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London, 26 March 2001

”The Ultimate Birdcage?”
”More Maserati”
”And Alfa”
Eclectic Etcetera

”The Ultimate Birdcage?”
The star lot in the Christie’s auction at the Jack Barclay Showroom in Nine Elms, London on 26 March was without doubt the time warp Maserati Tipo 60 ”Birdcage” chassis number 2460. This car has been in the same ownership since 1966, only two years after it ceased being raced, and has never been restored thus displays a wonderful patina with the original cracked and dented paintwork intact! Prior to entry in the auction the car had never left its native Italy, where it enjoyed a successful racing career in the hands of the first owner Odoardo Govani. Much interest centred around the car and bidding was soon into seven figures, eventually finding a new home at £1,433,750, around 15% above the catalogue high estimate.

”More Maserati”
From the same private collection were two further Maseratis, both low mileage examples in good original unrestored condition. The first was a 1963 Quattroporte with Frua coachwork, chassis number 2352, finished in white with a blue leather interior, which sold for £16,450, and the second another Frua bodied offering, a 1966 Mistral 4000 GT coupe, chassis number AM109A1.1256, finished in red with a black leather interior, which sold for £29,375. If you wanted your child to enjoy Maserati style motoring there was also a 12 volt electric powered half scale 200S model, one of a series commissioned by the Maserati factory to give to special clients, like the Shah of Persia and the Agnelli family, although this failed to reach its reserve.

”And Alfa”
The Alfa Romeo models on offer could probably be best described as ”ancient & modern”. The ”ancient” was a 1931 8C 2300 model with Le Mans style Zagato coachwork, chassis number 2111024, finished in black with red interior. This car originally started life as a coupe, but this was subsequently cut down to make an open car, and then it spent some twenty years of its life in the Harrah Collection, before going to Peter Hannen in the U.K. who had it restored to its present configuration, replacing the original body with the Le Mans specification Zagato style it still wears today. The ”modern” element was in itself over thirty years old, and was a 1970 GTAm 2000 model, chassis number 1531231, of the type campaigned successfully by Autodelta in the European Touring Car Championship in the early seventies. Neither car managed to reach the reserves placed on them.

Eclectic Etcetera
The other lots on offer provided a broad spectrum of automobiles and automobilia, ranging from a 1906 Wolseley-Siddely  Laundalette, through a selection of cars from the earlier part of the twentieth century, incuding a 1937 Bugatti Type 57C drophead coupe bodied by Letourner & Marchand, which achieved the second highest price of the sale, at a hammer figure of £300,750, to a 1955 Ford Thunderbird convertible with hardtop, which made £18,800,and racing cars like a 1961 Cooper T53 F1 model, plus an ex-Shelby American Racing 1964 Cooper Monaco King Cobra sports racing car, neither of which sold. The automobilia section contained a broad range of items, including original Le Mans and other race posters, which all sold at good figures. There was also a collection of 1950s Italian race programmes that made £705, a Maserati wood rim steering wheel that achieved nearly three times the estimate, selling for £1,527, and early Alfa Romeo garage signs, the better example of which made £3,525, almost twice the estimate figure.

Keith Bluemel

1970 GTAm 1750 model s/n 1531231
Mistral 4000 GT coupe, s/n AM109A1.1256
Quattroporte with Frua coachwork, s/n 2352
Maserati Tipo 60 ”Birdcage” s/n 2460
ex-Shelby American Racing 1964 Cooper Monaco King Cobra sports racing car
Ford Thunderbird convertible with hardtop
8C 2300 model with Le Mans style Zagato coachwork, s/n 2111024
Ferrari 166 Inter Vignale Coupe s/n 0065S
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