Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | June 24, 2022
The T70 was a popular Can-Am car for privateers in the 1960s with over 100 examples produced. Built by Lola in a few different variations (Mk I, Mk II spyder, and Mk III coupe), the T70 was often found fitted with a big American V8. It was a race-winning formula, with drivers like Dan Gurney, Walt Hansgen, and 1966 series champion John Surtees all driving them in period
This chassis, SL70/3, was the first T70 built and was sold new to John Mecom, whose team livery is still on the car today. It ran a number of races that season, including:
1965 12 Hours of Sebring – 52nd, DNF (with John Cannon and Jack Saunders)
Walt Hansgen crashed it at Mosport, and the original Ford engine was removed. It was later restored and part of Mac McClendon’s collection until the 2000s. It currently has a 5.7-liter Chevrolet V8 fitted out back, and that monster is rated at 573 horsepower. The pre-sale estimate is $310,000-$430,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Northamptonshire, U.K. | May 28, 2022
The 3500 GT was Maserati’s big grand tourer of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Both 2+2 coupes and two-seat convertibles were offered, with styling by a select few Italian carrozzeria, including Vignale, who bodied this example and most of the model’s convertibles.
In 1960, Maserati introduced the GTI variant, making it Italy’s first fuel-injected production car. The 3.5-liter inline-six got Lucas fuel injection and a power bump to 232 horsepower. Because fuel injection was still relatively new, it could be somewhat troublesome, and more than a few GTI examples were converted back to Weber carburetors later in life. Not this one.
This car was delivered new in London, and from the 80s onward, it spent time in France and Italy before returning within the last decade to London with its current owner. Only 245 Vignale convertibles were built out of a total 3500 production run of 2,226 examples between 1957 and 1964. The pre-sale estimate here is $470,000-$550,000. Click here for more info.
Isdera, the elusive German boutique carmaker, has been around since the early 1980s. They have not produced many cars since then, but the ones they have are all pretty outrageous and striking. The Spyder was their first model, going on sale in 1982.
The first Spyders were 033i variants with 1.8-liter Mercedes-Benz inline-fours. Then came the 033-16, with a 2.3-liter engine. In 1987, they launched the 036i, which featured a 3.0-liter Mercedes inline-six making 217 horsepower. Only 14 Spyders total are believed to have been built, which each one taking 12 months to complete.
This car was modified and updated by Isdera in 2011, basically restored in different colors and fitted with a 276-horsepower, 3.6-liter AMG inline-six. Isderas rarely change hands, especially at auction. You can read more about this one here.
Offered by H&H | Duxford, U.K. | November 17, 2021
Marcos built some interesting, if not a little awkward-looking, sports cars in the 1960s. By 1972, the company was out of business. However, in 1981, Jem Marsh, who had co-founded Marcos initially, brought the company back to life. A stream of more modern cars followed until everything went belly-up again in the late 2000s.
The Mantula was introduced in 1983 and was sold as a coupe or a spyder. Just 119 spyder variants were produced through 1993. Externally, they carried many of the same visual cues as Marcos cars of the ’60s, but everything was just a little sleeker to fit the times. Power is from a 3.5-liter Rover V8 that was much lighter than the previous sixes the company used previously.
This 30,000-mile example is expected to sell for between $16,000-$19,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 15-17, 2019
It’s a little amusing how much the Mecum catalog is hedging on the description of this car. It is in the catalog as “1954/1959 Ferrari 0432M.” Which is useless info. This car has a nuanced history, that’s for sure. I guess when you own the auction house you want to lay out the facts and let others draw their own conclusions – which I will now do. This car was born in 1954 as a Pinin Farina-bodied 250 Monza Spider.
Only four examples of the 250 Monza were built and they were essentially the 750 Monza with a 3.0-liter V12 instead of a 3.0-liter inline-four. Output was 260 horsepower. This particular car won the 1954 12 Hours of Hyeres with Maurice Trintignant and Luigi Piotti.
Sometime in 1956 or 1957, the car returned to Ferrari, who had it re-bodied by Scaglietti with the pontoon fender-style body you see here. The interesting bit is that this was done at approximately the same time Scaglietti was designing the 250 Testa Rossa. Maybe it’s like a proto-Testa Rossa?
In 1959, it arrived at Luigi Chinetti’s place in New York, and it was shown at the 1959 New York Auto Show. From there it’s had a few owners, including Dana Mecum who had the car restored in 2014. The catalog makes this car seem mysterious. But old cars changed bodies here and there. No big deal. It’s a factory-re-body of a 250 Monza. And it’s wonderful. I look forward to your hate mail telling me why my assumptions are wrong. Check out more info on this car here, and see more from Mecum here.
Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Stoneleigh Park, U.K. | February 23, 2019
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.
Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 8, 2019
Giovanni Volpi was a Venetian who operated a racing team called Scuderia Serenissima (La Serenissima was an Italian name used to describe the Most Serene Republic of Venice). Volpi’s team competed in F1 and some sports car stuff. He was closely aligned with Ferrari. Until…
Some ex-Ferrari people, namely Carlo Chiti and Giotto Bizzarrini, bolted from Ferrari and founded a company called ATS, which Volpi helped finance. Ferrari was not pleased and refused to sell Serenissima any 250 GTOs.
So what’s an enterprising Italian to do? In 1963, Volpi founded Automobili Serenissima to build his own cars. Supposedly, eight were built in total and only five survive. Well, Volpi is still alive and apparently is selling three of them at auction in a few weeks, including this car, which is chassis no. 5.
It appears that chassis no. 5 may have started life as a Serenissima Jungla – a closed coupe that was later turned into a spyder and shown in road car form. It’s powered by a 3.5-liter V8 and was turned into a racing car shortly after its introduction. It raced at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans with drivers Jean-Claude Sauer and Jean de Mortemart. A broken gearbox in the fifth hour led to the car’s retirement from the race.
The car is presented in as-raced condition and is not currently running. It is the only Serenissima car to race at Le Mans (they intended to race the Jungla GT but it did not appear). Even still, it should command between $1,500,000-$2,000,000. Click here for more from Artcurial.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | London, U.K. | September 5, 2018
Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
De Tomaso is best remembered for the Pantera, which was available from 1971 through 1993 (or, “an eternity”). But they produced other models as well, including the mighty Mangusta and exotic Vallelunga. When the Pantera went out of production in 1993, it was pretty out-of-date, technology-wise.
So when Alejandro De Tomaso introduced this, the Guara, at the 1993 Geneva Auto Show, it should’ve taken people by surprise that this small Italian company was entering the modern era with something that looked… well, modern.
It sits on a Maserati chassis and uses a modified 4.0-liter BMW V8 that made 279 horsepower. The body is made of fiberglass, Kevlar, and other composites, keeping it relatively light. De Tomaso is no more, but they managed to build 50 Guaras, and only four of those were Spyders. This one-owner example in an awesome shade of purple should sell at RM Sotheby’s in London. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 25, 2018
Photo – Gooding & Company
The first Porsche 911 went on sale in 1964, replacing the 356 series of cars. Upon introduction, only a two-door coupe was offered. A removable-top Targa joined the lineup in 1966 and the first 911 convertible didn’t arrive on the scene until 1982. So what was a well-heeled Porsche fanatic to do in the 60s?
Let’s start by not forgetting that Karmann came up with a 911 Cabriolet Prototype in 1964. So then, in 1966, a Southern California Porsche dealer wanted an open-top 911 for his customers and commissioned Bertone to build one. They started with a bare 911 chassis, which did not include the “S” 160 horsepower, 2.0-liter flat-six that the car carries today. Back then it had a stock 130 horse variant.
Rear-engined convertibles tend to seem a little bulky at the back and it’s funny that Gooding & Company draws parallels to the Fiat 850 Spider, which is the exact car I see when I look at this. The final result here is quite nice and nothing about it says “Porsche.” It looks Italian. The current owner acquired this car in 1993 and it’s been on static display for quite some time, so it will require a little attention to make roadworthy. It should bring between $700,000-$1,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Gooding & Company.
Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 23-25, 2018
Photo – Mecum
Have you ever seen one of these in person? Or, I guess, have you ever heard one? They’re loud. And it is intoxicating.
The 550 Spyder was a race car (that you could drive to the track) from Porsche that was available from 1953 through 1956. The 550A was an evolution of the original car and was only available in 1956.
The differences included a tubular space frame (as opposed to the normal 550 Spyder’s ladder frame). This increased rigidity and decreased weight. The transmission got an extra gear (up to five) and the wheels lost an inch in diameter. The improvements were designed to increase the car’s competitiveness on track. The 1.5-liter flat-four was a carryover, but made 135 horsepower in this trim.
This car is thought to have originally been owned by the Piech family (they who own 10% of Porsche today) before being sold to its first owner: a famed Austrian concert pianist and composer. And he raced the pants off this car, winning circuit races and hillclimbs in the late 1950s in Austria and Yugoslavia.
After that it went to the U.S. and spent a lot of time in SCCA races. The current owner found the car over 30 years ago and spent most of the time since restoring it. It shows fewer than 600 miles since restoration. Only 39 examples of the lightweight 550A were built, making this a big money car at Mecum in Monterey. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.