I suppose you are set to go. Booked the flight to San Francisco despite the fog city plane only having business class but slumming it is good to get an understanding of how the other 99 per cent live.
Booked the one-bedroom cottage at the 100-year-old Lodge at Pebble Beach ($4890 a night plus $147 for your dog but you do get a Lexus free for two hours). Booked the Porker 911 from Hertz ($350 a day) for the two-hour drive to the greatest auto orgy the land of the free and the home of the raving can create. Yup it’s the 69th Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, six classic car auctions, Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, Legends of the Autobahn Concours and McCall’s Motorsports Revival.
Those six auction houses will sell nearly 50 cars every hour at an average price of $US286,000. Don’t be fooled, real cars like the 1939 Porker Type 64 will cost you somewhere around $28m at RM Sotheby’s, while expect to pay up to $14m for any Feezer worth its salt like the 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Series I Cabriolet or the 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France Berlinetta (Dave Gooding is auctioning both) or the 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta by Scaglietti from RM. Interestingly I remember Gooding offering the 1962 Feezer three years ago. The owner was looking for about $17m then and it was passed in. RM are hoping for up to $14m next week.
The 1958 Feezer Cabriolet was delivered new to the playboy, part-time actor and amateur hypnotist Prince Alessandro “Dado” Ruspoli.
When he was 69, Dado married the former French model Patricia Genest, who was 29.
When they had their second child Dado, 73, told friends: “I am a tree still full of fruit when all around me I see so many withered vines.” A fan once asked him: “Haven’t you ever worked?” “No,” he said, “I’ve never had time.”
Which is not quite true because his addiction to the dolce vita, beautiful cars, persons of the other sex, helping friends and opium saw him take some movie parts, including the role of Vanni in The Godfather: Part III.
When he had money, Dado had some extraordinary exotics built for him. In 1948 he commissioned a Ghia-bodied Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Cabriolet, with which he won the Grand Prix d’Honneur at the Monte Carlo Concours d’Elegance. In the 1950s, he fell in love with Ferraris, owning a 340 America, a 410 Superamerica and, of course, the Cabriolet which later won first in class at Pebble Beach. But men are so fickle aren’t they?
By the end of the 60s he became a Maser lover, owning a 3500 GT and a Mistral Spider. One of 40 examples, all hand-built and powered by Ferrari’s race-proven 12-cylinder engine, Dado’s car, which has been perfectly restored, has to be one of the most beautiful autos of all time.
Next week at Monterey will be a big test for the classic car market with the HAGI (Historic Automobile Group Index) Top Ex Index (top without Ferrari and Porsche) down nearly 5 per cent this year.
“The Top Ex index is indicating that exceptional returns for Porsche and Ferrari during the bull market phase have corrected,” the Historic Automobile Group says. The Ferrari index is down 7 per cent and Porsche nearly 2 per cent.
Sports Car Market’s Keith Martin is predicting total Monterey auction sales to be up 5 per cent to $578m. Keith bases that on “the market entering a period of consolidation with reasonable prices being offered and accepted for decent merchandise”.
If land is not your go then the 1953 Timossi Arno XI hydroplane racing boat complete with a 4.5 litre Type 375m 12-cylinder Ferrari engine is up for sale again through the duPont registry. This is the Fezzer that race car driver turned speed boat driver Achille Castoldi reset the world speed record in its class on 15 October 1953, at 241.708km/hour. Originally Castoldi’s Feezer powered “Arno XI”, a three-point hydroplane design by Timossi Azzano’s Cantieri Timossi boatyard on Lake Como, was too slow. The hydroplane has a solid wood-framed structure skinned by marine-grade plywood with a mahogany veneer, a strong separate metal subframe chassis to cope with the enormous power and the engine cover and cockpit exterior finished in Rosso Corsa.
Achille had the 4.5 litre Tipo 375 F1 V-12 engine highly modified, with official Ferrari support. By the time it was finished the V-12 racing engine ran on methanol, with twin superchargers and twin four-choke carburettors, with power output now exceeding 600hp, giving it an extra 150kW of grunt. He went out averaged two runs over the flying kilometre of 241.708km/h and a few hours later set a new record for 24 nautical mile event of 164.7km/h.
While Arno XI has been extensively restored, including by Ferrari, it still has the old Bugatti four-spoke steering wheel used by Achille Castoldi while he set two world-records. There’s something to hang on to.