If you are in the market to start or fill-out your car collection, there is no better place in the world to be than Monterey, CA in August. The place has more high-dollar car auctions per square inch than Snooki has communicable diseases…per square inch. Yuck.
There are no less than five major auctions in competition for your dollars this year, and one of the best has to be Russo and Steele Monterey 2012 car auction. Here’s a little sampling of the unique and noteworthy vehicles they will be shuttling across the auction block come August 16th.
8. 1965 Shelby Cobra Roadster 289
The Shelby Cobra is a classic icon of automotive and motorsports history that will be celebrated for many years to come. The raw power and wicked acceleration put many modern supercars to shame. While most people think of the burly 427 Cobra when they fantasize about Carroll Shelby’s most iconic creation, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the 289 Cobra. The styling is more simple and elegant. No huge fenders, no chrome roll hoops, no massive side exhausts. This seems like a car that was meant to race Ferraris. This very original (#CSX2538) Cobra will be hitting the auction block this weekend, and will make a perfect 50th Anniversary (production started in 1962) present for some deserving Cobra lover.
7. 1962 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Coupe Sprint Speciale
The second most Italian named car on this list, the ’62 Alfa took home the Best-of-Marque award at the 2008 Concorso Italiano. You can see the design influence of Bertone designer Franco Scaglione’s BAT concept cars of the early 1950s (not the Batmobile of the 1960′s, although maybe Cat Woman would drive it?) Like all Alfa’s this particular model was guaranteed to turn heads, handle well on curvy roads and break down in the most inconvenient times. Hey, but what do you want? It’s Italian and it’s gorgeous!
6. 1964 Apollo GT 5000 Coupe – 327 CI
Now, this one is a bit of a head scratcher. If you’ve never heard of an Apollo, then don’t worry, we hadn’t either. Basically, this was the dream of three Northern California guys that convinced GM to sell them Buick Skylark rolling chassis which were outfitted with bodies in Italy by Intermeccanica. When Apollo ran out of cash, they sold several chassis directly off the boat from Italy, including this one being auctioned off, to be mechanically finished by their owners. This particular model was fitted with a 327 Chevy small block sporting three deuces. Ultimately there were only 66 vehicles produced, and this happens to be #43. If you want, this cross between a Ferrari, Jaguar E-type and Corvette can be yours if the price is right.
5. 1966 Chevrolet Corvair Coupe Yenko Stinger
This very original Corvair Yenko Stinger is a great example of the Corvair’s efforts to rise like a phoenix out of the ashes of early production problems and Ralph Nader’s car-bashing politics. About 100 of these babies were made from the GM parts bin and performance guru Don Yenko, and the result was the scourge of the SCCA racing D production class. The cool paint job, added aero elements, and upgraded performance really “manned” up this car, doing to it essentially the same thing that Shelby did for the Mustang. Too bad the Corvair lifespan was limited, or we might be all enjoying the face off of the Shelby GT500 and the Corvair ZL1!
4. 1975 Stutz Bearcat Convertible
These are the kind of unique rides we love to see at auctions. This crazy ’70s pimp-mobile is a Stutz Bearcat convertible that was built from an original mileage Stutz and bodies by D’Agostino. It’s lowered, lengthened and about as bling’d out as you could get for 1975. The interior is adorned in 24-carat gold trim, burled walnut wood surrounds and a super sweet glittery-gold steering wheel. If modern rappers where half as cool as they thought they were, they would be driving this in their videos instead of Lambos and Escalades.
3. 1954 Fiat 1000 Berlinetta Stanguellini Bertone
The winner of our “most Italian named” car is this…well, just read it above. A little Fiat that was styled at the same time as Bertone’s famous BAT 5 and shares some of the swoopy aerodynamic language. There is actually room for four adults in this little coupe and it has a massive rear hatch that encompasses most of the rear of the cars bodywork. This particular car was bought off the 1954 New York Auto show by none other than Briggs Cunningham. He gave it to his wife, but she didn’t care for it and quickly sold it. Women, huh? With excellent handling, sexy styling and supposed whisper quiet cabin with the windows down at 60 mph (thanks aerodyamics!), this sure would make one unique ride if anyone was foolish enough to actually drive it around.
2. 1967 Shelby GT500 Fastback – Red Rocker!
You practically can’t throw a stone in Monterey without hitting some kind of Shelby Mustang or Cobra. However, only one very lucky stone throw would have the chance of hitting this celebrity-owned car. If you know your late 80′s hair band history, then you know the Red Rocker in question is none other than Sammy Hagar. Mr. Hagar owned the car from 1989-2006, right in the prime of his Van Hagar years. It is not an unmolested GT500, as Sammy had a need to upgrade it with a bunch of Ford performance parts. On the dash can be read “to Sammy, thanks, your friend Carroll Shelby.” The lucky buyer of this car will also receive a signed Sammy Hagar guitar and bottle of his Cabo Wabo Tequila that Sammy “personally partied with”. Not sure what that last part means, but you can be assured that this car will not, in fact, ever drive 55.
1. 1965 Cooper Monaco CM3-64 Roadster
Cooper had a history of building race cars and formula cars starting all the way back in the late 1940′s. In the 1960′s, The Cooper Monaco was originally built to house a 4-cylinder Coventry/Climax engine in its light, strong tube frame chassis. When Americans like Hall, Penske and Shelby took notice of the car, they did what any Americans would do and decided to drop big V8s into it. Cooper Monaco’s were outfitted with Ford power, and Shelby used the platform to create his monstrous King Cobras for sports car racing. This Monaco is of the Penske variety, and is powered by a meager 600-hp Chevy 327 CI. It was contested in racing in the 1960s and actually held the track record at Whiteface Mountain in 1964. Recently, it received a nut-and-bolt restoration and was painted and outfitted based on historical photos and records of its racing previous career. If you like you race cars of the “loses traction in 4th gear” type, you could surely have a lot of white-knuckled fun with this.
Check out the rest of the cars up for auction on 8/16-18 at Russo and Steele. Photo Credit: Russo and Steele