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The 2014 Bonhams Greenwich Concours D'Elegance Auction

Greenwich, Connecticut
June 1, 2014

1975 Lamborghini Countach LP400Sold At $1,210,000

S/N 1120066. Blue Tahiti over natural (light tan) leather interior. 375-hp, 3.9-liter DOHC V-12, five-speed manual. Excellent paintwork, very good black and gold chrome trim. The leather interior is exceptional; unfortunately, the material on the dash has suffered some water damage. Bonhams stated in a salesroom notice that the speedometer and odometer are inoperative and that the car has been in storage for two decades.

The Story Behind The Sale

Although many Lamborghinis were named for bulls, specifically fighting bulls, the name Countach is an Italian dialect slang word for, since we are in polite company, "holy cow" or "oh my goodness," or your choice of expletives. When the Countach was introduced, it truly was like no other production car before it. It was designed by Marcello Gandini at Bertone, who was also responsible for the Lamborghini Miura and the Lancia Stratos, among many others.

The early Countachs, currently the most desirable models, had a rearview mirror arrangement through the roof that was akin to a periscope, and thus are sometimes referred to as Periscopica. The Countach continued to be built in small numbers for many years and with hundreds of changes. Those brought into the United States were often federalized using oversized bumpers, which did not go well with Gandini's outrageous design.

This was a record-breaking price at auction for a Countach. Despite the long-term storage and the unsure number of kilometers traveled, in this super-hot market it almost makes sense.

1958 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SpiderSold At $24,200

S/N AR 1495 04505. Red with black top over black vinyl. 91-hp, 1290cc four-cylinder, four-speed manual. 52,239 miles. An original barn find, which means it's in reprehensible condition. Dent in driver door, rust visible. Worn interior has been left unprotected; lots of barn occupants have lived or visited here. Covered with many years of dust.

Humans tend to be a very optimistic species. Not unlike a dog waiting at the door, confident he'll get a treat, we're sure that the sun is going to shine again eventually. There is a real car lurking underneath here and if it is done perfectly, its value might approach $100,000. If you're very handy in all phases of bodywork and can obtain parts at a very low price, you might have a chance at breaking even. If not, it's a labor of love.

1994 Mercedes-Benz S600Sold At $13,200

S/N WDBGA57EXRA179518. Black and silver over black leather and suede. 389-hp, 6.0-liter V-12, four-speed automatic. Fewer than 47,000 miles. Sunroof. Paint appears to be all factory. Very clean, well-kept interior. Very good chrome, all trim is excellent—if you can forgive the fact that some of it is gold.

Older luxury cars are very expensive to maintain; when that once state-of-the-art electrical system gets buggy, it's often the start of a downhill slide into endless repairs. When you find a well-maintained example such as this one, it can be worth preserving. Apparently someone at this sale thought so. When this 20-year-old Teutonic wonder becomes a 30-year-old, we'll finally appreciate it for its advances. Until then, it's just a very expensive used car.

1990 Jaguar XJS convertibleSold At $14,850

S/N SAJNW4846LC172329. Diamond blue with blue top over dark blue leather. 260-hp, 5.3-liter V-12, three-speed automatic. 28,118 miles. Very good paint; original pinstriping intact. Seats show light wear, dash is good, but console wood has light cracks. Clean underhood, not show-detailed.

As cars of this vintage move into the collector car market, some age well and others don't. The XJS looked good in its day and it looks good now. More than a few wise collectors are adding these to their stables. Depending on the year, you could get your XJS as a coupe or convertible, with an inline-six or a V-12. Worth the money paid here.

1973 Volvo 1800 ES Sport WagonSold At $92,400

S/N 1836353004700. Red over black leather. 125-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder, four-speed manual. Factory air-conditioning. Very good paint; no problems noted. Near-perfect chrome. Excellent glass and gaskets. Interior shows quite well—the red carpets are a great accent and match the exterior.

This was nothing short of an earth-shattering price for a Volvo 1800 ES wagon, even given the fact that it has fewer than 13,000 miles on the odometer. Bonhams had a good deal of presale interest in this, but there were those who thought that the $30,000-$40,000 estimate was ambitious. This was a no-excuses, ready-to-go example with the right options in the right colors. That said, this price might be hard to duplicate for quite some time.

1974 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40Sold At $59,400

S/N FJ40-170614. Nebula Green over gray vinyl. 135-hp, 4.2-liter OHV six, four-speed manual. 27,000 miles. Very good to excellent paintwork. Excellent interior and underhood. Very well-detailed throughout, more show truck than workhorse.

We've seen FJ40s sell for more than $100,000, so at $59,400 this one was a big bargain. It's said to be a three-owner example that was restored by a Toyota dealer using original Toyota components. You almost hate to say it, but it would be a shame to see this one get dirty during the next act of its life.

1963 Maserati 3500 GTi SuperleggeraSold At $176,000

S/N AM101-2638. Amaranto Rame orange over tan leather. Fuel-injected 235-hp, 3485cc six-cylinder, four-speed manual. 31,370 miles. Paint is cracked and tired. Weak chrome. The interior leather looks like it will mostly come back to life, but interior trim will need refurbishment or replacement.

Like almost everything else Italian with four wheels, prices of the 3500GT coupe and the injected version, the GTi, have been rapidly increasing. Selling very close to its high estimate, this one neither surprised nor disappointed. With some conscientious refurbishment, expect to see this car cleaned up and back on the road soon.

1991 Alfa Romeo Spider VeloceSold At $15,950

Best Buy

S/N ZARBB32N6M6010778. Vino Rosso with black top over tan leather. 120-hp, 1962cc four-cylinder, five-speed manual. 55,820 miles. Original paint is in great shape except for a ding in the nose and some chips. Very good brightwork, nice trim. Very nice top. Very good leather on the seats, great door panels and dash.

Alfa Romeos of this era may not be particularly hard to find, but nice Alfa Romeos of this era are very hard to find, and this example is a nice one. Vino Rosso is a deep red and it looks more than just appropriate on this Alfa. A great car for a great price.