The array of cars being offered by RM's Monterey Sports Car Auction, Christie's at Pebble Beach and Brooks at Quail Lodge during the Monterey weekend is unprecedented in its scale, scope and quality. There will be over $50M in cars crossing the block during a three-day period, a tribute to the American economy which continues to grow, despite the recent bursting of the dot-com, now dot-splat, bubble.
As shown in this issue's Quarterly Price Guides, important, extremely limited-production cars continue to escalate dramatically in price. Ferrari SWBs bodied by Zagato (5 built), now trading in the $1.5-1.75M range, have more than doubled in the past twelve months, and Maserati 300S sports racers (28 built) at $1-1.5M have increased in value over 45%.
For the first time in a decade, there is also noticeable activity in select serial production cars. Aston Martin DB4s, 5 and 6s are all hot commodities; your chances are small of finding one in exemplary condition at the lower end of our Price Guide figures. We've all thought that Astons have been seriously undervalued for some time, especially considering their blue-blood GT pedigree and limited production numbers. However, their reputation for being extraordinarily expensive to repair (although certainly not by Ferrari standards; I speak from experience), coupled with having the misfortune of being the poster child for the crash of '89-90 has held back their values.
A fair number of DB4s, 5s and 6s were restored to over-the-top condition when their values warranted it; those are the cars that are being snapped up today. Even at $100,000, a top-rank 1965 Vantage Coupe is still a good deal compared to the cost of bringing one into fine fettle. While you've missed your chance to steal one of these James Bondmobiles for half price, they are still reasonable purchases at current market values. It will cost you significantly more, for the same car, six months from now.
THE CALIFORNIA CLASSIC
The 3rd Annual California Classic, presented by Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge, was a grand success. The brainchild of Andy Cohen and Jim Hull, it has grown in both quality and stature every year. It's only fitting that California, home to so much of America's car culture, should have an event that encompasses such a broad spectrum of collecting.
During a four-day period, the events included the California Classic Rallye, the Cars & Stars Gala at the Petersen Museum, Christie's collector car auction at the museum, the California Classic Automotive Art Exhibit produced by Blackhawk Art and the Concours on Rodeo ("100 Years of the Automobile on the Street of Dreams"). Additionally, the Classic celebrated the opening of the Nethercutt Collection's new, world-class facility.
A photo essay on page 99 provides a glimpse of the event, but the best way to experience the Classic is to come to L.A. and enjoy it firsthand. The focused intensity of four days of classic car activity attracts enthusiasts, collectors and dealers from all parts of the world to southern California. There are worse ways to spend a weekend than basking in the L.A. sunshine, watching vintage Alfas and Mercedes roar off on the tour, hobnobbing at the Petersen with the usual gang, bidding on Road Runners and Ferraris, admiring automotive art, judging Porsche 959s at the concours and of course, finding a different out-of-the way French restaurant to dine at with friends each night. We'll be back next year, and invite you to join us.
We're celebrating the 12th annual Monterey issue of SCM with our largest magazine ever, 104 pages chock full of auction reports, market analysis and wallet-tempting adverts. New this month is a Jaguar-exclusive column, "Cat Trax," authored by English-car expert, and Publisher of British Car Magazine, Gary Anderson. Our increased size provides an opportunity for additional editorial coverage of cars of interest, and we thank you for your continued support.
ON THE COVER
With Maserati as the featured marque at Monterey this year, English artist Barry Rowe has captured a legendary moment of their Grand Prix history on our cover. "Fangio at Nürburgring 1957," depicts Juan Manuel Fangio in a Maserati 250F (S/N 2529), just after he passed Mike Hawthorn in a Lancia-Ferrari D50 (S/N 0009). Fangio, having set a lap record of 9:25.6 in qualifying, began the race with a light load of fuel. After establishing a 28-second lead, he pulled into the pits for a routine stop.
In the words of Alan Henry (Ferrari, The Grand Prix Cars), his crew "shambled through a disgracefully tardy 52 seconds to change the rear wheels and top off his fuel load." Fangio proceeded to repeatedly break the track record as he reeled in the Ferraris of Hawthorn and his teammate Peter Collins (S/N 0008). On the next-to-last lap, Fangio overtook both the Ferraris, finishing the race 3.6 seconds ahead of Hawthorne.
2529 went on to have an illustrious career, and is now owned by collector and enthusiast Hartmut Ibing of Dusseldorf, Germany. A similar 250F (2510/2518) with a far less impressive history sold at the Barrett-Jackson/Coys Monaco auction, covered in this issue, for $750,000. 2529 should bring at least $1.5M if it came to market. SCM'er Murray Smith has entered his 250F, S/N 2525, in this year's Monterey Historics.
This is the fourth time Rowe's work has graced SCM's cover. A native of Coventry, he began painting full time after winning the prestigious Sotheby's award and, subsequently, was commissioned to create the 1998 and 1999 posters for the Pebble Beach Concours. "Fangio at Nürburgring" will be featured on a commemorative poster for the Monterey 2000 weekend commissioned by Steve Austin's Automobilia. The artist will be at Concorso Italiano and Laguna Seca to sign copies of the poster, which are $20. The original painting is available. For information about this and other works by Rowe, contact Automobilia (800/452-8434, 503/643-8080, fax 503/643-1302)(OR).