2019 Bonhams Scottsdale Sale (Ferrari Mondial 500 Announcement)

A 1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider associated with Porfirio Rubirosa, Zsa Zsa Gabor, James Dean, Phil Hill and John von Neumann is offered at the Bonhams Scottsdale 2019 sale.

© P. Litwinski / Courtesy of Bonhams

Bonhams announced a rare 1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider for the Scottsdale, Arizona, classic car auction in mid-January 2019. The Ferrari was owned by amongst others Porfirio Rubirosa and John von Neumann and was also raced by Phil Hill. It was also photographed with Zsa Zsa Gabor and James Dean. The sale will also include the first Fiat designed by Frua, a Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing and a Bugatti Chiron.

Bonhams Scottsdale Classic Car Auction 2019

Bonhams scheduled its eighth annual Scottsdale, Arizona, sale on 17 January 2019 at the Westin Kierland Resort.

In 2019, Bonhams earned $16.1 million at Scottsdale from selling 107 of 120 lots on offer for a high 90% sell-through rate. Hagerty calculated an average sale price of $144,762.

1958 Porsche 550A Spyder
 1958 Porsche 550A Spyder © Bonhams

In 2018, Bonhams earned $25.2 million at Scottsdale with 94 of 108 lots offered sold – a sell-through rate of 87% and an average price of $267,649 per car. In 2017, Bonhams earned $36 million from just over 100 cars with sell-through rate of 82%.

The top result at Bonhams Scottsdale 2018 was a new model-record $5,170,000 paid for a 1958 Porsche 550A Spyder that finished Le Mans fifth overall.

1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider

© P. Litwinski / Courtesy of Bonhams
© P. Litwinski / Courtesy of Bonhams

A 1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider, chassis 0438MD, estimate: Refer to Department, was announced as the lead car for the Bonhams Scottsdale 2019 classic car auction. The Ferrari Classiche certified Mondial is in concourse condition and comes with excellent provenance and documentation. 

The 1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider that was owned, raced and/or admired by four figures central to popular culture, motoring history and California heritage. Most recognized – indeed immortalized – in photographs with an admiring James Dean, the Italian sports-racer has the fingerprints of a host of iconic personalities.  

Raced by Porfirio Rubirosa © J. Edgar Motorsports / Courtesy of Bonhams

When new, the Mondial was owned by one of the world’s greatest playboys of all time, Dominican Republic diplomat and professional bon vivant Porfirio Rubirosa. Accompanied by his then paramour Zsa Zsa Gabor, Rubirosa raced the new Spider in Santa Barbara where the couple was extensively photographed.  

James Dean © Getty / Courtesy of Bonhams

Shortly thereafter, it was bought by John von Neumann, the man who introduced Porsche and Volkswagen to California and sold sportscars to the stars through his dealership Competition Motors. Once again at the Santa Barbara road races, an admiring James Dean (who had taken his Porsche Speedster) was shown the car and, too, was extensively photographed. While under Neumann’s ownership, the Ferrari was also raced at Palm Springs and then at Torrey Pines by a young driver by the name of Phil Hill – the man who would become a legend of motorsport. 

Even without its glamorous history, this is a very special automobile. One of only 12 made, the rare competition Ferrari was restored by the “men with the golden hands” at Ferrari’s in-house Classiche department in Modena and then, as testament to its quality and history, received 1st in Class at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2015, the Platinum Award for Best Restored Ferrari from the Ferrari Club of America, and the Phil Hill Trophy for Best Competition Ferrari by the Ferrari Club of America – an extremely prestigious trio of accolades. 

Bonhams has not offered a guide price for the car. Although Mondials are rare, two were sold by Gooding in 2018: a Series 1 at Scottsdale for $4,455,000 and Series II for an even stronger $5,005,000 at Pebble Beach. The latter Ferrari incidentally blue too.

Other Highlights at Bonhams Scottsdale 2019

1946 Fiat Frua Spider

A few further museum-worthy cars were also announced for the Bonhams Scottsdale 2019 classic car auction including a 1946 FIAT Frua Spider – the very first design created by Frua; the sole existing Moretti Sport Spider with Michelotti body; and the evolutionary key Bugatti model and 1993 Frankfurt Motor Show car EB110 GT

Two of the most iconic cars in history will also be on offer – a matching numbers and well preserved 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing and an expertly restored 1965 Aston Martin DB5 worthy of Sean Connery as James Bond. Mercedes Benz 300 SLs will be available in high numbers at the various Scottsdale auctions and may provide an indication of the market is indeed recovering for these hugely popular sports cars.

2018 Bugatti Chiron

2018 Bugatti Chiron

An interesting car to watch is the 2018 Bugatti Chiron. Only two Chirons have ever been sold at public auction and a further two failed to sell despite highest bids exceeding $3 million. The estimate for the car offered at Bonhams Scottsdale 2019 is “only” $2,800,000 to $3,300,000. This Chiron is in US specification and has only 365 delivery miles on the clock. It is in an interesting Nocturne body color scheme of black with Sprint Blue Effect details.

RM Sotheby’s is offering a 2017 Bugatti Chiron in European specification with a similar estimate for its Paris Rétromobile 2019 sale.

More on Scottsdale 2019 Collector Car Auctions

2017 Ford GT
© Barrett Jackson

The first major collector car auction series of the year is traditionally the Scottsdale and Phoenix auctions in Arizona, USA, in mid-January.

Most major car auctioneers have sales in Arizona including Barrett-Jackson, Bonhams, Gooding and RM Sotheby’s. A notable exception is Mecum that start the auction year a few weeks earlier at Kissimmee in Florida.

Scottsdale, Arizona, 2019 Auctions Sale Results

Scottsdale, Arizona, 2019 Auctions Sale Previews:

Scottsdale, Arizona, 2019 Auctions Pre-Sale Announcements: