Tuesday at Bonhams, I really surprised myself. I was swayed by paint, and in a couple of different directions.
I knew one of the cars on the docket for Bonhams’ classic car auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, was a 1966 Lotus Cortina Mk 1. In 1966 I was a freshman in college and the Lotu-s and Cosworth-tweaked version of the modest Ford sedan was hot stuff on the European rally and racing circuits. I seem to recall seeing magazine photos of the likes of Jimmy Clark and Jackie Stewart racing such cars.
The one being offered at Bonhams (Lot 147) wears the colors of England’s highly regarded Alan Mann Racing team, which means its red and an orangish gold, or maybe it’s a golden orange. Regardless, I found the color scheme off-putting.
On the other hand, I was drawn to a pair of Jaguars because of their matte-finish paint, and to a Ferrari because I’d never seen one in quite this shade.
Color me confused, or maybe dazzled, but here are the cars I’d like to take home from the Bonhams auction today:
1990 Ferrari Testarossa
(Lot 114) When I was an editor at AutoWeek, I got to spend a couple of days driving one of these redheaded Ferraris. One of my neighbors was a state trooper. As I arrived home from work, he pulled into my driveway next in his squad car. In full uniform, he climbed into the Ferrari’s passenger seat and announced that we were going through the gears. Being a good citizen, I eagerly obeyed.
1955 Aston Martin DB2/4 drophead coupe
What attracted me to this car (Lot 155) wasn’t its color (I’m told its called Blue Haze), but its Mulineers' bodywork and that awesomely huge radiator.
1953 Jaguar XK120 FHC
The paint — Pastel Blue — got me on this one (Lot 182).
1955 Jaguar XK140 MC roadster
The paint, which lives up to its name — Suede Green — drew me toward this car, and I fell for it as soon as I saw the tonneau over the passenger’s seat (as a kid reading the weekend classified ads for sports cars), I always wanted one with the passenger’s seat covered by a tonneau. By the way, this car (Lot 172) has been driven less than 22,000 miles and has 46 years with the same owner.
1966 Ferrari 330 GTC
(Lot 168) Once more, it was the paint, mainly because I’ve never seen any Ferrari in this shade, which I’ve learned was a factory color, and is called Nocciola, which translates to hazelnut.
1937 Chevrolet Master Deluxe
What caught my eye at first was the license plate, which notes this car was $615 F.O.B. Flint (as in Flint, Michigan, where Chevys were built). Turns out this car (Lot 165) was a dealer demonstrator version used to draw customers into the showroom.
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.