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The Collectors’ Index picks its cars to watch at the RM Sotheby's Monterey sale

Ahead of the RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale next week, we asked auction analysis expert James Bannister from The Collectors’ Index (TCI) to select his less obvious cars to watch…

1954 Talbot-Lago T26 GSL 

Similarly to Enzo Ferrari, Antonio Franco Lago subscribed to the practice of racing in order to sell his road cars. Talbot-Lagos became a popular choice for privateers in Grands Prix in the 1940s and ’50s, and Lago went to great lengths to ensure the technology developed on the track was passed over to the road cars.

The T26C racer, for example, lent its chassis and powertrain to the subsequent T26 road cars, resulting in some of the fastest and most desirable cars of the period. Of these, the T26 GSL is arguably the most attractive, especially with its coachbuilt body designed by Carlo Delaisse. These cars rarely cross the auction block, but the sale of a lesser and non-original model in 2015 drew the line in the sand for this example. Often overlooked, Talbot-Lagos such as this 1954 T26 GSL tick three boxes on a collector’s checklist: a coachbuilt body, a powerful race-bred engine and extremely low production numbers. Just think about how much you’d need to pay for those attributes if there was a prancing horse on the bonnet…

Estimate: 350,000-425,000 US dollars

Dealer Average Price: N/A

TCI Average Auction Price 2015-2016: 458,000 US dollars

1962 Ghia L Coupe

This is a great example of a now classic formula – the marriage of svelte Italian bodywork to a chunky American V8. The Ghia L Coupe was a second take on the Dual-Ghia, which proved a labour of love for a Detroit businessman who simply grew tired of shipping Chryslers. The high retail price of the Ghia was warranted, as the fit and finish of both the interior and exterior was very high. Ownership granted membership in an exclusive club of famous owners. In a market that currently values cars with interesting histories, this 1962 Ghia L Coupe merits a second look, despite its punchy estimate.

Estimate: 350,000-425,000 US dollars

Dealer Average Price: 379,500 US dollars

TCI Average Auction Price 2015-2016: 385,000 US dollars

1988 Ferrari 328 GTS

Once brushed aside in favour of their sultry 1960s descendants, wedge-shaped 1980s Ferraris such as the 328 have enjoyed a profound increase in demand in recent years. Favour was initially given to the Testarossa and the 308, though now that’s mellowed somewhat the 328 is beginning to see some growth. As with any higher-production models, the price differentiation between a good car and a great car is vast, and hinges largely on mileage. This 1988 GTS example might not boast delivery miles, but its originality and resulting concours success help push it towards the top of the pile.

Estimate: 120,000-160,000 US dollars

Dealer Average Price 2016: 94,445 US dollars (113,00 US dollars for better models)

TCI Average Auction Price 2015-2016: 124,000 US dollars

1999 Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster

The meteoric rise of the Lamborghini Countach coupled with price rises for younger supercars from the 1990s and 2000s has brought the Diablo firmly back into view. Over its 11-year lifespan, the Diablo received numerous facelifts and improvements, the most notable of which came after Audi took control of the company in 1998. This 1999 VT Roadster (VT denoting four-wheel drive) was one such model, and benefitted from factory fixed headlights among other upgrades.

RM Sotheby’s will be hoping the 672,000 euros achieved for its SE30 Jota in Monaco earlier this year will have lifted the Diablo market somewhat. It’s worth noting, however, that Artcurial failed to sell a VT Roadster with a lower estimate (250,000-300,000 euros) at its Rétromobile sale in February. This should still prove an interesting lot to watch, especially since it’s being sold with no reserve.

Estimate: 325,000-375,000 US dollars

Dealer Average Price 2016: 258,824 US dollars

TCI Average Auction Price 2015-2016: 190,557 US dollars

Text: James Bannister / Photos courtesy of RM Sotheby's © 2016

The Collectors Index is a new auction market analysis platform, boasting the largest sophisticated database of watches, wines and classic cars. Its team of investment experts closely monitor collectable assets, and offer unique analytics and advice. You can find out more information here