Collector Car Shopping Extravaganza

So the dust has settled on your New Year’s Eve celebration and the Christmas tree has finally been hauled away or the Menorah long since re-shelved.  Hopefully the holidays brought you exactly the presents you wished for, but if your season of giving and receiving was more folly than jolly, and you’ve got a hankering for some personal automotive shopping, the Scottsdale, Arizona collector car auctions lie right around the corner.

Originally started by the stalwart Barrett-Jackson in the early 80s, the annual Scottsdale weekend in late January has grown to include a sale by all the major classic car auction houses and is unique in that it is one of the few tried-and-true annual collector car auction weekends that is not connected to a major automotive event or concours.  In the purest sense, the Scottsdale auctions are about car shopping and little else.

Typically, while Barrett-Jackson continues to do the largest volume of business, the most consistent selection of high provenance cars can be found at the tents of Gooding & Company.  That is to say, if you want the best restored, preserved, or most historically important or rare cars, look no further than G & C.  The company sold over $114 million worth of highly desirable automobiles last year on a mere three auctions, and shows no sign of slowing down for 2011.

Modern supercar enthusiasts and Ferrari lovers (aka tifosi) will no doubt be most impressed by Gooding’s consignment of the collection of the late Benny Caiola.  Renowned as one of the leading real estate magnates of Manhattan, Caiola also owned one of the world’s best Ferrari collections before passing away last April after a sudden onset of cancer at the age of 79.  In addition to more pedestrian late-model street Ferraris such as two F430s and a 599 GTB Fiorano, Caiola also owned the beloved and rare anniversary cars, the F40 and F50, as well as  the following Maranello nuggets:

2006 Ferrari FXX Evoluzione – One of 30 such cars produced, the FXX is considered to be Ferrari’s most advanced production car ever created, and is an even more developed version of the vaunted Enzo.

1999 Ferrari 333 SP – This rare example of Ferrari’s last sports racing prototype is unmodified and true to its original build in the strictest sense.

2005 Maserati MC12 – Purchased directly from the factory, this car is the 31st of 50 built, and a pristine example of the model that Maserati has raced to great success over the last few years.

Other Caiola cars being offered include a 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo and a 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.

Traditionalists, of course, will be more interested in the amazing classics that Gooding will be offering, which include:

1964 Shelby Cobra 289 – Believed to be one of the last unrestored Cobras, this car is a genuine barnfind that sat in storage for 33 years.  It was featured in the Postwar Preservation Class at last year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

1964 Porsche 904 – One of 108 such cars constructed, this car bested the legendary racecar driver Phil Hill in competition while he piloted a Shelby Cobra at Candlestick Park in 1965.  It is a beautiful example of the first sports racing car made of fiberglass.

1965 Ferrari 275 GTB – A well restored example of one of the early short nose versions of the revered 275 GTB.

1965 Shelby GT350 R – One of only 26 GT350 cars that were specifically prepared by the factory for racing, this example of Shelby’s Mustang won a B-Production Championship.

Gooding & Company’s Scottsdale auction will be held this year on Friday, January 21 and Saturday, January 22.  For more information, catalogs or tickets, visit

All photos by Pawel Litwinski © 2010 courtesy of Gooding & Company