Our Top Five Picks from Classic Car Auctions in June

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By Ben Selby

It is amazing what comes out of the woodwork at auction time. Such is the case with this month’s auctions for Collector Cars, Motorcycles and Memorabilia.

With so much drool worthy stock up for grabs, we narrowed down the five cars up for auction this month we would pick to take home with us, and here they are.

Aston Martin Vantage V600

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The Aston Martin Vantage is one of the great heavyweight beasts of British motoring. The car equivalent of an English Pale Ale, the 90s Vantage was produced during a transition period for the Newport Pagnell based marque. Ford was taking over and the Vantage was the last nod to the absolute power of the Victor Gauntlett era.

Most Vantages produced around 550hp, but this example is one of only a handful of Vantages with the V600 power upgrade. The V600 upgrade consisted of revised twin Eaton superchargers being fitted to the standard 5.3L V8. Cooling was improved, thanks to an additional intercooler radiator which could handle the increase in heat from the modified superchargers, and a bigger bore. The result, was 600hp.

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Other additions included AP Racing Sports Calipers for larger vented disc brakes and stickier Goodyear rubber. Add this together, and this 2.5 tonne heavyweight could reach 100km/h from a standstill in 4.3 seconds.

Around 81 Vantages were produced with the V600 upgrade but only nine were specified from the factory itself. This V600 is one of those nine. Built in 1998, it was imported into New Zealand from the UK in 2011. With one Kiwi owner, it has travelled only a mere 16,218 miles and is highly likely the only V600 in New Zealand. This uber rare monster is expected to fetch between $500,000 and $600,000. Worth every penny we reckon.

1949 Talbot Lago T26 Record Factory Berline

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Here is a rare one for you. The Talbot Lago T26 Record Factory Berline is a throwback to the golden age of exquisite coach built French grand tourers. Talbot was born out of the English and French conglomerate of brands Sunbeam, Talbot and Darracq. When this partnership fell apart in the mid-thirties, the French aspect of Talbot was bought by Italian Tony Lago who set about revitalising Talbot with a new high-powered straight six engine, which after WW2 found its way into the Talbot Lago T26.

The 4.5L six even saw competition at Le Mans, with Talbot Lago winning outright in 1950. In road form, the six provided the T26 Record Factory Berline with 170hp. That, along with a great level of quality and refinement, resulted in the T26 Record Factory Berline becoming one of the most sought-after French luxury cars of the era. With 750 built, its also pretty rare, with only four rumoured to be in Australasia.

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This T26 was bought new in Holland in 1948 before coming to New Zealand in 1955. It then passed through the hands of a number of Kiwi owners in Christchurch, Auckland and Hamilton before reaching its current owner in Dunedin. He purchased the car in 1978 and it was re-registered in 1983.

The T26 is not all original, with its green paint scheme not being a factory option, nor are the colour of its wire wheels. However, this matching numbers Talbot Lago is still so very cool to look at. Expect it to fetch between $200,000 to $250,000.

Surtees TS5

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John Surtees needs no introduction in the world of motorsport. The only man to ever be World Champion in two, and four-wheel competition. It was no surprise this good-natured racer would start his own race team. The John Surtees Organisation would field cars for Formula One and F5000, with this incredible car competing in the latter.

The TS5 was the result of a partnership between Surtees, racing car designer Len Terry, and Hollywood Actor James Garner. Garner was bitten by the racing bug after playing fictional F1 driver Pete Aron in John Frankenheimer’s masterpiece Grand Prix in 1966. Garner invited Terry and Surtees to build him a car for his American Formula A team, that car was the TS5.

Only five Surtees TS5s were built, with this one being one of two cars given to Garner for use in the US in 1969. The TS5 then went back to the UK before being purchased by South African racer Jackie Pretorius. He campaigned the car in the South African F1 series before jumping ship to Lotus.

In 1975 it was used as a drag car by one Philip Smith. Sadly, the car was severely damaged in its first race and sat idle for 22 years before undergoing a full restoration in the UK by new owner Anthony Smith.

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In 2009, the TS5 found a new home in New Zealand, and with its 5.0L V8 in fine tune, it saw action in F5000 rounds at Pukekohe, Ruapuna, Hampton Downs and Melbourne. The car even competed in the UK at Oulton Park and Brands Hatch. It has notched up a number of wins including First in Class at Oulton Park in 2011, and the winning the Derek Bell Trophy Series for F5000 cars.

Any F5000 car is a sight to behold, and one with real racing pedigree is pretty hard to come by. So, this one fetching between $230,000 and $250,000 would come as no surprise.

1953 Jaguar XK-120 FHC

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The XK-120 is very possibly the car which set the tone for Jaguar. When Sir William Lyons revealed the XK120 at the 1948 London Motor Show, it changed the car world for ever. It just looked like nothing else on the road at that time.

With a 3.4-litre straight six and a light aerodynamic body, the 120 was capable of 120mph, hence the name, making it the fastest production car in the world. The XK120 was in such demand by everyone including Hollywood royalty as it was fast, good looking and when compared to other high-end cars of the time, great value for money.

This 1953 FHC (Fixed Head Coupe), chassis number 669037, was delivered new to New Zealand. Its first owner was Miss Georgia Buchanan of Masterton who bought it through Independent Motor Sales in Wellington. It is said that Buchanan entrusted servicing and maintenance of the 120 to well-known Jag fan mechanic Sybil Lupp. The car was then traded in for a new XK140 and it went to Archibalds in Christchurch.

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Over the next few years, the 120 passed through a number of owners in Christchurch, Wellington, and finally Petone. The owner decided a full restoration was needed, but oddly, never got the project off the ground.

Bob Smyth of Wainuiomata became the next owner, and started a five-year restoration which included repairs to the engine, body, trim and repainting the car in Signal Red. The project was finished in November 1991. Its current owner has owned the car since 2007. With 29,900 miles on the clock, this simply gorgeous XK120 would be our car of choice for a classic grand tour of the South Island. The estimated sale price is between $140,000 and $175,000.

Ford GT40 Recreation

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We all know the story. Henry Ford II tried to buy Ferrari. When Enzo found out he wouldn’t be in complete control of his company under Ford, he told Henry to get stuffed. Henry Ford’s response? “We are going to build a car to destroy Ferrari at Le Mans.” The result? The GT40.

Destroy Ferrari they did, winning Le Mans four times on the trot from 1966 to 1969 under management from Carroll Shelby and later John Wyer. The 1966 race would also be a great triumph for Kiwis Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon, winning outright in that controversial photo finish over Ken Miles and fellow Kiwi Denny Hulme.

With a genuine GT40 worth tens of millions of dollars, many fans have chosen to either build or buy a bespoke GT40 recreation. This 2007 homebuilt GT40 was built as a homage to the GT40 MK1, which too Pedro Rodriguez and Jackie Ickx to victory at Le Mans in 1968 and 1969.

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This car was built locally in Rotorua before being acquired by the current owner. The GT40 features a 5.0L Ford V8 sourced from a Mustang in keeping with the original MK1 spec, a Renault R21 gearbox, Wilwood brakes, and plenty of GT40 badging. The blue paint scheme is a Ford colour called ‘XR8 Blue’ and power is quoted at around 400hp.

With an estimated sale price between $85,000 to $100,000, this 40-inch-high road going race car looks to be nothing short of a bargain.

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