>Porsche Carrera GT
TIPPED BY EMANUELE COLLO
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
TIPPED BY JUSTIN BANKS
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.’
TIPPED BY TIM SCHOFIELD
‘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
TIPPED BY EDWARD BRIDGER-STILLE
‘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!’
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