>Iso Grifo GL TIPPED BY MAARTEN TEN HOLDER
‘I like the underdogs,’ says ten Holder, ‘and when you think of the Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Maseratis that the Grifo competed with, it does get forgotten in comparison – but it shouldn’t.’
The intention was obvious from the start. Renzo Rivolta began his tilt at the Ferrari market with the four-seat Iso Rivolta IR300 in 1962 but wanted to take the next step, so went back to Bertone (and a young Giorgetto Giugiaro) for a fabulous fastback body on a shortened Rivolta-type chassis. The chassis work was down to Giotto Bizzarrini, who had turned a 250GT into the 250GTO for Ferrari. So the Grifo’s pedigree is hardly in doubt. Neither was its intended target – the griffin symbol refers to a heraldic beast said to be a fierce enemy of horses (especially prancing ones, we assume). But ten Holder’s fondness for the car isn’t about history.
‘I really love the Bertone styling – I think it’s just a fabulouslooking car. It must be the Grifo’s greatest quality, and while we can all argue about these things, I don’t think there’s a betterstyled Italian car from this period.’
The obvious difference between the Iso and the others is under the bonnet. Where that other great anti-ferrari start-up, Lamborghini, created its own V12, Iso used Chevrolet V8s to power its creation and there’s undoubtedly a bit of lingering snobbery about this that has held the Grifo back in value terms when compared with the V12 rivals.
‘You just have to appreciate the advantages of the engine,’ argues ten Holder. ‘I spend about half of my time in the UK and half in the USA, so I’m used to American V8s and I love them. The Grifo engines were blueprinted and tuned to give huge power but they’re still very reliable and a fraction of the cost to repair, compared to an Italian V12.’
The Maserati Ghibli’s four-cam V8 is no low-budget item either, but the Grifo is now more costly than a Ghibli – our £250k would get you the best Ghibli 4.9SS, but probably just a Grifo GL and not a 7.0-litre. The big-block Grifo was introduced in 1968, two years before the restyle that saw Series II Grifos develop a sloping nose and pop-up lamps. Some used even larger 454ci (7.4-litre) V8s
‘I don’t think there’s a better-styled Italian car from this period’
before the final two years of Series II productions switched to 5.8-litre Ford V8s. Nowadays, a perfect 7.0-litre Grifo is closer to £350k than our £250k, but only 90 were built from a total of 413 or 414 Grifos. Perhaps 20 of the Series I cars were right-hand drive.
Ten Holder is backing these 1965-69 small-block cars with their lighter front ends and bonnets free of vast ‘penthouse’ bulges.
‘Yes, they made fewer 7.0-litre Grifos, but they’re all rare. I like the perfect, original looks of the Series I cars and they should be fast enough for anyone – 350bhp and 0-60mph in first gear, for a manual car. The difference with a Daytona? Just the brand. So their values will get closer.’
>Facel Vega Facel II TIPPED BY JUSTIN BANKS
Justin Banks is something of an evangelist for the Church of Facel Vega – he’s owned a few and speaks about them both with experience and passion.
‘The Facel II is one of the best cars ever made. It’s much better than the HK500 it replaced and has the best dashboard in any car, ever. The myth of the marque and model is second-to-none, and a Facel II makes early Sixties Ferraris seem commonplace.’
Their low build numbers (184 produced, just 26 in RHD) mean the flip-side of showing up mass-produced Ferraris is a severely restricted choice of cars to buy. However, the strong upward trend in Facel values has meant money is finally being invested in returning them to appropriately opulent condition.
‘They’re all getting restored,’ says Banks. ‘If they had an exotic European engine they’d be valued so much higher already; I think they make a nonsense of Aston Martin values and I see no reason why they should drop from the point they’ve reached now.’
With 390bhp and 150mph potential, the Facel II could keep up with anything else made between 1961 and ’64, save a 250GTO. Perhaps the message about the Chrysler V8 powerplant – a strength rather than something to be sniffy about – is finally getting through. The Facel II was tipped at £200k in our 2015 Hot 30 and you’d now struggle to get the best under our £250k limit.
>Alfa Romeo GTA TIPPED BY EMANUELE COLLO
We’ve tipped the GTA before – an appearance in 2016’s ‘£100k and up’ slot didn’t pin down values at that point, but this is one of the few classics that has been bridging the gap between fast-rising ‘youngtimers’ under £100,000 and the blue-chip cars fetching half a million or more.
‘It’s an icon of its period,’ says Collo. ‘They have an incredible look, they won everything back in the day and they’re so much fun to drive. I’d say they combine everything desirable in one car, with this terrific Alfa Romeo brand heritage.’
They have a lot in common with the Lotus Cortina MKI in our £50k selection – a fabulous race pedigree and a significant issue with fakes. The problem of bogus cars is not quite so easily solved as it is with the Cortina, as Alfa’s racing arm, Autodelta, wasn’t particularly consistent in the way it built the cars or indeed kept records, so the best insurance is to buy one with impeccable history from decades past.
‘Fakes are a problem,’ says Collo. ‘But there are people who can look for clues. Check the chassis number and then ask Max Banks at Alfaholics – he’s one of the most knowledgeable guys around. There were street versions – the Stradale – and pure competition versions, the Corsa. The best Stradale might make £250k, a car with good period competition history a bit more, an example with less history and a few scars, a bit less. But everybody wants them.’
>Panhard et Levassor 7hp tonneau TIPPED BY TIM SCHOFIELD
Surprised? It’s not our normal subject matter, but Tim Schofield makes a strong case for this influential Veteran.
‘It’s about the lifestyle and friendships you make while enjoying engineering in its early forms. Until you’ve experienced the start of the London to Brighton run… the noise, the smoke, the
steam, the smells of a chilly dawn in Hyde Park surrounded by hundreds of other such cars, you won’t know what a great feeling it is to be part of such an ancient event. And that’s not the only trip you can do – the Veteran Car Club is active and you could be out almost every weekend.’
There’s no doubt that eligibility for that one annual event in November dominates the market for Veteran cars. But it shows no sign of stopping, and neither does the growth in Veteran values, says Schofield. ‘Look over the last 20 years and you’ll struggle to find other cars that show the same sustained, steady growth as these Panhards and their kind. They’re surprisingly competent, twincylinder machines and with a 1901 or 1902 build-date, they get an early-ish start number on the London to Brighton.
‘They are the root of modern motoring – the “systeme Panhard” is the name for the front-engine, rear-drive, front-steering layout. These are premier-league Edwardian cars but at £170k to £200k, where a big four-cylinder car of the era would be at least £100k more. Original coachwork is important and so is the paperwork to prove the car’s provenance, but lots of Panhard information is in the public domain so it’s simple to check.’
>Lancia Aurelia Convertible TIPPED BY STEPHEN HALSTEAD
‘The Lancia Aurelia B24’s market is a tale of two cars,’ says Halstead. ‘On the one hand you have the Spider, which has rocketed in value in recent years, with one example selling at auction for £1.5 million in 2016. On the other hand you have the Convertible which, despite tracking around 40 per cent below the Spider until 2002, has been unable to match its sibling’s growth. In the last four years, the most paid at auction for the Convertible was £255k. This makes me think the Convertible has a long way to go before it reaches its true potential.’
That’s the argument – but what about the differences between the two? They’re analogous to the Porsche 356 Speedster and 356 Cabriolet; what’s now the more valuable car was simpler and less well-equipped. The Spider has a wraparound front screen, no wind-up windows, a split front bumper and a spindly lift-off folding roof. It has a more charismatic dashboard, with three large dials rather than the Convertible’s two, but can you tell we’re struggling for major distinctions? ‘Both cars used Lancia’s 2451cc wet-liner V6 and transaxle gearbox, so despite a slight weight increase for the Convertible, performance is very similar,’ says Halstead. ‘The Spider is rarer – just 240 made – but there were only 521 Convertibles produced, so we’re still talking about a very rare car. It’s more practical and comfortable to drive than the Spider too.’
A specialist’s inspection is vital, especially if the car has been restored – that may sound odd, but an older or less careful restoration may have harmed the car’s long-term value by failing to replicate original features and standards. Aurelias often experienced engine changes early in life, although the one fitted in the car should at least be correct for the age and series. But as a useable, cut-price sister car to a million-pound masterpiece, it’s tempting.
‘Few other cars show the same sustained growth as these Panhards’
Earlier cars with small-block engines develop 350bhp and are primed to close in on Ferrari Daytona values
Super-low production numbers and growing appreciation of the opulent Facel II means values now reflect their real worth