Pre-war classics lined up at RM Sotheby’s Arizona auction in Phoenix | Larry Edsall
Over the years, RM Sotheby’s Arizona Auction at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix has consistently featured cars that are right in the middle of the pulse of current market conditions.
This year is no different, with much of the inventory being either up-and-coming collector cars or serious muscle cars. Of course, these are mixed in with the usual assortment of high-value classics. RM Sotheby’s Arizona sale is one of my favorites of the year.
The cars I want to bring home represent the diversity of the offerings at the Phoenix sale, which takes place today and Friday.
1983 Lotus Turbo Esprit These British cars are rising fast, and even though fitting into the Lotus is a bit difficult, I would happily take home this silver coupe with the red leather interior. The Turbo Esprit offers serious performance mixed with amazing styling that exemplifies the wedge styling concept. Itdoes not hurt that James Bond drove Esprits in two different films.
1979 Aston Martin V8 Vantage “Oscar India” Oscar India stands for the car’s October introduction, to let you in on some Aston Martin anorak knowledge. These cars to me are the best-built “Mustangs” in the world, with the advantages of a fantastic four-cam V8 combined with fit and finish that is among the best in the world. The V8 Vantage offers incredible performance and a level of style and quality not equaled in any other pony car ever built.
1963 Dodge 330 Max Wedge Lightweight This is one of nine of these high-performance cars ever built, and this example is a true No. 1 condition example. If that is not enough, this car left the factory with a completely hand fabricated front end. Every bit of the car in front of the firewall is aluminum, down to the headlight bezels and bumper. The reduction of weight combined with the power under the hood makes it something I would love to have.
1958 Facel Vega FVS Series 4 Sport Coupe Few cars offer the style of a Facel Vega’s body and interior, along with the simplicity of a Chrysler drivetrain. These big coupes are one of the best examples of the concept of a Gentleman’s Express GT car. Yes, they are more expensive than they were 10 years ago, but these cars even at their current values still represent a bargain today.
1938 Mercedes-Benz 200 V Sport Roadster I like to think of this as a three-quarter-size 540 K Special roadster at about a hundredth of the cost. It is a nice-driver level example of a pre-war Mercedes convertible at an estimated bargain price. Sure, it is no match for the 540 K in performance, but it has quite a lot of pre-war Mercedes style. At the pre-auction estimate of only $50,000-70,000, it could be the best buy of the week at any auction.
1961 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Coupe Aerodinamico Since this is a wish list, I had to add this stunning car to the mix. One of only 17 examples built, the amazing-looking and very fast Ferrari is among the finest cars the company ever produced. The coachwork by Pininfarina is about perfect, especially in Blu Sera paint. The 340-horsepower engine is not too bad either, and these cars are reportedly capable of moving at more than 150 mph. I would love to find that out for myself on a cross country trip.
Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.