(Image courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway)
BLENHEIM, ONTARIO, CAN (May 27, 2009) – RM Auctions will lift the gavel on an important pair of Miller race cars when its highly anticipated Sports & Classics of Monterey event returns to historic downtown Monterey, California, August 13th to 15th.
Now in its 24th year, the annual RM event was the first and original auction held during the now famous Pebble Beach classic car week. Regarded as one of the world’s largest auction events of its kind, over the years it has been witness to the sale of some of the most significant sports and classic automobiles available to the market. This year will be no exception with a one-of-a-kind 1931 Miller V16 and a beautifully crafted 1927 Miller 91 rear drive from the esteemed Chuck Davis Collection leading the pace for early consignments. The masterwork of legendary American racing car designer, Harry Miller, both cars boast fascinating histories and are set to attract the attention of vintage racing enthusiasts worldwide.
“The Millers of the Chuck Davis Collection that RM will be featuring at the 2009 Sports & Classics of Monterey event are indeed highly prized pieces of racing innovation and design and are highly illustrative of Miller’s mechanical legacy,” says Ian Kelleher, President and Chief Operating Officer of RM Auctions.
“They are truly important Miller prewar racing cars and their offering is already attracting strong interest from around the world,” he adds.
The strikingly beautiful 1931 Miller V16 competition car boasts an intriguing history and tale of survival. The only V16 Miller racing car ever built, this example embarked on a long vintage racing career including numerous starts at Indy. In a bid to enhance performance, the Miller V16 was continuously modified – engine included – in its early years before it was retired from the competition circuit and left to languish in storage for over 20 years. Barely recognizable following its many early alterations, it was uncovered by a passionate Ohio-based enthusiast before finding its way into the distinguished Chuck Davis Collection in 1978.
A long time collector and Miller enthusiast, Davis immediately set about the long and arduous task of resurrecting the Miller V16 and restoring it to its former glory piece by piece, in a project that has been described as an ‘epic restoration of one of the most important and fascinating Miller race cars ever built’. As word of Davis’s project spread, parts began resurfacing from across the country, including one half of the original V16 engine and the original body. The project also saw various important parts recreated, including a full set of Miller carburetors.
With a warehouse full of pieces, the car was finally reassembled in 1992 and after mechanical testing, underwent a meticulous cosmetic restoration back to its handsome 1932 Indianapolis configuration. Painted light gray with contrasting numbers, it went on to make its first appearance at the 1993 Monterey Historic Races and Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Affectionately described by enthusiasts as ‘the Miller that wouldn’t die’, it has since received numerous major prizes at Pebble Beach, Hershey, Detroit and Chicago, and participated at the Milawaukee Mile, Monterey Historic and Goodwood. Its upcoming offering at RM’s Sports & Classics of Monterey auction marks the first time it has come to market in over 30 years.
Joining the 1931 Miller V16 at the Monterey event will be another important and beautifully crafted Miller competition car – a spectacular 1927 Miller 91 rear drive car – a recreation of the legendary Frank Lockhart Muroc Lake Land Speed Car and featuring the specially built Miller engine from that car. Like the V16, this example has also undergone a comprehensive and flawless concours restoration and is ‘on the button’ and track ready.
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