (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Trenton 100 – DNF (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Indianapolis 500 – Pole, 15th, DNF (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Milwaukee Mile – DNF (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Langhorne 150 – DNF (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Trenton 150 – 1st (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Indianapolis Raceway Park – 4th (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Langhorne 125 – 2nd (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Atlanta 250 – DNF (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Trenton 200 – 1st (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Phoenix 200 – 1st (with Foyt)
  • 1966 Trenton 200 – 3rd (with Foyt)

That’s quite the history, even if the transmission gave out on the car seemingly more often than not. But it was quick in its day with who else but A.J. Foyt at the wheel. Foyt kept the car until 1992 when the current owner acquired it. The restoration is fresh, having been completed earlier this year.

All four of A.J.’s 500-winning cars are owned by the Speedway Museum. This pole-winning car (which set a lap record at Indy) is referred to as one of the most significant Foyt cars in private hands by the catalog. It is the winningest Indy Lotus and one of only two Type 34s in existence – the other at the IMS Museum. Get it while it’s hot – but it won’t come cheap. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

1957 Arnott-Climax

1957 Arnott-Climax 1100 GT

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 18, 2017

Photo – Gooding & Company

Three quick things we love about this car: 1. that shade of green; 2. the fact that it’s a factory race car from a cottage industry sports car manufacturer that has survived this long and; 3. gullwing doors!

There aren’t many car companies out there founded by women, but Daphne Arnott managed to produce about 25 cars – some for the road, some for the track – between 1951 and 1957 in London. She started with F3 cars and ultimately ended up with Coventry Climax-powered sports cars that competed at Le Mans. This car uses a 1.1-liter Coventry Climax straight-four that makes 94 horsepower.

The body is aluminium and just enough of it exists to cover all the important pieces underneath. This was one of only a few “factory race cars” the company ever had, and it’s competition history includes:

  • 1957 24 Hours of Le Mans – 44th, DNF (with Jim Russell and Dennis Taylor)

After the ’57 24 Hours, the team (and automobile-building portion of the company) folded. This car was parked in the Arnott workshop for over 15 years before being rescued in the early 1980s. The new owner restored it and it’s had a few other caretakers since, successfully completing some touring rallies along the way.

Being the only Arnott quite like it, of only a few automobiles produced in total, it should bring between $350,000-$425,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Ferrari 312 T5

1980 Ferrari 312 T5

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 18, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Bravo on the photo, Bonhams. This shot was clearly captured with a car drifting around Sonoma Raceway in the background. Anyway… Ferrari’s 312T line of Formula One racing cars competed in F1 between 1975 and 1980. This car was the last of the series.

Ferrari’s driver lineup for 1980 was the same as 1979: Gilles Villeneuve and Jody Scheckter. This was Scheckter’s car for much of the 1980 season (even though it has Villeneuve’s name by the driver’s compartment). This car was the fastest of all the 312Ts: it’s powered by a 515 horsepower 3.0-liter V-12. The race history of this car includes:

  • 1980 South African Grand Prix – 21st, DNF (with Scheckter)
  • 1980 U.S. Grand Prix West – 5th (with Scheckter)
  • 1980 Belgian Grand Prix – 8th (with Scheckter)
  • 1980 Monaco Grand Prix – 14th, DNF (with Scheckter)
  • 1980 French Grand Prix – 12th (with Scheckter)
  • 1980 British Grand Prix – 10th (with Scheckter)
  • 1980 German Grand Prix – 13th (with Scheckter)

Defending World Champion Scheckter retired at the end of the 1980 season and when he went, so did this series of Ferrari F1 cars, as they moved forward into the turbo era. Bonhams is not publishing a pre-sale estimate with this car, but the T3 we featured a few years ago sold for $2,310,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Aston DBR1

1956 Aston Martin DBR1

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18-19, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

On their home page, RM Sotheby’s describes the DBR1 as “the most important Aston Martin ever built.” Why’s that? Because David Brown bought Aston Martin in 1947 and set his sights on winning Le Mans. With the DBR1, he finally succeeded, putting his little car company in the spotlight and ensuring its survival for decades to come.

This car is not the Le Mans winning car, but the first of five DBR1s built (chassis #2 triumphed at Le Sarthe). This was built in 1956, there was one example in 1957, one in 1958, and two in 1959. If you’re a big fan of Astons, perhaps this car reminds you a little bit, styling-wise, of the DB3S.

This DBR1 is powered by a reproduction 3.0-liter straight-six developing 302 horsepower. The owner had the engine specially constructed for this car so it could be used in historic events without fear of damaging the original 3.0-liter unit (which peaked at 255 horsepower).

The competition history of this factory race car includes the following:

  • 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans – 14th, DNF (with Tony Brooks and Reg Parnell)
  • 1957 1000km Nurburgring – 6th (with Roy Salvadori and Les Leston)
  • 1957 24 Hours of Le Mans – 34th, DNF (with Salvadori and Leston)
  • 1958 12 Hours of Sebring – 52nd, DNF (with Salvadori and Carroll Shelby)
  • 1958 1000km Nurburgring – DNF (with Salvadori and Shelby)
  • 1958 24 Hours of Le Mans – 34th, DNF (with Salvadori and Stuart Lewis-Evans)
  • 1959 12 Hours of Sebring – 62nd, DNF (with Salvadori and Shelby)
  • 1959 1000km Nurburgring – 1st (with Stirling Moss and Jack Fairman)

What a race history! Tony Brooks, Roy Salvadori, Carroll Shelby, and Stirling Moss all drove this car in period. And it won the 1000km of the Nurburgring (with Moss at the wheel, no less). The current owner, a major Aston Martin collector, has owned this car since 2009. RM hasn’t published estimates at the time of this writing, but it’s possible this one gets tagged with the ubiquitous “Inquire.” Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $22,550,000.

Gulf 917K

1970 Porsche 917K

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 18, 2017

Photo – Gooding & Company

Well here is the star of the Pebble Beach auctions this year (Gooding & Company actually lists a different car, a Ferrari, as their star… but that car is comparatively boring). It’s a Porsche 917K… one of the most legendary of all racing cars. I believe Gooding & Company teased this very car last year and it was eventually pulled from their show.

Anyway, it’s back. The original 917 debuted at the 1969 Geneva Auto Show. That car was apparently a beast (if Vic Elford tells you your car is unmanageable at speed, it probably needs some refinement). So Porsche refined it, shortened the car a bit, and christened it the 917K. And it was a beast.

It won Le Mans in 1970 and 1971, a few World Manufacturer’s Championships and just about dominated every race it entered. The 917K is powered by a 5.0-liter flat-12 that makes 630 horsepower. This car was originally built as a normal 917 in 1969 but it was more or less destroyed in an accident.

When they were working on the 917K, it is believed that Porsche took the frame from the first 917 built and constructed this car. It was painted white and used by Brian Redman and Mike Hailwood as a Le Mans and Nurburgring test car. Jo Siffert bought it from Porsche in June of 1970.

And it’s what Siffert did with it that is going to require the next owner to shell out nearly $15 million for it: He loaned the car to Steve McQueen when he was shooting the movie Le Mans. This was one of the camera cars used during that shoot. McQueen would have almost certainly driven this car during the production of the film and the car still has camera mounting points on the frame. It was under Siffert’s ownership that this car, 917-024, was painted in the iconic Gulf livery and it used by Siffert in Switzerland on the street on at least one occasion!

After Siffert’s death, this car was eventually purchased by a French collector and it quietly disappeared. In 2001 it was discovered parked in a Parisian warehouse. Someone managed to buy it and they had it restored. And now, one of the most famous of all Porsches, comes up for public sale. The estimate is a steep $13,000,000-$16,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $14,080,000.

Alfa Tipo 33 TT 12

1974 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 TT 12

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 18, 2017

Photo – Gooding & Company

The Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 was a series of awesome prototype racing cars built by Alfa between 1966 and 1977. We’ve previously featured the Tipo 33/2 and 33/3, which were two of the earlier designs. The TT 12 was the second-to-last version and it was built between 1973 and 1976.

Prior to this car, the Tipo 33s were V-8 powered. For 1973, they opted to install a 3.0-liter flat-12 that puts out 500 horsepower. The “TT” does not stand for “twin turbocharged” but instead references the car’s tubular chassis. This was a factory race car, owned and operated by Autodelta S.p.A. and under their direction, it competed in the following races:

  • 1975 1000km Monza – DNF (with Henri Pescarolo and Derek Bell)
  • 1975 1000km Spa – 1st (with Pescarolo and Bell)
  • 1975 1000km Nurburgring – DNF (with Pescarolo and Bell)
  • 1975 6 Hours of Watkins Glen – 1st (with Pescarolo and Bell)

That’s just a few of the big races it competed in, as it ended up winning at least one more. For 1976, Alfa replaced the 33 TT 12s with the next generation car and this example was parked. In 1980, Autodelta dealt this car to a collector in California who has owned it since. It’s shown up at the Monterey Historics six times over the years and you can take it there next year. Only six of these were built and this one should bring between $2,400,000-$2,800,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

The Asteroid

1951 Tojeiro-JAP

Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Silverstone, England | July 27, 2017

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

We’ve featured a number of Portugal-born John Tojeiro’s cars over the years. No two are quite alike, and this little race car is different from all of them. This is also the earliest Tojeiro we featured, as it was the second car to ever bear his name.

The other person’s name associated with this car is that of Brian Lister. It was the first chassis he ever built (he wouldn’t found his own company until 1954). The wild design was inspired by a magazine article that Lister read about attaching a JAP engine to a Jowett Jupiter chassis. (JAP = JA Prestwich Industries, a British company that built a ton of small engines from around 1910 through the 1950s).

So Lister and Tojeiro took a 1.1-liter JAP V-Twin and stuck it in this custom chassis. It’s technically mid-engined, I guess, since you can see the engine sticking through the hood behind the front wheels. It was nicknamed “The Asteroid” and was very successful on track in its day.

This car was discovered in a barn, its body having been modified over the years. Silverstone’s catalog has pictures of it when it was new and it does look a little different. It was completely restored and is road registered in the U.K. The pre-sale estimate is between $117,000-$143,000 for this piece of racing history. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Arrows A18

1997 Arrows A18

Offered by Artcurial | Monaco | July 2, 2017

Photo – Artcurial

Arrows Grand Prix International was founded by five men in 1978 when they all left the Shadow team to venture out on their own. Based in Milton Keynes initially, Arrows became known as Footwork for the 1991-1996 F1 seasons and ended up folding after the 2002 season.

The A18 was the team’s 1997 car, the first year back under the “Arrows” name, but with new owner Tom Walkinshaw. The car was originally fitted with a Yamaha 3.0-liter V-10 engine. This chassis was driven by reigning F1 World Champion Damon Hill who was bizarrely dropped by his team after winning the championship. Exact results are unknown, but it definitely had some DNFs.

The Yamaha engine was unreliable, but luckily the owner is supplying it with an Asiatech 3.0-liter V-10. Because Arrows no longer exists, there are quite a few of their chassis in private hands. This one should bring between $190,000-$225,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.