With only three and a half weeks remaining, the countdown to the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and its multitude of related collector car auctions is on. As expected, the Santa Monica, California-based Gooding & Company has leapt to the forefront of the auctioneers crowd with several spectacular consignments, including two rare Duesenbergs, roughly half a dozen coachbuilt Ferraris from the Prancing Horse’s 1950s heyday, and the oldest surviving Bentley.
Of particular note is a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa prototype (above) that Gooding expects to attain an all-time record for a collector car sold at auction. The current record was set in May 2009, when RM Auctions sold a similar Testa Rossa for $12,402,500. In addition to scintillating pontoon fender coachwork by Scaglietti, this car claims a mere two owners over a 40-year stretch, and is one of but two Testa Rossas that are factory Classiche-certified, basically an official endorsement of authenticity from Ferrari headquarters.
Pop culture aficionados or less deep-pocketed collectors might have more interest in the 1959 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL that Gooding will offer (below). Though the 190 SL’s elegant design continues to age gracefully, the real selling point of this particular Mercedes is its celebrity ownership by singer/pop star Sheryl Crow, who is auctioning the car to benefit the Joplin Schools Recovery Fund, a charity for the tornado-devastated town of Joplin, Missouri.
“After the tornado in Joplin I was moved to help rebuild a city so close to where I grew up in Missouri,” said Crow in a Gooding press release. “My hope is that the auction of my 1959 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster will bring in funds to help rebuild the schools in the area.”
In addition to the charitable cause, potential buyers might take some interest in the SL’s back story, which is inexorably linked to the singer’s well publicized and tumultuous relationship with ex-boyfriend Lance Armstrong, the controversial seven-time Tour de France cycling champion. Seems that during the relationship’s happier days in late 2004, Crow gave Armstrong a 1970 Pontiac GTO muscle car that was being tricked out and customized on Overhaulin’, the popular Chip Foose-branded cable tv show. While visiting the shop in Austin, Texas that was performing the work on the GTO, Crow saw a 190 SL roadster and fell in love with the car. Armstrong took note, and privately commissioned the shop’s proprietor to find and restore a similar car, which was then delivered to Crow only about a year before the couple split.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that Crow would hold on to the SL longer she would the philanderer and alleged-doper Armstrong. If ever there was a good plug for Mercedes quality, this must be it. The acquisition of the suave 190 SL proved to be more enduring than love, itself!
For more info, visit www.goodingco.com
All images copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company.
Photos by Scott Nidermaier.