Get a taste of pre-war automotive history in four flavors.
8 green cars bound for Amelia Island 2020 that are sure to ignite envy
Robert De Niro, in the 2000 comedy Meet the Parents, makes an off-hand comment to his would-be son-in-law (Ben Stiller) that when it comes to a car’s color, geniuses pick green. It’s not clear if there’s any real research behind Bob’s broad claim, but what’s for certain is that the right shade of green can truly elevate a car’s elegance and attitude. With the 2020 Amelia Island auctions kicking off this week, we noticed a fine lineup of such vehicles, and the spectrum of green runs the gamut well beyond the classic British Racing variety. Here are 8 green cars sure to spark your vintage-car envy.
2000 Aston Martin Vantage Le Mans V600
RM Sotheby’s, Lot 126
Pre-sale estimate: $375,000–$425,000
This special-edition V8 Vantage was one of 40 examples that Aston Martin built in 1999 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the brand’s victory at Le Mans in 1959. In top-tier, Works-tuned V600 specification, the supercharged V-8 engine spat out 600 horsepower from its upgraded exhaust, but the Le Mans edition was more than just a hot motor. The body wears a unique front fascia with a high-downforce from spoiler, a “nostril” front grille for better airflow, hood vents, modified side vents on the fenders, and five-spoke magnesium wheels.
This Vantage Le Mans, the 38th of 40, was ordered by Qatar’s Sheikh Abdelaziz bin Khalifa Al Thani in Aston Martin Racing Green. It is a somewhat light-colored green with a kind of mature mint tone to it, and the interior shows a two-tone Green/Magnolia theme with Dark Green carpeting. In this color the Vantage Le Mans wears its 1990s roots proudly, evidence of the last days of Aston Martin coachbuilding.
RM Sotheby’s, Lot 208
Pre-sale estimate: $100,000–$125,000
Based on the Triumph TR2, the Swallow Doretti is an English roadster through and through. Swallow Coachbuilding, an offshoot of the company created by Jaguar founder William Lyons, produced just 276 examples of these open-top vehicles, which ride on a Reynolds tubular chassis and utilize an aluminum body. RM Sotheby’s says that this example is an older restoration wearing Shoal Green paint and a red vinyl top, with red-painted brake drums to match. Inside are more conventional black bucket seats with red piping and red door cards, but that bright green paint is the car’s most exuberant characteristic. Under the hood is a later 1957 TR3A engine for a bit of extra zip through two-lane country roads.
1965 Lotus Super Seven S2
Bonhams, Lot 113
Pre-sale estimate: $35,000–$45,000
Simple, lightweight, and frightfully agile, the Super Seven is arguably the purest expression of Colin Chapman’s vision of what a Lotus should be. The marriage of a tube-frame chassis with a four-cylinder Ford engine started when the Lotus Seven launched in 1957, and that remains the formula in this Super Seven S2 model, which thanks to a full rebuild in 1986 from an ex-Lotus mechanic packs a whopping 120 hp. In keeping with Lotus tradition, the paint scheme is a classic British Racing Green with the brand’s typical flashes of yellow on the nose and, in this case, the wheels too. Dressed this way, a Lotus Seven just looks right.
1962 Aston Martin DB4 Series 4 GT-Engined Saloon
Bonhams, Lot 129
Pre-sale estimate: $900,000–$1.1M
Although this may look to the untrained eye like many Aston Martin DB4s in a somewhat traditional green paint, this is a rather special example with a powerful GT-spec engine, sometimes called the Vantage GT. Constructed toward the end of the DB4 run, these rare Astons used the 302-hp Weber twin spark DOHC straight-six engine from the vaunted short-wheelbase DB4 GT, albeit with the standard wheelbase and Touring Superleggera body.
That timeless Aston Martin DB4 shape looks positively lovely in the original California Sage green color. RM did the restoration on this rare left-hand-drive example nearly 30 years ago, and it might not be an exaggeration to say this classic Brit looks like a million bucks.
1929 Pierce-Arrow Model 125 Coupe
Bonhams, Lot 213
Pre-sale estimate: $75,000–$85,000
That’s right, the Brits don’t have an exclusive right to paint cars green. The pride of Buffalo, New York, Pierce-Arrow was an all-American success story. The company was a cornerstone of the automotive market in its heyday, and unaware of the Depression to come in the 1930s, threw its efforts into developing an eight-cylinder model for the new decade. To help finance the project, Pierce-Arrow merged with Studebaker in 1928, and when the straight-eight engine launched in 1929 it was more powerful—despite a smaller displacement—and less expensive than the T-head six-cylinder it replaced. This Mint Green 125 4-Passenger Coupe with matching wheel hubs, black fenders, black top, and a tan cloth interior is an older restoration and a survivor of one of America’s finest lost automakers.
Gooding & Co., Lot 004
Pre-sale estimate: $45,000–$65,000
And now for something completely different, courtesy of Porsche. The 914 was an oddball car for Porsche in many ways, from the fact that it was built in concert with Volkswagen to its mid-engine layout. It also wore some memorable, interesting colors, including this uncommon Delphi Green Metallic paint. A sort of light olive with a metallic shine, the color goes quite nicely with the 914’s black exterior trim, black dashboard and center console, and brown leather interior. This example was stored by its original owner in 1989 and was kept out of sight until it sold in 2018, and the car’s odometer today reads under 33,000 miles.
Gooding & Co., Lot 054
Pre-sale estimate: $150,000–$180,000
The Porsche 911 needs no introduction, but it is fair to say that in Irish Green over tan, the car’s timeless shape and beautiful proportions really shine. Porsche has such a high regard for Irish Green that it used the color on the one-millionth 911 to roll off the production line in Zuffenhausen, back in 2017. Gooding’s very well-kept example heading to Amelia Island shows nearly 44,000 miles and still has its original 2.0-liter flat-six engine and interior, along with the whole shebang of tools, keys, books, jack, and spare tire. If you love the original short-wheelbase 911 and are maybe a little superstitious, the luck of Irish Green is a must.
Gooding & Co., Lot 046
Pre-sale estimate: $60,000–$70,000
This picture perfect Westy Campmobile is in original and unrestored condition, which means the Sage Green with Green/Chartreuse Plaid interior is the real deal. The exterior color is somewhat similar to the aforementioned 914’s Delphi Green, albeit not metallic and a more of a glossy green. The white pop-top and bumper trim pair perfectly with the paint, and the whole effect is oh-so-’70s. These Westfalia vans have become extremely desirable and increasingly expensive, but their simplicity, iconic design, and all-around fun-factor are essentially without equal. In Sage Green, you’re guaranteed to turn heads wherever you go.
Which of these 8 great greens would you pluck from the field of collectibles? Let us know below.