Andy picks his favorites at Bonhams Monterey auction

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Bonhams docket overflows so the auction will run for two days instead of the usual single-day sale | Andy Reid photos

The first of the higher end auctions this year during Monterey Car Week is the Bonhams sale at Quail Lodge. While it offers high-end cars like the other high-end auctions, Bonhams also always has a number of cars at the entry point of the market.

This year Bonhams is has the largest collection in its 22-year history at Monterey, more than 230 cars on offer. This has led to the auction running two days, Thursday and Friday.

I decided to mirror this scope of the docket with my picks:

1955 Swallow Doretti

I have always loved these cars as they offer so much for so little. A handsome all-aluminum car that is eligible for any event you can think of, from top concours to the world’s greatest rallies and vintage race events. Combine that with the limited expense of maintaining the Triumph TR2/3-powered car and you have a seriously good buy. If you factor that they only made around 276 of these cars and at the $100,000 to $125,000 estimate it looks to be an amazing deal.

1988-90 Peerless GTP Corvette Lola-chassis IMSA/Group C coupe

This is not just any Corvette race car, but a 10.2-liter 4-cam 32-valve weapons-grade IMSA prototype. Combine that with this roster of drivers who raced this car — David Hobbs, Jack Baldwin, Jacques Villeneuve and Scott Goodyear —and you have a car I would very much like to race. 

1951 Alvis TA21 drophead coupe with coachwork by Tickford

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Alvis is something of a forgotten marque, but the company built some amazing road cars, competing with the likes of Lagonda and Aston Martin. This stunning coachbuilt car could well be one of the best deals for a higher-end British car in Monterey this week. The estimate is only $60,000 to $90,000 for his nice example.

1961 Cooper-Climax T53P “Lowline’ Formula 1 & 2 single-seater T53

Vintage F1 cars are another class of vehicle I dearly love, and of all the many Cooper cars on offer this one ticks all the boxes for me. First, it is a Cooper, which is cool in itself. Next, the T53s were driven in period by Brabham and Surtees, Bandini and McLaren. Finally, just look at this absolutely stunning automobile.

1931 Bentley 4½ Liter supercharged Birkin Le Mans Replica

Yes, I love Bentleys and the lore of the Le Mans winning Bentley Boys, especially Tim Birkin.Yes, there are a number of other great Bentley cars at Bonhams, but this short chassis Blower Bentley was my favorite.

1979 Mazda RX-7

The Mazda RX-7 was a serious disruptor to the sports car market and overnight made the Alfa Rome Alfetta and even the Porsche 924 look like overpriced and irrelevant. This example is the most original first year RX-7 I have ever seen since the cars were new. A 5-speed, A/C equipped car in the one year only color of Spark Yellow makes this the first year RX-7 to buy.

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1965 Shelby/De Tomaso P70 Can-Am Sports Racer, coachwork by Fantuzzi from a design by Peter Brock

If the name of this car alone does not explain why it made my list, then you are all missing something. The list of legends involved wiht this car and the backstory makes this amazing car well worth the $2,000,000 low estimate.

1971 Maserati Ghibli 4.9 SS

To me, the Ghibli is the last of the true classic Maserati GT cars. In many ways superior to the Ferrari Daytona, this completely sorted and well cared for car is the Ghibli to buy. The car has no needs whatsoever and is ready to drive home cross country at the end of Monterey car week.

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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.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, never thought I would see a car I owned in a Monterey Car Auction, then I saw the yellow 79 RX-7. I bought it new (my first new car) in Hawaii as I was to be going to school in Monterey, CA and did not want a CA smogged car. It was a great car, never had anything go wrong with it. It was same yellow with tan and brown interior. I put after market wheels, cruise control with trip computer and a body colored front air dam. Loved that car. Sold it with 129,000 miles and bought a Black Turbo Charged RX-7.

    • Well done, Andy! Great summary! Damn, you have a diverse, broad knowledge of cars…! I will never call you out on a car – for sure! Enjoy the coming weekend! Should be a barn-burner!

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