Where the world’s most discerning classic car collectors buy their new motors
The annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is a week-long festival of the very finest in collectable classics. You can’t move for megamoney motors, and if the fever of seeing so many incredible machines on display becomes too much, there are umpteen auctions running throughout the week just waiting to let you realise your newfound dreams.
The headline sale is by Gooding & Co: here, assuming you may not quite have the $16 million expected to secure the headline-slot Porsche 917K, are eight cars costing rather less than that, but which are no less interesting.
8. 1951 Fiat 500C Giardiniera 045 $70,000-90,000
It really is a classic little Fiat 500 estate. Not only that: the Giardiniera was an estate convertible, complete with full open-top roof. Featuring real wood panelling on the outside and a surprisingly voluminous load bay within, this impeccable original-colour car benefits from a full restoration by model experts Raoul San Giorgi.
7. 1952 Alfa Romeo 1900 M AR 51 ‘Matta’ – $45,000-55,000
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is not actually the firm’s first 4×4 – this is. The Matta was only built for three years from 1951, and boasted a full four-wheel drive system with low-ratio transfer box to make the most of the twin-cam 1.9-litre engine. This is the military version, of which around 2000 were produced: it’s rarely seen in this condition.
6. 1958 Chrysler 300D Hardtop – $90,000-120,000
An incredible example of late 1950s excess, the Chrysler 300D Hardtop has the most amazing rear fins that, for some, will be reason enough to buy it. And if it’s not, how about a massive Hemi V8 engine up front? Only 618 were built new, survivors are few – and we’d wager not many are in as good a condition as this one. Since its ground-up restoration it’s covered just 400 miles…
5. 1958 Volkswagen Type 2 Double Cab – $60,000-80,000
Modern double cab pickups are getting more popular by the year. But they’re not a new invention: this Volkswagen Type 2 pickup is a 1950s variation, with space for four in the cabin plus a gigantic wood-panelled load deck at the rear. Only 30 still survive, and this one, with its optional canvas canopy, is one of the most desirable out there.
4. 1957 Arnott-Climax 1100GT – $350,000-425,000
Bet you’ve never seen anything looking quite like this. The Arnott Racing Team entered this in to the 1957 Le Mans 24 Hours, and although the 1100GT didn’t finish, it did clock a wild 168mph top speed down the Mulsanne Straight – a figure impressive even today, never mind in the late 50s. And if you buy it, you can take it back there to try and recreate this: the car’s fully eligible for the modern Le Mans Classic…
3. 2005 Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM AMG – $350,000-425,000
This sinister-looking modern Merc is a 1-of-100 edition built to celebrate the 2003 CLK DTM racing car. At first glance, it’s a stock CLK, until you notice the whopping great wheelarches and gigantic tyres. It has a 582bhp supercharged V8, and a top speed of almost 200mph: full motorsport bucket seats grip you so you can hold on tight to the racing-style Alcantara steering wheel.
2. 1959 Autobianchi Bianchina Transformabile Special – $75,000-85,000
Yet another pretty little pint-sized car from Italian experts Autobianchi. This oh-so delicately-styled open-top car has been owned by the same family for an amazing half-century and, despite being built way back in 1959, has covered just 18,500 miles since new. It’s pretty much all-original, too: the reason it looks so amazing is thanks to the amazingly high standards of the concours preparation it’s enjoyed prior to sale.
1. 1960 Fiat 600 Jolly – $75,000-95,000
Literally, a jolly little Fiat 600, bodied by Ghia and, because survivors carrying the original wicker seats and frilly roof are few, comprehensively restored to an incredible standard: it scored 98.5 points out of 100 at a prestigious 2015 Concours d’Elegance event, for example. This, and the fact it’s covered just 7500 miles since 1961, is why bidding is expected to start from $75,000…