Under the hammer

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Key highlights at classic and racing auctions from around the world 

Star Lot @ Bonhams

1965 McLaren M1B Group 7 Can-Am

{ Goodwood, June 30 }

Can-Am made McLaren. As the dominant force in the series from 1967-71, prototype racing established McLaren’s name and helped it achieve F1 success. As well as an extensive race history in the late ’60s, chassis 30-04 has led its class at every round of the Masters FIA Sports Car series it entered. One of only 28, this M1B is in show condition and still has winning potential. Estimate: £200-250,000

Barons @ Sandown Park, UK June 13

1958 Wolseley 1500 Original low-mileage car with a great deal of history. Sold: £5225

1998 Fiat 20V coupé Limited Edition Stylish front-drive 2+2. Sold: £6000

@  Sandown Park, UK July 18

1989 Porsche 964 Turbo Road-legal 520bhp racer that finished second overall in 2009 GT Cup. Estimate: £45–65,000

1938 Lagonda LG6 Elegant saloon engineered by WO Bentley. Estimate: £80-95,000

Bonhams @ Greenwich, US June 4

1962 Jaguar MKII Saloon ‘Gentleman’s Express’ upgraded to road rally and touring spec. Sold for $16,500

1939 BMW 327/328  Cabriolet Desirable pre-war convertible touring car. Sold for $220,000

1928 Packard Custom Eight Model 4-43 convertible sedan Rare Murphy coachwork; 6.3-litre straight-eight L-head motor. Sold for $126,500

@ Goodwood, UK June 30

Porsche 356A 1.7-litre rally car Extensively campaigned historic rally car, four-time competitor in the gruelling Carrera Panamericana. Estimate: £45-55,000

1933 Morgan Super Sports Roadster Estimate: £18-24,000

1960 Maserati  3500 GT Coupé Underrated car and one of only 12 right-hand-drive examples built. Estimate: £200-250,000

1990 De Tomaso Pantera GT5-S Coupé One of only a few unrestored, low-mileage examples, in a private collection for 20 years. Estimate: £140-180,000

H&H @ Woodcote Park, UK June 6

1996 Subaru Impreza WRC Chassis 001 of one of rallying’s most important cars. From the heyday of Subaru’s world rally programme, this was the marque’s primary test and development car. Sold for £230,625

1961 Alfa  Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale  Sold for £98,499

RM Sotheby’s @ Santa Monica, USA June 24

1971 Lancia  Fulvia Coupé 1.3S Mag-wheels;  Marlboro livery. Estimate: $38-45,000

1960 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster Fully restored long-distance tourer. Estimate: $1.1-1.3m

1991 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 by RWB Estimate: $95-105,000

Artcurial @ Monaco July 2

1965 OSI 1200 S Cabriolet Original and exceptionally rare Fuoreserie model, in need of some further restoration. Estimate: €35-55,000 

1991 Alfa Romeo SZ Quirky and uniquely designed V6 Alfa in almost new condition. Estimate: €70-90,000 

Dream Garage

Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint

Launching any new car is a lottery, but never more literally than Alfa Romeo’s release of the Giulietta Sprint. Following WWII, battle-scarred Alfa desperately needed to switch from hand-built supercars to an assembly line to benefit from economies of scale. It was selling the larger 1900 model, but in straitened times the firm needed a smaller car that would sell in droves. But the war-torn firm didn’t have the cash to invest in a new model, so in 1954 it contrived a share issue that included a lottery. Five hundred winners would drive away in the firm’s new sports coupé – if they were built in time. That brought in the cash, but development was slow. Soon the winners started to make a fuss. 

Almost as a sop to them, Alfa asked Bertone to proceed with building a quick run of the attractive 2+2 Franco Scaglione had drawn up, and the prototype scraped home in time for the 1954 Turin show. The public loved it. 

A free-revving 1300 twin-cam, neat handling and strong brakes plus a surprisingly affordable price tag meant orders quickly outran the interim game plan, but it launched Alfa into a new world.

That pretty shape lasted for some 11 years, but the one that Southwood has on its books is an early pre-production example with notable differences from the later assembly-line cars. “There’s debate about what constitutes a pre-production car,” says Southwood’s Kevin Rawson, “but this one shows clear differences from production cars, especially the interior. The shape of the seats is different and the dash is painted, not covered.”

Despite the limited power of a motor intended to push along family saloons – less than 70bhp until the twin-carb Veloce came along – the light structure, independent front suspension and well-located rear axle make the Sprint a pleasure to handle. It may ride on narrow rubber, but it’s a beautifully balanced package.

“I specialise in Giuliettas,” says Kevin, “and though this is the earliest I’ve had, it’s probably the best-driving. Even with 1300cc it’s very sprightly and with the ratios it has in the four-speed box it pulls well uphill.”

At some point the original column shift has been switched to the centre, but there are few other changes, says Kevin. “We replaced the 60-year-old wiring and rebuilt the ancilliaries, but that’s all.” At the model’s 50th anniversary celebration in Milan this car was displayed outside the cathedral. That must count as a blessing.

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