We likely all have that unattainable car that sits somewhere between unlikely and a dream, but rare car auctions can - for the very wealthy at least – bring those aspirations a little closer to reality. Monterey will soon be hosting Pebble Beach Concours and the increasingly popular Sotheby’s auction that always steals the show, offering up some of the world's most intriguing and desirable cars to go under the hammer.
For most people, the chance to own any classic Ferrari would be enough to get excited about, but one of the catalogued motors in this year’s auction is a true one of a kind. The Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta, in its full name, was not particularly groundbreaking, nor was it head and shoulders above its rivals performance wise when it was launched in 1968. But the Daytona was such a luxurious and stylish form of transportation, it was soon adopted by the world’s elite. In the case of this car, Bill Harrah, an American gaming entrepreneur, custom-specified it with his own signature style, making it truly unique.
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Painted in dramatic Rame Metalizzato (or Copper Metallic), Harrah’s example also bucked the American trend and combined the controversial Perspex nose with pop-up headlights. Upon delivery, Harrah then continued his modifications, fitting wider 9-inch rear wheels and new flared wheelarches to account for the added width. This was all in conjunction with various mechanical upgrades performed by Fransico Mir’s service centre in Santa Monica – famously America’s smallest Ferrari Dealership. The result was the Harrah Daytona Hot Rod, well known in Ferrari circles and immensely desirable for someone after the ultimate example of the iconic Daytona.
Of course this unique 356GTB/4 Daytona is just one of the cars to be put up for sale at the auction, below are a few more of our favourites.
1997 Porsche 911 Turbo S
The Porsche that built 911s in 1997 was a very different company to that of today. With an aging product line-up, the 993 model 911 was becoming increasingly vulnerable to rivals and with an all-new and highly contentious new model on its way, the Turbo S was a fitting goodbye to the water cooled flat-six that both gave with one hand and took away with the other.
Thanks to its relative rarity, the 993 911 is now one of the most sought-after versions of the 911. Suddenly what made the 993 Turbo S non-desirable in showrooms, has now suddenly made it a unique and fascinating combination of old-school Porsche tech combined with more contemporary build techniques.
Seen here in Guards Red, aside from its mechanical modifications over the standard Turbo, this S also offers specific design options like body coloured bucket seats and carbonfibre trim on the dash. This Turbo S is only one of 183 ever built, making it also one of the rarest late model 911's in the world.
1993 Jaguar XJ220
The Jaguar XJ220 might have been the most underwhelming supercar ever when it reached customers in 1992. After years of concepts, the production XJ220 eschewed the V12 engine and all-wheel drive that were promised when subsequent owners put their deposits down. Instead the XJ220 made do with a twin-turbo V6 and rear-drive, but what it did keep was the concept car styling and otherworldly performance.
Able to reach a top speed of 212mph, the XJ220 may have missed its 220mph goal, but still held the title of the worlds fastest car. This however was not enough for most buyers, subsequently only building 275 units despite 1500 placed deposits.
The Monterey car seen here is painted in one of the standard factory hues Monza Red, offset with a very un-supercar like cream interior. As build number 139, it is neither a late or early build, but despite the initial disappointment of owners, the seductive looks and reputation seems to be enough to spur on increasing values.
1989 Aston Martin AMR1 Group C
We have all seen and heard of the slightly unhinged Group C racing class that dominated 1980’s sportscar racing, but did you know that Aston Martin were in on it as well? The AMR1 Group C racer was developed by a very cash strapped Aston Martin at the time to boost brand awareness and give themselves a foothold in the US.
Up against rivals like the Jaguar XJR-9, Sauber C11 and Mazda 767 in the 1988 season, the AMR1 utilised a 6.0-litre Callaway engineering enhanced V8 engine producing close to 700bhp at 7000rpm. Built at a time when rivals were reaching 400kph (248mph) on the Mulsanne straight at Le Mans, the AMR had neither the budget nor manpower to compete with the very best.
The result of that lack of relative success however, is what is stopping this specific race car being locked away in a Museum and up for public sale. Offered for sale by its first private owner, the AMR1 is just another example of why Sotheby’s Monterey auction is one of the best for the world’s most interesting cars.