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Is this the world’s best auction?

  1. Fair warning: over the next few pages you are likely to lose the power of speech/drool uncontrollably onto your keyboard/place a monetary value on family members. This is because Bonhams is hosting quite possibly the greatest car auction… in the world.

    Now, we know we’ve declared a few times in the past that a particular auction might be the greatest in the history of the world. But really, this one probably will be. Not least because it could contain the future Most Expensive Car On The Planet.

    See, last month, Bonhams revealed details of a particular car that would appear at this event, held in California this week. That car was a Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta, and it’s likely to become the most expensive car ever sold at auction.

    Experts reckon that this 1962 Ferrari could fetch as much as £35 million, far eclipsing the Mercedes W196 sold last year.

    Which of course, piqued our interest. So we went digging around the other cars Bonhams has corralled together for its Quail auction. There are many, many good things included within, which made it a problem for us highlighting the very best.

    But here, we have attempted to do such a thing. Click through. Prepare to want all of it.

  2. 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

    So this is the Big One, the One Car To Rule Them All. Chassis 3851 was the 19th 250 GTO to come out of Maranello, finishing second in the 1962 Tour de France Automobile, before crashing at Montlhery, France, later on.

    It was thrashed around local hillclimb events in Italy - thanks, 3.0-litre, 300bhp V12! - before moving into Fabrizio Violati’s ownership in 1965, where it stayed for 45 years.

    “I only drove it at night so no one could see me,” he later recalled.

  3. 1953 Ferrari 250 MM Berlinetta

    This beauty was the 17th of 31 Ferrari 250 MMs to be built, and features a 3.0-litre V12 with 237bhp. 0-60mph? 5.1 seconds, so more than quick enough for the 1950s. Not too shabby today, either.

    Racer Bill Devin was the first owner, who later passed this MM to 1961 F1 world champion Phil Hill, before bought by William Lester. It was shipped over to California, but as it was being lowered from the forklift, the car’s base pallet shifted an inch from the floor, and the MM rolled off and crunched nose first into the concrete. Ouch.

    Damage was superficial and repaired, after which this MM passed through owners in Texas, Turin, Holland, and back to Rome in the care of Fabrizio Violati (yep, the same Fab’ who bought the other 250 GTO).

    It’s expected to sell for up to £7.2 million.

  4. 1958 Porsche 356A

    Easily one of the coolest Porsches around, this lovely little 356 is fitted with a 1970 912 block, crank, main and rod bearings. It’s been blueprinted and balanced, gets twin solex carbs, 1967 Porsche 911 rear suspension, Bilstein high performance gas shocks and a five-speed 911 gearbox with custom linkage.

    What does it mean? This little beaut produces 125bhp and will go from 0-60mph in 8.8 seconds. Aww. Could make around £100,000. A bargain.

  5. 1959 Fiat Jolly

    Here’s a 500 variant we can get on board with, a slice of Italian happiness dubbed the ‘joker of the beach’. It’s based on the 500’s unitary body, independent suspension and a rear-mounted, a 479cc air-cooled twin engine.

    It’s offered without reserve, and is expected to sell for £50k. Buy it, move to California, become the world’s happiest beach taxi.

  6. 1963 Rolls Royce Phantom V Touring Limo (as owned by Elvis Presley)

    Now this is a Rolls. A proper, 6.2-litre V8 engined lump of the 1960s that was once owned by Elvis Presley himself. And it’s easy to see why: it measured over 20 feet in length, with an interior larger than many English counties. More than enough for The King, even in his later years.

    El Pres bought the Phant new, had it shipped from Blighty to Bel Air, and then in 1968 gifted it to charity where it was later auctioned. This Roller then went into hiding, before surfacing at an Elvis auction in London, after which it was fully restored. The price? Anywhere between £120,000 and £180,000. Much cheaper than a new Phantom.

  7. 1969 Maserati Ghibli Spider

    Remember when the Ghibli wasn’t a four-door diesel saloon, but a 4.7-litre V8-engined Spider? Yes folks, this was the 1969 Ghibli, named of course, after a hot African wind, and a car that uses an engine that descends from the FIA world championship contender 450S sports racer. 335bhp, since you asked.

    As such, this engine was capable of propelling the Ghibli from 0-60mph in seven seconds and up to 170mph. In this Graphite Metallic colour, it’s also quite cool. Predicted to fetch between £420,000 and £540,000.

  8. 1970 Porsche 908/03 Spyder

    God bless the 1970s. It’s when this 908 was born, featuring a 3.0-litre flat-eight engine with 370bhp, independent suspension, an ultra-lightweight body and Batmobile curves. How lightweight? Think just 500kg. Caterham 160 weight.

    The 908s managed a 1-2-3 finish at 1971’s 1,000km endurance race at the Nürburgring, giving them pedigree. This was just one of 13 ever built, and one of five assigned as test and development cars at Weissach. Though it features a remade body (just one of the 908/03s has the original body panels) it’s been kept meticulously period, and is expected to go for between £1.1 and £1.4 million.

  9. 1993 Ferrari F40 LM

    What do we need to tell you about the Ferrari F40 you don’t already know? This LM features a 700bhp, 3.0-litre twin-turbo V8, a five-speed gearbox, and is biblically desirable. It’s also the 18th of just 19 LMs ever built, and is therefore one of the rarest Ferraris in existence.

    Your price, should you choose to accept it, is between £1.3 million and £1.6 million.

  10. 1974 Porsche 911 RSR

    Here’s a proper racing veteran: this 911 RSR raced at Mexico, Mid-Ohio, Mid-America, Sebring, Daytona, and Laguna Seca. OK, so it might not have ever won anything, but whatever, it’s more athletic than most. Also, it looks excellent.

    Underneath sits that lovely 3.0-litre flat-six engine developing some 330bhp. Is expected to sell for between £660,000 and £830,000.

  11. 1938 Bugatti Type 57 Stelvio

    Here’s a proper Bugatti (sorry Veyron), built under Ettore himself and offering up a whopping 3,257cc of French excellence. This Stelvio Cabriolet has been in the custody of just a handful of keepers through the last six and a half decades, selling first in London.

    The engine has been upgraded to the supercharged 57C spec, and has been carefully restored as you would expect. It’s reckoned on selling for up to £770,000. Not quite the heady speed of the Veyron Supersport, but a bit cheaper. And even rarer.

  12. 1937 BMW 328 Roadster

    BMW’s association with the ‘328’ nomenclature can be directly traced to this car. In the hands of Ernst Henne, this 328 beat 1.5-litre single seaters at the Nürburgring in 1936, establishing BMW as a purveyor of sporting machinery.

    It had a stiff, light tubular chassis, soft springs, hydraulic brakes and a 2.0-litre straight six with 80bhp. It’s been restored in the UK, is eligible for the Mille Miglia and is expected to go for up to £720,000.

  13. 2005 Ford GT

    OK, so it’s a straight up Ford GT. No bad thing, more so considering it has covered less than 900 miles from new, and gets that lovely 5.4-litre supercharged V8.

    Which means 550bhp, 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 205mph. It’s also one of JC’s favourite cars. An estimate between £130,000 and £160,000 sounds fair to us.

  14. 1954 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing

    No auction would be complete without an example of, quite simply, the coolest Mercedes in history. This 300SL Gullwing was owned new by singer Pat Boone, boasts just two custodians in its long history, features a 3.0-litre straight six with 240bhp, and of course, the best doors ever.

    And how about this? The proceeds of this sale - expected to be between £540,000 and £770,000 - will benefit homeless children in Oregon. Do it for the kids!

  15. 1978 Ferrari 312 T3 F1 car

    In the hands of Carlos Reutemann, this car won the 1978 British Grand Prix and finished 3rd at that year’s Belgian GP. In the hands of Gilles Villeneuve, it also won the 1978 Race of Champions.

    This 312 needs some work to race again, mind, as it’s offered ‘as seen’ and is said to require ‘expert assessment’ before running. Still, you get a lovely 3.0-litre flat-twelve engine developing over 500bhp. That alone should justify the £1.2 million expected price tag.

  16. 1967 Titan MK III Formula B

    This one’s only expected to go for around £21,000, which is why it merits inclusion. The Titan looks cool, was raced in Formula C and Formula B, features a 1.6-litre Lotus-Ford four-cylinder engine and produces 90bhp. Perfect for your first foray into retro-themed open-wheeled racing.

    Which one would you take home? Yeah, it’s the 250 GTO, innit?

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