The Not-So-Affordable Trends of Arizona

The USA, China and the European nations have each all printed over a trillion dollars in the past few years. We are in a cash crisis, with no place for this cash to go,” quipped one of my longtime automotive writer colleagues.

“This has to account for some of the big-dollar cars again being classified as asset allocations within very wealthy collector portfolios,” said another peer.

Theories such as these abounded in Scottsdale 2013 — much like the massive Read More

Best Buys on the Peninsula

I think we can officially do away with the term “Affordable Classic” when speaking about Monterey. In my opinion, when using the term “affordable,” we should generally be referencing something that the masses could easily afford.

The five rides I’ve chosen are valued from the mid-five digits to the mid-seven digits. That’s affordable, Monterey-style.

Five auction houses replete with hundreds of cars of every marque, age and condition transformed this sleepy peninsula into the world’s largest classic car showroom. I spent six days canvassing this full extravaganza of inventory, and there weren’t more than a handful of deals.

From least to most expensive, here are five sold lots that each owner should be thrilled to now own.

Aston Martin’s Third Savior

Aston Martin and its various ownership incarnations have perfected the art of going under — think massive avalanche — and then being saved for another life of making cars.

Anyone familiar with the history of this much-admired, cherished and revered company realizes that Lazarus has nothing on these car builders from the United Kingdom.

The Big Three saviors that I will reference during the “walking on that razor for survival” chapters Read More

The “Pretty Woman” Lotus is a Winner

Few modern classics offer more performance and visual bang than a Lotus Esprit Turbo SE. Somehow, this softened version — the less-aggressive, non-origami, original shape — has aged gracefully over the past 20 or so years.

Peter Stevens gets credit for this design, with honorable mention to Julian Thompson for the refreshing in 1994.

I’m going to focus on the Esprit SE seen in “Pretty Woman” and ”Basic Instinct” instead of the Roger Read More

1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL convertible

This car was supplied new to the wife of well-known Tulsa-based actor and producer Milton Berry. She kept this quality, matching-numbers Mercedes-Benz 280SL until it was traded in to the original Tulsa, OK, Mercedes-Benz dealer in 1999. It stayed in his personal collection until 2010, when it was ultimately purchased by the present owner after years of asking. The odometer reads 75,420 miles, which is almost certainly actual, although it is stated as exempt on the clear Oklahoma title.

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Did You See That ’58 Aston Martin DB Mark III?

Is there such a thing as an affordable classic or a good deal during Monterey auction week? Watching collectors and enthusiasts flock to the numerous auctions searching for a special, once-in-a-lifetime deal is like watching a professional goat rodeo. If you are a chaos junkie, this is for you, but making sense of this madness can be taxing, perplexing and exhausting — even for seasoned pros.

Imagine every dealer, collector, punter, enthusiast and wannabe all gathering under a tent, vying Read More

1975 BMW 3.0 CSL “Batmobile”

In 1968, BMW launched the 2500 saloon, and it was this car that gave birth to a string of elegant coupes that peaked with the CSL “Batmobile.”

The first such model was the 2800CS, and with independent suspension, taut chassis and a 170-horsepower engine, it was an attractive candidate for circuit racing. While the factory did not take the CS to the track at first, renowned performance tuning company Alpina—among others, including Schnitzer—did.

The first major victory came Read More

1950 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage Coupe

This superb DB2 was sold new to William “Bill” Spear, wealthy amateur American racer and a close friend of Briggs Cunningham, the famed American gentleman racer and sports car builder. In fact, the two of them each ordered a new DB2 in November 1950.

LML/50/19 is the 19th car built, an original right-hand drive example – and one of the very rare cars with the early three-piece front grille and side vents. It was supplied to Spear through New York Read More

1936 Lincoln Model K “Howard Hughes” Boattail Speedster

This Lincoln Model K speedster started out as Howard Hughes’s personal 1936 Lincoln K model V12 Limousine, until he converted the car into his idea of a Boattail Speedster.

It was originally shipped to Long Beach, California, in January of 1936 and apparently special ordered with only one foot rest in the rear. Other documents indicate the car was customized by the Hughes Aircraft Company shortly thereafter in Culver City, California. It was restored in Spring 2009.

2001 BMW Z8 Roadster

One of the most incredible modern sports cars to ever be built, the Z8 was destined to become a future classic after its debut in the James Bond film “The World is Not Enough.” The concept project was given to Henrik Fisker, who in 1997 was the head of BMW’s U.S. design studio in Newbury Park, California, under the direction of Chris Bangle.

Interestingly, this car takes its design cues from the iconic 1950s BMW 507, which was styled by Read More

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