Offered by Bring a Trailer Auctions | December 2022
Alejandro de Tomaso had been designing and producing sports cars under his name since the 1960s. And the last car he put into production was the Guara in 1994. When production ceased 10 years later, only about 50 had been made across three body styles that included a coupe, spyder, and this, the barchetta.
The Barchetta had no windshield and no top. It looked eerily similar to the Maserati Barchetta race car of the early 90s. This isn’t all that surprising considering De Tomaso owned Maserati until 1993 and just repurposed the design for an exotic road car.
The Guara is powered by a 4.0-liter BMW V8 that made 279 horsepower. Later cars got supercharged Ford V8s (although not a shocking bump in power). This particular one looks to be still pretty much in the wrapper and is one of 10 barchettas built. You’re probably gonna want a full-face helmet to drive it – if you drive it. It doesn’t appear that any of its owners have thus far. Click here for more info.
Offered by Aguttes | Paris, France | December 14, 2022
Dream spec. Fact: the Aston Martin DB7 is one of the best-looking cars of all time. And when they dropped a V12 under the hood and tweaked the styling a bit, they really ended up with a winner. Add on top of that the fact that this one is a drop top finished in Almond Green with over a beige and green interior… perfection.
The Vantage-specification DB7 went on sale in 1999 and featured a 5.9-liter V12 (as opposed to the earlier DB7’s straight-six) that made 420 horsepower. This manual-transmission car was capable of 60 mph in five seconds when new.
Having covered less than 10,000 miles since new, this Volante is a keeper. It has a pre-sale estimate of $73,000-$94,000. Click here for more info.
Alfa Romeo resurrected the 8C nameplate for its return to North America. It was to be a halo car – one that sits atop all others in their model line. The 8C Competizione, the coupe version, was produced in limited numbers between 2007 and 2009. Just 500 were built.
The Spider was even rarer. Only about 329 were built between 2008 and 2010 (even Alfa is not super forthcoming about the exact number, it seems). It shared the coupe’s Ferrari/Maserati 4.7-liter V8 that made 444 horsepower. Styling was done in-house at Alfa Romeo, and the result is stunning. Both the coupe and spider are fantastic-looking cars.
This particular Spider is one of not-all-that-many that were destined for the U.S. It no-sale’d on BaT earlier this year at $289,000. With 10 days left on the auction as of this writing, bidding this time around is already at $260,000. So we’ll see if it surpasses March’s bidding, and if so, if it’s enough to find a new home. Click here for more info.
Offered by H&H Classics | Duxford, U.K. | October 20, 2022
The Elise is one of the most vaunted cars to be produced by Lotus… ever. The Series 1 launched in 1996 and remained in production until 2001. It was never sold in the United States (the Series 2 was). It was a light car – just under 1,600 pounds – with a fiberglass body and an aluminum chassis. It’s pretty much the direct descendent of the Lotus Seven.
The base model was powered by a mid-mounted 118-horsepower, 1.8-liter Rover inline-four. A five-speed manual was the only gearbox option, and all cars featured a targa roof. This car has small hidden upgrades, like S2 suspension and upholstery.
These cars are very active track day participants and are still used regularly. So whether or not they have officially become collectable is debatable, but I think these early cars are just on the cusp of it. This one has 28,000 miles, and that mileage is likely to be kept very low by future owners. It should sell for between $27,000-$29,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 10, 2022
The Autech Zagato Stelvio, which was based on an Infiniti M30, was produced in very limited numbers with just 104 built. And yet, it is relatively well known compared to this, the Stelvio’s successor, the Zagato-styled Gavia.
Autech was a tuning subsidiary of Nissan from 1986 to 2022, when it was merged with Nismo. The Gavia project started in 1993 and again was based on the Nissan Leopard, aka the Infiniti M30. Under the hood was the turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 from the 300ZX. Output was rated at 280 horsepower.
The car features the signature Zagato double-bubble roof. It only has Zagato badging on it, and this one was sold new in Japan. It is one of just 16 built. The pre-sale estimate is $35,000-$58,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Artcurial | Le Mans, France | July 2, 2022
Michel Hommell’s small cottage industry sports car company existed from 1990 to 2003. The Barquette was a track car launched in 1994 alongside a road-going version called the Berlinette, which was essentially produced to homologate this racing version.
The 2.0-liter inline-four produced 155 horsepower, enough to push this car to 130 mph. Competition events included a one-make racing series that was in action from the mid-1990s through the early 2000s.
This is the fourth of 52 examples produced. From the timeline in the catalog, it appears this car was originally black but was bought by the current owner in 1998 and repainted this blue. The wheels have been more recently painted, and now the car has an estimate of $31,000-$42,000. It’s like an off-brand Renault Sport Spider. Click here for more info.
Offered by Manor Park Classics | Manor Park, U.K. | May 14, 2022
You just don’t see second-generation Probes in this condition anymore. At least not in the U.S., where most have rusted away or just died. Recall that the Probe was supposed to be the next Mustang, but people flipped out over the front-wheel-drive Mazda-sourced layout, so Ford just launched it as its own thing for 1989.
But the revamped 1993 model is where it really hit its stride. This is pure 90s, from the jellybean shape to the tri-spoke wheels. They were cool cars, but generally unloved by “serious car people.” That didn’t stop them from being nearly everywhere circa 1998. This one has the bigger 2.0-liter V6 rated at 164 horsepower new.
Trim-wise, it isn’t that impressive, as Americans could get a GT package with graphics and a wing. But this right-hand-drive version is probably up there in rarity. The number of Probes still registered in the U.K.? Just 121. It has an estimate of $4,500-$5,500, which seems like a bargain just for the nostalgia factor. Click here for more info.
Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | May 19, 2022
The fourth-generation Firebird went on sale for 1993. It was kind of pointy, but if you look at the rear 3/4 of the car, you could tell the genes were there for some muscle. That became more apparent when a mid-cycle refresh came in 1998. The car got a new hood with two big intakes/nostrils up front. It was bulky and looked like a muscle car.
So, of course, on top of the Firebird there was the Trans Am, which usually specified some kind of upgraded suspension, an appearance package, and a power bump. But what do you do when that’s not enough? You go to SLP Engineering and have them turn it into a Firehawk, naturally.
These were sold through Pontiac dealerships. This example is from the final year of Firebird production, making it a final-year example of the top dog… or top bird Firebird/Trans Am you could get. The 5.7-liter V8 was tweaked to put out 335 horsepower. It’s got all of the goodies too: T-tops, a limited-slip differential, a composite hood, a cat-back exhaust, and more. This car has just 57 miles, which will make it among the most expensive Firehawks out there. Click here for more info.
Alfa Romeo may not be crushing it in the U.S. right now, but this car is proof that they can still put out some stunners, despite what the sales numbers show. To be fair, in this car’s case, they only built 500 of them, with orders for almost triple that.
Styling was done in-house at Alfa and was supposed to invoke the company’s classic models of the 1950s and ’60s. It’s a success. It took its name from the 1930s 8C, Alfa’s pre-war masterpiece. The car is powered by a Ferrari/Maserati 4.7-liter V8 that was rated at 444 horsepower. And it sounds amazing.
Colors were all over the board, but most appear to have been finished in red. It still looks good in black, and pretty much any other color you could lather it in. Bidding is already at $175,000. Click here for more info.
Ferrari’s F430 was the follow up to the relatively similar looking 360 Modena. Like the Modena before it, the F430 got some spicy special editions as production neared its end. The F430 was offered from 2005 through 2009, and it got a Spider variant during that span. Later came the 430 Scuderia, which was a track-focused special that for some reason lost the “F” prefix.
Then, for the final model year, Ferrari dropped the entire “F430” name for the model’s last hurrah: the limited-edition Scuderia Spider 16M, the latter part of the name in celebration of Ferrari’s 16th Formula One constructor’s title, which they won in 2008. Think of it sort of like a drop-top version of the track-ready Scuderia.
The 4.3-liter V8 puts out 503 horsepower, and the car got a lot of lightness added by way of carbon-fiber bits. It could do some serious hairdo rearranging at its 196-mph top end. Only 499 were built, and they look better in black than red. You can read more about this one here.