Mar­ket watch

UN­MIS­TAK­ABLE MARSH PLANT V8 RACE-CAR SET TO CROSS THE BLOCK

VANTAGE - - Contents - WORDS CHRIS BI­ETZK PHOTOGRAPHY COUR­TESY OF BON­HAMS

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.

Clock­wise from above The ex-gerry Mar­shall Marsh Plant V8, which left a last­ing im­pres­sion on all who saw or drove it; DB2/4 sa­loon, DB6, DB4 and DB6 Van­tage – all set to go un­der the ham­mer at the Good­wood Mem­bers’ Meet­ing

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