If you’re anywhere near the South of France on November 19 this year, you might just want to take a day and swing by Circuit Paul Ricard. No, there’s no Grand Prix on, but there are “75 of the the finest racing and road cars in the world” all crossing the auction block at no reserve, according to RM Sotheby’s.
All 75 come from the collection of Jean Guikas, who in 1989 started a dealership called GTC that focuses on “the best classic and racing cars.” Makes sense when you look at his collection. Among the road cars are a three-owner Saoutchik-bodied Delahaye 135 MS and a Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada, while the race cars range from classic Ferrari competition berlinettas to modern endurance racers and F1 cars.
While we wouldn’t mind any of these historic racers in our garage, here are the seven that we’ll be watching the closest.
Estimate: €1,000,000 – €1,400,000 (£850k – £1.2m)
At Le Mans in 1993, Tom Walkinshaw Racing and Jaguar entered three race versions of the XJ220, eyeing victory in the GT class. Remarkably, in their first time out, one of them won.
Well, sort of. The David Coulthard/David Brabham/John Nielsen car finished first ahead of a horde of Porsches, but a month later it was disqualified on a technicality, one that many view as unfair. The Jag’s DQ was for its lack of catalytic converters, even though it had already passed scrutineering before the race. Tough break.
The other two XJ220Cs from the 1993 Le Mans race retired with mechanical trouble, and the car on offer from the Guikas collection is one of them. After leading its class, it suffered a burst tyre with five hours to go, and then cracked a head gasket. It returned to Le Mans in 1995 only to suffer another DNF and was later restored by specialist Don Law. We last saw it at Artcurial’s Rétromobile auction in 2020, when it sold for €1,085,760 (around £924k).
Renault-Alpine built the A442 to win at Le Mans. And after three years of trying, it did just that at the 1978 event, with the car of Didier Pironi and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud beating the second-placed Porsche 936 to the flag by four laps. It hadn’t been an easy journey, and on meeting its goal Renault pulled out of sports car racing to focus on Formula One – but the A442’s reputation was sealed.
Chassis number 4422 made its debut at the 4 hours of Monza in 1976 at the hands of Henri Pescarolo and Jean-Pierre Jarier, with several other races that year and cracks at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1977 and 1978. It retired both years, but did score two podiums in 1976, so it’s no stranger to silverware. Full details of the auction car haven’t yet been revealed, but between the excellent A110 road car and Alpine’s presence in F1, classic Alpines are surely on the minds of collectors.
Estimate: €2,400,000 – €2,800,000 (£2m – £2.4m)
While not as dominant on track as some of Ferrari’s earlier gran turismos, the 275 GTB was nevertheless a successful racer with numerous class wins and championships to its credit. This GTB, chassis #07765, sold new to Count Frédéric Chandon de Brailles (heir to the Moët et Chandon champagne empire), finished in Blu Sera over a tobacco interior. By 1967, it was in the hands of Claude Bouscary, who fitted the car with six carburettors and proceeded to win the 1967 French GT Championship. It was later restored in the 1980s, has been an active historic racer since, and comes with a spare racing engine and gearbox.
Estimate: €550,000 – €700,000 (£470k – £600k)
Known to classic car fans for its Jaguar- and sometimes Chevrolet-powered sports racers from the 1950s, Lister was revamped in the 1980s and although much of its business now involves putting Jaguars on steroids, Lister also briefly built its own bespoke sports car called the Storm. Given Lister’s past, it’s only natural that the Storm went racing, and, even up against much larger and wealthier teams, Lister managed to win the British GT Championship in 1999 and the FIA GT Championship in 2000.
The car out of the Guikas collection, chassis #GTM005, was a factory race car campaigned from 2001-03 and has several podiums to its credit, including a win at Anderstorp in Sweden. Like all the Storm race cars, it has a Jaguar-sourced 7-litre V12. Yes, it’s very loud and yes, it sounds very good.
Estimate: €7,000,000 – €9,000,000 (£6m – £7.7m)
Undoubtedly the highlight of the Guikas collection, chassis #0385 GT was displayed at the 1955 Turin Motor Show clothed in special lightweight bodywork by Pinin Farina. Visually, it was similar to the 375 MM racing cars and was a preview of the upcoming 250 GT LWB “Tour de France” (TdF). It’s an important and very early part of Ferrari’s long line of all-conquering 250 GTs, and according to RM Sotheby’s the car hasn’t appeared in public for 30 years. Here’s hoping we all get to see it sometime soon.
Alain Prost is considered one of the greatest racing drivers of his era. His precise and analytical driving style is underappreciated today, but as well as making him a champion, it made Prost a natural candidate for team ownership – and in 1997, he turned the Ligier F1 team, part of the sport since 1976, into Prost F1.
Unfortunately, it never quite resulted in success. The Ligier-designed JS43 was good for two podiums in 1997, but 1998’s AP01 suffered a litany of retirements and 1999’s AP02 was only marginally better – the talents of Jarno Trulli securing an impressive second-place finish at a wet Nurburgring that year. Designed with assistance from John Barnard, the AP02 was undoubtedly a better car than its predecessor. It offered more power from its Peugeot-designed 3-litre V10, an estimated 785bhp – though well short of Mercedes’ estimated 810bhp, and suffered fewer retirements after a poor start to the season.
The car being offered by RM Sotheby’s is chassis 03, making it the car driven by Olivier Panis in Australia, Brazil, San Marino and Monaco. That doesn’t make it a particularly successful car, with retirements in all but Brazil, where Panis finished 6th – but in stunning Gauloises blue (albeit without the tobacco sponsorship itself) and the Prost name, it may appeal to the right collector.
Estimate: €2,250,000 – €3,000,000 (£1.9m –£2.5m)
Ferrari withdrew from sports car and GT racing in the early 1970s to focus on Formula 1, but privateers kept the prancing horse prancing on track for the rest of the decade. Privately entered 365 GTB/4 Daytonas scored three class wins at Le Mans (1972, 1973, and 1974), and when the Daytona was replaced by the 365 GT4 BB (Berlinetta Boxer), the new mid-engine car became the Ferrari racer’s weapon of choice, at least until the more powerful 512 BB debuted in 1976. The 512 BB/LM was a lightened, more powerful version of the road car with more slippery bodywork and fixed headlights.
Ultimately, 25 examples of the 512 BB/LM were built and although the Ferrari was rarely all that competitive against the turbocharged Porsche 935, one did score a GTX class victory and fifth overall at Le Mans in 1981.
The car on offer from the Guikas collection is the 20th 512 BB/LM built, commissioned for Fabriozio Violati’s racing team Scuderia Bellancauto and fitted with special one-off bodywork. The highlights of its career were class wins at Monza and Pergusa in 1981 and another one at Mugello in 1982. It appeared at Le Mans in 1981 and 1984 but broke both times and retired. Gearbox trouble, the 512’s Achilles’ heel, was the culprit on both occasions.
This car last sold, still in original as-raced condition, for $990,000 at the Bonhams Quail Lodge auction in 2014.
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