1927 Bugatti Type 51
Jacksonville, FL, December 9, 2008 – RM Auctions will lift the gavel on an unprecedented selection of the world’s finest vintage motor cars when its highly anticipated Automobiles of Amelia Island event returns to The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, March 14, 2009.
A permanent and popular fixture on the annual auto events calendar since 1999, the single-day auction event coincides with the famed Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance to make for an ultimate motoring weekend for auto enthusiasts.
Early consignments for the 2009 event include an historic 1927 Bugatti Type 51, the legendary 1911 Oldsmobile Autocrat “Yellow Peril” Race Car, and an ultra-rare and innovative 1954 Packard Panther-Daytona Roadster Concept.
The 1927 Bugatti Type 51 (chassis no. 4847) has a well documented racing history over the last seventy years. This supercharged Type 51 was raced before and after World War II by French racing legend Marcel Balsa. In the 1950s, this remarkable car was exported to Australia where is has remained ever since, including spending the past 20 years under the attentive care of its current owner. During this time, it has enjoyed great success on the vintage racing circuit, both in Australia and overseas events, and has remained unquestionably the fastest Bugatti, if not the fastest prewar racing car, in Australia.
“This fantastic Type 51 is an excellent example of a great car coming to auction and being offered for the first time in over 20 years,” said Ian Kelleher, Managing Director of RM Auctions.
“A car like this is what keeps the excitement and enthusiasm surrounding the classic car industry at its peak and ignites the passion of true collectors from around the world,” he added.
Another example on offer with a rich vintage racing history is the 1911 Oldsmobile Autocrat “Yellow Peril” race car. Regarded as one of the biggest and most powerful vehicles of its era, the original owner, John Greenway Albert, modified the car shortly after purchase in an effort to make “race ready.” Special modifications included constructing a one-off aluminum race body and a unique gas generating system—the latter which saw him emerge as a pioneer of fuel injection.
Painted bright yellow, Albert named the car “The Yellow Peril,” and raced it on various local dirt and board tracks, reportedly often removing the fenders and headlamps to further lighten the load. One of the car’s most documented race starts was at the 1915 Labor Day Races in Washington, DC, where despite being plagued by a host of different challenges, it came from behind to earn a respectable second place. It was reportedly the only loss Albert had in the car in all his years of auto racing.
Following Albert’s retirement from racing, the Yellow Peril was regularly used as a parade car in Tombstone, Arizona. It continued its racing legacy in the mid-eighties, participating in the Great American Race in 1984, 1985 and 1986.
Also set to cross the block at the Amelia Island event is a rare and beautifully restored 1954 Packard Panther-Daytona Roadster Concept Car. One of just four Panther concepts built and the only one in roadster form, the Panther was considered one of Packard’s most creative and innovative concepts. Initially called the Grey Wolf II after the legendary Packard race car of 1903-04, Packard ultimately chose the alliterative name “Panther” for this 1954 concept car and backed up its dramatic styling and design with serious performance muscle under the hood.
After a record run of 131 mph on the famous Florida beach, the name “Daytona” was added. Created by the Mitchell-Bentley Corporation and designed by Packard stylist Dick Teague, the Panther was designed as a sleek, fully-functional two-seat luxury convertible concept. With an innovative one-piece fiberglass body, it was the first Packard to employ a wrap-around windshield. The example offered here was further modified for the personal use of Mitchell-Bentley executive William (Bill) Mitchell Sr. It has recently undergone a professional restoration at RM’s facilities.
Additional notable highlights for the March 14 event include:
* A historic 1941 Chrysler Newport Dual Cowl Phaeton, one of the earliest concept cars built and one of just six examples, five of which are believed to survive today. Used as the Official Pace Car of the Indianapolis 500, following the race this example was retained by Walter P. Chrysler.
* A stunning, supercharged 1939 Bugatti Type 57C Faux Cabriolet “Charmaine”, one of the last Bugattis built before WWII and formerly owned by a remarkable series of famous British personalities.
* A magnificent collection of 1932 V8 Fords, including a 1932 Ford Roadster, a 1932 Ford Cabriolet, a 1932 Ford Woodie and a 1932 Ford Ute Pick Up, one of just 28 built.
RM’s Automobiles of Amelia Island auction event will be held at the luxurious Ritz-Carlton, 4750 Amelia Island Parkway, Amelia Island on March 14, 2009. A full day auction preview will be held March 13 from 9am to 6pm followed by the auction from 11am on March 14. Admission to the auction is by catalog only, which admits both the catalog holder and a guest. The full-color collectible catalog is available for $100 U.S. (plus shipping), by calling (800)-211-4371 or visiting www.rmauctions.com.