A Rare, Historic Porsche Racer Leads RM Sotheby’s New German Sale - Kanebridge News
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A Rare, Historic Porsche Racer Leads RM Sotheby’s New German Sale

By Jim Motavalli
Thu, Jul 11, 2024 7:00amGrey Clock 3 min

The 24-year-old actor James Dean died in a car accident, colliding with a college student at a California intersection on the evening of Sept. 30, 1955. The car he was driving was a Porsche, but not an ordinary 356. It was a very streamlined 550 Spyder, nicknamed “Little Bastard” by the race-crazy Dean.

The 550 Spyder was an out-and-out racer, but the kind that owners could register and drive to and from the track in those days. The open-topped Porsche was made for only three years, from 1953 to 1956, and although they were very successful in competition, only 90 were produced. The mid-mounted “Carrera” engine in the 550 had four overhead camshafts and dual ignition. With twin Solex carburetors, it produced 110 horsepower. That wasn’t a lot, but the 550 Spyder was a very light car, just 590 kilograms (1,300 pounds).

An example of the 550 Spyder, from 1955 with colourful racing history, is one of the cars that will be sold by RM Sotheby’s in an auction by Lake Tegernsee, about 40 minutes south of Munich, on July 27. Also on the block is a pair of modern Bugattis, a rare Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss, and a 2006 Porsche Carrera GT. The auction is taking place in partnership with the new Concours of Elegance Germany in Bavaria, held July 22-27.

The only one: This 2010 Bugatti Veyron 16-4 Grand Sport “Soleil de Nuit” to be auctioned by RM Sotheby’s was built for the royal family of Kuwait.
RM Sotheby’s

This Porsche 550 Spyder, with coachwork by Wendler (which also had its hand in the 718 sport racing cars), was delivered to Portugal and competed in European racing circuits. Originally white with burgundy accents, the car was first owned by Fernando Mascarenhas, who achieved class podium positions in races at Barajas and Monsanto in 1955. The 550 then went to Germany that summer for the Nürburgring 500 Kilometers, but the race was cut short because of an accident.

The second owner was Cypriano Flores in 1958. Flores’ son eventually returned the car to Porsche, which did the mechanical work while Wendler restored the body.

Despite the racing, which often results in swapped engines and other components, the 550 still boasts its original chassis, four-cam Carrera motor, and gearbox. The car was restored by Porsche and its original coachbuilder, Wendler, in the early 1990s—and not driven since then. During the restoration, the car’s colour was changed to silver, and the interior from beige vinyl to black leather. The pre-auction estimate is €3.5 million to €4.2 million (US$3.78 million to US$4.54 million).

Also to be auctioned at Tegernsee is the aforementioned 2010 Mercedes SLR McLaren Stirling Moss, a virtually unused example with just 45 kilometres on the odometer. First shown in 2009, it was a tribute to the late racing driver’s win in a 300 SLR Mercedes at the 1955 Mille Miglia.

The auction SLR features a lightweight carbon-fibre structure and a supercharged, 5.4-litre V8 with 641 horsepower. A mere 75 Stirling Moss cars were built, and only offered to customers who already owned an SLR McLaren. Without a roof or windshield, the Moss edition was 200 kilograms lighter than the standard car. It could reach 62 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds. The pre-sale estimate is €3.2 million to €3.8 million.

The modern Bugattis include a 2019 Chiron Sport “110 Ans Bugatti” edition, one of 20. The odometer reads only 1,461 kilometres. It’s estimated at €3.3 million to €3.8 million. The other one is the 2010 Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport “Soleil de Nuit,” a one-off Veyron in two-tone black/blue metallic sold new to the royal family of Kuwait. The estimate is €1.5 million to €2 million.

The 2006 Porsche Carrera GT, one of just 1,270 of these race-derived high-performance cars, is also a low-mileage example in silver metallic with 35,698 kilometres showing. It’s powered by a 5.7-litre V10 engine and could reach 62 miles per hour in 3.57 seconds and had a top speed of 205 mph. This one was supplied to Porsche in Leipzig, and a succession of owners barely used it. In 2001, the Porsche benefitted from a major €27,000 service that included a clutch replacement. It’s estimated at €975,000 to €1.275 million.

Porsche collectors might also want to visit the Bonhams|Cars Quail auction during Monterey Car Week starting Aug. 16. The lots include a one-of-62 1971 Porsche 911 S/T (estimated between US$900,000 and US$1.2 million); and a 1993 959 “Komfort” model, one of six, estimated at US$1.5 million to US$2 million.


What a quarter-million dollars gets you in the western capital.

Alexandre de Betak and his wife are focusing on their most personal project yet.

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Leaders with epic hobbies seem to squeeze more hours out of the day than the rest of us

By Callum Borchers
Fri, Jul 19, 2024 4 min

Many of us can barely keep up with our jobs, never mind hobbies. Yet some top executives run marathons, wineries or music-recording studios on the side. How can they have bigger responsibilities and more fun than we do?

It can seem like ultrahigh achievers find extra hours in the day. They say they’ve just figured out how to manage their 24 better than the rest of us.

They also admit they take full advantage of the privileges of being a boss—the power to delegate and the means to do things like jetting to Denmark for a long weekend of windsurfing.

Dan Streetman trains as many as 20 hours a week for Ironman triathlons in addition to his job as CEO of cybersecurity firm Tanium. It’s a big commitment for anyone, never mind a corporate leader who travels to meet with customers every week. He pulls it off by sleeping fewer than seven hours a night and waking around 5 a.m., planning his exercise sessions months in advance, and switching his brain from work mode to sport mode almost as fast as he transitions from swimming to cycling during a competition.

“I tend to work right up until the day of the race,” says Streetman, 56 years old. “I remember being on a board call on a Friday night, and Saturday morning was an Ironman. That’s just part of it.”

Ahead of business trips, he maps running routes in unfamiliar cities and scouts nearby pools, often at YMCAs. He rides stationary bikes in hotel gyms and, if they’re subpar, makes a note to book somewhere else next time he’s in town.

Leaders who eat, breathe and sleep business can appear out of touch at a time when employees crave work-life balance and expect their bosses to model it. Today’s prototypical CEO has a full life outside of work, or at least the appearance of one.

Their tactics include waking up early, multitasking and scheduling fun as if it were any other appointment. When you’re a top executive, hobbies tend to disappear unless they’re on the calendar. One CEO told me he disguises “me time” as important meetings. Only his assistant knows which calendar blocks are fake.

Ben Betts calls himself a “spreadsheet guy,” which is a bit like saying Michelangelo was a paint guy. With Excel as his canvas, Betts creates cell-by-cell checklists for just about everything he does, from cooking Christmas dinner to building a coop for newly hatched ducklings.

Betts, 41, is CEO of Learning Pool, a professional-development software maker. The duck home is part of his ambitious effort to restore an 18th-century farmhouse in England. He’s been renovating for about five years and aims to finish this fall.

On a recent Saturday, Betts’s spreadsheet called for stripping overhead beams by 5 p.m. so he could refinish them. Otherwise, the task would have to wait until the following weekend, throwing off his whole timeline. His vision of the home as a cozy enclave—completed in time for the holidays—can only come true if he sticks to a precise plan.

“Sometimes I stand in the doorway, and my wife probably wonders what I’m staring at,” he says. “I’m picturing us on a corner sofa with our two kids and the dog, watching a film in front of the fireplace I installed.”

Back in the swing

John Sicard , president and CEO of supply-chain manager Kinaxis , got back into drumming many years after he let go of his dream to become a professional musician. He practices almost every day, but his sessions sometimes last only 20 minutes. He rehearses with bandmates two or three times a month. That’s enough to prepare Sicard, 61, to play Foo Fighters and Led Zeppelin covers at occasional charity gigs.

He also built a studio in his house, where he records up-and-coming artists. He finds time by sticking to this management philosophy: “The most successful CEOs do the least amount of work.”

For Sicard, that means letting his lieutenants take charge of—and responsibility for—their divisions. Many corporate leaders work harder than they need to because they micromanage or hire poorly and pick up the slack, he says.

Thomas Hansen , president of software maker Amplitude, is back to windsurfing, a sport he competed in as a teenager. He lives near the ocean in California but gets out on the water only about once a month, when the waves are just right. Hobbies don’t need to be daily activities to be fulfilling, he says, especially if they require training regimens.

To stay in shape for windsurfing, he rises at 4:30 a.m., seven days a week, for an hour of exercise. Hansen, 54, also guards his Saturdays and Sundays like the crown jewels of Denmark, his native country, limiting himself to two working weekends a year. Things that feel urgent can almost always wait till Monday, he contends.

‘Like a badass’

When Christine Yen isn’t calling the shots at work, she’s circling a racetrack at 80 mph on her Honda CB300F motorcycle. The co-founder and CEO of Honeycomb, which helps engineers diagnose problems in their software, took up racing a few years ago.

Prepandemic, her motorcycle was strictly for commuting in San Francisco—and making an impression. She loved pulling up to investor meetings in her hornet-yellow helmet and leather riding suit.

“It fits me like a glove, and it makes me feel like a badass,” says Yen, 36.

The keys to spending full days at the track are planning and being willing to work at odd hours, Yen discovered. Her favorite track publishes racing schedules in 10-week batches. As soon as a slate is released, she circles the dates when she expects her workload will be lightest, aiming to participate in roughly half of the events.

“I have also been known to bring my laptop to the motel and get some work done in the evenings,” she says. “It sounds boring to say hobbies can be scheduled, but that’s how I protect my time.”