Auction: Gooding tests the market with Phil Hill's Packard and a prince's Duesenberg  

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If you dig classic auctions and can't make it to Pebble, there will be a live webcast on the Gooding site at Yet even though David Gooding said "Today's records become tomorrow's bargains," we don't expect to see any bargains at this year's show.

Pebble Beach regular Gooding & Company will be bringing three special cars to this year's auction and the vintage rides are said to carry not only the requisite pedigree, but are expected to be barometers of the classic car market at a time when values are, at best, variable.

Included are a 1927 Packard 343 Convertible Sedan owned and restored by the late, great racer Phil Hill and being auctioned by his estate. It won Best of Pebble in 1977 and has never been auctioned before. Joining it will be a 1935 Duesenberg SJ Roadster (pictured) that was a gift from an heiress to a Georgian nobleman (Soviet Georgia, that is). Finally there's a car we can't help but love: a 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider. We don't care if it has a story or not. We want it. Desperately.

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A Triumph in Duesenberg Design:
Crowning the cover of Gooding & Company's 2009 Pebble Beach catalogue, the regal 1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Roadster with coachwork by Bohman & Schwartz will be an exciting highlight offered at Gooding & Company's Sunday evening auction. One of 36 SJs created in 1935 and later described to be the most successful Bohman & Schwartz design ever created for Duesenberg, Chassis 2596 was originally an extravagant gift passed from Woolworth heiress, Barbara Hutton, to her very close friend Prince Serge M'Divani, of the Soviet Georgian Noble family. The car was later purchased during the 1950s by the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club's then President Jerry Gebby of Dayton, Ohio, who took the wheel on its historic drive from Dayton to Tucson in 1960, traveling 129 miles at an average of 103 mph. Collectors and enthusiasts alike may also recognize this car from this year's Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, where it won First in Class.

"The Champion's Champion" -- Phil Hill's Purple Packard:
For the first time ever at auction, this 1927 Packard 343 Convertible Sedan, once owned and personally restored by Racing Legend Phil Hill, is a car to watch at the Gooding & Company Sunday evening auction. The only Murphy-bodied 343 believed to exist, this car left the Detroit plant as a bare chassis in 1927 and landed in the Pasadena workshop of the famed Walter M. Murphy Company, where it was custom fit with luxurious coachwork and later sold in Santa Monica. Purchased by Phil Hill in 1967, the car was later restored to immaculate condition in the original Packard lilac color combination by Phil Hill himself together with renowned partner Ken Vaughn and first employee Bob Mosier. With this car, Phil Hill won his second Best of Show trophy at the 1977 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
Summary on Pebble Beach Auction:
The Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auction is located at the Pebble Beach Equestrian Center. Preview days will be from Wednesday, August 12 through Sunday, August 16, 2009. The Saturday evening auction will commence at 5:00 PM and the Sunday evening auction will commence at 6:00 PM. Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auction catalogues are available for $100 and admit two to the viewing and the auction. General admission to the viewing and the auction can be purchased at the tent for $40 per person. Bidder registration forms, press credentials and additional auction information are available at

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