The Coys "True Greats" classic car auction on December 7 is set to live up to its name, with a selection of vehicles so spectacular it could make most hardened car collectors go weak at the knees.
But amongst a field of impressive lots there are two cars that stand out of the crowd, and they both have excellent racing pedigrees.
First is the legendary 1958 Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta Passo Lungo, more commonly known as the Tour De France. Only 37 were ever built, and of them all this model (chassis 0899GT) has collected the most competition trophies.
Notable wins for the car included both the 1958 Coppa della Consuma hillclimb, and the Varese-Campo dei Fiori hillclimb in the same year. It was also entered in the Mille Miglia, as well as many national events throughout Italy, and was raced by notable drivers such as Lualdi Galardi, Nando Pagliarini and Paul Mounier.
The car has also been owned by Jacques Ohana, one of the bosses of the French Matra Racing team, and has been extensively restored to its original high standard. Its body was entirely rebuilt by the famous workshop Bacchelli and Villa, with the engine rebuilt conforming to TdF specifications (which makes it eligible to race at historic events) and it features its original interior and dials.
The highly desirable car represents an important piece of Ferrari racing history, and as such has an estimated value of £800,000 - £1m.
The second car is an equally impressive 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing, described as "one of those rare cars which was identified as a true Classic almost from the moment it appeared".
Much lower and sleeker than other contemporary sports cars, the Gullwing includes distinguishing features such as the tri-star grille emblem, wheel arch 'eyebrows' and 'egg crate' front wing louvres, while the interior is reminiscent of a Messerschmitt fighter plane.
Just 1,400 coupes were built from 1954-57, with 1,858 convertibles made from 1957-58, and in its day the Gullwing was virtually unmatched in terms of speed, style and performance. In racing terms the 300 SL won more competitions in its time than virtually any other car since, and excelled in events from the Targa Florio to Le Mans.
Making the car more extraordinary is the fact that it was until recently part of the collection of the legendary driver John Surtees, who remains the only person in history to have been crowned World Champion on both two and four wheels.
The Gullwing even comes with its original luggage and radio, making a true collectors piece. As much a work of art as a classic car, it has an estimated pre-sale price of £360,000 - £400,000 but should see some very competitive bidding from serious car collectors and investors alike.
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