Italian heart, French dressing

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Pebble Beach will reverberate to the sound of a multi-million pound competition car line-up

August means just one thing in classic car circles – that it’s time for the Pebble Beach Concours. Attracting both the best automobiles and the wealthiest collectors from around the world, it offers just the sort of captive audience that the major auctioneers like to court, as a result of which sales will be staged in and around the Monterey area by no fewer than six houses, including Mecum, Worldwide, Bonhams, Russo and Steele and RM Sotheby’s.

But the ‘official’ Pebble Beach auction is traditionally held by Gooding and Co and is the only one to take place within the celebrated ‘17-mile drive’ of the exclusive, gated community.

Among the star lots this year is a 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial (above) that’s unusual in being presented in the same racing blue in which it started life, having originally been sold to French privateer François Picard.

After changing hands later in 1955, the car was sold back to the factory in the same year and then sent to compete in the inaugural Venezuelan Grand Prix where it came first in class with Eugenio Castellotti at the wheel – making it the only Ferrari ever to have competed as an official team car in anything but the marque’s famous red livery.

Its current owner, retired Navy admiral Robert Phillips, bought the Mondial 58 years ago for $2,225 and spent nine months rebuilding it, since when he has driven it regularly on the road and raced it on numerous occasions. It’s now tipped to fetch $5.5-7.5m

Gooding will also sell a 1975 Gulf-Mirage GR8, the second car built and a third place finisher at that year’s Le Mans driven by Jean-Pierre Jaussaud and Vern Schuppan. It finished second the following two years in succession before being renamed the Mirage M9 in ’79, when it competed at LeMans and finished 10th, returning again in 1980 as the Mirage M10 (when it retired with mechanical problems) with a Cosworth engine and a long-tail body.

It subsequently became part of the Rosso Bianco museum collection and will be offered in its original GR8 configuration by Gooding and Co with a pre-sale estimate of $2.5-3.5m.

At its Monterey Conference Centre venue, meanwhile, RM Sotheby’s will attempt to sell a 1956 Maserati A6G/2000 that appeared as the factory demonstrator in that year’s Mille Miglia. One of just 21 examples with streamlined Zagato alloy bodywork, it was subjected to an $800,000 restoration several years ago but, unusually, retains its original engine and gearbox. With a first-in-class at the 2015 Villa d’Este and a second at Pebble Beach, it will cross the block with an estimate of $4.2-5.2m.

Details of all the auctions taking place around the Pebble Beach Concours, including dates, times and venues, can be found in next month’s issue of Motor Sport.

For a full list of upcoming auction dates go to www.motorsportmagazine.com/news/auctions


Three auction lots worth watching

Artcurial

July 7. Le Mans, France

Most auctioneers would be pleased to discover one Mercedes-Benz 300SL – but Artcurial has found two in the same garage, where they had been for 50 years. The Gullwing and Roadster belonged to eccentric Swedish collector Gunnar Giermark and have clocked just 63,000km and 1380km respectively. They could realise €3.5m between them.

H & H Classic

July 18. H&H, Buxton, UK

Fancy the Porsche 550 look but not the $5m price tag? This 718 RSK ‘evocation’ could be the answer. Running a 1600cc, twin carburettor engine and weighing about as much as one of James Dean’s sneakers, it offers all of the fun (well, some of it) for a fraction of the price at an estimated £15,000-18,000.

Bonhams

October 14. Stafford, UK

Bonhams’ regular autumn motorcycle sale will include a 1933 Brough Superior SS100, on which a female owner passed her motorcycle test before using it for the daily cross-London commute to her job as a teacher. The bike has remained in her family for more than 50 years and could fetch up to £180,000.

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