More to come post-monterey…
SEPTEMBER BRINGS WITH IT A RASH OF ASTON-HEAVY SALES
SO ANOTHER MONTEREY CAR WEEK has come and gone, new auction records have been set, and much ink has again been spilled by observers attempting to divine the implications for the wider old car world of the latest mega-money sales.
At this point, however, the Monterey auctions are almost meaningless to all but the auction houses and the wealthiest collectors – fabulous, compelling, noisy, but ultimately irrelevant. Values of the ‘ultra-exclusive’ cars that are Monterey’s calling card have advanced to the point that Monterey sets the market for ‘ordinary’ classics in the same way that the sale of a Turner sets the market for the paintings of a working seaside watercolourist; it doesn’t.
Away from California’s Central Coast and back in the real world, there are several seriously covetable ‘ordinary’ cars coming up for sale. Between the time of writing and our on-sale date, RM Sotheby’s and Bonhams will offer no fewer than 17 Astons between them, from a 1926 Aston-martin 1 1/2 Litre Cloverleaf to a 2008 V8 Vantage Roadster.
The former, up for grabs at Bonhams’ Beaulieu event, is a particularly interesting proposition. Its pre-sale estimate of £60,000-80,000 should indicate that it is not an all-original, museum-condition example, but it is no less appealing for it. Born as the last car built by Bamford & Martin at the Kensington works in 1926, it was initially unsold and left undressed, a rolling chassis with a gearbox that became one of the casualties of the company’s financial struggles.
It was eventually bought by Eric Burt, who fitted it with a 1500cc Anzani engine and basic bodywork and raced it at the speed trials in Boulogne, winning his class. Subsequent owners mucked it about some more: today the car is powered by the Alvis 12/50hp unit installed around 1930, and wears a correct-type body that dates to the 1960s. Recently overhauled and ideal FORVSCC events, it looks a great deal of fun for what is, in pre-war Aston Martin terms, not a great deal of money.
For roughly ten times the price somebody at RM’S London sale will become the new owner of another, most unusual, pre-db Aston – one of eight Type Cs built. Based on the 2 Litre Speed Model, the Type C boasted aerodynamic bodywork styled by Claude Hill that allowed it to break 100mph and easily outrun its boxy cousins.
RM’S example, chassis A9/722/U, has been restored in exemplary fashion to its original specification by Ecurie Bertelli, which makes the estimate of £575,000725,000 rather more palatable.
Those who prefer their cars to be more useably imperfect might want to mark September 23 in their diaries. At its penultimate sale of 2017, Historics at Brooklands will invite bids on a 1959 DB4 that wears its many years of honest use for all to see.
The car, which was sold new to the UK but has also spent time across the pond, has been refurbished more than once, and since 1995 it has concealed beneath its shapely bonnet a DBS Vantage engine block bored out to 4.2 litres and fitted with Cosworth pistons. All manner of other tweaks have been made in the name of improved everyday performance and reliability, from the new Borg & Beck clutch to the DB4 GT front disc brakes. At this point in its (fully documented) life it could do with a little cosmetic TLC, but it promises to be a wonderful real-world driver’s car, and carries a refreshingly realworld estimate of £265,000-295,000.
From top The car once known as the Burt Special, which today chuffs along powered by an Alvis 12/50hp engine; a rare Type C that raced in the 1939 RAC Rally is set to be offered by RM Sotheby’s in London; Historics at Brooklands will invite bids on...