McLaren MP4-17

2002 McLaren-Mercedes MP4-17

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | St. Moritz, Switzerland | September 17, 2021

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

McLaren-Mercedes was a pretty solid chassis/engine combo in Formula One about 10-20 years ago. The MP4-17 was actually used in two slightly different configurations over two seasons. There was the initial car (later retroactively dubbed “MP4-17A”) that was used for 2002, and there was 2003’s updated car, the MP4-17D.

This chassis (#06) debuted in 2002 and was later upgraded to “D” spec. Power is from a 3.0-liter Mercedes-Benz V10 good for 845 horsepower. The competition history for this chassis includes:

  • 2002 European Grand Prix – 3rd (with Kimi Raikkonen)
  • 2002 British Grand Prix – 14th, DNF (with Raikkonen)
  • 2002 French Grand Prix – 2nd (with Raikkonen)
  • 2002 German Grand Prix – 11th, DNF (with Raikkonen)
  • 2002 Hungarian Grand Prix – 4th (with Raikkonen)
  • 2002 United States Grand Prix – 3rd (with David Coulthard)
  • 2002 Japanese Grand Prix – 18th, DNF (with Coulthard)
  • 2003 Australian Grand Prix – 1st (with Coulthard)
  • 2003 San Marino Grand Prix – 2nd (with Raikkonen)
  • 2003 Spanish Grand Prix – 20th (with Raikkonen)
  • 2003 Monaco Grand Prix – 7th (with Coulthard)
  • 2003 Japanese Grand Prix – 2nd (with Raikkonen)

The car was also used as a test car here and there. Once its competitive career was over, the car was backdated to “17A” spec, in which it currently exists. It is expected to sell for between $2,200,000-$2,750,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Stafford Special

1936 Stafford Single Seater

Offered by H&H Auctioneers | Duxford, U.K. | September 8, 2021

Photo – H&H Auctioneers

This one-off single-seater special is sort of like the British version of an early-1930s “junk formula” Indy car. Except that instead of having history at Indianapolis, this car has history at Brooklands. But first, the story of its creation.

It was built by Rodney Stafford between 1936 and 1938 utilizing a specially built Blaker Engineering Company chassis and a supercharged 1.5-liter Meadows inline-four. The aluminum body work was shaped in the aerodynamics of the day and is pure function.

It competed at Brooklands, before the war broke out, against the likes of Bugattis, Maseratis, and Altas. Its competition history picked back up after the war and continued throughout the 1940s. This one-of-one period race car carries a pre-sale estimate of $90,000-$115,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Minardi M198

1998 Minardi-Ford M198

For Sale by RM Sotheby’s | Thurleigh, U.K.

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Giancarlo Minardi’s Formula One team first appeared on the grid in 1985. In their first 46 races, the team saw at least one car running at the finish only eight times. While they were more reliable in later years, they weren’t much more successful. The team’s best finish was fourth, which happened three times. But they did have a pretty loyal fanbase. The team lasted through the 2005 season, and their new owners rebranded the team as Toro Rosso for 2006.

The M198 was their chassis for the 1998 season, which saw drivers Shinji Nakano and Esteban Tuero on the team. This chassis was the first one built, and it is powered by a 3.0-liter Ford Zetec-R V10 that made about 710 horsepower. The competition history for this chassis includes:

  • 1998 Australian Grand Prix – 16th, DNF (with Shinji Nakano)
  • 1998 Brazilian Grand Prix – 21st, DNF (with Nakano)
  • 1998 Argentine Grand Prix – 13th (with Nakano)

After that, the car was refinished in the team’s 1999 livery and used as a show car. It still wears that scheme today. Since 2011, the car has been restored and used at events. It’s now for sale with an asking price of about $579,000. Click here for more info.

Lorraine-Dietrich Race Car

1905 Lorraine-Dietrich CR2 Two-Seat Sports Racer

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 4, 2021

Photo – Bonhams

Lorraine-Dietrich built cars and airplane engines after branching out from railway locomotives in the late-19th Century. Bollée-designed cars were first, beginning in 1896 under the De Dietrich marque. The brand become Lorraine-Dietrich in 1905, and automobile production lasted through 1935.

Racing had always been a part of the company. In fact, they won Le Mans twice in the early years. The company was involved in racing as early as about 1903. This car was built to replicate the period factory racers. It’s a true 1905 chassis, but the body was added in the 2000s. Power is from a 8.6-liter inline-four rated at 60 horsepower.

It certainly looks the part of an Edwardian race car, and it is apparently quite usable too. There are similar cars from this brand around, although I’m unsure of their provenance or originality. This seems like a good way to get pretty close to the real thing. The pre-sale estimate is $110,000-$170,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $190,955.

Porsche Indy Car

1990 March-Porsche 90P

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 13-14, 2021

Photo – Gooding & Company

Porsche North America contested three Indy Car seasons: 1988, 1989, and 1990. The company used specially built March chassis and then stuck their own powerplant behind the driver. For 1990, they had a brand new chassis designed, dubbed the 90P.

Power is provided by a turbocharged 2.6-liter Porsche V8 capable of 725 horsepower. Porsche’s two drivers in 1990 were Teo Fabi and John Andretti, the latter of which piloted this chassis, #5. The competition history for this car includes:

  • 1990 Indianapolis 500 – 21st, DNF (with Andretti)
  • 1990 Budweiser Grand Prix of Cleveland – 5th (with Andretti)
  • 1990 Molson Indy Vancouver – 5th (with Andretti)
  • 1990 Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Denver – 6th (with Andretti)

Actually, John Andretti drove this car in all but two of the 1990 points races. He finished 10th in the championship. The car was sold by Porsche to a collector in 2017, and then this car passed to the current owner the following year. It’s a ready-to-go historic open-wheel car with a pre-sale estimate of $350,000-$500,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $346,000.

Kurtis 500C

1953 Kurtis 500C

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 13-14, 2021

Photo – Gooding & Company

When it comes to classic Indy cars, not much beats a Kurtis-Offenhauser. The 500C was introduced either in late 1953 or early 1954. Only nine were built. Despite their build date, the cars were raced for years at Indianapolis – as late as about 1959.

This particular car is interesting in that it started out as a 500C that debuted at the Speedway in 1954. It ran there through 1957, including:

  • 1956 Indianapolis 500 – 8th (with Rodger Ward)

After 1957, it was sold to a different team, who had Eddie Kuzma cut the car up and update it with Kuzma parts. At that time, the Kurtis chassis was discarded and ultimately purchased by someone who would go on to have it restored in the 1980s to as it was in 1956. So, from that first original car, there are now two cars, one of which is still a Kurtis. Kind of weird, but that’s what happens.

Power is from a 4.2-liter (255ci) Offenhauser inline-four estimate to produce 400 horsepower with Hilborn mechanical fuel injection. The car is expected to sell for between $250,000-$450,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $257,600.

Hudson Indy Car

1932 Hudson Indy Car

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 13-14, 2021

Photo – Gooding & Company

The “Junk Formula” was an era of the Indianapolis 500 that lasted from 1930 through 1937. It allowed for a much wider variety of cars at the track, which had the effect of increasing field sizes. It also encouraged race car builders to use production car parts. A mechanic from Saginaw, Michigan, named Jack Mertz decided to build his own Indy car. Using a Hudson chassis, he bodied this car himself.

Under the hood is a 4.2-liter inline-eight capable of 150 horsepower. Mertz then drove the car from Saginaw to Indianapolis to enter the 1932 race. But he arrived too late and missed the field. The following year, Mertz sold the car to a Detroit car dealer named Lawrence Martz, who then named the car after himself. The competition history for the “Martz Special” includes:

  • 1933 Indianapolis 500 – 15th, DNF (with Gene Haustein)
  • 1934 Indianapolis 500 – 30th, DNF (with Haustein)

It actually crashed during the ’34 race, and by the end of the decade the trail of this car went cold. That is, until the 1970s when it was discovered. The restoration was done in the early 1980s, and the car was shown at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours. It is now expected to bring between $250,000-$350,000 and will sell without reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $291,000.

Lola T-90

1966 Lola-Ford T-90

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, Florida | August 13-14, 2021

Photo – Gooding & Company

The mid-1960s were a time for change at Indianapolis. The mid-engined revolution was in full swing by ’66, and the previous year was the first time that a majority of the field was made up of rear-engined cars. The British cars were back in force in 1966, with Lola leading the way with their Ford-powered T-90.

Three T-90s were built, and all three were on the grid at the 1966 Indy 500. This is one of two powered by a 4.2-liter Ford quad-cam V8. Fuel injected, it makes about 425 horsepower. The competition history for this chassis, 90/2, includes:

  • 1966 Indianapolis 500 – 6th, DNF (with Jackie Stewart)
  • 1966 Langhorne 150 – 3rd (with Al Unser Sr.)
  • 1966 Fuji 200 – 1st (with Stewart)

As most old race cars do after their time on track is finished, this car passed around between a few owners. In this case some of them believed this to be the ’66 500-winning car of Graham Hill. The current owner bought it under that assumption in 1995. After much research, it was discovered it was not. In 2017, the car was restored back to its Bowes Seal Fast Special livery that Stewart ran in 1966.

It’s got a pretty interesting history and the 100% right look of an early rear-engined Indy car. The pre-sale estimate is $1,000,000-$1,400,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale. Also… can we take a second to ponder the insanity that Stewart finished SIXTH and was still not running at the end of the ’66 500? The fifth-place finisher wasn’t running either. Talk about attrition…

Update: Not sold.

GT40 Mk IV

1967 Ford GT40 Mk IV

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 13, 2021

Photo – Bonhams

The Ford GT40 is one of the coolest cars of all time, but it also has kind of a convoluted history. The first cars, the Mk I, were produced in England. The Mk II cars were built in California by Holman-Moody and featured a huge 7.0-liter V8. The Mk III was a road car only.

Then there was the Mk IV. It developed out of Ford’s J-car program, which saw the use of lightweight bonded aluminum honeycomb panels. They beefed the chassis up a bit when they officially made it into the Mk IV and added a heavy NASCAR-style roll cage. It featured the 7.0-liter V8 from the Mk II, which made about 485 horsepower in this car. The Mk IV was built in the U.S. by Kar Kraft, the same company that assembled Boss 429 Mustangs.

The body was redesigned to be longer, with a long low tail that made the car slippery through the air. At Le Mans in 1967, the Mk IV hit 212 mph on the Mulsanne Straight. Ford used the Mk IV in only two races: the 1967 12 Hours of Sebring and the ’67 running of Le Mans. It won both.

Serial numbers for the Mk IV all started with J. There were 10 complete cars built in period, with this, J9, being the second-to-last. Two additional chassis were constructed, and they were later turned into complete cars down the road. J9 was at one point bodied as an open-cockpit Can-Am car in the spirit of a Chapparal. It was tested by Mario Andretti in period.

Ford eventually sold the car for $1 to ex-Shelby American team mechanics, who retained it in its Can-Am glory – stored away – until 2012. At that point, it was restored with a Mk IV body and sold to its current owner. It’s useful in historic events and is estimated to sell for between $3,000,000-$3,500,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Ewing Dean Van Lines Special

1960 Ewing-Offenhauser

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 12-14, 2021

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Wayne Ewing worked for A.J. Watson in the body department, and in 1960 he designed and built his own Indy Roadster. The car would be sponsored by long-time open-wheel team owner Al Dean, owner of moving company Dean Van Lines. His race cars were dubbed “Dean Van Lines Specials” and driven by some pretty big names, including A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti.

This car was similar to the dominating Watsons of the era, but had some slight differences. It featured a 4.1-liter (252ci) Offenhauser inline-four mounted ahead of the driver. This car went out and won the pole for the 1960 Indy 500 in its first try. Its competition history includes:

  • 1960 Indianapolis 500 – 21st, DNF (with Eddie Sachs)
  • 1961 Indianapolis 500 – 2nd (with Sachs)
  • 1962 Indianapolis 500 – 3rd (with Sachs)
  • 1963 Indianapolis 500 – 8th (with Chuck Hulse)

That’s a pretty impressive Brickyard resume, especially considering it won the pole in ’61 as well. After 1963, the car remained in the Midwest, where it was modified into a super modified. It wasn’t until nearly 1980 that a future owner realized what the car actually was and set out to restore it. The engine is now a 4.4-liter (270ci) Offy.

This car has participated in many shows and events and has had two long-term owners since 1982. The auction catalog lists this as a “1961” – it was apparently restored to its 1961 spec. Anyway, you can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $500,000.