There could be a Rush for Neil Peart’s cars at Pebble Beach
Neil Peart passed away last year, and he will always be remembered as the man behind the drums and the lyrics of Canadian rock trio Rush. Known for the diverse themes of his lyrics and the technical proficiency of his drumming, Peart was often called “The Professor,” and he wrote seven books (mostly memoirs about his travels). But he was also a car guy. Later in life he moved to Southern California and started building a collection of classics. No, not a single one of them is a red barchetta.
Instead, they’re silver because, driving down California’s coastal highways Peart noticed, “What other color looks as good in a blue photo? Not black, not white—silver.” Clearly in no rush (sorry), Peart carefully accumulated a group of six silver sports cars (and one black one) over several years, and we have to admit the man had good taste. Dubbed the “Silver Surfers,” all will be offered by Gooding & Company at its annual Pebble Beach auction in August.
1963 Chevrolet Corvette Split Window Coupe 327/340hp
Finished in Sebring Silver over red vinyl and powered by the 327/340-hp L76 engine, mated to a four-speed manual, Peart’s Split Window Coupe was restored shortly before he bought it in 2011. Split Windows are among the most valuable of the five-year C2 (1963–67) series, thanks to their one-year-only looks, and this one has desirable specs.
1965 Maserati Mistral Spyder
Given the coastal theme of Neil Peart’s “Silver Surfer” collection, it makes sense that he would have a Mistral. Maserati’s replacement for the 3500GT, the Mistral was named after a cold, dry wind that blows through southern France, and it was the last Maserati to use the company’s famous race-derived twin-cam, twin-plug, straight-six engine.
Maserati built over 950 Mistrals with bodywork designed by Pietro Frua, but just 125 of those were Spyders. Finished in silver over oxblood leather with Borrani wire wheels, Peart’s Mistral was an original U.S. market car and was restored during Peart’s ownership.
1973 Maserati Ghibli SS Coupe
Not to be confused with the luxury sedan sitting in dealerships today, the original Ghibli was a proper gran turismo with long, sleek, Giugiaro-styled bodywork and a dry-sump twin-cam V-8 up front. Early cars had a 4.7-liter 310-hp version of the Maserati V-8, but in 1969 the engine grew to 4.9 liters and power bumped accordingly to 335 hp.
While it doesn’t have the V-12 cachet of a Ferrari Daytona, an original Ghibli is just as nice to look at and packs nearly as much performance for a significantly lower price. Peart bought this Ghibli in 2013 just after it was imported from Europe. Finished in silver over tan and wearing Campagnolo centerlock alloy wheels, it is one of only about 425 SS coupes built.
1969 Lamborghini Miura P400 S
In Lamborghini’s early days, the company focused on building small batches of refined and mature GT cars. The mid-engine Miura changed all that, and Lamborghini has been associated with brash, youthful exotic cars with bullfighting names ever since. Today, Miuras are the most valuable production Lamborghinis of them all.
Peart’s silver-over-black Miura is a P400 S model, which gave the Miura its first batch of major improvements in 1969, with vented brake rotors, power windows, optional air conditioning, revised rear suspension, and better tires. Higher lift cams and bigger carbs and manifolds also bumped power from 350 hp to 370 hp.
1964 Jaguar E-Type SI 3.8 Coupe
Finished in silver (“Opalescent Silver,” in Jaguar-speak) over red, Peart’s E-Type is the one car out of his collection with significant modifications, but they’re all tasteful. The modern Tremec five-speed gearbox, lightweight flywheel, Wilwood disc brakes, and upgraded suspension are all things that are both hard to see and significantly improve drivability.
1964 Aston Martin DB5 Coupe
Finished in James Bond colors of Silver Birch over black, fitted with the desirable ZF five-speed, and wearing Borrani wire wheels, this DB5 was Peart’s first classic and the car that started him down his “Silver Surfers” theme of collecting. According to Gooding & Company, it was a car he dreamed of owning since he was a kid. “‘Silver Surfers’ for my collection of cars occurred to me while driving the DB5 up and down the Pacific Ocean,” Peart said. “Because it felt right to me, I guess—the idea that I was just one of the wave riders.”
1964 Shelby Cobra 289
This Cobra is the only one of Neil Peart’s cars that isn’t silver, and it isn’t the most valuable of the group, but he reportedly purchased it in 2015 to serve as the collection’s centerpiece. A 289 rack-and-pinion car, CSX2234 was originally sold new in California finished in red over black with chrome wire wheels. It was restored in the mid-2000s and is currently black over black.