FEB 21st 2014

Amelia Island Preview, Part one...

The next big international auction event will be held on Amelia Island in Florida on the 7th – 8th March. Although strictly speaking it ranks behind the Scottsdale and Pebble Beach events in terms of overall size, last year Gooding & Co alone grossed $28m in sales and sold an impressive 96% of their lots. Consider that RM auctions achieved a similar level of business at the event and you get an impression of how significant Amelia Island has become.

As with many concours/auction events there is more than one auction house offering their wares, and the intention here was to do a general run-down of both Gooding & Co and RM Auctions’ lots, but there is just too much good stuff to cram onto one page. So we’ll cover them one at a time; Gooding & Co first…

Porsche has several eyebrow-raising cars on Gooding’s list of lots. Normally you might expect a matching-numbers 1959 718 RSK ($3.25m – $3.75m) to have no rivals as far as being the big-ticket item, but this year it’ll probably have to settle for second best behind a very special 907 Longtail ($3.5m – $5m) which is dripping with provenance – including being the first Porsche ever to win a 24 hour endurance race. Not a bad boast when you consider what Porsche went on to achieve in endurance racing.

In terms of Porsches you can use on the road there’s a gorgeous and highly sought-after 1973 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Lightweight ($900,000 – $1.1m) and an equally sought-after 1988 959 Sport ($900,000 – $1.2m). With a good number of replica 2.7s out there I might go for the 959, or at least I would if I’d paid more attention at school…

Despite the high estimates for the two racing Porsches, bragging rights for the highest price paid may have to go to Italy in the form of a 1955 Ferrari 250 Europa GT. Aside from being very rare (one of 43 built) it enjoys the magical and hugely valuable factors of originality, low mileage, and having been in the ownership of the same family for 45 years. There will be an almighty fight for this car.

Staying with Italy there’s a stunning Series 2 Iso Grifo ($300,000 – $400,000). It has the less-desirable Ford V8, but as such it is one of the last made after Iso’s agreement with Ford to supply the power for its F1 concern meant a move away from the popular Chevrolet motors. Somewhat less-powerful, but even more sought-after is a gorgeous Lancia Aurelia B24 S ‘Spider America’ ($1.25m – $1.55m). It is a restored car, but it has the benefit of having been in the same hands for over 40 years. Gooding’s description of it as being ‘the most desirable road-going Lancia Sports car’ is not at all wide of the mark.

We couldn’t possibly sign-off without mentioning the inclusion of not one, but two Mercedes Benz 300 SL Roadsters ($1m – $1.25m and $1.6m – $2m) and – if al fresco motoring isn’t your thing – a 300 Gullwing ($850,000 – $1m). Oh, and did we mention that there’s a ‘flat-floor’ E-Type ($160,000 – $180,000) with no reserve too?

Oh to be on a small island off the coast of Florida in early March! Sit tight for part two to see what RM Auctions has to offer.

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