Classic Cars (UK) - - The Hot 30 -

>Porsche Car­rera GT


With a quad-cam V10 en­gine mak­ing 603bhp, a pure car­bon-fi­bre mono­coque, in­board sus­pen­sion and sil­i­con car­bide brake discs, the Car­rera GT seems ev­ery inch a 21st-cen­tury hy­per­car. But for Emanuele Collo, the big­gest as­pect of its ap­peal is very tra­di­tional.

‘It’s the sound – that fan­tas­tic en­gine. You have to hear it to un­der­stand what I mean, but it was cre­ated and de­vel­oped for rac­ing projects that never hap­pened.’

The en­gine’s ori­gins were in an aborted F1 project from 1992 which be­came a Le Mans pro­to­type en­gine later in the Nineties un­til that too was can­celled ei­ther be­cause of a lack of re­sources or to avoid a clash with Audi’s ef­forts. A con­cept car ap­peared at the Paris show in 2000 and to wide­spread sur­prise went on sale with very lit­tle al­ter­ation in 2004.

In to­tal 1270 were sold (all left-hand drive) be­fore pro­duc­tion ended in 2006. When new, these 208mph cars sold for $440k (£250k at the time) and stayed around that mark un­til the last five years, since when they be­gan a steep climb.

‘They’re trad­ing at around £600k-800k,’ says Collo. ‘I think they can still move a lot more be­cause they are such in­cred­i­ble driv­ers’ cars. They were built re­gard­less of bud­get and are age­ing bet­ter than one ob­vi­ous ri­val, the Fer­rari Enzo, which looks overde­signed in com­par­i­son.’

>Alfa Romeo 8C 2900


These won­der­fully ex­cit­ing and ex­otic Al­fas vary so much be­tween in­di­vid­ual types of coach­work that it’s tricky to get a han­dle on them as one model with one mar­ket, but Justin Banks of­fers a help­ful start­ing point. ‘The chas­sis alone is worth £500k. It’s a de-tuned su­per­charged grand prix en­gine with a four-speed transaxle set in a 1935 grand prix frame. Only about 40 of them were made and all the sur­vivors are ac­counted for.’ Ten A-se­ries cars were built on the short­est, sporti­est wheel­base, then two lengths of 2900B – the Corto (short) and Lungo (long). The lat­ter car­ried the most daz­zling coach­work by Tour­ing or Pin­in­fa­rina, but the shorter cars gained the most sport­ing im­age when Corto road­sters came first and sec­ond in the 1938 Mille Miglia.

‘Get­ting a Tour­ing-bod­ied two-seater 2900 at £5m-10m is like buy­ing a 250 GTO… but it’s not £50m,’ says Banks. ‘The dif­fer­ence is that when you come to sell there aren’t 50 or 100 peo­ple who are after an 8C 2900; there are prob­a­bly five. But they’re look­ing.’

Even in com­par­i­son with ex­alted Bu­gat­tis such as the Type 57 (630 built) and the Type 35 (340 built), the 8C 2900 is van­ish­ingly rare. ‘And the Alfa is a whole league ahead of the Bu­gat­tis. Pre-war cars in gen­eral are hav­ing a lull and many look good value com­pared with Fifties and Six­ties Fer­rari prices. The 8C 2900 is on my list be­cause what they sell for is less than what they’re worth.’

>BMW 507


‘We don’t see many of these in the UK mar­ket, but if my lot­tery num­bers came up I’d buy one – ideally the ex-john Sur­tees car given to him by Count Agusta for win­ning the 500cc World Cham­pi­onship,’ says Schofield.

‘Get­ting an 8C 2900 at £5m-10m is like buy­ing a 250 GTO... but it’s not £50m’

The 507 was one of BMW’S de­sir­able but loss-mak­ing glam­our ma­chines from a time be­fore the com­pany hit its niche with com­pact sport­ing saloons. Only 252 of these svelte 3.2-litre V8 road­sters were built and more than 200 are thought to sur­vive. But with many en­joy­ing celebrity prove­nance (Elvis had two, for in­stance) and emerg­ing from high-end restora­tions in re­cent years, val­ues have soared.

‘They’ve gone from track­ing some way be­hind the Mercedes 300SL to sur­pass­ing them,’ says Schofield. ‘The first-se­ries cars made in 1956 and ’57 are Mille Miglia el­i­gi­ble, which has helped the very best ex­am­ples to dou­ble or even tre­ble 300SL val­ues – to­wards £2m, in other words.’

A very few Se­ries 2 507s sneak into the 1957 limit for Mille Miglia el­i­gi­bil­ity, but most of these disc-braked cars were pro­duced through 1958 and ’59. Schofield puts their value at £800k to £1m.

‘No 507s were built with right-hand drive, so their pres­ence in the UK was al­ways very lim­ited, but in the USA and on the

>Fer­rari F40


‘This is one of the most exquisitely-built road cars ever made,’ says Bridger-stille. ‘Com­pletely dif­fer­ent from the beau­ti­fully sculp­tured bod­ies of pre­vi­ous years, it made no com­pro­mise to aes­thet­ics in the pur­suit of per­for­mance while at the same time re­main­ing brutishly stun­ning. Power de­liv­ery is un­re­lent­ing and the abil­ity to ap­ply it to the road is noth­ing short of mag­i­cal.’ The F40 is in some senses an ob­vi­ous choice – it’s a su­per­car leg­end ev­ery bit as much as a Miura or a Mclaren F1 and could be re­garded as just as much of a game-changer thanks to its stan­dard-set­ting road man­ners and adren­a­line-pump per­for­mance. Yet it’s typ­i­cally worth less than half what the best Miura SV fetches, a small frac­tion of F1 money and far less than its own im­me­di­ate pre­de­ces­sor, the 288GTO. That’s partly down to num­bers, with 272 GTOS and 1311 F40s pro­duced. But which of the two has icon sta­tus? A scar­let F40, surely.

‘They’re typ­i­cally trad­ing at £750k and up,’ says Bridger-stille. ‘They will get to £1m if they’re not they’re yet. The most sought after are pre-cat­a­lyst cars with non-ad­justable sus­pen­sion, but make sure yours has had its belts and bag tanks changed re­cently. Find one that’s been driven lit­tle and of­ten. Be aware that they do get crashed and re-painted, though the Fer­rari Clas­siche sys­tem ac­cred­i­ta­tion will also aid value. They’re sur­pris­ingly easy to drive at slow speeds and fast enough to de­stroy any­thing else on the road, even to­day. Just don’t boot it into a wet cor­ner!’

>My choices

Any­one choos­ing from a list that con­tains both a Fer­rari 599 and a Pan­hard et Levas­sor 7hp Ton­neau has to be open-minded. But while there are still tra­di­tional favourites among the 30, our ex­perts were all keen to step be­yond the ob­vi­ous.

Why? Be­cause of that re­cent cool­ing at the top of the mar­ket we men­tioned in the in­tro­duc­tion. The fog is only just clear­ing, as Justin Banks says. ‘We have seen the top of the mar­ket come and go and many in­vestors have dropped out, cre­at­ing some sup­ply. After three years we now know what’s hap­pen­ing – it’s sta­ble again but ready to rise.’

See­ing how our team chose to di­ver­sify has been fas­ci­nat­ing – Vet­er­ans mix with su­per­cars of the Thir­ties, art state­ments of the Fifties, Amer­i­can-en­gined Euro ex­ot­ica of the Six­ties and even 21st-cen­tury hy­per­cars that slipped straight from new to clas­sic sta­tus. Rar­ity has been men­tioned re­peat­edly for how much it mat­ters with gen­uinely de­sir­able cars, not be­cause rar­ity alone makes a car de­sir­able. It doesn’t.

There’s also been a bit of ego-prick­ing for cer­tain fa­mous mod­els. So you can get that Day­tona or DB5 with­out wax­ing most of a mil­lion, and the days of £250k kite-fly­ing for Pagoda Mercedes are over – in­stead try £50k for a 230SL… or a Se­ries 1 Land Rover.

Which leaves the joy­ful task of choos­ing the hottest of our Hot 30. Watch­ing yes­ter­day’s for­eign run­about be­come to­day’s baby ex­otic leads me to the Alfa GT Ju­nior, while fur­ther up the scale the Iso Grifo GL might be the best-look­ing car of the Six­ties, touched by the hand of the 250GTO’S cre­ator. But if I can take home any of these 30 I’ll have the Alfa 8C 2900, please. It re­ally is the 250GTO of its era.

Thanks to: Hugh Ni­cholls, Rick Nock of the Lo­tus Cortina Reg­is­ter (lo­tus­cortina.net), An­drew Yaras, Fred Moss, Alex Bran­chini, James Hen­der­son of Green­side Cars (green­sid­e­cars.com) and Roger Ben­ning­ton of Strat­ton Mo­tor Com­pany (strat­ton­mo­tor­com­pany.com).

‘Rar­ity has been men­tioned re­peat­edly for how much it mat­ters with gen­uinely de­sir­able cars, not be­cause rar­ity alone makes a car de­sir­able. It doesn’t.’

Porsche Car­rera GT prices are on the rise and could soar a lot more on the back of their F1-bred V10 and su­perb driv­ing qual­i­ties

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