1961 Scarab

1961 Scarab Formula Libre

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 13-14, 2021

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

It requires a lot of money to successfully to take on the establishment in the world of auto racing. And even then success is not guaranteed. In the case of the Scarab, there was certainly money behind the effort. Lance Reventlow was the sole heir to the Woolworth fortune.

Venice, California, was home to Reventlow Automobiles Incorporated, builder of the Scarabs. There were both Scarab sports cars and open-wheel cars, including one that raced at the 1960 Formula One U.S. Grand Prix. Since that didn’t go so well, and because new rules came about in 1961, Reventlow decided to focus his efforts to less restrictive forms of open wheel racing.

This car was fabricated by Phil Remington based on a design by Eddie Miller, nephew of Harry Miller. It was fitted with a Buick/Oldsmobile 3.0-liter V8 breathing through four Weber carburetors for an output of about 300 horsepower. It took aim squarely at the new Intercontinental Formula rules.

But then the rules changed again, and this car was ineligible. Instead, this Scarab entered a 1962 Formula Libre race in Australia. With driver Chuck Daigh, the car finished fourth after drivers Jack Brabham, John Surtees, and Bruce McLaren – and ahead of Stirling Moss.

It was restored in 1997 and has since participated at both the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Hillclimb. You can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $196,000.

Ferrari 250 GT Lusso

1963 Ferrari 250 GT/L Lusso

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Milan, Italy | June 15, 2021

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

I’ve been wanting to feature one of these for years, but I’ve been holding out for the perfect color. I’m still looking for that last bit, but I thought it was time, regardless. Silver looks good here. At least it’s not red. The 250 GT/L (or Lusso, for “luxury”) was the last hurrah for Ferrari’s 250 line, which dated back to 1952. The Lusso was sold between 1962 and 1964.

The body is by Scaglietti, and it’s aggressive, beautiful, and really just the best classic Ferrari shape. It’s the best “classic” Ferrari coupe there is, period. Power is from a 3.0-liter Colombo V12 making approximately 240 horsepower. Top speed was 150 mph.

This is the 65th of 350 produced, and it’s got Ferrari Classiche certification. The restoration was completed 11 years ago. I was once walking through London near Lord’s Cricket Ground and I heard a distant rumble. I stopped. I turned. And a marron Lusso buzzed past. It was amazing. These are incredible cars, and the price reflects it: the estimate here is $1,985,000-$2,550,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Franklin Airman

1932 Franklin Airman Sedan

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Auburn, Indiana | September 3-5, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Franklin, whose air-cooled cars first hit the market in 1903, decided to move slightly upmarket in the early 1930s with the introduction of a V12 model. This was bad timing, as the economy had crashed, and engineering an entirely new engine was a big financial outlay, one that would not be recouped. Franklin was gone after 1934.

Another thing that happened in the early 1930s was that Franklin switched from “Model 123” nomenclature to actually giving their models names. The Airman was introduced in 1932 and was joined by the Olympic in 1933. The Airman was their only product in 1932, and it was offered in a variety of body styles. Power came from a 4.5-liter air-cooled inline-six making 100 horsepower.

Franklin was America’s most successful manufacturer of air-cooled cars, and this later model is a rarity. This car appears largely original and carries an estimate of $25,000-$30,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $18,150.