The Amazing W Collection is Coming Up for Auction at Artcurial

 

The W Collection

The W Collection is nothing short of marvellous, with 44 highly desirable cars being put together by Staffan Wittmark. Wittmark, a design director and hardcore car-lover, is the man behind the success of the clothing company Gant. The start of the collection was a chance encounter with a Porsche 2.7 RS in the streets of Stockholm almost two decades ago. Sparked by the magnificently preserved Porsche 911, he bought it, which would pave the way for an amazing privately owned collection of cars.

Porsche has always been at the heart of Wittmark’s car-collecting adventure, but he’s expanded into other brands too. The whole list includes 26 Porsches, 11 Ferraris, 4 Mercedes-Benzs’, a Jaguar, a Chevrolet Corvette and a humble Volvo P1800. During his collecting, Wittmark would often get pairs of cars in different colours, hence why you occasionally see two or more versions of the same car as you go through the entire list. Most of the cars were restored to concourse condition top to bottom, and even the ones that haven’t gone through that painstaking process are still in excellent running condition. Wittmark also meticulously documented each car as best he could, sending all his Ferraris through the manufacturer’s Classiche program for instance.

The Top Lots

Going through the entire list reveals some extremely fine choices made by Wittmark. One that immediately stands out is the 1962 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB, arguably one of the finest cars to ever leave the Maranello factory. Finished in a gorgeous ‘Blu Tigullio’, the car was originally sold to a client in the US through legendary Ferrari importer Luigi Chinetti. The car still has its original paint after the first owner commissioned a respray, and matches in numbers for the chassis, 3.0 litre V12 engine and transmission. Inside, it’s red Connolly leather everywhere you look, contrasting dramatically against the blue-grey paint. Certified by the Ferrari Classiche program, the estimate is set at EUR 8,500,000 and EUR 12,000,000.

Another rarity coming up for auction is the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster from 1963. It might be odd not to go for the Gullwing, which is amazing in its own right, but this open-top version of Mercedes-Benz’ most prized sports car is that little bit extra special. It comes with a hard top, so you’re safe from the occasional shower of rain, but it’s what’s underneath the bodywork that matters. This is a very rare example with disc brakes all around, and the aluminium engine block (instead of drum brakes and a cast-iron block). It’s one of the very last examples of the 300SL Roadster built by Mercedes-Benz over a 10-year period. Similar to the Ferrari, and a number of other cars, the exterior is finished in quite a muted colour, while the interior pops a whole lot more, as it’s painted in Graphite Grey with red leather upholstery on the inside. Artcurial puts an estimate on this car of EUR 2,400,000 to EUR 2,900,000 (well over the estimate of the other two).

With 26 Porsches coming up for auction, it’s impossible to ignore the German manufacturer when it comes to selecting the top lots. It essentially comes down to either the 1963 Porsche 356 C Carrera 2 or the 1972 Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 RS. Considering the fact the latter is precisely what kickstarted Staffan Wittmark’s incredible collection, it seems only fitting to opt for the 911 Carrera 2.7 RS. Plus, it introduced the world to the now iconic “Carrera” designation, and it is hands-down one of the most desirable 911s out there.

Compared to the regular 911s of the time, it had a larger and more powerful engine, a signature “Ducktail” rear spoiler, wider rear wheel arches and wheels, and “Carrera” striping down the side, usually in some contrasting tone. This one, with a creamy white paint finish and red striping and wheels, looks absolutely stunning. Especially with those dual Cibie rally foglights! Although it’s not as expensive as the Ferrari or Mercedes-Benz, the Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 RS has an estimate of EUR 350,000 to EUR 550,000. However, I have a sneaking suspicion it might break through its estimated ceiling.

My personal Pick(s)

Going through all the lots, I asked myself a simple question; given the chance and the budget, what would I go for? Well, considering the fact I’m an avid Porsche fan it shouldn’t come as a surprise I’ve eyeballed something from the Stuttgart-based manufacturer. And while I absolutely love the Carrera 2.7 RS, I’ve always had a soft spot for the 356s. When I was growing up, I had a huge collection of 1:18 scale cars, which included a whole sleuth of Porsches. One of which was a model of the 356 No.1, the first road-legal Porsche ever made, as well as several later editions of the 356. To me, there has always been something so simple yet captivating about the design that it’s stuck with me. I don’t think I will ever fit inside one with my 2.01m tall frame, but they’re oh so special to me.

The W Collection encapsulates several Porsch 356s, of which I find the pairing of the 356 A-Series Speedster and the 356 C Carrera 2 to be particularly pleasing to the eye. The Speedster, being a 1956 car, is a so-called A-Series model, which means it was updated from the original 356 (or Pre-A cars) in several key areas. It’s also a Speedster, which means it’s a touch more spartan compared to the regular open-top 356 A series cars and has a lower front windshield and roofline. In the back, a 1.6-litre flat-four engine pumps out about 60-70 horsepower, which combined with the low weight means it’s no scorcher but it can still get-up-and-go if needed. The estimate is set at EUR 220,000 to EUR 260,000.

The 1963 Porsche 356 C Carrera 2 has a similar (and original!) grey-on-red colour scheme, something of a recurring theme in the entire W Collection. This car is a C-series example, which was the final iteration of the plucky little 356 before it would be replaced by the legendary 911. By then, power had grown considerably and the car featured disc brakes all around. The engine for this 356 C Carrera 2 is derived from the Porsche 550s block, with a capacity of 2 litres and 130 horsepower on tap. This meant it was the most powerful pushrod engine ever put in a road-going Porsche at the time. It’s also one of the rarest cars in the whole 356 line-up, as records indicate only 436 Carrera 2 models were built, of which about 100 were C-spec cars. The estimate is set at EUR 500,000 to EUR 700,000.

What Else Is available

Even though the majority of the collection is from Porsche, it’s far from the only brand featured in the collection. Not only are there 11 Ferraris to choose from, there’s not one but three Mercedes-Benz 300 SLs up for auction, which I doubt happens often throughout the year. But that’s not all, as there’s also a gorgeous Volvo P1800 in pristine condition and a stately 1971 Mercedes-Benz 380 SE 3.5 Cabriolet, plus a rare slice of Americana in the shape of a 1957 Chevrolet Corvette.

If you’re interested in the full list, here it is;

Mind you, that’s all the non-Porsche lots and there are already some very fine machines listed here! The trio of 300 SLs are amazing, and the same goes for the Ferrari 250-series and the 275 GTB. But in all honesty, I get just as excited about cars like the Jaguar E-Type and the Volvo P1800, as they are genuine motoring icons in their own right. Continuing the list with Porsche;

All in all, the W Collection is a seriously impressive selection of cars and includes some of the finest ever made. With so much to choose from it’s a challenge to narrow it down to just one or two cars. That’s why I simply wanted to highlight the top lots, plus what I would go personally for (given I had any type of budget, which I don’t). Is there anything that caught your eye, and is potentially within reach? Artcurial will happily welcome you in Monaco (or online) on May 9th 2024, when the W Collection will come across the block.

 

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