Previewing the RM Auction at Monterey: Part 3
We’ve already covered a few of the rare coupes, sedans, and convertibles that will be sold at the RM auction in Monterey this week in Part 1 and Part 2. This final article examines just a handful of the many race cars up for sale, all of which are expected to change hands for more than a million dollars.
Debuting in 1955 as the replacement for the successful, Le Mans-conquering C-Type, the D-Type race car was a legend in its own right and took first place in the world famous endurance race in 1955. After the Jaguar factory team retired from racing, the D-Type again conquered Le Mans in the hands of the Ecurie Ecosse team in 1956 and 1957 (in which the top 4 finishers all drove D-Types). This specific car is one of the 54 created for private race teams and was purchased by Curt Lincoln, who drove it in Helsinki’s Elaintarhanajo race and various ice competitions. The car has the 3.8L inline-6 to replace that original 3.4L, and is estimated to produce 300hp, but that’s not the end of this car’s extensive modification history. In the 1980s, various pieces of the frame, monocoque, bodywork, and gearbox existed in two separate D-Types as a result of a complete overhaul of the car; as such, there were two D-Types bearing the XKD 350 chassis number. This caused some controversy as to which car was the true D-Type, but the matter was put to rest after all the original parts were pulled from the later car and affixed again to the legitimate frame. It was later shown in various Concours, including Villa d’Este, Pebble Beach, and Amelia Island, and participated in numerous vintage races.
The Maserati Birdcage is another revered race car, its name derived from its spaceframe of small diameter tubes designed for maximum rigidity with minimum weight. Three Tipo 61s were purchased by car dealer Lucky Casner for use by his racing team, Casner Motor Racing Division, or Camoradi. The cars were raced but never finished at Le Mans, although they did find success at the 1000 km Nürburgring endurance competition. This particular example, chassis number 2461, was piloted by none other than Dan Gurney and Stirling Moss in the 1960 race, where the Birdcage placed first; one of the other Camoradi Birdcages took the crown in 1961. In its later years, chassis 2461 was maintained and, like the D-Type, entered in a number of historical races. It bears the signatures of Moss and Gurney just in front of the driver’s door, penned in July 2006 at the Vanderbilt Concours d’Elegance.
There are several racing Ferraris up for sale, including a 1955 750 Monza and 1954 500 Mondial, but I’m a sucker for a good story, and this 375 MM delivers. Only a dozen 375 Spiders were delivered to private racers, and the MM shares its name with the Ferrari Formula 1 car of the era. The similarities are more than skin deep, however, as the two shared a similar engine; the bore and stroke of the motor was changed in the MM, giving it slightly less power but still producing a healthy 340hp. The 375 MM sold here is chassis number 0364AM, originally sold to “Gentleman Jim” James Kimberly. An heir to the Kimberly-Clark fortunate, Jim was passionate about racing, whether he was piloting airplanes, boats, or cars. The 375 MM was built to his specification by legendary Italian design house, Pinin Farina, which attached stunning pontoon fenders and a special duct for cooling the brakes. He later raced it to win the 1954 SCCA Class C Modified bracket, but sold it the next year. That owner gutted the V12 and fitted a more reliable supercharged Chevy V8, while the 12 cylinder powered a competition hydroplane which later crashed and sank. A restoration in the late 1980s led to the discovery of a second V12 originally purchased by Jim in case the need for a replacement ever arose. It was recovered and mated to the 0364AM. Although this car doesn’t have its completely original motor, its twin lies under the hood and apparently makes the 375 MM drive just like it did when it was new.
All photos courtesy of RM Auctions