MARKET INSIDERS PICK THEIR TOP 3 MONTEREY AUCTION FAVORITES
What better way to kick off the Monterey car week than a look at what the top auction companies are rolling across the block?
I've invited a number of respected market insiders to describe their top picks then round out with my own. The criteria? Name your absolute favorites regardless of value. Now, while a few ring up more than starter home money, they chiefly earn kudos from emotion over wallet. From the Rodney Dangerfield of Astons to a Lamborghini tractor, there's something for every readers' taste and pocketbook among the following 24 selections.
I'd like to thank Jakob Greisen, Nick Candee, Bill Warner, Verity Spencer, David Brynan, Mark Lizewskie and Gordon McCall for taking the time to share their choices.
Enjoy the ride—and I look forward to viewing your comments below!
- Eric Killorin
BILL WARNER - FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN OF THE AMELIA ISLAND CONCOURS
#1The Ferrari 250GT SWB was the best Ferrari of its day. Bonhams' 1962 250GT SWB comes with a long list of notable owners, a 100-point score at the FCA International and a class award at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours. Purposeful, beautifully sculptured, nimble and quick. In the hands of Stirling Moss a 250 SWB (Rob Walker’s) won the Tourist Trophy twice. Moss even listened to the race coverage on the car radio! It is a car, that in the day, could be driven to the track, raced and driven home and most likely won the race or at least its class. Estimate: $7-9M. UNSOLD $8.7M HI BID
#2RM-Sotheby's is featuring the third place Le Mans winning Ford GT40. It is the epitome of the Ford GT40 program with a big 427 NASCAR V-8 with tons of torque. Driven by Ronnie Bucknum and NASCAR driver, Dick Hutcherson and ran consistently. It is one of the controversial photo finish cars. It represents Fords revenge of Ferrari’s rebuke. It was an Anglo-American success. Wish I had one! Estimate: $9-12M. SOLD $9.8M
#3The 1935 Gary Cooper Duesenberg SSJ on offer at Goodings is the most important classic today. Exceptional provenance with ownership by Cooper, Briggs Cunningham, Miles Collier, J-563 packed 400 HP in a gorgeous envelope in 1935. It doesn’t get any better than this. Only thing missing is Carole Lombard….ooops, she would have been in the Gable car. Oh, well, can you imagine tooling up to the Beverly Hills Hotel to pick up your favorite starlet? I can! (Ed note: The two SSJs rode on shortened chassis set to 125" and differed slightly in fender lines, lamps and small coachwork details. The sister SSJ resides with a midwest collector.) Estimate: $10-20M. SOLD $22M
NICK CANDEE - AMOC HISTORIAN AND CO-AUTHOR ASTON MARTIN DB4GT
#1RM Sotheby’s lot #141 is the 1963 Aston Martin DP 215 and represents the zenith of British front engine GT cars, created at the end of the DB4 line, at the dawn of the cosmic shift to the mid-engine design. While not really a DB4GT but a new chassis, DP215 merited its own sub-chapter of eight pages in our book on the DB4GT. This is a car to enjoy, fast with wonderful road manners from all reports, and is just drop dead gorgeous. John Wyer told me in 1988 as we discussed DP214 and DP215 that “they were easy cars to build” but DB was giving up racing at the end of 1963, prompting Mr. Wyer to leave in September for the Ford GT40 project. His going away present? Roy Salvadori in DP214 beat five GTOs at Monza in September, with teammate Lucien Bianchi nursing the other D9214 to 3rd place, proving Astons could best GTOs on their home turf. (In Germany Peter Lindner beat GTOs at an ADAC Nurburgring event with his “regular” DB4GT, un-reported in the British press). Pro, well documented history. Con, big crash on the M1 led to rebody, so not “original” but restoration done with help from the creator, Ted Cutting. Estimate: $18-22M. SOLD $21.5M
#2 1962 Ferrari GTO, chassis #3413 GT is lot #247 at RM-Sotheby's and is simply fabulous. No need to rehash the storied history of this magnificent prancing horse as you have no doubt read it elsewhere. This ride is close to my heart as my dad was among the few owners of 1958 Ferrari 250 Test Rossa #0732... but that's another story. Last week, I was delighted to meet David MacNeil at Elkhart Lake. There, his DB4GT/0186/R Zagato was voted People's Choice in the street concours. David was also in the news recently with his purchase of GTO #4153GT for the princely sum of $70M. In hindsight, I might have have asked for his compare and contrast! Little known history: Giotto Bizzarrini in an interview by Griff Borgeson in Automobile Quarterly credited the DB4GT Zagato as the stimulus for Enzo Ferrari to move on from the SWB and create the GTO. Pro: well documented history. Con: oh so common, 36 built. Estimate: $45-60M. SOLD $48.4M
#3 The 1969 Aston Martin DBS Vantage #DBS/5362/R is lot # 5 at Bonhams and I reckon it will sell for around $175,000. This is not one of the superstars, but I think it will be a bellwether for nice collectible GTs that people can enjoy on tours and, indeed, as grande routiers. As a David Brown-era Aston with the last example of the Tad Marek 6-cylinder engine, this is a hand-build 2+2 that is fun to drive and—gasp—even comfy! While the chassis was widened for the coming V8, it is built with all the crafts of a DB4 or DB5 and is simply a pretty car with nice neutral handling. For the years the Rodney Dangerfield of Astons built at Newport Pagnell, owners do enjoy them. Even a French enthusiast has channeled his passion for the model and built a register of all the 6-cylinder DBS examples around the world. Pro: 5-speed with triple Webers. Con: heavy and no racing heritage. Estimate: $150-200,000. SOLD $154,000