The Monterey Car Week is quite simply an extravagant smorgasbord of the very pinnacle from our classic car environment. When the Americans say “Bigger is Better”, they really do mean it and they really do live it too. Here we have a whole week in beautiful surroundings offering you more individual classic car events crammed together in one place than most places will have in a whole year! Among them you’ll find multiple classic car auctions pitched at the very top end of the classic car market, with truly dream worthy machinery going under the hammer.
As any regular ViaRETRO reader will know, we’re strong believers in our mantra: Any Classic Car is Better Than No Classic Car. It’s the day-to-day workhorse heroes of yesteryear which create the very fundamental basis of our automotive cultural history. These are the cars we should all be celebrating. All that said, we all need to dream a little every so often, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do here. Whether you actually have the financial means or not – which we most certainly don’t – join us for a fictive bidding-war at Bonhams upcoming two-day auction at Quail Lodge in Monterey. Go ahead – dive into their auction catalogue here: Bonhams Quail Lodge Aucton. Among their 135 lots they’ve truly managed to assemble a fascinating potpourri of high-end classics. Money no object, which one would you be taking with you home from that upcoming week spent on the US west coast? Which one would bring you the greatest pleasure to own, to drive, and to simply adore as you sit there quietly enjoying your morning coffee in your workshop? Ladies and Gentlemen, let the dreaming begin…
Søren is bidding on these two for his fictitious garage:
Lot 91 – 1955 Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider America
La Dolce Vita in a nutshell – The epitome of elegance and good taste. That’s the pure and simple reason for my choice of the spectacularly beautiful Lancia Aurelia Spider. As an added bonus, you get exquisite engineering and build quality. The V6 engine from Lancia is a favorite of mine and the design still strikes me as fresh today, as it must have been in 1955. Take note of the masterly detail, where the steering wheel angle is the same as the angle on the windscreen frame. Beauty comes with a massive price tag, but today that doesn’t bother me at all.
Lot 116 – 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona
It took me several years to realise the following fact: The Ferrari Daytona is, without any comparison, the greatest GT on the planet. The perfectly proportioned and clean design gets more effective with every year that passes, and glancing at the car, from any angle, you get endlessly impressed by the level of delicacy. The Ferrari V12 engine doesn’t require further introduction, as it is one of the world’s greatest automotive inventions. The whole of the Daytona truly is greater than the sum of its parts. Together they become a work of art – they just don’t make cars like it anymore. I can’t help getting a little melancholic, knowing it’s the last of its kind.
Claus is bidding on these two for his fictitious garage:
Lot 36 – 1985 Lancia Delta S4 Stradale
In our competition of choosing our favourites, funds were not allocated towards actually maintaining the acquired goodies, and I think the story of this specific Delta displays why that is relevant:
“This Lancia Delta S4 is being sold with less than 14,000 miles from new and has more recently benefited from a thorough restoration”
Why should that be necessary at all? Because the S4 Stradale was never really designed for road use, but purely as a professional rally weapon constantlybeing serviced between stages. Unless our ViaRETRO readers are willing to send more money, I wouldn’t drive mine at all. But I’d have this one anyway: It’s the most spectacular Group B-monster of them all – and even rarer as a road car.
Lot 70 – 1962 Ferrari 250 GT swb Berlinetta
As there are no Maserati A6G Zagatos in this sale, I’ll opt for the Ferrari 250 GT swb Berlinetta, which is the exact same type of “GT-car-turned-gentleman-racer” as the beautiful Maserati – only with a bit more of everything. As this includes a Colombo V12, I can forgive the missing Zagato-lines. Especially as Pinin Farina truly did a brilliant job too: In the process of shortening the long wheel base 250, he added enough tension and dynamics to the body to satisfy most aesthetics – in fact, many argue that this 250-variant is the prettiest of them all. It’s also one of the ten most expensive cars in the world. Which will come handy at the time I decide to pass it on. Maserati Zagato…
Anders is bidding on these two for his fictitious garage:
Lot 44 – 1953 Siata 208S Spider
Postwar Italian coachbuilding at its very finest! Combining the sleek, elegant and potent lines of Carrozzeria Motto with the exquisite engineering of Siata and not least the legendary 2-litre all-alloy Otto Vu engine from Fiat created something truly exceptional. One of only 37 examples produced, this particular 208S comes with a massive history file after a fanatical restoration to exacting standards by the current owner. Entry into any event you could dream of – be that on a well-kept manor lawn or a switchback mountain road – is a given. Some may argue it’s too rare and valuable to drive, but a few stonechips and creased leather seats only add character to an already enticing motorcar.
Lot 95 – 1946 Delahaye 135M Coupé
The aesthetics of this most gracious French coupé are truly above and beyond most others. Delahaye’s engineering had great foresight and their history is crammed with pedigree. The stunning coachbuilt Delahayes built just up to the Second World War and during the immediate aftermath were some of the finest the world had seen. This particular streamlined 135M Coupé from Dutch avantgarde designer and coachbuilder Van Leersum has a fabulous elegance to it, without becoming as opulent – almost vulgar – as some of the offerings from the likes of Saoutchik. While this one would probably live mostly in my garage for me to gaze at for hours on end, the glorious 3.6-litre straight-6 engine would make it useful for local picnics too.
Dave is bidding on these two for his fictitious garage:
Lot 4 – 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad Sport Wagon
Two-door estate cars are cool, obviously, but this is off the scale. Finished in the striking combination of Grecian Gold over Calypso Cream and propelled by a 265ci OHV V8 with two speed Powerglide transmission and a column selector, this would be an unbeatable way to waft about. Look at the details; the sweeping lines of chrome, the slim rear pillars and almost seamless glass area incorporating curved rear windows. Look at that dashboard, evoking the radiator grille and offering the passenger their own cluster incorporating the clock and radio speaker emblazoned with the Bel Air script. Look at the sheer space and practicality that could be yours right now, with all that style thrown in for free.
Lot 101 – 1959 Mercedes-Benz 190SL
Now here’s a bargain. The 190SL is of course ever the bridesmaid but never the bride, being comprehensively overshadowed by the fearsome 300SL Gullwing. It may not boast those iconic doors or the snarling fuel injected three-litre slant six engine, but at around a tenth the cost of the coupe the roadster has an appeal of all its own. The lines are truly beautiful and so perfectly resolved it’s easy to forget the Gullwing ever existed, and the combination of deep black paintwork and tan leather interior represents discreet elegance at its best. With all that money saved, you’ll have plenty left to afford to glide down to the Riviera and really show it off.
Tony is bidding on these two for his fictitious garage:
Lot 129 – 1958 Facel Vega Typhoon
I’ve always liked the combination of French style with American power of these hand-built Facel Vega’s. Its forward leaning stance and gorgeous Borrani’s mean it exudes speed and power, lending the car a formidable presence. A car this heavy means it’s not for hurling around twisty mountain roads; rather, with those sumptuous burgundy leather seats and multiple-dialled wood-effect dash, it’s perfect for occasional luxury touring, a GT in the truest sense. I can see myself driving along the Med coast with the windows down to show off the elegant pillarless styling. You’re highly unlikely to see another one (this is one of only 36 made), so its exclusivity gives it great pose value. Every journey would be an event.
Lot 94 – 1973 Porsche 911E 2.4 Coupé
This stunning 911E has been the subject of a recent full restoration, so shouldn’t need any more significant work for some time. It’s a great original colour, fitted with S trim, so close to my ideal 911S, and probably £20-30,000 less than an equivalent S. Like all 70’s 911’s, it’s looks lithe, athletic, purposeful, agile, with those fabulous Fuchs alloys, yet useable every day…and the 165bhp on tap in a car almost half the weight of the Facel Vega makes it more than quick enough, being one of the last 2.4-litre cars. I’d use this 911 – a genuine sports car – more regularly than the GT that is the Facel, but what a garage they would make!
Now it’s your turn. Share with us which two classics you’ve been fictitiously bidding on, and not least why you chose those two specifically over all the others.
What? You didn’t find anything which caught your fancy? Really? Well, first of all you probably ought to have your head checked, or at the very least question yourself whether you are indeed a classic car enthusiast at all. Or you could of course just check the auction catalogues from Gooding & Company, Russo and Steele, Mecum Auctions, Worldwide Auctioneers and RM Sotheby’s as they’ve all got equally impressive auctions during the week. Between the lot of them, we’re sure there will be something for even the most disconcerting connoisseur.
All pictures courtesy of Bonhams.