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Pebble Beach 2015

As you read this almost half a billion dollars of largely obsolete old cars will be about to pass under the auctioneer's hammer during a few short days in a small Californian coastal town. 

Think about it: the equivalent of ten Ferrari 250 GTOs, or half the 'Gullwings' on the planet. By any yardstick, it's a lot of cars and a serious amount of cash: in crude terms 9,000kg of $100 bills or the annual GDP of Dominica. 

The collecting world is watching closely and, some say, on tenterhooks. Can the market absorb so many cars in such a short space of time? 

We recently pointed out how another $500m of classic cars had already changed hands at auction in the first six months of 2015, up significantly on 2014 in turnover, but largely flat in terms of value per car: prices aren't rising as much as the volume of cars being offered. 

Looking ahead to this weekend, a well-known US magazine has asked me to pick my four car 'instant collection' from the Monterey auctions for their 'insiders' seminar. I'm notoriously hard to please, but here goes: 

RM Sotheby's 'Pinnacle Portfolio' McLaren F1. A great colour (Burnt Orange), LM-spec (plus 50 horses) motor and no off-piste nasties, it's a fresh-to-the-market F1 and gets my opening vote. 

Across town, but in another collecting world altogether, Gooding's 1934 Packard Twelve Custom Sports Sedan by Dietrich is the perfect antidote to the investment car brigade. It's elegant, opulent, redolent of an era nobody remembers anymore except in Hollywood movies - and all the better for it. 

Still at Gooding, the swoopy, shark nosed Ferrari 250 SWB berlinetta by Bertone is a conversational counterpoint to the revered Pininfarina design we all love but have seen ad nauseam. It's quirky, packed with intricate detail, richly historied (a Californian drummer used it as his daily driver for a decade, clocking up over 100,000 miles between gigs) and unique. I'd happily drive it another 100,000 miles, although my drumming skills are rubbish. 

On the basis that everyone should own something which comes under the 'WTF' heading, I'm ending with Bonhams' bizarre 1960 London taxi Sedanca de Ville built for 'Mr Five Percent', the colourful Armenian oil baron Nubar Gulbenkian. I might just raise my paddle... if only to see it whizzing around the streets of London once again. 

 

Simon Kidston