1960 Lotus Elite Series II

Pawel Litwinski, courtesy of Bonhams

With the Lotus 14 of 1959 — better known as the Elite — Colin Chapman demonstrated that his skills as a racing-car designer and constructor could just as easily be applied to production road cars.

Just as innovative as Lotus’s outright competition cars, the Elite featured a fiberglass monocoque body tub, independent suspension all round (based on that of Lotus’ racing monopostos) and four-wheel disc brakes, the rears mounted inboard. Its engine was the 4-cylinder Coventry Climax FWE, a single-overhead-cam Read More

1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Supercharged Gran Sport Spider, Coachwork by Zagato

Pawel Litwinski, courtesy of Bonhams

In the world of car collecting, there are four primary criteria that establish a vehicle’s worthiness: authenticity, provenance, aesthetics and engineering. The exceptional Alfa Romeo offered here resoundingly checks all of these boxes.

The history of this incredible Alfa Romeo, chassis 10814356, begins in 1931. According to Angela Cherrett’s Tipo 6C book, 10814356 was completed as a fifth-series Gran Sport Spider, featuring the uprated 1,752-cc supercharged dual overhead cam, all-aluminum engine, an improved braking system and more refined Zagato coachwork Read More

Go for Z-Perfection or Nothing at All

It’s almost an axiom of the automotive world that an unloved make or model can gain respectability over time. The reasons for this phenomenon are many —changing tastes and fashions can transform a formerly ugly duckling, or advancing technology and engineering may reveal that a particular car was ahead of its time. But mostly, when all the models around a particular car have appreciated enough, they’ll bring the less-loved units along with them — to an extent, anyway.

That may Read More

1965 Mercedes-Benz 230SL

Dirk de Jager, courtesy of Bonhams

Introduced at the Geneva Salon in March 1963 as replacement for the 190SL, the 230SL is a landmark model that founded a sports-car dynasty that would prove an enormous commercial success for Mercedes-Benz.

Soon christened by the public the “Pagoda” after the distinctive shape of the removable hard top that evoked the roof of a Japanese temple, these SL models were among the best-loved sports-tourers of their day and continue to be highly sought after by discerning collectors.

This matching-numbers Read More

1961 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II by Pininfarina

Michael Furman ©2013, courtesy of RM Auctions

The 250 series was Ferrari’s crowning achievement of the 1950s and early 1960s. The high-water marks of this series have defined the “Prancing Horse” in the decades since, and in many ways, the series set the stylistic and cultural tone, which has grown exponentially model after model.

From the lovely Lusso and the sporty California Spyder, to the Tour de France and, of course, the Series II Cabriolet, the basic construction formula was nothing short of perfect: a high-revving V12 Read More

1964 Chevrolet CERV II

Michael Furman ©2013, courtesy of RM Auctions

The brainchild of Zora Arkus-Duntov, the “Father of the Corvette,” the Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle II is the first known operating example of torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, and it is among the most important Corvette development vehicles in private hands today. Since leaving General Motors, it has only been owned by the Briggs Cunningham Museum, Miles Collier, John Moores and the consigning owner.

The first CERV was completed in 1960, and it was aimed at open-wheel racing. Duntov began work on Read More

1961 Alfa Romeo SZ-1 Coupe

Simon Clay, courtesy of Bonhams

Alfa Romeo’s successful Giulietta range debuted in 1954 with the arrival of the Bertone-styled Sprint coupe, the Berlina (saloon) not appearing until the succeeding season. Veloce models with improved performance followed, and the agile Giulietta SV quickly established an enviable record in production-car racing, notable victories including a Gran Turismo class win in the 1956 Mille Miglia. Nevertheless, to fully exploit the car’s potential, lighter and more aerodynamic bodywork was deemed necessary — a requirement which resulted in the ultimate Read More

1952 Jaguar C-Type Roadster

Simon Clay, courtesy of Bonhams

Some 54 C-types were manufactured in all, the majority for customer sale, leaving the model rarer than examples of the replacement D-type family. This Ecurie Ecosse C-type has often been listed as having been intended originally for export to a customer in Argentina named Carlos Lostalo. The order was allegedly canceled due to customs difficulties, whereupon the car was delivered instead to Rossleigh of Edinburgh, Jaguar distributors.

In fact the extensive — and beautifully bound — documentation file accompanying XKC042 Read More

1964 Facel Vega II Coupe

Simon Clay, courtesy of Bonhams

In its relatively short life, the French firm of Facel produced approximately 2,900 cars, all of which were stylish, luxurious and fast. Hand built, they were, of course, necessarily very expensive — the Facel II was priced in Rolls-Royce territory — and were bought by the rich and famous seeking something exclusive and distinctive. The roll call of owners includes royalty, politicians, diplomats and entertainers: Tony Curtis, Danny Kaye, Joan Fontaine, Ava Gardner and Ringo Starr — the first owner Read More

Appreciation Replaces Depreciation

Although enthusiasts may argue over the true definition of “classic” as applied to automobiles, perhaps we can all agree on one criterion: If at some point in the car’s lifetime it stops depreciating — its market price stops declining — and the price then levels off and begins to rise, then the market has just declared it a classic. If the price continues to drop, then it’s just another used car.

The Mercedes-Benz 500SL roadster, introduced in 1990 on the Read More