Esprit V8

1999 Lotus Esprit V8

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Ft. Lauderdale, Florida | March 29-30, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This is the best Lotus. Okay, well it’s at least my favorite Lotus. And it’s in the best color, with the best wheels. The Esprit debuted in 1975 for the ’76 model year, and the above car is a Series 4 example – which was actually the fifth iteration of the model.

The S4 was built between 1993 and 2004, and damn if they aren’t just great-looking sports cars – especially in Yellow Pearl. In 1996, the company decided to stop screwing around with lousy four-cylinder engines and finally stuffed a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8 in there. It was good for 350 horsepower. It could do 175 mph.

This 37,000-mile example carries a pre-sale estimate of $60,000-$70,000 – which seems steep – and it is one of 1,237 V8 models built. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

February 2019 Auction Highlights

We’ll pick up where we left off last time, Scottsdale. This time it’s Russo & Steele, where this 2012 Lexus LFA blew everything else away, selling for $412,500. Complete results can be found here.

Photo – Russo & Steele

Now we’re on to Retromobile in Paris, where RM Sotheby’s led it off with a huge number for this 1987 Ferrari F40 LM: $5,489,215.

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Next, a couple of no-sales, which included the Ferrari SP30, the 2015 Morgan, the 1900 Panhard, the OSCA, and a previously-featured Hispano-Suiza. On the other hand, the Jordan 196 F1 car sold for $273,468. Click here for more results.

The second sale of the Retromobile week was held by Bonhams, and we featured a lot of cars from this event. On the extreme one end of the spectrum was the Red Bug buckboard we featured. It sold for $4,958. Now a quick rundown of no-sales from this auction: the Clement-Bayard, the beautiful Darracq, the 1911 Renault, the Bellanger, and a previously-featured Horch. The overall top sale was this 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet A for $1,794,086.

Photo – Bonhams

Cars that did sell include the 1909 Sears for $22,181, the 1913 FN also for $22,181, the Berliet for $43,058, the Hanomag for $66,544, the 1912 Hupmobile for $18,267, and the Pilain for $32,619. A pair of previously-featured cars sold here too: the 1971 Bizzarrini 128 Prototype for $110,907 and aPaige-Detroit for $37,838. Final results can be found here.

The final sale from Retromobile was Artcurial’s – and it was a big one. The top sale here was the Alfa 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta we featured for $18,997,883, which is apparently about the going rate for those cars. Other big dollar cars included the Voisin C16 for $128,471, the Panhard X86 Dolomites for $108,186, and all three Serenissimas: the Agena brought $500,360, the Ghia GT $513,883, and the ex-Le Mans Spyder a whopping $4,786,229. We’ll award Most Interesting to this 1948 Delahaye 135 M Cabriolet by Letourneur and Marchand that sold for $170,393.

Photo – Artcurial

Cars that failed to sell included the Voisin C11, the Mercedes 500K Cabriolet B, the Citroen Traction Avant Cabriolet, and the Talbot Barquette, while cars that did find new homes were the Voisin C3L for $60,885, the Dick Tricycle for $12,171, and the Rochet-Schneider for $35,160. More results can be found here.

Finally, we have Silverstone Auctions and their Race Retro Classic Car sale. The biggest money was the $381,813 paid for this 1958 Porsche 356A Speedster.

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

The Ginetta G4 we featured sold for $40,824, but the De Tomaso Longchamp Spider failed to find a new home on the block. You can see more results from this sale here.

XJS Monaco

1990 Jaguar XJS Monaco

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | March 6, 2019

Photo – Brightwells

The Jaguar XJ-S debuted in 1976. It was built in three series through 1996, and while that is only 20 years, it was light years in terms of car design based on what the common car looked like in the mid-1970s versus the mid-1990s. And the Jag evolved in its styling, but you can totally tell the first car was closely related to the last.

This car, however, is completely different. It looks from certain angles like a TVR Cerbera or an Aston Martin DB7 and has some hints of a modern version of those 7.0-liter Lister Jaguar monsters from the 1980s. What it actually is is a body kit from Paul Bailey Design and was, I think, built in some kind of conjunction with Jaguar.

Rumor has it that the Sultan of Brunei ordered the first one and ended up owning two. Only 11 were built between 1989 and 2001. This car is powered by a 3.6-liter straight-six that was originally rated at 221 horsepower. There were a few mechanical tweaks, but nothing major that should make it into the tire-shredding monster it certainly looks to be. I remember these from the 90s and think they’re pretty cool. This one should bring between $27,000-$30,000. Click here for more from Brightwells.

Update: Not sold.

De Tomaso Longchamp Spyder

1984 De Tomaso Longchamp GTS/E Spyder

Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Stoneleigh Park, U.K. | February 23, 2019

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

The Longchamp is far from De Tomaso‘s most famous model, as it is neither a Pantera nor a Mangusta. And the convertible (or Spyder) variant is so rare that most people who have heard of the Longchamp might not even realize a drop-top was ever offered.

The Series II Longchamp went on sale in 1980, and the GTS variant debuted that year as well. It is set off from lesser cars with wheel arches and Pantera-like Campagnolo wheels. The top version, the GTS/E, went on sale in the mid-1980s and featured some styling changes (which are supposed to include round headlights, which this car does not have). Power is from a 5.8-liter Ford V8.

Only 409 examples of all types were built between 1972 and 1989, with the coupe/convertible breakdown being 395 to 14, respectively. Very few were built in the last few years, and only a few GTS models were also Spyders. In fact, of the 14 convertibles, only three are GTS/E models. This is one of them, and it should sell for between $115,000-$140,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Morgan Aero SuperSports

2015 Morgan Aero SuperSports

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February 6, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Morgans are weird cars. They’ve been pretty much producing the same models for more than half a century, so when they introduce something brand new, it’s kind of a big deal. In 2000, they introduced the Aero 8, a convertible that had kind of retro looks but actually looked pretty fresh compared to their other models.

In 2008, the AeroMax was introduced and it was the coupe version of the Aero 8 – and it had a boattail rear end which made it look even better. Then, in 2009, came the Aero SuperSports – the Targa version. It was produced through 2015.

Power is from a 4.8-liter BMW V8 making 362 horsepower. These are light cars, which makes them rocketships when you get on it. This car is essentially brand new and looks great in Lapis Blue. Easily my favorite Morgan, it should bring between $170,000-$225,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Ferrari SP30

2011 Ferrari SP30

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February 6, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

About five years ago, Ferrari embarked on a new program called their “special projects division” where they build exclusive cars for wealthy clients. I guess everyone wants to feel special. And buying a “normal” Ferrari isn’t special enough. And I guess they didn’t want Jim Glickenhaus to have all the fun rebodying their cars.

The Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano was Ferrari’s front-engined V-12 grand tourer that they built between 2007 and 2012. There were a couple of factory hot-rodded versions, namely the 599 GTO, 599XX, the HGTE (which was more of an options package), and the SA Aperta.

The SP30 is a one-off model built exclusively for a wealthy Indian oil baron. It’s based on the 599 GTO and has revised bodywork. There is no information in the catalog listing, but because it is based on the 599 GTO, I guess we are to assume it is powered by a 661 horsepower, 6.0-liter V12.

These one-off Ferraris are likely to continue to increase in value. And this one will not come cheap. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

675LT Spider

2016 McLaren 675LT Spider

Offered by Mecum | Kissimmee, Florida | January 12, 2019

Photo – Mecum

McLaren has built a lot of cars in the last five years, including a number of limited-edition specials. But most of them are still in production (or in some vague degree of production). The 675LT is not, however. It is done.

The 675LT was a special edition coupe built between 2015 and 2017. Based on the 650S, it received slightly elongated bodywork and styling tweaks, among other improvements. The Spider variant was available in 2016 and 2017 and shared the same 666 horsepower, twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V8. Because of the folding hardtop, top speed is limited to just 203 mph.

Like the coupe, Only 500 examples of the Spider were built. This one is finished in vibrant Mantis Green and should bring between $275,000-$300,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Mecum.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $250,000.

Tramontana GT

2008 Tramontana GT

Offered by Mecum | Kissimmee, Florida | January 3-13, 2019

Photo – Mecum

This car is proof of two things. First, that it actually exists, as it certainly falls into the category of cars whose actual production seems dubious at best. But here it is! And second, it’s proof that marketing departments write Wikipedia pages (I know, I’ve been a part of a team doing it). Why? Well, the contradictory Wiki article for Tramontana says they built 12 of these per year. Mecum says this is one of eight built, which sounds much more accurate.

The Tramontana was built in Spain and debuted at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show. Production started in 2007, and this is a 2008 GT model. There were later R and XTR variants. Production has wrapped and they’ve moved on to another model altogether (supposedly).

When I first saw this I thought it was a kit car based on a 4-wheeler, probably powered by a turbo four or even an LS V8. But no, this incredibly ridiculous car featuring two seats – one behind the other – is powered by a twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V12…! The styling is supposed to be a combo of F1 car and jet fighter, and it sort of succeeds in that endeavor. I just hope that the car has been wrapped and that is not the actual paint job.

Performance numbers are absolutely supercar territory –  888 horsepower propels it to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds on the way to a 217 mph top end. It’s a legitimate, badass, low-run supercar from Spain, though I’m not sure about its road-legality in the U.S. (might be a “Show and Display” car). It deserves big bucks at Mecum next month. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $185,000.

Mosler MT900

2005 Mosler MT900

Offered by Oldtimer Galerie | Gstaad, Switzerland | December 29, 2018

Photo – Oldtimer Galerie

Warren Mosler really likes going fast. At least that’s what his automotive business ventures would lead you to believe. It started with the Consulier GTP that evolved into the Mosler Intruder/Raptor. And then in 2001, he launched the MT900. It’s a true American supercar, right there in the wonderful early-2000s when cars like the Saleen S7 and Ford GT were making waves. This thing is pretty awesome.

The base MT900 is powered by a 5.7-liter V8 making 350 horsepower. Not supercar numbers, but the chassis is carbon fiber and the entire car weighed less than 2,600 pounds. That meant it could hit 60 mph in 3.5 seconds on its way to a top speed of 150 mph.

Don’t worry though, they later built the MT900S (600 horsepower) and the MT900S Photon (same power, but less than 2,000 pounds). There were race versions too. In all, only 14 MT900 base cars were produced (there were also 20 S cars and 2 Photons in addition to about 30 race cars), making this car extremely rare. Switzerland may not like it, but it’s a great place to find weird, rare supercars. The pre-sale estimate here is “on request.” Click here for more info.

Note: The auction catalog lists this as a supercharged, 600 horsepower variant, which would make it an MT900S, but it isn’t listed as such. Perhaps the engine was modified later?

Ligier JS2

1974 Ligier JS2

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | November 4, 2018

Photo – Artcurial

Guy Ligier was a semi-professional rugby player and later raced at Le Mans and in Formula One. Who said racing drivers aren’t athletes? Not only did he race some cars, but he also built them too! Equipe Ligier was an F1 team between 1976 to 1996. They also built cars for Le Mans, and sports cars and microcars for the street.

The JS2 was a mid-engined sports car built between 1972 and 1975. The company’s first road car, the JS2 is powered by a 3.0-liter Maserati Merak V6 that made 191 horsepower. Smaller V6s from the Citroen SM were used on earlier cars.

Production figures vary widely depending on where you look. Numbers as high as 250 are quoted, and Artcurial says that only about 40 of the 81 built still exist. The fact that it entered production at all was enough that Ligier was allowed to race the JS2, which was the whole point of building a road car anyway. This example was acquired by the owner in 2009 after being parked for almost 15 years. Mechanically renewed, this car is expected to bring between $80,000-$105,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $91,897.