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Modern cars in depth

Audi Quattro Sport at Bonhams

The new Group B race series that debuted in 1982 was taylor made for the Quattro and Audi dominated although the Long Wheelbase Quattro was soon outgunned by others. Audi decided to homologate the Quattro Sport with a 300mm shorter wheelbase and complex Carbon-Kevlar bodywork. To attain the homologation they needed to produce 200 examples for sale or use and these gained fame as one of the greatest VAG products of all time, baring in mind that few cars from anywhere offered more than 300bhp in ’85. Bonhams are offering an example of this rare Audi and it personifies the best and worst of the model, balancing rarity, low mileage and good condition with long term museum storage meaning it requires recommissioning before any use. While its unclear that it can even be legally registered in the USA, there are also the dual issues that few if anyone in the US will have any experience with the model and parts are unobtanium. For all that this is a rare example of an iconic 1980s Supercar and likely to increase in value over time so the $450 – 550k estimate might be just a bit high but I doubt anyone would regret giving it a go, I would only request                                                      that anyone taking a punt get a car phone and lots of pastel jackets with the sleeves rolled up.

Ferrari 312T5 at Bonhams

While not strictly a modern car the Ferrari 312T5 is post 1980 so fits into the segment and is a magnificent example of what could be readily used. The last of the normally aspirated 12 cylinder Formula 1 cars this was the final example of a series that began back in 1966. The lack of success at the start of the season meant they gave up development and began to create the turbocharged 126C that would appear early in 1981. Bonhams are offering 312-046 that was raced by Jodie Scheckter in his final Grand Prix before sale to an unnamed US owner who retained it and had it maintained by Phil Denney. While any GP car wont be easy to maintain and use these 3 litre cars are as easy as it gets and well worth a look for any collector and while Bonhams don’t offer an estimate somewhere around the high hundreds to low millions ($800k – 1.2 million) feels about right.


Ferrari 288GTO at Bonhams

Like Audi and others Ferrari began to develop a car for the new Group B championship although their challenger was intended for the circuit racing segment rather than rallying. Unlike its closest rival, the Porsche 959 which was a technological marvel, the Ferrari stuck to traditional Ferrari practice of a tubular chassis with a variant of the 308s engine, even the turbocharging had already been developed for the 208 Turbo and the 126C Grand Prix car. The new 288GTO and clothed in bodywork that was similar but more muscular than the 308GTB, this car was left out in the cold when the FIA decided to ban the Group B series although it soon gained further fame when it became the first of a series of limited edition supercars that would be launched roughly every decade. Examples have never been cheap although it was the Ferrari fever pre-2015 that saw these cars jump to $2.5 million although they have since fallen back 10 – 20%. Bonhams are offering a good example that was federalised when new, used widely, maintained well but has nearly 68,000km on the clock thus explaining the lowish estimate of $1.9 – 2.2 million. While the high mileage lessens the collector value vis a vis other examples with low mileage it doesn’t diminish its value as an example that you can drive without fear and if that is your intended use, I can only recommend driving and enjoying.

Ferrari F40 at Bonhams

Ferrari had already begun development of the 288GTO Evoluzione for track racing variant and a handful were actually completed after the series withdrawal and these formed the basis for the F40. With a 478bhp 3.2 litre twin turbo V8 fitted the car had a jump in power while the all new bodywork was built from complex materials. Two factors also made the car iconic in the Ferrari legend, it was the final Ferrari developed while Enzo was alive and the engine and underpinnings were ripe for tuning with power up to 800bhp available. While not designed with any competition use in mind the F40 did actually spawn racing variants that were used in competition through the mid 1990s with some success and 1311 examples were built. Values were solidly over a million until recently although only the best examples currently fetch that while the weaker examples are now priced as low as $800k, when they sell. Bonhams are offering a standard early car (87030) with US history and just 2100 miles from new with leather interior with just 2100 miles from new while RM are also offering a US car (87895) that was delivered in 1991 and has 2802 on the clock. Both were stored for some years and both have been recommissioned and both need to have their conditions confirmed since long term storage does these cars no favours. Bonhams have an estimate of 1 – 1.3 million and RM $1.3 – 1.5 million so based on quality vs price the example at Bonhams is the one to go for so long as that condition check doesn’t discover any surprises.

Ferrari Enzo at Bonhams

Ferrari moved onto the Formula 1 based F50 in the mid 1990s and fast forward to 2002 when Ferrari developed a new hypercar. Whether it be the state of the art carbon fibre tub, the cutting edge body by Ken Okuyama of Pininfarina or the new 650bhp variant of the brand new 5998cc V12, the Enzo was a huge leap forward. Capable of unbeatable performance standards, 0-100 in 3.65 seconds and 350km/h the Enzo was also noted for its cornering prowess with downforce providing much of the difference. The platform was later used for both of the FXX variants and the various Maserati MC12s (as seen in the Corsa at Mecum). The 399 Enzos were $1 – 1.5 million through 2014 and started to scale up to $2 – 3 million in 2016 with one even reaching $6 million although it must be noted that the $6 million was the ultimate outlier. Two examples are on offer at Monterey, Bonhams offering Steve Wynns Nero over Cuoio example that is one of two in this livery with 16,595 miles from new and well maintained at $2 to 2.5 million. Mecum are offering a Rosso over Nero example with 151 miles from new at $2.7 to 3 million. While the latter has investor value, you cant drive it without losing a lot of money and who needs a garage ornament so I would save the money and buy the Bonhams car which has rarity and you can drive it without killing the residual.

Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale at Mecum

Ferraris 348 was the first model that Ferrari began to develop limited edition special editions to drive sales and the 360 Challenge Stradale was a road going version of the Challenge club racer. While tentatively a limited edition, there was some 1200 Challenge Stradale made which rather stretched the concept of limited edition. Two examples are on offer at Mecum and RM, the former an example in Nero over Tan and Nero with 22,532 miles from new, the latter in Rosso Corsa over Nero with 3,847 miles from new. RM have a $275 – 325k ask while Mecum don’t offer an ask but for a car with that mileage I wouldn’t recommend paying more than $200k max and they aren’t hugely rare so don’t overpay.



Ferrari 16M at Mecum

Ferrari launched the 430 which improved the 360 in many ways although continued the progress of Special editions with the Scuderia Coupe and 16M Spider. Both examples featured the 500bhp engine and complex bodywork along with lightening throughout and they are seriously quick although on must be aware that they are not particularly rare with estimates of 1000 – 1500 Scuderia produced along with another 800 odd 16Ms. Two examples of each are on offer at Monterey with Mecum offering a 16M in Nero over Nero with 10,000 miles from new at $375 – 400k. Russo & Steele are offering a Bianco Avus over Nero Scuderia example although they give little information regarding the vehicle.  RM is offering a Rosso Corsa over Nero Scuderia with 3716 miles from new at $250 – 300k and a 16M Spider in Roso Corsa over Nero with 2,525 miles from new at $350 – 400k. The two examples at RM are absolutely market pricing and the 16M compares well to the example at Mecum.

Ferrari 599SA Aperta at Mecum

Ferrari had seen the effect on sales of offering limited editions versions of the v8 Ferraris and began to produce limited edition drop top V12s with the 550, creating the 550 Barchetta closely followed by the 575 Superamerica. The third and final example of the Cabriolet V12 was the 599SA Aperta of which just 80 were built in 2011 with the 661bhp 6.0 litre V12 from the 599GTB. Recent sales have firmly pegged these rare cars in the $1 – 1.5 million category so despite Mecum not offering any estimate for the Rosso Dino over Iroko example they are offering I would firmly suggest that it will sell towards the top end of that price bracket. The other special edition special in the 599 range was the 599GTO of which some 599 examples were made in 2011 and RM are offering a classic Rosso Corsa over Nero example with just 520 miles from new. Examples of the GTO have recently been selling in the $500k range and           although ultra low mileage examples have been offered at estimates in the $700 – 800k range, none have sold so RM are taking a       chance with their example and who knows, one day a buyer might take the leap.

Ferrari LaFerrari at Mecum

Porsche announced the Hybrid hypercar 918 which was going through its long gestation back in 2010 and McLaren replied with its P1 before Ferrari launched the LaFerrari at the Salon de Geneve in 2013. Built around the Tipo F140 6.3 litre V12 and a KERS powered electric motor, the car offered 963bhp in a carbon fibre chassis clothed in Ferrari designed bodywork. While the Ferrari took a completely different premise to its rivals, it was capable of performance that was the equal and all 499 examples offered for sale were sold out before it was even announced. When the sales veto expired in mid 2016 both Bonhams and Mecum lined up to be the first to offer one and Bonhams offered theirs on the Friday morning and made $3.7 million for a Rosso example while Mecum got $5.2 million for their Nero example that they offered on the Saturday. At least another four have been offered since with the results a $7 million charity sale, $3.8 million no sale, $3.5 million sale and $3.1 million no sale. I am pretty sure that the bounce seen in 2016 when people were desperate to get one has been answered and supply and demand have created an inverse sales curve. This will likely be strengthened with the LaFerrari Aperta deliveries meaning some will be selling their LaFerrari and other sellers wanting to liquidate effectively flooding the market. Flooding may seem an exageration but there are four cars on offer at Monterey in 2017, almost equalling the 5 offered thus far. Gooding are offering  a Giallo Modena over Nero example with 200 miles on the clock at $3.3 – 3.9 while RM have a double Nero example showing 4000 miles at $3.3 – 3.8. Mecum have two examples, one in Rosso over Nero and 566 miles at an unknown estimate and a Bianco Fuji over Rosso with 209 miles showing at $4.5 – 4.7 million. Its clear that selling any of these four will be a test of how motivated the seller is but my hunch is that the prices will only drop as supply exceeds demand although only time will tell.

Ferrari F12tdf at Mecum

Ferraris F12 was already ferociously fast with 720bhp from its 6.3 litre V12 although its excellent pressed aluminium chassis, suspension and driver aides ensured that they could be safely used ponies. Like every other V12 model Ferrari looked to offer a limited edition model that offered more power and the F12tdf offers 770bhp which was mated to refreshed aero and a 4 wheel steering creating a virtual short wheelbase system. Their has only been one auction sale at RM Villa Erba in May and that failed to change hands at 750k Euros (roughly $825k). Russo & Steele are offering a brand new (101 miles showing) Bianco Fuji over Rosso example with no estimate given and Mecum are offering a brand new (84 miles showing) Giallo Fly over Nero example at $1.35 – 1.5 million which seems huge. Various examples are on offer at the numerous online car marketplaces at $950k – 1.5 million yet its tricky to assess whether any are actually selling and at what rates although the argument must return to the car that failed at RM which was bargain priced vis a vis the privately offered cars.

Lancia Delta S4 at Bonhams

Lancia were already rally royalty thanks to the Fulvia and Stratos when the 1980s Group B series gave them a reason to develop the 037 Stradale. Loosely based on the MonteCarlo/ Scorpion shape although it was anything but and actually based on a tubular monococque fitted with fibreglass and kevlar bodywork. The engine was the 2 litre Fiat 121 straight four with supercharging that produced 205hp and was mounted longitudinally. The Lancia was highly successful and the team won the world manufacturers championship while the 200 road going cars were produced and sold to ensure homologation for the formula. Two years later Lancia debutted the new S4 based on the Delta although the car was anything but and again rode on a tubular chassis with mid mounted engine and carbon fibre bodywork. The engine was a 1759cc straight four fitted with a supercharger and turbocharger to eliminate turbo lag and it offered 250hp in the stradale and 500+hp in rally spec. Highly successful the Lancia’s were competitive with the Peugeot 205T16 and Audi Sport Quattros and terribly evocative in their Martini livery. Bonhams are offering examples of the 037 Stradale and S4 Stradale, both rare (200 of each exist), both low mileage (c9000km) and both future collectables, they have a $300 – 400k ask on the 037 and $350 – 450k on the S4 Stradale. Whether it be the beautiful 037 or the very masculine S4 both are likely to be good long term investments, the only point of concern would be that they are sold from long term display and as with the Audi above, there will be few in the USA with any experience in maintenance and little or no spare parts and that must be priced into any bid.

Lexus LFA at Mecum

Toyota developed Lexus as its luxury car arm back in the 1980s and they have grown to become a byword for slightly staid but very well built limousine and saloons. Latterly branching out into the Coupe market they began to dream of developing a supercar of their own and began developing the LFA way back in 2005 although the finished article didn’t eventuate until 2010 when it had become a carbon fibre chassis and body fitted with a 550bhp 4.8 litre V10. Rave reviews weren’t long in coming and they had no trouble selling the 500 examples produced. These cars are very rare at auction although examples are on offer at $450k – 6 million (!!) on various online marketplaces. Mecum are offering an example in Pearl Grey over Tan at $335 – 375k and for what its worth they are actually very good buying compared to other comparable supercars with plenty of scope for upside in the future.

Maserati MC12 Corsa at Mecum

Maserati was part of the Ferrari group at Fiat back in the 2000s when they developed the GranSport and Quattroporte with the 430 series V8 and other technology. Ferrari’s Enzo gave them scope to produce their own race and road car and they developed the MC12 GT1 using the same platform. To homologate that car Maserati were required to produce 25 examples for road use although they decided to produce another run of 25 and these feautred rather extravagant much longer bodywork. Not as easy to use as the Enzo it was based on, these cars have recently become popular with an example selling at $3.3 million at RMs Duemilla sale in 2017. Maserati decided to further develop the concept and created the MC12 Corsa as a track day special in the same vein as the FXX and built 12 examples with one later rebuilt as a road legal car in Germany. These cars are hard to value with examples offered at RM Maranello back in ’09 and Gooding Pebble in ’15 and neither selling at $1.7 and 2.0 million respectively. Mecum are offering an example of this 750bhp beast with little detail but they have given it an estimate of $2.3 – 2.5 million. Perhaps the only comparable is the FXX and that is a $1.5 – 2.5 million proposition although they are very difficult to sell and while this is a gorgeous car and very rare it is likely that it will pass in once more although for someone brave enough it would be a wonderful track day toy.

McLaren F1 at Bonhams

McLaren was established by a fellow New Zealand back in the 1960s and they had a long and very successful history in Can Am, Indy and Formula 1 before Ron Dennis took over in charge. The partnership with TAG petroleum was super successful and designer/ superstar Gordon Murray began to develop ideas of building the ultimate road car. With backing from TAG they outsourced development of a V12 engine to BMW which Murray developed a 3 seater road car in advanced materials with a clear goal to develop the ultimate car in every way allowing him to mix gold plating insulation with Ford switchgear. By the time the F1 came to market the 1980s car speculation craze was over and sales of a 630k pound supercar were sluggish in the extreme and just 106 examples were sold. Never officially sold in the US, Ameritech could federalize examples and they converted seven to full road legal state. McLaren F1s were $2 – 3 million as recently as the late 2000s but since 2010 they have shown extreme increases in value, examples selling for $9 – 13 million in 2014/15 and suggestions that values are nearer $20 million today. This is difficult to assess due to the dearth of examples sold publicly and Bonhams is one of the best with the ideal colour scheme of Silver over Black and full US legal. Bonhams offer no estimate although I would think mid to high teens would be a figure it would sell at. A fascinating test of the market.

McLaren P1 at Gooding

McLaren became a proper car company in 2009 when they debuted the MP4-12C and established a production facility at Woking. Powered by a 3.8 litre twin turbo V8 the car was built on a carbon fibre tub and available in various bodystyles. When Porsche announced the 918, McLaren replied with the P1 which was seen as the spiritual heir to the F1 although it hasn’t had nearly the impact the earlier car had. A worthy competitor to the 918 and LaFerrari the P1 is a 975bhp hybrid that matches the engine and chassis from the 12C with a full electric engine, kind of like a Prius on crack. McLaren had no trouble selling all 375 examples and even launched 58 GTR track day specials of which 27 have been reconverted to road cars by Lanzante. Two examples were offered and sold at RM and Goodings sales on the peninsular two years ago at $1.9 million and that seems to be market correct despite examples being offered for up to $5 million at various marketplaces. Gooding is offering an Ice Silver over Black example with 1800 miles and Mecum a car with the same livery and 1000 miles, Gooding asking $2 – 2.2 million and Mecum $2.2 – 2.5 million, both meeting the market although why not save $200k and buy the car at Gooding & co?


Pagani Huayra at RM

Horacio Pagani was closely associated with Lamborghini and others before branching out to create his own Zonda in its myriad iterations. Built around a state of the art carbon fibre tub clothed with jet fighter bodywork and enough leather in the interior that it could have clothed an entire S&M club the Zonda was a revelation. Mercedes Benz V12 power of up to 7.3 litres ensured performance matched the crazy styling while the advent of convertible and club racer models. Pagani decided to replace the Zonda with the Huayra in 2012 and fitted the new car with sedate but beautiful bodywork that featured active aero and a twin turbo 6 litre V12 engine capable of 730 – 800bhp. Limited to just 100 examples, each customised to the buyer and crazy expensive, there is but one previous sale, at RM Amelia ’16 for $2 million and RM are offering a Grigio Scuro Opaco over Beige example with just 1 owner and 640 miles from new that has the $210k Tempesta pack fitted and they are asking $2.2 – 2.8 million. I feel the high estimate is too much but the lower end is good buying and I doubt the buyer will lose anything by buying one of the greatest supercars ever made.

Porsche 959 at Mecum

Like Ferrari, Porsche decided to develop a car for the new Group B race series and began development of the super complex 959. An all new 4 wheel drive chassis was mated with various exotic materials and fitted with the Indycar/ 956 bred twin turbo 2.85 litre engine. While the race series was cancelled before the car could be raced, versions actually competed in both the Paris-Dakar and Le Mans. 340 examples were produced between 1986 and 1993 and this tecnological marvel was clothed with bodywork that only resembled the 911 around the rear window. While never legal in the USA, a tech pioneers difficulty with importing an example lead to the EPA agreeing to show and display which allowed them to be released and allowed limited use. For all that the EPA laws allow a lot more freedom once a car is 21 years old and European cars can be imported and used with seemingly minor changes now they are old enough. Two examples are on offer at Monterey, Mecum offering a standard road car in graphite that was delivered to Italy before export to the USA and has 21,950km showing at $1.2 – 1.4 million. Gooding are offering a car delivered to Venezuela of all places in silver that shows 8,200km from new, also at $1.2 – 1.4 million. Mecum don’t mention but Gooding have stated their example is not California compliant and anyone buying must ensure they can actually register their prospective purchase in their state. Otherwise these cars are market correct pricing, likely to be good long term investments and they are said to be great to drive.

Porsche 962 at Mecum

Porsche began racing their all dominant 956 back in 1982 and developed the 962 for the new IMSA legislation in 1984 and simply ran away from the competition. What could have been boring racing was spiced up by examples being cheap to run and the sheer quantity of cars in every colour of the rainbow offered close, competitive racing that made Group C and IMSA a spectacle. Competition from Tom Wilkinshaws Jaguars and Saubers Mercedes in the late 1980s forced Porsche to develop bigger turbo engines offering up to 800bhp while various Porsche garagiste began developing their own carbon fibre tubs and bodywork. Mecum are offering a prime example, (108C-2) which was built by Jim Chapman in the USA with a 830BHP single turbo 3 litre engine, honeycomb tub and was used by Bell/ Wolleck/ Andretti to win the 1989 Daytona 24 Hour epic in Miller Highlife livery. Later restored but relatively original this is an excellent example of one of the greatest sports racers ever made. 956/962s have sold for between $1 and 10 million depending on provenance, race victories and condition with the Le Mans winning 956 perhaps $7 million more valuable than an ordinary example. Mecum have been offering this car at $2.5 – 3 million which fits neatly within the value bracket but any further use needs to be cautious lest it destroys its originality so further museum display is highly likely for a car like this. Still this car could be a modern day 250 Testa Rossa in 40 years time and likely to prove a good investment indeed.

Porsche 911GT2 at Mecum

After the collapse of the Group A/B/C era in the early 1990s the FIA decided to create the GT1/2/3 series with the former for road like but very advanced cars such as the McLaren F1 and Toyota GT-One and the latter for barely altered street cars such as the Porsche 911 GT3. The GT2 series mandated a minimum production for homologation and Porsche built 194 road going examples with a twin turbocharged air cooled version of the classic flat 6. This 430hp powered 911 was rear wheel drive only and offered the wildest example of the final air cooled 911. While rare and desirable it wasn’t until 2015 that these cars were discovered by collectors and their values skyrocketed, RM selling an example for $2.4 million at their London auction in 2016. Several cars have been offered since and fallen flat with the more common racing cars worth just a fraction of the road cars. Mecum are offering an example in Speed Yellow over Black leather that has unknown history but is noted as being fully certified and they are asking $1.6 – 1.9 million for it which is strong money although its claimed to be one of very few in this livery so will be a great test of the market. I think $1.5 million might be the go but time will tell.

Porsche 918 at RM

Porsche were the first to announce a hybrid hypercar and they developed the four wheel drive Targa Topped 918 with a normally aspirated 4.6 litre V8 and two electric engines, offering 887bhp. Rather novel compared to the Ferrari and McLaren these three set the interweb alight with fans of each deliberating their relative merits. While 375 examples of the P1 and 499 of the LaFerrari were made, Porsche made and sold 918 examples of the 918 in both standard and lightweight Weissach specification at $800 – 900k. RM are offering an example of the 918 in Basalt Black Metallic over Onyx that was a US delivery and has 1,188 miles from new. Offered at $1.2 – 1.6 million, this car is value at the low estimate although I struggle to see it being worth $1.6 million.


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