GRR

This Ferrari 250 Europa just sold for $2million

22nd August 2022
Bob Murray

The two mega-money stars of Bonhams’ Quail auction in Monterey at the weekend might have proved too rich for even the world’s top car collectors, but plenty of cars did sell with eight cars breaching the million-dollar mark. 

They include some wonderful machines and real rarities in unbelievable condition – there’s no such thing as an over-restored car in southern California after all. What follows are the top ten, and they make quite a list.

Remember, though, if you have a spare few mill lying around you can still pick up a 1963 Jaguar E-type Lightweight (one of just a dozen made in period and an ex-Briggs Cunningham team car that ran at Le Mans in 1963) or for those with more classical tastes, a 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante, among the most coveted and best performing of all prewar Bugattis. They are still looking for new homes…

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1955 Ferrari 250 Europa GT

Sold for $2,095,000

A Ferrari was Bonhams’ top-priced car, no surprise since there are few places on the planet where a classic Ferrari is more highly-prized and sought-after than Monterey, California. Prancing Horse models generally dominate the Monterey Car Week auctions and this year was no exception.

The car Bonhams sold was the last 250 Europa ever built, a GT spec car that went from factory to the Ferrari stand at the Brussels Motor show in 1956. More fast tourer than racer – it’s often said the 250 Europa is the daddy of all Ferrari GTs – this example did nevertheless race at Spa in period.

Bonhams had hoped it would sell for $2.25m or more. It didn’t quite make that but, with the premium, still went for over $2m.

Photography by Pete Summers
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1969 Lamborghini Miura P400 S

Sold for $1,957,500

Not far behind the Ferrari was the car built to take on Maranello’s finest: a Lamborghini Miura. A spectacular example of the era-defining ‘60s supercar in its Verde Miura paint, the Bonhams’ car beat its guide price of $1.75m, showing just what lengths collectors will go to to bag one of these 170mph beauties.

As well as being one of the favoured S models with 350PS (261kW) at 7000rpm from the four-cam V12, the car in the sale was said to have covered just 22,336 miles from new.

Images courtesy of Bonhams
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1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

Sold for $1,737,500

Bonhams reckons this Gullwing is among the finest it has ever sold, and given this ultimate ‘50s supercar has enjoyed single family ownership from new and covered just 21,858 miles you’d better believe it. It is magnificent, right down to its original Rudge wheels, huge ivory-coloured steering wheel and Becker Mexico radio. 

It’s resplendent in red with a tan leather interior under those iconic gullwing doors. It wasn’t always like this: it was subjected to a factory-correct restoration by Mercedes specialists in the 1990s. All the better then to enjoy the fuel-injected 3.0-litre straight-six delivering 240PS (179kW), and all-round independent suspension and hydraulic (drum) brakes. The New York shipping magnate first owner used it as a daily driver!

Images courtesy of Bonhams
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1995 Porsche 911 GT2

Sold for $1,545,000

A GT2 of the 993 generation that has been driven less than 3,100 miles from new by its sole owner. Is it any surprise that someone paid $1.5m (about £1.2m) for this top performing Porsche 911?

Only 57 examples of this ultimate performance last hurrah to the air-cooled engine were made, built to homologate the GT2 racers which did so well in IMSA racing thanks to drivers like Hans Stuck and Derek Bell. For one of the road cars to pop up as a one-owner car with such a low mileage is exceptional.

And the car itself? Pretty exceptional too: a massive 300kg lighter than the 911 Turbo of the day thanks to rear-drive only and alloy bodywork, it also boasts lots of downforce and a twin turbo version of the 3.6-litre flat six putting out 430PS (320kW) for 0-100mph in just 7.2 seconds. In 1995 only a McLaren F1 was quicker.

Photography by Pete Summers
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1931 Stutz DV-32 Convertible Victoria

Sold for $1,435,000

The top lots weren’t all about Europe – in third spot was an American car: a 1930s Stutz so ridiculously pampered it is said to be the most awarded American classic car of modern times.

Straight-eight powered and with an eye-catching one-off body by LeBaron, it was bought new by an Argentinian boxer before returning to the US and the sort of nut and bolt restoration that would see it become a real queen of the concours lawn.

Images courtesy of Bonhams
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1926 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost

Sold for $1,325,000

There was such demand from well-heeled American customers for the Silver Ghost that Rolls-Royce set up an assembly plant in Springfield, Massachusetts. In ten years of operation from 1921, 2,944 cars were manufactured and the car you see here is one of them, a real “Springfield Ghost”.

Recently restored and from a major American collection, the Ghost chassis features a Piccadilly roadster body, one of only 79 produced for the Silver Ghost under the Rolls-Royce Custom Coach Work label. The car has had quite an eventful life: at one stage it was known as the “Lucky Dog” for the number of times it evaded the scrapyard.

There is no fear of that now. It has been returned to its original configuration with original chassis, engine, and body. All set to pick up prizes on the concours lawns of America? You betcha.

Photography by Pete Summers
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1951 Ferrari 212 Inter

Sold for $1,215,000

Is this a pretty Ferrari or what? Like any 212 it boasts a Colombo-designed V12, tube chassis, leaf springs, live rear axle and drum brakes, all very definitely race-proven. Where this particular car diverges is in its elegant fastback body. It’s by Ghia and sits on the longer-wheelbase Inter chassis.

212s for private owners were bodied by lots of coachbuilders in a big variety of styles (including Pininfarina’s first Ferrari). This is one of just six coupes coachbuilt by Carrozzeria Ghia with a lightweight all-aluminium body. It must have wowed the crowds at the Turin Motor Show where it took pride of place on the Ghia stand in 1952.

Images courtesy of Bonhams
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1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL

Sold for $1,039,000

It’s not only Gullwings that are million-dollar cars these days: its 300SL roadster counterpart is a seven-digit machine as well. Just as race-proven as the coupe but with altered spaceframe to allow for conventional doors and a convertible top, the SL roadster was a sportscar revelation in the 1950s, accelerating 0-60mph in 7.4 seconds and hitting 140mph flat out.

This Fire Engine Red SL was sold after being in the same single-family ownership for 36 years. An earlier owner was US sportscar champion Bob Akin.

Images courtesy of Bonhams
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1965 Lamborghini 350 GT

Sold for $742,000

Before the Lambo Miura was the 350 GT, a very different proposition from the mid-engined marvel that was to come. But it was still a potent machine with the ability to fulfil Ferruccio Lamborghini’s desire to see his nemesis in Maranello well and truly upstaged.

Designed by Touring after a prototype by Scaglione, the two-seat 350 GT debuted at the 1964 Geneva Motor Show where its cost-no-object engineering were immediately evident in its 3.5-litre, four-cam V12 designed by ex-Ferrari engineer Giotto Bizzarrini and chassis and all-independent suspension conceived by ex-Ferrari and Maserati man Gianpaolo Dallara. It was refined and 150mph fast and, at its launch, Ferrari had nothing like it.

As one of the first-of-the-line 350 GTs in its purest form, fully restored and all matching numbers, the car in the sale is the ”Holy Grail” for Lamborghini collectors, says Bonhams. So it proved at the weekend when it sold for three quarters of a million bucks.

Images courtesy of Bonhams
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1938 Talbot-Lago T150 C 'Lago Spéciale' cabriolet

Sold for $665,000

Aside from Bugatti, the T150 C was one of the quickest and best handling sportscars money could buy in the years before the Second World War when Talbot-Lago really hits its stride. With a new lightweight chassis and 4.0-litre straight-six putting out 170PS (127kW) through a four-speed pre-selector gearbox, it was a dream to drive.

Maybe, but Talbot-Lagos are surely just as renowned for their elegant Parisienne coachwork and this one is no different. The cabriolet’s coachbuilt body bears the plaque of its maker: Figoni. That makes it not just trés elegant but also rare, especially since this is a second series model with sleek grille. All up, only 51 T150 Cs were ever made.

  • Bonhams

  • Quail Lodge Auction

  • Ferrari

  • 250 Europa GT

  • Lamborghini

  • Miura

  • 350 GT

  • Mercedes

  • 300 SL

  • Porsche

  • 911

  • GT2

  • Stutz

  • DV-32

  • Rolls-Royce

  • Silver Ghost

  • 212 Inter

  • Talbot-Lago

  • T150 C

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