Normal service resumed Monterey CarWeek sees some truly special Astons go under the hammer
Monterey car week returns, bringing out the big spenders and a selection of stunning Aston Martins
Any lingering doubts about the resilience of the top end of the market in the Covid era were put to bed during Monterey Car Week: between them, RM Sotheby’s, Gooding & Co, Bonhams, Mecum and Russo & Steele sold $347m worth of cars. For context, that is a 37 per cent increase on the total from the 2019 Car Week auctions, and is more in line with the average haul achieved between 2013 and 2018 ($363m).
Some cars came to the block with no reserve, and perhaps some bidders came to Monterey in high spirits and with cash to burn after a year of being stuck at home, but the overall sell-through rate of 80 per cent – 21 per cent up on 2019 – can largely be attributed to the fact that the catalogues were thinner this time, and the cars notably better. In all, 28 Astons were offered, several of them very special. Back in 2015, RM Sotheby’s auctioned a portion of the collection built by Texan businessman and good egg Paul Andrews. Among the lots were a Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Cabriolet, a Bertone-bodied DB2/4 Drophead Coupé, and the outrageous 1955 Lincoln Indianapolis by Boano. If he could part with those, many wondered, what on earth was he keeping? The answer was revealed in Monterey, where RM was tasked with finding new homes for the cars that gave Paul so much pleasure until he passed away in February at the age of 78.
All seven of his Aston Martins were sold, and we envy in particular the buyer of DB4GT/0168/L, one of the original five factory DB4 GT Lightweights. There’s no illustrious competition history to help justify the $3.855m paid, but the fact that former AMOC North America chairman Charlie Turner owned the car twice should tell you it’s a treat to drive – and indeed it was often Paul’s choice for rallies such as the Copperstate 1000.
His 1965 DB5 Convertible, one of 39 left-hand-drive examples made, was valued by RM at $1.8-2.25m, but some very determined bidders pushed the price almost $1m north of the top estimate, with the hammer falling at $3.195m. Frankly that was a shock, but after the events of the past 18 months we won’t criticise anybody for seizing the day. And even at over $3m the Convertible looked positively affordable next to the ‘crown jewel’ of the Andrews Collection, DB4GT/0190/L – the penultimate DB4 GT Zagato built.
The car was ordered by a Commander James Murray, a US Navy attaché, who requested that distinctive wide-pattern grille, plus a body made from heavier than- standard aluminium, for robustness, and glass windows in the doors. The car was delivered in July of 1962; it is unclear whether Murray knew that it was actually complete by May, and that works racer Roy Salvadori ran in the engine for him at Brands Hatch that month…
The club races entered by subsequent owners did the car no harm, and it retains its original (though now uprated) engine. It brought $9.52m, making it the third-most expensive lot of Car Week. The priciest, by nearly $10m, was a McLaren F1 sold for $20.465m by the folks at Gooding & Co, who, too, had a collection to disperse in Monterey: the ‘Silver Surfers’ that belonged to the late, great Neil Peart. Rush’s virtuoso drummer had Maseratis, a Miura, an E-type, a ’63 Corvette Split- Window, a Cobra and a DB5, all but one of them silver. The Aston was his first classic and the car that he had dreamed of owning as a boy. Given that he might have found it the most difficult of all to part with, maybe it’s fitting that it is the only Silver Surfer that failed to sell. If you’re interested, it’s still with Gooding & Co, asking $700,000.
Clockwise from left The eagle-eyed will spot that this DB4 GT Zagato sits on 16in wheels – but for your $9.52myou get the original 15in Borranis, too; Peony red DB4 GT Lightweight made $3.855m; the late Rush drummer Neil Peart with his much-loved 1964 DB5.