The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance gathers the world’s most exceptional classics and hoards of discerning collectors, so it’s no surprise that the auctions are also bursting with incredibly valuable and rare machines. This year is no different, with Gooding’s headline sale topped by a Porsche 917K that’s expected to fetch a dizzying $16,000,000.
But for the enthusiast who baulks at the 917’s brash display of power or the movie star good looks of the Ferrari 275GTB/4, there are plenty of more unusual classics on offer. We’ve rounded up a selection of the more interesting left-field lots which will be crossing the block in August.
8. 1951 Fiat 500C Giardiniera $70,000-90,000
The Fiat 500 came in many guises throughout its production run, and one of the most quirky was the Giardiniera. Essentially a convertible estate version of the venerable workhorse, it was basic, practical and charming. The utilitarian interior featured fold flat rear seats to increase its load capacity, while the outside was beautifully clad with wood panelling. This example is presented in a period-correct colour scheme following a concours quality restoration overseen by Raoul San Giorgi. A quintessentially Italian classic with bags of character.
7. 1952 Alfa Romeo 1900 M AR 51 ‘Matta’ – $45,000-55,000
If a Land-Rover or Jeep are just far too common for you, there’s plenty of appeal in the much more rare Alfa Romeo Matta. The four-wheel-drive reconnaissance car was built between 1951 and 1954, and featured a twin-cam, four-pot 1.9-litre engine and a four-speed manual gearbox with low ratio transfer box, perfect for tackling poorly surfaced mountain roads. More than 2000 military versions were produced, with the civilian version dubbed the AR 52 – of which just 154 were made.
This car was delivered new to the Italian Army and has since been fully restored to a high standard. Top top it off – if you really fancy an adventure – the car is Mille Miglia eligible!
6. 1958 Chrysler 300D Hardtop – $90,000-120,000
If Batman were to have entered the Whacky Races, he’d have done so with the help of his trusty Batbelt-mounted Chrysler 300D Hardtop. Reserved styling at the front end meets ‘50s excess once beyond the doors, with two enormous, splayed-out fins giving the impression that it’s about to take off. It’s got the power to back up the looks, too, thanks to a thumping dual-quad Hemi V8. Only 618 examples were ever built and of those, few will be as tidy as this car, which has covered scarcely 400 miles since a frame-off restoration. Remarkable value for money.
5. 1958 Volkswagen Type 2 Double Cab – $60,000-80,000
Volkswagen busses are fantastic fun, hugely practical and now a copper-bottom investment. But what if you don’t want to look like an ageing surfer, or graphic designer who holidays in Cornwall? A Type 2 pickup may be just the answer, sharing many of its cousins design cues but wrapped in a more purposeful, less image conscious package. Of the pickups, the Binz-bodied Double Cab is the pinnacle, providing the space for a family of four, plus half their living room furniture in the flat bad rear. Incredibly, fewer than 30 are thought to remain in existence. This one has been fully restored and features desirable safari-opening windows and an optional canvas canopy.
4. 1957 Arnott-Climax 1100GT – $350,000-425,000
Unusual road cars are one thing, but it’s difficult to beat a quirky car that can also cut a dash on the track. The 1100GT was the Arnott Racing Team’s sole entry in the 1957 Le Mans 24 Hours and features an advanced tube-frame chassis draped in slippery aluminium bodywork, while power – as with many racers of the period – came via a potent Coventry Climax engine. Sadly, the car didn’t finish at Le Mans, but it did post a dizzying top speed of 166mph down the Mulsanne Straight. Its glory days are ripe to be relived, too, being fully eligible to compete at the Le Mans Classic.
3. 2005 Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM AMG – $350,000-425,000
Perhaps quirky is the wrong word to describe the CLK DTM AMG, but it surely scores bonus points for being a car you’ve never even heard of. Just 100 examples were built by Mercedes as a tribute to the 2003 CLK DTM Championship winner. Like the DTM cars, the profile remains as per the standard production CLK, but move round to the front and you’ll see enormous blistered arches front and rear both housing enormous tyres, which are needed to put the supercharged V8’s 582bhp onto the road. It’s capable of a top speed of 199mph – faster than a Ferrari 430 Scuderia – while the interior features a racing-inspired Alcantara steering wheel and deep motorsport bucket seats.
2. 1959 Autobianchi Bianchina Transformabile Special – $75,000-85,000
Classic cars don’t come much more charming than the pint-sized offerings of Autobianchi. The diminutive Italian city cars have enormous appeal due to their delicate styling and interesting features, such as this Transformabile Special’s suicide doors and open roof. This example has been in the ownership of the same family for over 50 years, and has covered just 18,500 miles since new. It’s largely original, but has been prepared to concours standard, which is reflected in its pre-sale estimate.
1. 1960 Fiat 600 Jolly – $75,000-95,000
The Ghia-bodied Fiat 600 Jolly was never built in large numbers, and the perishable nature of its fixtures – such as the beautiful wicker front and rear seats – means that survivors are few and far between. This example has never been comprehensively restored, owing its condition to being cared for by the same family since it was first registered in 1961. During that time it covered just 7500 miles. An incredible score of 98.5 points at the 2015 Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance is testament to its outstanding condition, while it also boasts extremely rare full-wheel covers. One of the most glamorous iterations of the Fiat 600.