Automobiles | RM Sotheby's

The Driver’s Collection: Six Private Sale Examples All Ready-To-Rally

By Forest Casey
Some collections are meant to be driven—this well-loved collection features fully upgraded, best-of-breed examples from a diverse group of brands.

W hether or not they are engineered to maximize performance on some of the world’s most extreme racetracks, most special edition sports cars wind up sitting in collections, rarely exercised. But the anonymous owner behind RM Sotheby’s most recent private sale collection intended to use his sports cars at vintage car rallies and events around the world, so every example here has been prepped and tuned for long-distance driving. Above their aesthetic beauty, this collection has been curated for pure motoring pleasure; the rallies they flawlessly completed are the ultimate evidence of their competence and condition.

1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce

$75,000
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This Giulietta has a charming history starting with the second owner, an Alfa Romeo specialist in the city of Orange, CA, named Stewart Sandeman Sr., who originally purchased the car for his wife. Apparently, the first owner made the decision to paint the windshield wiper stalks white, along with several other components that usually came in chrome, with a repaint in white to match. Sandeman decided to retain the aesthetic choices of the first owner, faithfully maintaining the Giulietta for many years.

After purchasing the Giulietta from Alfa Romeo specialist Sandeman, the current owner decided to enlist his expertise in sorting the car for rallies. The Giulietta was upgraded with a 2,000 cc capacity engine (the original matching-numbers engine block was retained and will be included with the sale), the seats and all interior appointments were reupholstered, the chrome was redone, and the soft top was replaced, and a five-speed, fully synchronized transmission was fitted. The result was a capable rally car on several prestigious rallies, including the Going to the Sun and Colorado Grand. The owner reported strong reliability throughout—the Giulietta always started up on the first try, and with the potent powerplant upgrade developed a reputation as a “Ferrari Beater” with the other rally drivers. “A little jewel,” the owner reports. “If it does not sell, I will be happy.”

1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ Zagato

$550,000
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Originally sold to Swiss racing driver Karl Foitek in 1960, from Alfa Romeo, “for almost nothing,” after his win of the Swiss championship the previous year at the wheel of a Sprint Veloce, this race-prepped work of aluminum-bodied art was delivered directly to Foitek in Zürich by the technical director of Alfa Svizzera. After retiring from competitive racing, Foitek continued to enjoy his SZ in historic races across Europe throughout the 1980s, including at Hockenheim, Nürburgring, Salzburgring, Montlhéry, and the Targa Florio. The car was eventually retired from racing altogether and remained in Mr. Foitek's private collection until it was acquired by the present owner.

Two owners from new, this SZ has been regarded by marque experts to be one of the most original examples in existence. The sale includes both original engine blocks presented new to Foitek, with both engine blocks corresponding to this chassis. The custom bucket seat that Foitek preferred for racing, period photographs depicting his numerous trophies, and a collection of miscellaneous parts also accompany the sale. Fresh out of an engine rebuild, this SZ participated in Keith Martin’s inaugural Sports Car Market 1000 rally in 2018.

1995 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 3.8

$395,000
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Not many of these wide-bodied, top-of-the-line, 993-based coupes were ever completed—only 1,100 in total. Even fewer examples were imported into North America. A scant option list was offered from the factory; this example sports the most dramatic one available. Option ‘471’ included the massive rear wing and front spoiler that also appeared on the Porsche RS Clubsport. This Speed Yellow Carrera RS was the 315th built and was fitted with the 18-inch diameter “Speedline for Porsche” modular alloy wheels. It was delivered new to Japan through the Mizwa Motor Corporation, which handled all Porsche imports at that time. Believed to still be wearing its original clear plastic protection, this accident-free example was sourced by marque expert Jeffrey Smith and Prescott Kelly for the current consignor, who found it to be the perfect bookend for his 911 Carrera RS 2.7.

The owner took the 3.8 on two significant rallies, including the inaugural running of the Ramshorn rally in Montana. Only a few upgrades were added—a new U.S.-spec speedometer to make mileage conversions easier (the original metric speedometer is included with the sale), and the removable addition of an armrest on the driver’s seat to make long journeys even easier. The owner also purchased an original factory “whale-tail”-style spoiler, still in its primer, which will be included with the sale.

1968 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL ‘Pagoda’

$225,000
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Owned and upgraded originally by noted Mercedes-Benz expert Peter Krausert of Fallbrook, CA, this ‘Pagoda’ was Krausert’s personal project, reportedly built over the course of 17 years. The powerplant for this SL was upgraded with the V-8 engine and transaxle out of a 280 SE 3.5 coupe. Squeezing the substantial engine into the slender footprint of a ‘Pagoda’ took considerable mechanical skill and ingenuity. The upgraded powerplant sits on a reinforced subframe with hydraulic engine mounts and a revised suspension geometry. A custom fabricated driveshaft, linkages, and control unit send power to the rear wheels through a rebuilt four-speed transmission. The performance upgrade from the enlarged engine is substantial, especially when powering the SL’s lightweight body. The driving experience is easily unlike any other ‘Pagoda’ available.

After purchasing it from Krausert, the present owner further refined the ‘Pagoda,’ strengthening the aftermarket A/C system added by Krausert to increase its GT capabilities. The custom radiator alone is worthy of special attention, with solid aluminum fans mounted on both sides to maintain cool engine temperatures no matter the driving conditions. The ‘Pagoda’ satisfies the best of both worlds as a luxurious cruiser that can comfortably keep up with modern traffic. According to the owner, this custom-built ‘Pagoda’ is, “the kind of car that Mercedes-Benz should have built.”

1960 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster

$1,400,000
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This 300 SL Roadster’s story starts down a familiar path—a member of the U.S. Army stationed in Germany after World War II purchased the SL with all of the accessories necessary (including gauges and headlights) to import it back to America once his tour ended. Upon his return, the G.I. sold the SL to his neighbor, who repainted it once to the original color and fastidiously maintained the extensive list of accessories that originally came with the car.

How extensive? Extraordinarily so—the Roadster comes not only with the original fitted luggage still in like-new condition, even though the two suitcases are trimmed in impossible-to-maintain white leather. The most difficult SL roadster accessory to find is the original matching hardtop, still in the crate from Mercedes-Benz. As many SL Roadster owners can attest, the hardtop is the ultimate accessory, but it can sometimes be difficult to fit a hardtop between different roadsters—having the original top is the only way to completely ensure a perfect fit. One more detail: The original crate also features a place to fit the canvas top, making sure it maintains perfect stretch while being stored for winter.

The SL Roadster’s second owner became almost a curator for the car—when its upholstery was refreshed with the same dark green leather interior, the second owner insisted on keeping the original, worn upholstery, which is also included in the sale, along with the original metric gauges. The complete tool roll is, of course, included—along with the ultra-rare tire pressure gauge, which few 300 SL examples still have. As one may imagine, any owner so fanatical about maintaining their car would be reluctant to sell. The current consigner reports the second owner’s negotiating strategy included putting a firearm on the table before stating, “Let’s talk price.”

Managing to survive the deal with the car and his life both intact, the SL’s current owner was determined to maintain the level of care as his predecessor. The second owner serviced the SL with Paul Russell for service, and the current owner has always serviced the car with Mercedes-Benz expert Rene Luteraan. The period-correct, Canadian-replica Rudge wheels added sometime during the second owner’s custody were refreshed and painted white on both sides while in the current owner’s custody, along with all-wheel wells (the original wheels and corresponding hardware needed to mount with the car accompanies the sale). The original black canvas top was also retained when a second original green canvas top, matching the interior, was fitted. Fresh off the inaugural 300 SL Rally in 2018, as the owner reports, this strikingly complete example finished the 1000 mile rally, “without bending a hair.”

1965 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 4.2-Litre Coupe

$190,000
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A single-owner car, originally clad in Opalescent Silver Blue over a worn Dark Blue interior, this E-Type first received a thorough mechanical overhaul after being purchased by the current consignor courtesy of British-born, Georgia-based Jaguar expert Richard Jenkins. An extensive list of upgrades added by Jenkins includes Willwood brakes, a Tremec 5-speed gearbox, and wider wheels—six inches vs. the five-inch factory wheels—and an aluminum radiator with an improved cooling fan. The matching-numbers engine was fitted with a big-bore exhaust system with stainless steel headers. All those individual changes add up to an immeasurably more adept driving experience; the owner reported the overall performance was, “much stronger than new from the factory,” and took it on several rallies with its original blue paint and interior.

When it came time to finally bring the exterior and interior appearance up to the level of the drivetrain, the owner opted for a complete restoration with a Willow Green paint scheme and interior appointments upholstered in a contrasting Tobacco leather by Gran Turismo of Los Angeles. Finally, a retro-look modern audio system with Bluetooth connectivity has been seamlessly integrated into the cabin. Fresh from its recent aesthetic overhaul, the E-Type has always been regarded for its beauty—yet this upgraded example is no less a driver’s car underneath.

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