This January 16th and 17th, RM Auctions will be kicking off their calendar with a spectacular auction in Phoenix, Arizona, of all places. The two-day sale, held at the gorgeous Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa, will play host to a large variety of beautiful and exciting exotic and classic cars. There will be Jags, Rolls, Bentleys, Ferraris, Astons, Alfas, and of course, the best lots will come from Porsche. Reading through the list, there are representatives from four decades of excellent Porsche engineering, and only the best of the best are present.
Eight lots of significant Porsche iron will come under the gavel in this sale, and each is more exciting than the last. We will cover, in detail, three of the most eye catching pieces for sale.
1960 Porsche RS 61 718-116 For Sale
Formula 1 technology, four camshafts, and lightweight bodywork all conspired to make the RS 61 a stellar little machine. It received only slight updates and changes over the outgoing RS 60, and was getting a little long in the tooth in comparison with the competition, but it was still capable. Though faster than the RS 60, it was losing out to the ever improved Ferraris with their 2 liter V12s. 1961 proved a dismal year for Porsche in international 2.0 liter competition, and they vowed not to build any more customer cars with the 547 Carrera engine.
The car we see here, one of only 14 RS 61 built, was originally delivered to Don Agrabrite in the US, who sold the car to Bob Donner. Donner raced the car himself in SCCA competition, netting six podium places and a victory, through 1963 when he sold to Don Wester. Wester was successful with the car too, landing on the regional podium 8 times in 1963, with two of those being victories. Selling the car to Eldon Beagle for the 1964 season, turned out to be a fateful event. Beagle only attended one event with the car, at Laguna Seca, and managed to shunt it hard enough to be a write off. According to Eldon's son David, the shunt was bad enough to have split the fuel tank, and he remembers the "the floor of the cockpit being rolled open like a sardine can".
At the same time as this was going on, Tom Manning and Sandy Parsons were building a little Volkswagen based sports car that they called "The Coral Special". After Mr. Beagle's crash, the pair purchased the RS 61 for the express purpose of using its parts to improve their special. Cribbing the 1700cc Carrera 4-cam engine, the annular disc brake system, and gauges from 718-116, the Coral became an otherworldly spectacle. For his work installing the Carrera parts into the Coral, Mr. Parsons took the remaining parts as payment. From there, unfortunately, the trail goes cold. The bent chassis, along with a few other parts, apparently floated around for a while before recently being restored to its former glory. The car we see today is absolutely gorgeous, and not a single panel shows any indication of its prior life. It is unclear if the chassis was re-mated with its original 4-cam engine.
RM predicts a selling point between $2.8 and $3.2 million dollars. Depending on the status of the engine, I would not be surprised to see this car fetch a number falling somewhere closer to the four million mark.
1966 Porsche 906 Carrera 6 906-116 For Sale
After the hugely successful and equally gorgeous 904 Carrera GTS, the 906 Carrera 6 swept in to continue Porsche's winning ways. Unlike the 904, the 906 was designed almost entirely through wind tunnel testing with 1/5th scale models, an almost unheard-of expense for a racing car in the mid 1960s. The drag coefficient was greatly reduced on the 906 in comparison to the 904, and the body design proved to be quite successful, with only minor changes being made for the 910 and 907 that followed. While not as classically beautiful as the 904, the 906 does have a stunningly purposeful shape about it, "form following function", I believe is the term.
906-116 has led nearly its entire life in Germany; it raced in Germany, it rested in Germany, it deteriorated in Germany, and it was restored in Germany. In 1966, Werner Brockhaus purchased the car from the factory, for some reason or another, not ever racing it. In 1967, the car moved to Helmut Leuze's ownership, who exercised the Porsche at various circuits and hillclimbs through 1967 and 1968, garnering a victory at the Norisring. Manfred Weissman purchased the car for 1969, enlisting Gunter Schwartz and Gerhard Schuler to drive for him, Schuler taking a win at the Hockenheimring.
At some point in the early 1970s, the car was crashed at the Nurburgring, and purchased for parts by renowned parts man, Manfred Freisinger of Freisinger Motorsport. From this point, the car was just seen as a used up racing car, and the records grow a little thin. There are reports that Freisinger sold the car to Vasek Polak in 1973. Nobody seems to know what Polak did with the car, but it was not ever repaired, and was subsequently sold back to Freisinger in 1989. Freisinger, again, simply sat on the car and nothing happened with it for many years. In 2008, Freisinger finally gave the car the restoration it deserved, finishing in late 2009.
While it was restored more than 5 years ago at this point, the Porsche still looks perfect. Freisinger does not muck about when restoring a historically significant car like this 906, and if anyone knows the correct procedures and the inch-perfect details, it has to be them.
As exciting as the 906 is, and even though it is a better performer than a 904, there were more of them produced, and as such, the prices are stifled in comparison. In February of this year, 906-126 sold at Bonhams in Paris for $732,000, and 906-007 sold at their Quail lodge sale in 2011 for just $898,000. As Spyders and 904s trend ever upward, I suspect the "plastic fantastic" 906, 907, and 910 will all start following soon. This could be your opportunity to get the last street legal sports racing Porsche for under a million dollars. Whatever the selling price, this one will certainly be the bargain of the sale for any endeavoring vintage racer.
1957 Porsche 356 A Carrera 1500 GS Speedster 83087 For Sale
Only 167 of these four-cam Speedster masterpieces ever made their way out of the Porsche factory, and they have certainly become very desirable. 100 horsepower at an ultra-high 6200 rpm, and 88 lb-ft of torque sing from the 1.5 liter twin-cam engine, and that engine is exactly what makes this car so valuable. The engine, in this case, absolutely transforms the car from a sedate corner carver to a hillclimb maven.
This car is on offer after a recent restoration by renowned specialists European Collectibles of Costa Mesa, California. Featuring beautiful US spec over-rider bumpers, the original deluxe horn ring steering wheel, correct date-coded painted steel wheels, and finished in white over black, this Speedster is dressed to impress. The four cam engine has been meticulously rebuilt and restored by specialist Bill Doyle of Rennwagen Motor Co. In 2013, the car hit the show circuit, raking in the hardware, including a first in class at the Desert Classics Concours d'Elegance in February, an Award of Excellence in June's Greenwich Concours d'Elegance, and a second in class at the 356 club of Southern California's Dana Point Concours d'Elegance, where I saw the car in person. I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is one of the nicest Carrera Speedsters in existence.
With prices of four-cam powered speedsters absolutely soaring right now, finally having crested the one million dollar mark, these extremely rare cars are coming out of the veritable woodwork. Within one month, RM Auctions will be offering two tiny twin-cam drop-tops on two different continents. Without doubt, this car should fetch well north of the seven figure mark, perhaps $1.5 will be the next new milestone to break, and this is certainly the car to do it.
Other Porsches For Sale
Also on offer at the Arizona sale, RM will showcase a rare 1960 356 Convertible D, a 1963 356B T6 1600 Super Coupe, a pair of 911E; one from 1970, the other from 1973, a beautiful black 1989 Carrera Speedster, and a 1988 959 Komfort. To see more images and further information as the event approaches, visit RMauctions.com.
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