In February 2017 Artcurial will auction three very special Delahayes: two having a coachwork by Figoni et Falaschi (a 1936 Delahaye 135 Court Competition Cabriolet and a 1939 Delahay 135 MS Cabriolet) and one having a body by Saoutchik (a 1950 Delahaye 148 L Coach). Both coachbuilders are much in demand, resulting in high prices. But what is the difference between these two and the other French coachbuilders?
After 55 years Ercole Spada's original 1960 design for a roadster version of the classic Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato became reality.
Ercole Spada joined the Milanese coachbuilder Zagato in February of 1960 and set about designing Aston Martin’s DB4GT Zagato coupe. The car was introduced in October of that year at the London Motor Show, and because of its beauty and rarity, it has become the marque’s most prized model. At the same time that he was conceiving the coupe, Spada, who was 23 at the time, made a few pencil renderings of a DB4GT roadster—or more specifically, an open racecar known in Italy as a barchetta. 55 years later, a car based on that design was built under the direction of Jonathan Ward — and Spada himself. It is called the Icon Aston Martin DB4GTZ Spada Roadster.
Ward is the founder and lead designer of Icon, a Chatsworth, Calif., company that produces, among other vehicles, concours-quality road-warrior apparatus based on the Toyota FJ40 and Ford Bronco. Ward’s operation also attracts clients who commission unique rolling stock. To one such client, an Aston Martin fan, Ward proposed a convertible version of the DB4GT Zagato; and so began a project that would exceed all expectations.
While developing Icon’s design for a DB4GT roadster, Ward researched all the published plans for the Zagato coupe and used two examples of the car as references: one in England that he laser-scanned and another in Beverly Hills that belongs to the collector David Sydorick. Those resources and a healthy dose of what-ifs enabled Ward to make 3-D renderings and a one-twelfth-scale model of a roadster. He had tried to locate published photographs of Spada’s original barchetta drawings and ultimately to locate Spada, but to no avail. Then another of his clients offhandedly mentioned that Spada had recently attended his daughter’s wedding. He was alive and well, residing outside Turin, Italy, and working with his son, Paolo, at SpadaConcept, an automotive and industrial design house that Paolo established a decade ago.
The client offered to share Ward’s design plans with Spada. When Spada, who turned 78 in July 2015, learned of the project, he wanted in. And so began a collaboration that, says Ward, “let Ercole Spada set the record straight.”
More info and images in our encyclopedia.
Ferrari is a firm that built its reputation on V12 cars. But to those new to the marque, it is always a surprise that there were four and six cylinder Ferraris as well.
This car is the 750 Monza, which came with a spyder body and was a race car though it could be driven on the street. This particular one is out of 1954.
Ferrari 750 Monza
One of the earliest coil-spring suspension works team cars, it built on what the factory designated the Tipo 510 chassis design. The engine was the Tipo 119 3-liter twin-overhead four. This car, ‘0486M’ was assigned to the works team collaudatore (test-driver) Sergio Sighinolfi for the 1955 Mille Miglia. In the 1955 Mille Miglia Sergio Sighinolfi drove ‘0486M’ to sixth place overall, taking 11hr 33 min 27sec to do the deed. A few cars beat him but after all, he was up against the winning and second place Mercedes-Benz 300SLRs of Stirling Moss/Denis Jenkinson and Juan Manuel Fangio, third-placed Umberto Maglioli’s Ferrari, Francesco Giardini’s Maserati finishing fourth and American Mercedes-Benz works driver John Fitch, just ahead of him in fifth.
This car was then obsolete as a works racer so it was sold to Swiss owner-driver Jacques Jonneret, who competed in it with another fellow-amateur driver André Canonica in the Hyeres 12-Hours, in France (according to some reports) while others team Canonica with Gino Munaron in a Ferrari Monza, which won outright.
The spyder also appeared July 24, 1955, with Jonneret at the wheel, in the Portuguese sports car Grand Prix at Lisbon, but was a DNF after 28 laps.
It came to England in August 20, 1955, running in the Goodwood International 9-Hours classic co-driven by its owner Jonneret and pro Brit driver Ken Wharton. But after leading for 2/3rds of the race, engine failure forced it into retiring in the sixth hour.
Switzerland banned sports car racing on dedicated tracks after the 1955 Le Mans disaster so Jonneret could only run mountain Championship events through 1956, including the Ste Ursanne-Les Rangiers and Ollon-Villars events.
He stopped racing it in 1956.
THE BUDDING CAR BUILDER
Then a man who represents Switzerland’s only sports car builder, Peter Monteverdi, bought it.
Oh, it’s certainly undeniably glorious when somebody rolls out a tribute car; or continuation car or whatever they want to call it. We get to see an example of our favorite car all dolled up, squeaky clean, ready to go to car show or vintage race or concours.
The only trouble is—it’s messin’ with history big-time.
Now sometimes the car is built surreptitiously by private parties. I will never forget I’m driving down the street in Italy and I see three 330GT or 250GT bodies stacked up on top of each other in a lot. Why? Because those were the bodies of “donor” cars whose chassis had been made into more sporting Ferraris.
Stripped Down Classic Ferrari 212 Used to make a replica
Now the cognoscenti, the tifosi, those who are charter subscribers to the Ferrari magazines, they scoff at the mere suggestion that anybody could mistake one of these re-creations for the real thing. Well, I’m here to tell ya that sometimes the trail gets quite murky.
Zagato Carrozzeria is one of the most legendary Italian carrozzerias. Almost every larger sports car they did, such as the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, and the Zagato 250GT for Ferrari is today a much valued car but even the small cars they did on Alfa-Romeo and Lancia chassis were groundbreaking in their time. But little has been mentioned of Zagato’s open Porsche. Everyone knows of the 20 (some say 21) Zagato coupe Carrera Abarths but few have heard of the one off 550 Spyder, which was destroyed in the accident that killed Claude Storez at Highways 58 North on the Reims circuit.
If you mention Jensen to the average motor car enthusiast it is most likely that their immediate response would be 'Interceptor'. This was the iconic model produced by Jensen Motors Limited, Kelvin Way, West Bromwich, England, between 1966 and 1976.
The real 'die hard' enthusiasts would probably know that the Jensen brothers, Alan and Richard, formed Jensen Motors Ltd. in 1936, having taken over a commercial vehicle bodybuilding company called W. J. Smith & Sons which was located in Carters Green, West Bromwich. Alan and Richard had joined Smiths in 1931 in design and management roles. During the period 1931 to 1936 Alan and Richard added car body building to Smith's commercial vehicle repertoire. After the takeover the brothers were able to concentrate more fully on their 'first love', designing and building car bodies to be fitted to proprietary motorised chassis.
This one-off Vignale Corvette was built for the 1961 Salon de l'Automobile in Paris. It was based on a 1959 or 1960 Corvette chassis, commissioned by Gordon Kelly (USA). Kelly was a Wisconsin-based designer who had the wish to design his own sports car and so in the early '60s had traveled to Europe to make his dream come true. He selected Vignale to rebody the car. The car received a final paint job in 2004 under the now-deceased Kelly. Ownership went to John Breslow (USA).
See images in the Gallery.
Here the car in action at the Goodwood Revival 2014: