9 gorgeous Jags and Astons, including a D-Type ice racer, are headed to Monterey
If you put together a list of the best-ever British sports and racing cars, the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato and Jaguar D-Type would have to be near the top. Well, this collection contains both, including two-dozen other mouth-watering classic cars that will kick off this year’s RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction on August 12.
The cars come from the collection of Texas businessman and philanthropist Paul Andrews, who passed away last year. Back in 2015, RM held a dedicated single-collection auction at Andrews’ private facility in Fort Worth, with nearly 80 cars on offer ranging from hot rod Fords to rare Ferraris bringing $52M in total sales. The smaller (but equally interesting) group of cars up for grabs this time includes prewar greats like a Packard Twin Six and a Duesenberg Model J, German classics like a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing, and even oddball trucks like a 1971 Pinzgauer. The real highlights of the group are most definitely the Brits, however, specifically these nine rare Aston Martins and Jaguars.
1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 Drophead Coupe by Bertone
Estimate: $850,000 – $1.2M
An Aston Martin DB2/4 is rare enough in its own right. Fewer than 800 of all types were built from 1953–57. There are, however, just two Drophead Coupes wearing bodywork by Italian coachbuilder Bertone.
Back when the DB2/4 was brand new, it happened to catch the eye of a Chicago industrialist named Stanley H. “Wacky” Arnolt. Arnolt also happened to be a major shareholder and board member at Bertone, and he convinced Aston to send six bare DB2/4 chassis to Italy for new threads. That deal resulted in three spiders, one coupe and two drophead coupes, the latter of which were styled by Giovanni Michelotti.
This drophead, chassis LML/506, sold new to a woman in San Francisco who showed it at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 1955. By the 1980s it had gone back to the U.K. and sold to retired racer Innes Ireland, who was an Aston Martin Works driver back in his younger days. LML/506 remained unrestored until the late 2000s. It sold in 2011 for £606,500 ($974,606 at the time) at a Bonhams Goodwood auction, for $1.43M at Pebble Beach in 2017, and for $968,000 online earlier this year.
As for the other DB2/4 Bertone Drophead, the Andrews owned that one, too. Chassis LML/504 sold at their 2015 auction for $1.32M. They must have missed it.
2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Coupe
Estimate: $500,000 – $600,000
The collabs between Aston Martin and Italian coachbuilder Zagato go way back to the 1960s. The latest of them is the Vanquish Zagato, and it’s one of the sharpest-looking of their team efforts. The Anglo-Italian matchup produced 99 Vanquish Zagato coupes, 99 convertibles, 99 shooting brakes and 28 speedsters, all retaining the standard Vanquish S’s nearly 600-hp V-12 engine and 200-mph top speed.
Of the 99 Vanquish Zagato coupes, just 15 came to the U.S. and the Andrews Collection car is the only one finished in Shell Grey (the same color as the DB4 GT Zagato in this collection). It shows just 435 miles. Nothing on the road looks quite this lovely and funky.
1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato Sanction II
Estimate: $3M – $3.5M
Back in the late 1980s, the prices for many vintage cars from the 1950s and ’60s were booming. What had been just obsolete, uncompetitive old racers just 15 years earlier were all of a sudden seven-figure collectibles. Aston Martin’s then managers Peter Livanos and Victor Gauntlett just couldn’t ignore the prices people were paying for some of Aston’s greatest hits—cars like the DB4 GT Zagato. They felt it would only be good business to get a piece of the action.
Since a handful of chassis numbers had been assigned in period to DB4 GT Zagatos that were never actually built, Aston decided to finish the job and sell them to car-hungry collectors. Called the “Sanction II” cars, they feature a few improvements over the originals like a more powerful engine, but are largely the same underneath and were even shipped to Italy for bodywork. Four were built, followed by two “Sanction III” cars.
The Andrews Collection car sold new in the U.K. but has since been converted to left-hand drive, fitted with a modern Tremec five-speed gearbox for drivability, and given 16-inch wheels instead of the original 15-inchers—all tweaks that might be considered sacrilege on an original Zagato but are more acceptable on a continuation car like this.
1963 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight Continuation
Estimate: $1.5M – $1.85M
Speaking of continuation cars, Aston Martin was a bit ahead of its time with them back in the ’80s. And in 2014, Jaguar got in on the continuation car game, too.
The first of several factory continuation Jags was the Lightweight E-Type. Just 12 genuine Lightweight E-Types were built in period but 18 were planned, so to “complete” the production run Jaguar used the original engineering blueprints as well as period materials and methods. The chassis numbers also picked up where Coventry left off in 1962, just half a century late.
At $1.6M, these continuation E-Types weren’t cheap, especially for cars that you can’t drive on the street and aren’t eligible for many vintage races, but $1.6M is still a fraction of the price for an original Lightweight E. All of the continuation cars sold out right away.
The Andrews Collection car was the first of the series built, and Jaguar Classic used it as a promo vehicle. It shows just 718 miles and RM Sotheby’s sold it for $1.7M at the Elkhart Collection auction last October, when it had just 1 fewer tick on the odometer.
1964 Aston Martin DB5 Coupe
Estimate: $900,000 – $1.25M
Refinished in its original colors of black over black, this DB5 sold new in Paris with a ZF five-speed manual and limited-slip differential. We’ve seen it at auction before, when it sold for $880,000 in Monterey in 2014 and was a $1M no-sale there the following year. It reportedly went to the Andrews Collection in 2017, which the same year we saw it sell for $1.485M in Scottsdale.
1965 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible
Estimate: $1.850M – $2.25M
What’s better than a DB5? A DB5 convertible, of course. There’s the old saying that when the top goes down, the price goes up, and the DB5 is one of the more extreme examples. Good droptops can be worth nearly twice as much as a standard coupe, and it mostly comes down to rarity. A little over 1000 DB5s of all types were built, but just 123 of them were convertibles and just 39 of those came in left-hand drive.
The Andrews Collection drop-top DB5 was delivered to Nevada when new, was restored in 2011–12 and is all matching numbers, although its engine grew from 4.0 to 4.2 liters (a common upgrade) during restoration.
1959 Aston Martin DB4 GT Lightweight
Estimate: $4M – $5M
Aimed at the Ferrari 250 GT SWB in sports car racing, the DB4 GT featured a shortened wheelbase, thinner aluminum bodywork, a higher compression engine, and the faired-in headlamps that were later made standard on the DB5 and DB6. Just 75 DB4 GTs were built, but there was also a handful of special “Lightweight” cars that were put on an even stricter diet.
Of the three genuine left-hand drive DB4 GT Lightweights, the Andrews Collection car was supposed to race at the 1961 12 Hours of Sebring. Sources vary on why it never actually showed up on the grid, with some saying that U.S. Customs didn’t release it until the Monday after the race and others saying that the original buyer just hadn’t come up with payment in time. Either way, the Aston never got to scrap with the Ferraris on track and was used as a road car. A restoration was started in the late 1980s but wasn’t finished until the early 2000s, and in 2007 RM sold it in Monterey for $1.65M.
1955 Jaguar D-Type
Estimate: $5.5M – $7M
Jaguar built 54 D-Types for private customers to race. Ice racing with spiked tires probably isn’t what the folks in Coventry had in mind, but that’s how this car spent much of its competitive career. And it doesn’t just have cold weather history but also some Cold War history; it is reportedly the only D-Type to race in the Soviet Union.
XKD 503 sold new to racer Curt Lincoln in Finland. To avoid hefty new vehicle tariffs on his latest toy, he supposedly asked Jaguar to fit a visibly used steering wheel, pedals, and odometer to make the new D-Type look “used” enough to fool the tax man. Lincoln raced the Jag at the Eläintarhanajo track in Helsinki but mostly used it on ice to numerous wins. It went back to Coventry for a mechanical overhaul and replacement engine block in 1959, then sold in 1960 to another Finn who continued to race it. In 1961 it won the Formula Libre class at the Leningrad Grand Prix.
By the 1980s XKD 530’s drivetrain and bodywork became separated from its chassis and eventually there were two cars claiming to be the real deal. Thankfully, though, a collector acquired both and in 2002–03 the original pieces were reunited. RM sold it in Monterey eight years ago for $3.905,000, and in Amelia Island six years ago for $3,675,000.
1962 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato
Estimate: $11M – $14M
In RM’s own words, this DB4 GT Zagato is the “crown jewel of Paul Andrews’ distinguished collection,” and it’s hard to argue with that. There were only 19 genuine DB4 GTs bodied by Zagato in period, and just six in left-hand drive. They are some of the prettiest cars to ever wear an Aston Martin or a Zagato badge, and many of them have great race history. It’s not much of a stretch to view these cars as Aston’s equivalent to the Ferrari 250 GTO.
The Andrews Collection car sold new to an American naval officer who ordered his new GT with several special features, including heavier-gauge aluminum for the bodywork, glass windows (instead of Perspex), chromed brass window frames (instead of aluminum), a unique wide-pattern egg crate grille, stacked taillights, and a locking glove box. Special brake covers were also fitted to prevent brake dust from dirtying up those lovely Borrani wire wheels.
In 1962, the car raced at Brands Hatch in finished second overall and first in class with Roy Salvadori behind the wheel. It was completely restored in the mid-1990s, and RM sold it in 2005 for $2,695,000. The last DB4 GT Zagato sold at auction brought £10,081,500 (about $13.3M at the time) at Goodwood back in 2018.