Most excellent: the Blackhawk Collection

Between your auction action and champagne quaffing, look out for the Blackhawk Collection – and we’ve spotted a car for you to bring in 2022

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A Daytona to remember

The original six Shelby Daytona Coupes that were built to teach Ferrari a lesson in GT racing are the stuff of legend, not least since the one driven to a class win at Le Mans in 1964 by Dan Gurney and Bob Bondurant was the first American-built car to clinch victory in the famous 24-hour race.

The following year, the Daytonas made Shelby the first American constructor to win the FIA GT Manufacturers’ Championship, a momentous victory that was marked in 2015 when Shelby American produced 50 continuation Daytona Coupes.

But the superb Daytona pictured here comes from neither era, being one of the eight highly sought-after cars built by California Cobra guru Mike McCluskey. Chassis number CSX2501 began life in September 1964 as a silver-coloured roadster and passed through the hands of seven owners before being bought in a firedamaged state by McCluskey in 1998.

He was soon asked to build the Cobra into a ‘McCluskey Daytona Coupe’ by a client who had heard about McCluskey previously creating such a car for none other than Carroll Shelby himself.

After 15 months of meticulous work, CSX2501 emerged into the California sun with full Daytona superstructure, the correct lightweight body panels and all of its original Cobra mechanicals save for upgraded Wilwood brakes.

What it needs now is someone to set those sidepipes growling. If you think that could be you, contact Grand Prix Classics. grandprixclassics.com; +1 858 459 3500

California dreaming

There are plenty of classic car showrooms where passers-by can walk in and take a look at what’s on offer. But that’s not the case with the Blackhawk Collection, a dealership and museum that’s hidden away among mansions 30 miles east of San Francisco in one of California’s most prestigious gated communities. Here, visits are strictly ‘by appointment’.

But this year’s Pebble Beach Concours will give classic fans a rare opportunity to see some of the Blackhawk Collection’s exceptional inventory up close and personal as the firm stages another of its famous ‘expos’ that became an eagerly anticipated feature of Pebble during the ’80s and ’90s.

Blackhawk will show as many as 10 cars, including two past Pebble Beach Best of Show winners –a pre-war Mercedes-Benz 540K that won in 1973 and a 1929 Cunningham that took the laurels in 1984.

The Blackhawk Collection was founded exactly 40 years ago by renowned historic automobile expert Don Williams who became the first person in the world to sell a car for $1m when he found a buyer for a 1931 Figoni-bodied Duesenberg in 1984. Williams also inaugurated the Exposition format with a display of cars at Tokyo’s New Otani Hotel in 1988, introduced US-style classic auctions to Europe in the same year with a sale in Geneva and, in 2008, became the first person to import a Chinese car into America.

The 1974 Hongqi Red Flag limousine (below) remains part of the Blackhawk Collection inventory – and, in 2018, had the distinction of being the first Chinese-built vehicle to grace the grass at Pebble Beach. blackhawkcollection.com; +1 925 736 3444