More to come post-mon­terey…

SEPTEM­BER BRINGS WITH IT A RASH OF AS­TON-HEAVY SALES

VANTAGE - - Bulletin | Market Watch - WORDS CHRIS BIETZK

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.

PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BON­HAMS; RM SOTHEBY’S; HIS­TORICS AT BROOK­LANDS

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...

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