10 coolest cars on sale at Bonhams|Cars' Amelia Island auction

27th February 2024
Russell Campbell

With Bonhams|Cars' star-studded Amelia Island auction set to kick off on 29th February, we delve into the catalogue to find some of the show's highlights. Here, you'll find everything from auction headliners to vintage titans to the very best the modern hypercar world has to offer. But we also look at the lower end of the listings because even those of us on a modest budget can have fun at Florida's premier motoring auction. Here is our pick of the coolest cars available. 


10. 1978 Porsche 928

Valued at $40,000-$50,000

Lot 6, a Porsche 928, is an excellent example of why you don't need to spend mega bucks (relatively speaking) to sample the fun of Bonhams' Amelia Island Auction. Originally intended to replace the 911, the 928 failed in that task, but it was an excellent GT with V8 power and a balanced chassis courtesy of its five-speed transaxle – winning it a famous Car of the Year award in 1978. The 928 is the only sportscar to achieve this.

This particular car – a basic 928 from 1978 – wins its place here based on presentation rather than specification. Finished in Oak Green with tan brown Pasha upholstery and the simple lines of an early car, it looks splendid enough for us not to care that it's not a more powerful later model. It also benefits from a recent restoration, which should protect you from big bills. Interest in 928s is growing, and this would be an ideal way to find out what you're missing out on.


9. 1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ

Valued at $350,000-$400,000

If you're going to entrust anyone with building a beautiful car, it would be the Italians, and this Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ with a body from Zagato doesn't disappoint. With a purity of design that makes a classic Porsche 911 look frumpy, the Sprint Zagato is prise-your-jaw-from-the-floor gorgeous, and it should go well, too, with Twin Weber-fed DOHC four-cylinder and a lightweight aluminium body.

One of 100 cars made, this example was delivered in grey and has a documented competition history from 1961 to 1980 before the car joined a private collection in 1984. It didn't re-emerge until 2020, and around then, it was recommissioned with the car displaying a "light yet consistent" patina. There can't be many better-looking ways to go historic racing.


8. 2004 Porsche Carrera GT

Valued at $1,425,000 - $1,550,000

The Porsche Carrera GT is an analogue two-finger salute to the current crop of electronics-laden hypercars that can make anyone look and feel like a driving god. By contrast, the GT was famed for its spiky delivery and V10 wail; it was a hard car to master but one that was infinitely rewarding if you could. Modern tyres take some of the edge of the GT's bite but it's still no push over.

Bill Neukom of San Francisco Giants fame previously owned this particular example. It's covered less than 5,000 miles in its near-two-decade existence. Its meticulous history includes everything from maintenance records to the original invitation to the car's 2003 Geneva Motor Show launch. Reassuringly, the silicon-carbide clutch – a £30,000 part – is said to be in rude health.


7. 1993 GMC Typhoon

Valued at $25,000 - $40,000

The GMC Typhoon is another interesting Amelia Island star that can be yours without laying down top dollar. Why interesting? Because the Typhoon – not the Porsche Cayenne that's often credited – laid the foundations for sporty SUVs that can turn their hand to family duties that would have an actual sportscar running for the hills. There's plenty for sportscars to fear, like the Typhoon's 5.3 seconds 0-62mph time courtesy of four-wheel drive and a turbocharged V6.

This car's covered less than 25,000 miles from new and looks the business in its Apple Red paint and suggestively muscular body kit. Lacquer peel and an interior showing wear bring this lot's value into the range of mere mortals and carrying no reserve, you could snap up a usable piece of motoring history for the price of a mid-spec Volkswagen Golf.


6. 2002 Ferrari 575M Maranello

Valued at $400,000 - $500,000

The spiritual successor to the legendary Daytona, the Ferrari 575M Maranello comes from a sweet spot in Ferrari's history where modern reliability met a naturally aspirated V12 mated to a gated, six-speed manual gearbox, something just 246 owners (of 2,056 cars sold) chose to do with, the majority instead going for the auto.

Naturally, this example is one of those manual cars, offering 200mph performance and perfectly balanced handling from its six-speed transaxle. Finished in Grigio Titanio Metallizzato over a Grigo Scuro interior (so grey on grey), a half-million dollar Ferrari has never looked so subtle, and the car's covered less than 15,000 miles. Once the bargain of the century, buyers are growing wise to the 575's charms, and its Daytona lineage and manual gearbox surely mean values can only go one way.


5. 1959 Lister-Chevrolet Costin

Valued at $800,000 - $1,000,000

The Lister-Chevrolet Costin comes from an era when lightweight British sportscars fitted with beefy American V8s dominated road racing at the International Championship level. But the 'Costin' went one step further with a body shaped by De Havilland aerodynamicist Frank Costin; it was designed to offer the stability of a D-Type without resorting to using the Jaguar's drag-inducing tail fin. 

A 5.3-litre Chevrolet V8 powers this car, chassis BHL 121, which was built as a prototype and came with a unique nose needed to cool its colossal motor. The car has been campaigned for most of its life, including at the Revival in 2015 and 2016, and is due to receive full FIA approval. It's an ideal choice for anyone who'd find a 'standard' Lister Knobbly just a little too obvious. 


4. 1929 Bentley Speed Six Le Mans Replica Tourer

Valued at $900,000 – $1,200,000

You won't find a car that makes a bigger statement at a historic race event than a Le Mans Speed Six Bentley of a type that won the 24-hour event in 1929 and 1930 and was reputedly W O Bentley's personal favourite. Bentley's 6½-litre Speed Six was originally conceived to deal with the ever-heavier bodies customers were fitting to their 3.0-litre cars.

This car was built new as a saloon before being converted to a two-seater after WW2 and migrating to North America; only later in its life would the car be turned into the Le Mans body you see here. The car has been owned by its current keeper since 1998 and has been well cared for, being easy to start, run, and drive. A little (or is that a large) piece of history, the Bentley is also an ideal choice for touring events.


3. 1932 Stutz DV-32 Four Passenger Speedster

Valued at $650,000-$800,000

Many consider Stutz the first builder of pure American sports cars, and the DV-32's twin-cam engine was supposed to be pioneering at the time. A low chassis, four-speed gearbox, and worm axles were enough for a privately entered Stutz to lead much of the 1928 Le Mans 24 Hours, losing to a Bentley in the final lap after its top gear gave up the ghost. It would be an American machine's best performance at Le Mans until the Ford GT40 wiped the floor with its European rivals 40 years later.

The car offered here is one of just two Speedsters built in 1932 and was exhibited at that year's New York Motor Show. It's also believed to feature in much of the company's marketing literature from that time. The car passed through just three owners and has been subject to two restorations, the last of which was 14 years in the making. The Four Passenger Speedster is hard to beat as a Pebble Beach show car or to be driven and enjoyed.


2. Reconstructed 1904 Gordon Bennett Napier L48 "Samson" Racing Car

Valued at $900,000-$1,000,000

Just as Hennessey hopes to crack the 300mph barrier now, more than a century ago, the 15-litre Gordon Bennett Napier L48 "Samson" Racing Car was chasing its own figure, charging into the record books with a 130mph maximum velocity at Brooklands high-speed test track in 1908. Exhausted by such exploits and deemed too dangerous for more record attempts, the car was scrapped, and its second engine, like the first, dropped into a speedboat.

When the first engine was rediscovered, plans to bring the Samson back to life were brought into action based on detailed records held by Napier. The rebuilt engine was fired up for the first time in 1982, and the new car was built around it. The car has won numerous accolades and is an ideal choice for anyone looking for a car to compete at Concurs events like Pebble Beach.


1. Honda NSX-R GT by Spoon

Valued at $240,000-$280,000

The Honda NSX is famed for being the car that showed Japan could take on – and beat – the best Europe had to offer by building a car that not only outperformed the competition but was also a more accessible car to live with cast-iron reliability and light controls perfect for everyday use.

However, this particular NSX is even more special than most. An NSX-R purpose-built for its owner by legendary Japanese tuner Spoon that, with the help of a long list of parts from its tuning catalogue, brought power up by more than 50 per cent and dropped the weight to just 980kg courtesy of lightweight carbon-fibre body panels. Fully race-prepped in Spoon's blue and yellow livery, it's an exciting and highly accomplished alternative to a European racing car.

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