Spoilt for choice
THERE WILL BE NO QUIET PERIOD BEFORE THE ANNUAL WORKS SALE
GENERALLY AT THIS point in the year our eyes are on the Bonhams Aston Works Sale; its gravity is such that other major auctions between Christmas and May are often notably light on interesting Astons – but not this time.
Having offered four cars in Paris (the two Zagatos mentioned on the previous page, plus a 1964 DB4 and a 1966 DB6 Vantage), RM Sotheby’s has got hold of seven more Astons for its Amelia Island auction on March 10-11, including half a dozen – all crackers and all without reserve – from the collection of the late Orin Smith.
The New Jersey businessman, who passed away last year, was a serious collector with seriously good taste. His Astons include a 1966 Short Chassis Volante, a 1952 DB2 Vantage DHC and a spellbinding 1938 15/98 Short Chassis Open Sports (Smith was evidently a man who liked to feel the wind in his hair).
The two-litre 15/98 began life as a standard Bertelli saloon, and was not shortened and rebodied until the 1980s, when it was acquired by a pair named RW and RJ Mills. The idea of chopping a rare pre-war Aston might fill some with horror, but it’s very hard to argue with the results. Chassis J8/776/LS is sell-your-granny gorgeous and, with its four-speed Moss synchro gearbox, it is the perfect tourer. In a world of 14- million-dollar DB4 GT Zagatos, $400,000500,000 sounds downright reasonable.
Not to be outdone, Gooding & Co will bring a very special car to Amelia Island: the 1949 DB MKII built for a certain David Brown. ‘UMC 272’, which you may have encountered at last year’s Concours of Elegance at Windsor Palace, was for a time owned by Lance Macklin, who raced it with factory support in the 1950 Coppa Inter-europa and the 1950 Targa Florio, finishing fourth in the former and crashing out of the latter while in pursuit of Alberto Ascari’s Ferrari. Restored by Works Service and offered in show condition, UMC 272 is expected to command as much as $2.25 million when it crosses the block on 10 March.
Race history of a different sort will be offered by Silverstone Auctions on 13 May, when the house will seek a new custodian for the 1971 DB6 MKII Vantage currently owned by two-time BTCC champion John Cleland. There’s no estimate just yet, but as a well-restored, desirable manual car, the DB6 should go well.
A unusual surfeit of fine Astons at auction, then, before the traditional extravaganza at Works. Bonhams doesn’t appear to be keeping its powder dry for May 13, though. Consignments for its Goodwood Members’ Meeting sale on March 19 include a very pretty 1934 1.5 Litre Long Chassis Tourer (£120,000150,000) and an impressively accurate DP214 Competition Coupé replica (£600,000-700,000). That the house has not felt the need to hold back such cars until May suggests that there is plenty to look forward to…