FEB 21st 2014

Amelia Island preview

The next big international auction event will be held on Amelia Island in Florida on the 7-8 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 percent 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.

Porsche has several eyebrow-raising cars on Gooding’s list of lots. Normally you might expect a matching-numbers 1959 718 RSK ($3.25m to $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 to $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 to $1.1m) and an equally sought-after 1988 959 Sport ($900,000 to $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…

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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 to $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 to $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 to $1.25m and $1.6m to $2m) and – if al fresco motoring isn’t your thing – a 300 Gullwing ($850,000 to $1m). Oh, and did we mention that there’s a ‘flat-floor’ E-Type ($160,000 to $180,000) with no reserve too? Oh to be on a small island off the coast of Florida in early March!

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