Ushering in the next generation of the most desirable luxury and supercars in the world has become the norm at Monterey’s car week, but it wasn’t always that way. The Pebble Beach Concours, the fireworks display at the finale of the weekend, was the celebration of decades of historic and significant vehicles, but up-and-coming events like The Quail Motorsports Gathering have shifted the focus to the new era of exotic cars.
It’s nice, then, to once again get excited about some past-generation cars. And since Monterey Car Week has approximately everything you could ever want, there is plenty to suffice that taste.
One of the easiest ways to see dozens of historically significant cars all in one place is the assortment of collector car auctions across the Peninsula throughout the week. These cars have deep histories, and are prepared to transcend even that history through potentially groundbreaking sales. The RDS brands have quite diverse stories, and the Monterey auctions will feature cars unique to each of them.
Because of Porsche’s active involvement in motorsports as well as its complementary sports cars for the road, the brand has a long list of can’t-miss museum-quality automobiles. A sample of those will be offered for public sale at the Monterey auctions. Starting with RM Sotheby’s, the auction house that blew up the scene with its “Pinnacle Portfolio” sale last year, the instant classic that was the Carrera GT will be offered for sale. In fact, two other auctions will host Carrera GTs that week as well. The spiritual successor to the Carrera GT will also shine in the limelight this year – except, not literally. A unique 918 Spyder will be offered from Mecum Auctions that is finished without paint, with simply the matte black wrap applied over the carbon fiber body of the 918 Weissach package being the exterior finish. The run of modern Porsches continues from there, with 911s such as the GT3 RS, GT3 RS 4.0, 997 Speedster and hardcore GT2 RS being offered among the Mecum and Gooding & Co. lots.
While the featured lots are flush with the latest and greatest sports cars to come from Stuttgart, Porsche’s deep history is rooted in competitive racing and subsequently the cars for the road. A combination of those classics are slated for a new chapter in their journeys via the Monterey auctions. And though some cars blur the distinction between race car and road car, the Porsche 962 leaves no doubt about the sole purpose it serves in motoring. 962 number 108C-2 is a prominent racer for the manufacturer, achieving multiple victories in 1989 including at the Daytona 24 Hour. Collector-owned since its retirement later that year, this 962 is offered through Mecum Auctions and expects $1.8-2.5 million. An earlier version of the 962 will be sent off as well, also estimated at more than $1 million. Racing alongside the 962s at Mecum will be a 911 GT2 EVO, one of 11 ever made, which is thinly disguised as a street-ready car. Rounding out the track-proven monsters will be a historic 935 racer that conquered Daytona and its class at Le Mans during its heyday.
The innovations from motorsports led to groundbreaking technology in road cars, never more so, arguably, than the Porsche 959. Not only was it at the head of the pack in its time, being the fastest car in the world, but it paved the way for so many cars in the United States. It was at the center of the Show and Display law that allows many significant cars to be present on the roads and at shows today. As a result, the 959 has ballooned in price and the two “Komfort” models are expected to fetch north of $1 million each.
Though Maserati has tenure on its side, its shifted commitment away from motorsports and toward carving its niche in luxurious exclusivity has steered its vehicles away from the competitive history that Porsche is so well-known for. Nonetheless, it has created significant cars that serve as a benchmark for competitors. None more so, arguably, than the MC12.
The MC12 was based on sister-brand Ferrari’s Enzo, yet with distinguishable bodywork that not only made it prettier, it made it faster. Its reduced drag allowed the MC12 to lap tracks quicker, which made a loud statement for the car. And with just 50 units produced, it made it highly desirable as well. RM Sotheby’s has an MC12 up for auction for a second year in a row and is expected to swap hands for well over $1 million.
But the latest benchmark hypercar, not the slight the MC12 and its decade-old standing, is the McLaren P1. It fought the likes of the Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari LaFerrari, and without a definitive way to choose a winner of the three, the P1 is still very much a choice made among enthusiasts and collectors. Two examples will see their way to new owners via the auctions, and they are both certainly ones that stand out. The most subtle of the two, if that even applies, is a McLaren Orange example with just over 1,000 miles. The car was originally delivered by McLaren Philadelphia and featured in several local events, and it’s now ready for a new enthusiast. But the orange car is a quiet example compared to chassis #002 – the first publicly-offered P1 available – which was originally finished in a custom green with matching wheels and interior carbon. Now, the car wears a bare carbon shell tinted in the same green, making one of the most exclusive P1s in the world just that much more so. The car has been featured at Pebble Beach events in previous years, while otherwise sitting in one of the most lust-worthy collections on the East Coast.
Monterey’s car week is a prime time to shake the dust off of some of those exclusive car collections, but for some, it’s like Black Friday shopping for new additions to them.
For a visual look at a selection of cars headed for auction, here is a hand-picked gallery courtesy of RM Sotheby’s, Gooding & Co., Mecum and Bonham’s.