UNMISTAKABLE MARSH PLANT V8 RACE-CAR SET TO CROSS THE BLOCK
Ex-gerry Marshall V8 racer heads the field for the Bonhams Works sale
AS WE SCRAMBLE to finish this latest issue of Vantage, hopped-up on Jaffa Cakes and Vantablack-coloured coffee, we must spare a thought for the folks at Bonhams – for whom life must often feel like one long deadline day.
The annual Aston Martin Works auction (May 9) is suddenly just around the corner, but before then the UK’S busiest house has another marquee event to worry about in the shape of the first ever Goodwood Members’ Meeting sale (March 21). Happily, the addition of yet another major auction to the calendar appears not to have broken the Bonhams specialists, who have hoovered-up some intriguing cars already, including a handful of Astons in various states of (dis)repair.
When bidding begins, paddle-wavers will be able to choose from a DB2/4, a DB4, and a trio of DB6 Saloons – one a Vantage-spec car from 1966. The latter, estimated at £160,000-190,000, is a far less intimidating project than the more expensive 1962 DB4 (£190,000-220,000) and might well attract the most suitors, but we’re especially taken by the ’54 DB2/4 saloon. It couldn’t exactly be described as tidy, but it appears complete and solid and would be well bought at its lower estimate of £70,000.
Those after a car in on-the-button condition would do well to keep their powder dry until May, as the aforementioned Works sale will feature one of the most finely tuned Astons around: the Marsh Plant V8R EVO 4. Those who followed AMOC racing in the 1990s will remember it well – a 560bhp downforce machine that was piloted by the late, great Gerry Marshall.
Though it was eventually run out of the AMOC Intermarque competition as ever-mightier rivals from the likes of Ferrari and Porsche were admitted, it was – and remains – a hugely impressive piece of kit. Talking to Autosport in 2009, former BTCC hotshoe Anthony Reid called the Marsh Plant V8 ‘the best Aston I’ve driven’ after taking the wheel in the AMOC Super GT series.
Much different from any contemporary Aston Martin, it owes its flypaper-like traction to the engine placement (‘incredibly low down and pushed back into the enlarged transmission tunnel’, notes Gerry Marshall’s son, Gregor), and an aero package that was developed by the Marsh Plant team with an assist from Formula 1 engineer Jock Clear.
Valued at £50,000-80,000, it represents quite an opportunity for those with designs on racing silverware, but budding Gerry Marshalls will also be able to bid on a Marsh Plant car of a more recent vintage, with DB7 DP (that’s ‘Development Project’) chassis 002 set to cross the block. A sum of £55,000-75,000 is expected to secure the 6-litre V12 bruiser, which again sounds pretty good value for a well-sorted and deadly serious track weapon.
Assuming these and the other consignments for the Works event sell well, the Motoring Department at Bonhams will have earned a good rest – but they won’t get it. From Newport Pagnell it will be straight on to the annual sale in Brussels; then Greenwich; then Oxford; then the Festival of Speed… We’d better send them some Jaffa Cakes.