Max Girardo

The first North American auctions of 2019 took place in Arizona recently. The sale weekend featured the top three classic car auction houses in the world making their way back to the south-western United States, with more than 400 cars on offer (not counting the American auction houses). Bonhams kicked it off on January 17, followed by RM Sotheby’s sale on Jan 17-18, while Gooding & Co closed the weekend on Jan 18–19.

The headliner cars from each sale were as follows: the 1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Series I Spider from Bonhams (estimate upon request). A fantastic-looking four-cylinder Ferrari that was owned by Porfirio Rubirosa and raced by Phil Hill and Richie Ginther. Ferrari Classiche restored it and fitted it with a replacement engine. It’s been seen for sale before. Comparatively, the very special split-sump Miura SV hadn’t been seen on the market in over 45 years, as it had been in single ownership since 1973.

The cover car for RM Sotheby’s was a 1957 Ferrari 250 GT Coupé with one-off coachwork by Pininfarina (estimate: $11–13 million). In contrast, the Ferrari Daytona Spider had a more attractive estimate ($2.2–2.3 million).

And last, but certainly not least, was a 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB Prototype from Gooding & Company (estimated at $6–8 million) – a big estimate for a 275, especially when compared to the Ferrari 250 SWB (estimate: $6–8 million) that was in the same sale. I can honestly say that I was more tempted by the 275 GTB Prototype than the normal Ferrari 250 SWB Berlinetta… if you can even call an SWB ‘normal’.

The first European auctions of 2019 will take place in Paris at the beginning of February. Traditionally held during the must-attend Rétromobile week, RM Sotheby’s and Bonhams will set up shop in Place Vauban and the Grand Palais, respectively, to go up against Parisian company Artcurial on its home turf. The cars to watch from each sale are: a 1987 Ferrari F40 LM from RM Sotheby’s (estimate: €4.5–5.5 million), a 1957 BMW 507 3.2-litre Series I roadster with hardtop from Bonhams (estimate: €1.8–2.2 million), and a 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta from Artcurial (estimate: €16–22 million), which will most definitely be queen of the show with such impeccable history (below).

Based purely on the headline cars, I would say the European firms may be a notch ahead of their American rivals.

Max’s top three auction picks

Max Girardo is the founder of classic car specialist Girardo & Co. Before that he spent 20 years in the classic car auction world, where he was the managing director and head auctioneer at RM Sotheby’s

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