Serio’s Gang of Five $50k Buy-Nows

Allow me to fire up Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine for some personal perspective on a chronic, serious car-collecting habit.

Maintaining such a habit for 35 years is certainly (albeit marginally) better than being a fall-down alcoholic, a street-punk heroin addict or a perpetual gambler-loser. The aforementioned addictions are generally shunned by society — and wreak a terrible impact on those who are involved in their terrible wake.

Hold on… they leave you chronically broke, looking for the next high and Read More

1981 Lotus Esprit Turbo

Courtesy of Silverstone Auctions

The Lotus Esprit was built between 1976 and 2004, and a future release is forthcoming in 2014. The silver Italdesign concept that eventually became the Esprit was unveiled at the Turin Motor Show in 1972, and it was a development of a stretched Lotus Europa chassis. It was among the first of designer Giorgetto Giugiaro’s polygonal “folded paper” designs.

By the close of 1980, Lotus was building three different models of Esprit, with distinct chassis designs and body molds — Read More

1985 Aston Martin Lagonda Saloon

Aston Martin’s periodic revival of the Lagonda name saw it applied to a stretched, 4-door V8 in the mid-1970s, a mere handful of which were constructed. When the concept re-emerged, it was the sensation of the 1976 London Motor Show.

Clothed in striking “razor-edge” bodywork designed by William Towns — the man responsible for the DBS — the new Lagonda saloon used the same long-wheelbase V8 chassis as its immediate predecessor while breaking new ground in terms of electronic instrumentation Read More

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.

Read More

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