Molto bene! Italian cars won the two Best of Show awards at the Arizona Concours in Scottsdale last weekend, as the big Arizona auction week got underway.
The Arizona Concours serves as the launching pad for a week’s worth of classic car auctions in normally sunny Arizona every year, and only a little rain dampened this year’s event.
An immaculate 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C with body by Touring took Best of Show in the pre-war category.
“The winning Alfa Romeo wears a sleek cycle-fendered body by Touring, and was entered in a featured class honoring the Italian design house,” read a release by the Concours. “The 8C is a road-going vehicle derived from Alfa’s formidable race cars of the 1930s and is powered by a supercharged 2.3-liter straight-8 engine.”
The 8C, especially the closed coupes, were some of the most beautiful cars of the 1930s, a decade that knew its share of beauty. All 8Cs had straight-eight engines, some with superchargers. The model recorded wins at Le Mans, the Targa Florio, and in grand prix competition. Many carrozzeria built bodies for the 8C, not just Touring; others were done by Viotti, Pininfarina, Zagato, Castagna, Hermann Graber, and Figoni (before Falaschi).
An 8C could easily hit 105 mph, quite a feat for the era. The supercharged 2,300-cc aluminum block and head made 142 hp at 5,000 rpm, its 16 DOHC valves chattering away mightily. One version of the supercharged straight-eight made 165 hp at 5,400 revs.
Nowadays, Alfa 8Cs have been trading for around the $1 million mark, though one cleared $2 million not too long ago. A 1933 8C 2300 Cabriolet hammered for $4,515,000 at a Gooding & Co. auction five months ago. Even replicas sell for over $300,000.
All that straight-eight power paled in comparison to the V12-powered Lamborghini Miura that would come 35 years later. The post-war-winning red 1967 Miura that took top honors at Arizona was originally owned by the Shah of Iran. After the Shah had his troubles in 1979, the car bumped around a bit before going to a new owner in Europe.
Like the Alfa 8C, the Miura was also part of a special featured class, “Sixty Years of Lamborghini Design.” The Miura was the first great model from Lamborghini, indeed, it was the world’s first supercar (you could argue). While previous Lambos had been GT cars meant for comfort as much as performance, the Miura was the fastest production road car in the world when it debuted in 1966.
In addition to Marcello Gandini’s sumptuous bodywork, the Miura was an engineering marvel, with a V12 engine and transmission mounted transversely behind the two seats and forward of the rear axle.
But there was variety at the AZ Concours. A bright-pink 1968 Pontiac Firebird 400 convertible was picked as their favorite by a group of children from Make-A-Wish Arizona, the founding chapter of the national organization that grants wishes for children facing life-threatening medical conditions. It’s a charitable partner of the Arizona Concours. The Firebird was a limited-production model in its original factory color of Mist Pink. This particular car was believed to have been owned by Nancy Sinatra—yes, daughter of Frank.
Now it’s time for Arizona auction week to get underway. Barrett-Jackson has already been going for a week, hawking all those neon signs and gas pumps before moving to cars this week. Barret-Jackson runs through January 28.
RM Sotheby’s gets underway on January 25 at the Arizona Biltmore, former site of the Arizona Concours.
Bonhams will also take place Jan. 25, at the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa.
MAG Auctions, featuring a lot of great muscle cars, runs Jan. 24-25 at the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort, 10438 Wekopa Way, Ft. McDowell.
And last but not least, Worldwide Auctions will be held Jan. 26 at Singh Meadows, 1490 E. Weber Dr., Tempe, AZ 85288.
Then, if you still haven’t had enough car stuff, stick around until February 3, 2024, for the 10th annual Concours in the Hills, described by organizers as “a day of great cars, food and music in the spectacular setting of Fountain Park.” Attendance is free, but donations are welcome.
Wherever you are right now it’s probably freezing. Wouldn’t you rather be in Scottsdale buying some million-dollar supercar?
Have you ever been to Arizona Auction Week? Was it fun? Let us know below.