Florida’s Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and Sotheys prepare to host auction season F1, Ferraris, Bugatti vintage cars

Florida’s Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and Sotheys prepare to host auction season F1, Ferraris, Bugatti vintage cars

Some of the world’s most valuable, elegant and radically styled cars are coming out of the woodwork as this year’s major classic car auctions and concours events get under way.

The famed Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is in Florida this weekend,and Bonhams Auctioneers, Gooding & Company and RM Sotheby’s are hosting big auctions to coincide with it. Hundreds of significant cars, from veteran and vintage through to classic and contemporary, are going under the hammer.

The cramped cockpit of the 1966 AAR Gurney Eagle Mk 1. © Gooding & Company: Mathieu Heurtault

The standout? If you agree that F1 cars were at their most elegant just before they grew wings and fat tyres, then you might cite the 1966 Gurney Eagle. Expected to fetch up to $US4 million (about $5.9 million), it’s the first F1 car built by Dan Gurney, one of the most talented drivers ever. Gurney won Le Mans twice, was the first person to win a championship F1 GP for Porsche, then Brabham, then Eagle, and took three Indy 500 podiums.

The American was also the first person to spray champagne from the podium (after winning Le Mans, 1967), something now so expected it’s hard to believe drivers used to simply pour the bubbly into the winner’s cup and sip it from there.

The Gurney Eagle is a Dan Gurney masterpiece of form and function. © Gooding & Company: Mathieu Heurtault

Jack Brabham’s success building his own F1 car led to Gurney’s effort (in partnership with Carroll Shelby). Although less successful than the Brabham, the Eagle was arguably the most attractive car on the grid.

This graceful open-wheeler aside, there are road and race cars from Ferrari, Bugatti, Porsche (including some from The Jerry Seinfeld Collection) and other iconic marques going under the hammer, and likely to fetch prices ranging from expensive to ridiculous.

Starring at the fifth Sydney Harbour Concours d’Elegance is a rare 1934 MG Q Type. © Gooding & Company: Mathieu Heurtault

Closer to home, you can hold onto your money (or most of it) and simply look. The fifth edition of what is now known as the Ampol Sydney Harbour Concours d’Elegance, from March 2-4, brings together about three dozen classics and future classics at the Hyde Park Barracks. Highlights will include a 196 SP Ferrari sports racer from 1962 and a rare 1934 MG Q Type.

The “season” builds up as the northern hemisphere warms, with the iconic Villa d’Este in Italy in May, and Pebble Beach (as part of Monterey Car Week) in August. In between, there’s another of the great motor fan bucket-list events: the Goodwood Festival of Speed, July 13-16.