1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 Drophead Coupe (Estimate: $1,000,000 – $1,400,000).
Photo copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company. Image by Brian Henniker
Highlights include a Bertone-bodied 1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 Drophead Coupe and a 1926 Bugatti Type 37 Grand Prix.
Gooding & Company has revealed a duo of European sports cars for the company's first sale of 2021. From Monday, January 18 to Friday, January 22, 2021, the auction will continue the company’s online only Geared Online series with this special sale transpiring during the Scottsdale automotive week.
1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 Drophead Coupe (Estimate: $1,000,000 – $1,400,000)
The collaboration of Italian design flair with solid British engineering eventually paved the way for the Touring-styled DB4, 5, and 6, and the special Zagato-bodied DB4 GTs. One of only two DB2/4 chassis built with this striking convertible body style, and possessing a fascinating provenance, this DB2/4 Drophead Coupe is an important coachbuilt Aston Martin from the early years of the David Brown era. This spectacular example is among an exclusive group of Bertone-bodied Aston Martins. According to factory records, chassis LML/506 was completed by Aston Martin on June 9, 1953, and dispatched to Carrozzeria Bertone in Torino on November 16th. While Nuccio Bertone had in-house stylist Franco Scaglione design three DB2/4 Spiders, the two Drophead Coupes built (chassis LML/504 and LML/506) have long been attributed to freelance designer Giovanni Michelotti. Not only did these two virtually identical cars possess a decidedly Italian style, they maintained traditional Aston Martin design cues, including the firm’s distinctively shaped radiator grille.
Ordered through British Motor Car Distributors in California, chassis LML/506 was delivered to its first owner, avid car enthusiast and San Francisco Opera member, Edith Field, on November 12, 1954. In 1955, Mrs. Field entered her new Bertone-bodied Aston Martin in the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® and received Third Place in its class. After passing among a succession of owners, LML/506 was sold to a UK collector, who in 2006 completed a full restoration to concours standards. In September 2011, the Bertone Drophead Coupe made its post-restoration debut at the AMOC Autumn Concours held at Chavenage House, winning First Prize in the Feltham Aston Class. Since this initial outing, LML/506 has not been exhibited and most recently has resided in a private collection in the US.
Still in excellent overall condition, this Aston Martin is presented in Metallic Blue and offered with a proper tool kit and a remarkably extensive history file. Included inside are a copy of the factory build sheet, BMIHT Certificate, correspondence, restoration records, photographs, and ownership documents. Chassis LML/506 represents a special opportunity to acquire a coachbuilt Aston Martin of quality and distinction. Given its attractive open Bertone coachwork, fascinating provenance, and show-quality restoration, this Aston Martin is a very special example of the DB2/4 worthy of serious consideration.
1926 Bugatti Type 37 Grand Prix (Estimate: $650,000 – $850,000)
The Type 37 Grand Prix is the 1.5 litre four-cylinder model based on the famous Type 35 intended for voiturette racing. Like the Type 35, the Type 37 provided excellent overall performance, plus it offered an increased level of user-friendliness for road-based events and rallies. As opposed to the high-strung, eight-cylinder unit found in the Type 35 Grand Prix, the Type 37 was fitted with a four-cylinder engine that is considered as more reliable and tractable. The Type 37’s engine was essentially half of Bugatti’s inline-eight-cylinder unit, featuring a compact cylinder block, single overhead cam, and three-valve cylinder heads. Unlike the other Bugatti Grand Prix cars, the Type 37 used plain, not roller, bearings and a one-piece crankshaft. The Type 37 relied on simplicity and lightweight design for its performance and is easily capable of 90 mph.
Type 37s quickly became known as race-winning machines and were entered in all the great road races of the era including Le Mans, the Mille Miglia and the Targa Florio. Given its mechanical robustness, the Type 37 was the rare car that one could drive hard all day long and then drive home, with space for a passenger as well.
This lovely Type 37, chassis 37227, was ordered on December 2, 1926 by a gentleman from Luxey, a small village in Southwest France. It stayed in France for its early life, and in 1950 it remained in a garage at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. In about 1958, the Bugatti was purchased by its fascinating long-term owner, Peter Larkin of New York City. Mr. Larkin was an influential four-time Tony Award®-winning Broadway set designer and the car has remained in his family since his passing in 2019. Mr. Larkin was enthusiastic in his ownership of the Bugatti, stating in 2016 that he still drove it every Sunday weather permitting. Now offered for sale for the first time in over 60 years, 37227 is well-respected within the Bugatti community and has a captivating and authentic well-worn look, with patinated older blue livery. This Type 37 represents one of the most successful and sought-after designs conceived under the watchful eye of Le Patron, Ettore Bugatti.
Keeping with the auction house’s world-renowned reputation for delivering the highest quality vehicles, Geared Online Scottsdale Edition will offer a selection of lots, with and without reserve, providing a magnificent array of automotive history for every level of collector. Gooding & Company will house all available lots at the company’s Southern California facility, providing a unique opportunity for interested bidders to conduct on-site inspections of the online offerings and for specialists to engage with the lots on behalf of clients. The auction house invites you to speak with a Gooding & Company staff member for more information on viewing and inspection, as well as on how to consign for upcoming 2021 Geared Online sales.
Geared Online | Scottsdale Edition
Online Catalogue Available: Monday, January 11
Auction Begins: Monday, January 18, 10:00 AM Mountain Time
Lots Begin Closing: Friday, January 22, 11:00 AM Mountain Time