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Maximum Monterey Part 1: Mecum markets a multitude of mega-exotics from Italy!

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On: Wed, Aug 10, 2016 at 3:28PM | By: Andrew W Davis

Maximum Monterey Part 1: Mecum markets a multitude of mega-exotics from Italy!

My condolences. I heard about your granduncle Archibald's passing. Not to be rude, but wasn't it odd that a recluse who lived in a decommissioned missile silo in the middle of Nowheresville had a quarter-billion-dollars' worth of gold bullion stockpiled? I mean, it's good for you, as you're his sole heir. What? You get the money only if you spend it all in one place, between August 18th and 20th, to assemble one of the greatest collections of mega-dollar performance cars?

Well, I can help with that...

I've covered Mecum auctions before—many, MANY times—but usually because they've had a few interesting muscle cars, classics, exotics, or just flat-weirdness on offer. After all, that's their bread-and-butter: Selling (relatively) mid-level cars for (again, relatively) mid-range prices all over the middle of America.

You could almost flip a coin as to what would be any Mecum's high-seller: Either a Hemi Mopar or COPO Chevy, with 429-powered Mustangs standing in as the coin-landing-on-its-edge option. The other thing you could count on is that Mecum would field 500 or more cars at any given sale.

I thought there was nothing wrong with that formula. Mecum, apparently, disagrees.

If you know anything about the various auction companies and “their” Monterey sales turf, you know that there's a clear pecking order in terms of vehicle pricing: Bonhams, Gooding & Co., and RM Sotheby's are up in whatever the scientific name is for the most outer-space-adjacent level of our atmosphere while Mecum, Rick Cole, and Russo and Steele are, at best, in the stratosphere.

[Note to auction companies (especially the first three): I listed you purely in alphabetical order. Please do not send your finely tailored goons to batter me with their multi-carat-diamond-encrusted solid-platinum truncheons for “picking favorites”…]

Anyhoo, when it came time to assemble cars for this year's Monterey sale, Mecum seems to have half-filled its docket with the usual suspects, but then left its interns in charge of its twenty-something interns to finish.

How do I know? Well, here's a sampling of what Mecum will be featuring at its (Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa/Del Monte Golf Course) sale:

Three Ford GTs (red, white, and Heritage), a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and SLS AMG Roadster, lots o' Lamborghinis including a Miura P400, three Countachs (a 5000QV and two 25th Anniversarys) and a trio of Diablo VTs (two coupes and boxer George Foreman's Roadster), a pair of identical '99 Shelby Series 1 Roadsters, an Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, a McLaren 570S, and a pair of everyone's favorite widow-makers, the Porsche Carrera GT.

[I realize that last bit may be a tad controversial, so just know that I'm using the term the same way fighter pilots and racing drivers did in the 1940s, '50s, and '60s. But, if we're all honest, this nanny-free fighter jet for the road has killed its fair share of people...]

An impressive roster, to be sure, if this was Anaheim or Chicago. But this is Monterey, CA, and if you're not ready to bring the pain, as it were, you'd best not step into the ring. Sure, the area's per-person average net worth is going to skyrocket that weekend, but it's going to be spread over the last half-dozen auctions I previously mentioned, plus other minor players. And while bringing an insane 600 cars to Monterey makes for an impressive roster, in order to land what Las Vegas likes to call “whales”, you're going to need just the right bait.

Well, through some manner of mysterious machinations Mecum has managed to do just that.

If you had to name a dozen(ish) of the most bedroom-poster-worthy cars of the modern era, chances are at least ten of them are listed in one part of this feature or the other. And as more than half is a Ferrari, I figure that's a good reason to start with them…

[All “Stats” are cobbled together from reliable sources. Blame them if they're wrong...]

Lot S108.1— 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO — [Estimate: $2M-$3M]
: 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-8 (395 hp, 366 lb.-ft. of torque); 0-to-60 mph: 4.8 secs.; Top speed: 189 mph

On paper, this is a car that's punching well above its weight, but that's what it was designed to do. It's hard to believe it now—in the era of Ken Block, Tanner Faust, et. al. and their chipmunks-on-crack AWD rally cars—but there was a time when FIA rally rules were such that THIS was the best answer a company like Ferrari could come up with to tackle graveled fire trails, mud bogs, and water crossings.

Yes, rallying then—as now—was slithering through stages filled with all manner of obstacles and surfaces. So what was Ferrari thinking, and why didn't the 288 GTO ever compete? Because some of those rally course markers were people, and human beings make lousy guardrails when you put a wheel wrong. Still, Ferrari built 272 of these Kevlar-clad supercars, and this “legalized” Euro model with 11,980 kms on the clock is one of them.

Sure, it may look like Magnum P.I.'s 308, but it goes like a...

Lot S116.1— 1990 Ferrari F40 — [Estimate: $2M-$2.3M]
: 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-8 (478 hp, 426 lb.-ft. of torque); 0-to-60 mph: 3.8 secs.; Top speed: 201 mph

If the engine displacement seems familiar it's because the F40 engine was a 288 GTO's twin-turbo turned up to 11. What it wasn't, however, was derivative of anything else, ever, as it was a near-clean sheet design with just one mandate: “Build the car to be the best in the world.”

That, of course, came from Enzo Ferrari himself, founder the eponymous car company 40 years prior, leading to this lethal land missile's somewhat boring designation. Luckily, that's the ONLY boring thing about an F40, as I found the first—and only—time I ever dared drive one. To say it could use a dose of its contemporary progeny's user-friendliness is an understatement: I don't know how many of the 213 American model F40s like this one still exist, but I guarantee that every one of them—if used in even partial “anger”—has ended up, best case, facing in a direction the driver didn't intend following a master class in “oversteer.”

I won't say that's why F40s tend to end up as little more than garage art, but it certainly doesn't help their case any. But what might, in this car's case, is its original owner, the late Carl Haas of Newman-Haas racing fame. No, not the current Formula 1 constructor Haas. The other one. [Yeah, you WILL have to explain the difference A LOT, so you might as well get used to it now.] Or don't. I seriously doubt there's any “celebrity bump” in value to be had here either way...

Lot S127.1— 2003 Ferrari Enzo (black) — [Estimate: $2.5M-$3.5M]
S105.1— 2003 Ferrari Enzo (red) — [Estimate: $2.5M-$3.5M]
: 6.0-liter V-12 (650 hp, 485 lb.-ft. of torque); 0-to-60 mph: 3.3 secs.; Top speed: 218 mph

Yes, somehow Mecum managed to skip the F50, but to make it up to you they're giving you two—one each in red or black—to choose from.

Shrewd purchasers should know that while the sales estimates on both cars are the same, only four of the 399 Enzos produced—the catalog's claim of 349 is wrong, BTW, and neither of us seem to be counting the Pope's—were black from birth.

Does that mean that few like black so the rarity doesn't add value, or it because the red one is a one-owner car with “just” 2,050 miles compared to whatever the black one has owners- and miles-wise? I guess we'll all find out on Saturday the 20th.

[Yes, I know Mecum didn't call it by its supposedly proper name—the “Ferrari Enzo Ferrari”—but I wouldn't have either. Thankfully that's the only stupid name Maranello has ever chosen for one of its supercars. OK, the only stupid name so far. Happy?]

Lot S82— 2011 Ferrari 599 SA Aperta — [Estimate: $1.25M-$1.5M]
: 6.0-liter V-12 (661 hp, 488 lb.-ft. of torque); 0-to-60 mph: 3.35 secs.; Top speed: 208 mph

If you missed out on 2011's “Fastest Road Car Ever”—the 599 GTO—or just wanted one with a retractable roof and were willing to trade the “GTO” moniker for “SA Aperta” (“SA” for the designer's—Pininfarina—two bosses' first initials and the Italian word for “open”) then Ferrari had just the car for you! What they didn't have, however, was an “F80”.

No, in 2011, in celebration of Ferrari's 80th B-Day, the company produced this “instead”. Sure, its price and status might not be as nosebleed-high as other anniversary Ferraris—and it lacks the visual punch of same—but would you, as my mother would say, “kick it out of bed”? Thought not.

That this is the low-ebb of the million-plus list of Ferraris Mecum is offering in Monterey isn't a knock against this car, but it is a clear demonstration that they should have done more for Ferrari's 80th than this 599 derivative, no matter how good it is.

Fortunately, just three years later, they did...

Lot S110— 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari — [Estimate: $3.9M-$4.5M]
: 6.3-liter V-12 (789 hp/516 lb.-ft. of torque) and AC electric motor (161 hp/199 lb.-ft. of torque) for 949 hp and 636 lb.-ft. of torque combined; 0-to-60 mph: 2.4 secs.; Top speed: 217 mph

And now we circle back to the stupid names. This car is the LaFerrari, or—and I'm gritting my teeth while I write this—the “Ferrari LaFerrari” which, in English, means the “Ferrari The Ferrari.”

[Way to go, Marketing. The Enzo Ferrari is not amused. You know, the guy that started this company. Yeah, him. As in the singular one. Jerks.]

Anyhoo, while the Enzo—I'm talking about the car now—was supposed to be a “Formula 1 car for the road”, the TheFerrari (tee hee) actually is one, F1-mandated Kinetic Energy Recovery System and all. Though a “Hybrid”, to equate this with a Prius is like saying every rando with a Prius driver is Lewis Hamilton. [No, scratch that. Who's at Ferrari now? Raikkonen? Let's go with him instead.]

Now I've never even been in a TheFerrari, but I'm betting you haven't either. Even if you're one of those multi-Ferrari owners who genuflect before the Prancing Horse you probably weren't on the TheFerrari list. And as Ferrari deigned to build “only” 499 of them for world consumption, they've ensured that the price of any sold would be multiples of its original “MSRP”.

[They were never straight sales. They were leased at first.]

That this one of just three produced in black will... well, just see my “Enzo” description above. By-the-by, you should revisit Lot S82's description as well if you forgot the meaning of “Aperta” as that's the appellation you'll find on the drop-top TheFerrari which will steal all the thunder you just thought you bought when you spent all that money on THIS car.

[And to answer your question, no, owning a TheFerrari won't put you on the TheFerrari Aperta list, and even if it would've, you can't have one now regardless because they're all long since spoken for. Ferrari’s a bunch of elitist jerks, aren't they?]

Lot S130.1— 2004 Maserati MC12 — [Estimate: $1.8M-$2.2M]
: 6.0-liter V-12 (624 hp, 481 lb.-ft. of torque); 0-to-60 mph: 3.8 secs.; Top speed: 205 mph

If it makes you feel any better, this car will let you side-step into Ferrari ownership without all that attendant cachet and bothersome brand recognition for this is, in fact, a Ferrari. An Enzo, even.

Why the dress-up? For whatever reason, someone in the Fiat combine thought it would be a good idea to race the Enzo, only it seems Ferrari wasn't interested. So sister brand Maserati took it upon itself to remodel the Enzo into a design of their own that more closely matched the FIA GT Class regulations. [And just for fun, they added a removable roof panel, too!]

Said rules required 25 street cars to be built, but Maserati manufactured 50 anyway. And as they ended up 100 lbs. lighter than the Enzo—and there was no way they could outshine their sibling—the engine got detuned a bit to keep it just this side of subordinate.

[And it's not like you'd get the two confused as they look totally different, and all but one came in white with blue accents to the exterior and interior.]

And while importation of these cars can be tricky, this one is said to come fully-certified, and with just 1,200 kms on the clock. And in case you were wondering, the MC12 did its job, bringing Maserati its first GT World Manufacturer’s Championship in its bazillion years of existence, so you know this is no badge-and-stripe special. It—or its racing version, anyway—is a proven winner.

[And that's something not even TheFerrari owners can say…]

Stay tuned for Part 2, aka the Mecum “Who's Who of Everybody Else”

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