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Exquisite Memorabilia

A peek at the great designs on sale in Monaco

With the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix just two weekends away, the season is ripe for wealthy fans of this iconic sport to build on the historic value of their existing collections. Some of the most exquisite memorabilia on offer this year was to be found at the Bonhams Monaco Sale (13 May) and RM Sotheby’s Biennial Monaco Auction (14 May), the latter including a 1971 MARCH 711 – the first formula 1 car driven by racing legend and three time world champion Niki Lauder.

The most eccentric feature of the 711’s design was its front airfoil, also known as the “spitfire” or “tea tray”, which during its day was nothing short of revolutionary. In a racing era when radiators were still strapped to the front chasis, the brilliant aerodynamicist who created the tea tray, designer Frank Costin, was the first to significantly exploit aerodynamics for track grip as well as acceleration through the air. At the 1971 Monaco Grand Prix the car finished second, also the position it would finish overall in the Driver’s Championship that year behind the legendary Sir Jackie Stewart.

Despite the car’s aesthetic splitting opinions, the car signaled the advent of a rapid period of aerodynamic enhancements in Formula 1 that forever ingrains this exceptional design in the minds of fans.