Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


MAYBE IT’S a sign of my age, but I seem to resonate with a goodly number of fabulous cars being offered at Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auctions. With some of them, I’ve driven a similar example; with others, I’ve known a previous owner. And with many, there are great stories to share; thus the enjoyment of the Gooding & Company catalogs.


Pebble Beach Auctions, Saturday, Aug. 16 at 5 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 17 at 6 p.m.; Tre Posti, 1966 Ferrari 365 P Berlinetta Speciale, Gooding & Company, 2014. Online catalog is free; hard copy catalogs for $100 from

The special booklet, Tre Posti, gives details of the 1966 three-seat 365 P Ferrari Speciale, its speciality heightened by a centrally located driver’s seat, 26 years before the McLaren F1 offered such an arrangement.


1966 Ferrari 365 P Berlinetta Speciale, the Tre Posti. This and other images from Gooding & Company Pebble Beach 2014.

This Ferrari’s history is closely entwined with one of the more colorful automobile enthusiasts, Luigi Chinetti. It was Chinetti who gave the marque its first Le Mans victory (in 1949, driving almost solo!), enhanced Ferrari’s fame in the U.S. and established the marque’s highly successful NART (North American Racing Team).


Luigi Chinetti, left, with Enzo Ferrari.

Tre Posti offers recollections of Chinetti’s son, Luigi Jr., who shares interesting tales of the car’s ownership. He tells of one fellow, Jan de Vroom (a great name for a car enthusiast), who was a protégé of Margaret, the Marquesa de Cuevas, a granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller.


A Tre Posti cartoon, by British humorist Russell Brockbank, whose work regularly appeared in R&T.

Several of the Gooding’s Pebble Beach offerings this year have Phil Hill links, including the family’s 1912 Packard Model 30 Seven-Passenger Touring and 1938 Packard Twelve Model 1608 All-Weather Cabriolet.


1912 Packard Model 30 Seven-Passenger Touring, ex-Phil Hill.

It was Carroll Shelby who taught me that “dum-son-a-bitch” was one word. A 1962 Shelby 260 Cobra is one of three Cobras being offered. This particular 260 likely shattered more than a few egos at the Carroll Shelby School of High Performance Driving during the 1960s.


School is in session, Riverside Raceway, 1964, with the 1962 Shelby 260 Cobra.

Other Gooding auction cars at 2014 Pebble Beach that are high in my memory include the Toyota 2000 GT (R&T, May 2000), Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (, Lamborghini Countach LP400, McLaren F1 ( and Ferrari F40.


My favorite Ferrari, the F40. See

There’s also a Gooding offering I’ve written about, but not driven: a 2014 BMW i8—in fact, the unique i8 Concours d’Elegance Edition. The Pebble Beach Company acquired this specially equipped high-performance all-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid from BMW in advance of its appearance in dealerships.


The BMW i8, first of its type offered in the U.S.

Last, there’s a beauty after which I simply lust: a 1932 MG F-Type Magna Tourer.


1932 MG F-Type Magna Tourer, one of possibly only three surviving examples.

The F-Type is the big brother of another of my automotive high points, the 1931 MG C-Type (

Not to sound immoderately immodest (or old), but these days the wonderful Gooding & Company catalogs are striking more and more responsive chords. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2014


  1. carmacarcounselor
    August 3, 2014

    These (The Gooding Catalogs) are the FAO Schwarz Catalogs for those of us of a certain age. Phil Hill was perhaps unique among my early heros, because he embodied the two passions many of us share, in one spectaculatly successful individual – racing and automobiles as art. Who else but Phil would win the main event in the Pebble Beach Road Race, and repair to the 18th Fairway of the Golf Links to accept Best in Show honors?
    I had the privilege of seeing the Cobra CSX 2005 (the car with the capital ‘T’ instead of a number) as it was being prepared for the 50th Anniversary celebrations at Mike McCluskeys shop in Torrance (
    Either the Gooding Catalog or my notes are wrong (one guess which), as I call it CSX2003 in the blog.
    My dad briefly owned a 1932 J-2 MG, and I even got a ride in it when it was actually running. It was one of those projects where ambition exceeded resources.
    Of course I remember the Treposti from that R&T article and Brockbank’s cartoon. When the McLaren F! appeared my first thought was, “there is nothing new under the sun.”

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