The best cars to buy at auction this year's Monterey Car Week

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

Best of Monterey CLK GTR Best of Monterey CLK GTR

We sort through the auction houses to find the best cars on offer

Monterey Car Week is every bit as ubiquitous as it is vague.

For someone who doesn’t know what it’s about, "car week" seems to imply an insurmountable amount of possibilities and promise. And yet, when you see it; and the amount of precious metal taking over the small Californian town, and the gobsmacking machines up for sale – the name sort of makes sense.

Monterey Car Week is the Grand Final Weekend in many auction houses’ calendars. Only the best of the best need attend.

From the fastest and latest hypercars, to pre-war racers – the few things that bring this eclectic and diverse mix of cars together are four wheels and telephone-number price tags.

Read on below, as we’ve trawled through some of the various auction houses, to bring you a taste of the best that money can buy.

RM Sotheby’s Monterey Auction – Lot 247 – 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

Pre-auction estimate: AUD$60,000,000 - AUD$80,000,000


The Mac Daddy of the high-end collector world, the Ferrari 250 GTO will once again seek to break records this year at Monterey.

With an already eye-watering estimate set, a recent private sale to the sum of AUD$92 million could see this incredible car be the first to break the $100 million ceiling.

Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction – Lot 104 – 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing

Pre-auction estimate: AUD$1,700,000 – AUD$2,000,000


It wouldn’t be Car Week without a classic Mercedes Gullwing would it? This example on sale via Bonhams looks to be in outstanding factory condition with original paint and interior.

Just two owners since new, and just 58,700 miles old – the 300 SL Gullwing is considered a blue-chip classic, and this one will be highly sought-after given its rare unrestored state.

Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auction – Lot 166 – 1967 Toyota 2000GT

Pre-auction estimate: AUD$1,000,000 – AUD$ 1,300,000


The first Japanese car to properly reach international collector status, and the first Japanese car to break the $1 million barrier at auction.

The Toyota 2000GT is regarded by many as the first truly great Japanese car, and one of the most beautiful cars ever. Years ago, Japanese cars would never have garnered the attention of those on Pebble Beach’s manicured lawns, but this is the car that changed that.

RM Sotheby’s Monterey Auction – Lot 241 – 1998 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLK GTR

Pre-auction estimate: AUD$5,700,000 – AUD$7,000,000


Road-ready race cars are no strangers to Car Week, with the Monterey area overrun with various examples of the rarest hi-po supercars you’ve likely never seen in person before.

But if you owned this 1998 CLK GTR, you need not fear the embarrassment of parking next to another around Car Week, as only 25 were built.

The CLK GTR is essentially a Le Mans race car for the road, built to homologate the car for FIA GT1 regulations. You know that photo of Mark Webber airborn and upside down? Yep, this is essentially the same car.

Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction – Lot 58 – 1970 Plymouth Superbird

Pre-auction estimate: AUD$200,000 – AUD$270,000


Car Week isn’t just for high-end Europeans; as this Superbird represents one of the many offerings for fans of classic muscle.

A genuine numbers-matching U-code, this 440ci ‘Super Commando’ Superbird is remarkably unrestored with factory High Impact paint. With just two owners from new, this represents what is likely one of the best examples of one of the USA’s most iconic homologation cars.


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