Automotive Intuition

Automotive Intuition

While living in New York City a few years ago, I’d parked my Porsche 911 Targa at a meter outside my gym to keep an eye on it while working out. I love the way that car looks, so keeping it within eyeshot was always a pleasure, particularly when parked on a precarious urban perch such as this.  Admiring my Targa through the windows between sets, the grey, rainy sky perfectly setting-off its silvery haunches, I saw author (and fellow gym-member) Malcolm Gladwell walking down the sidewalk, umbrella in hand. He slowed as he approached to admire my Targa, nodding with approval as he walked a lap around it, and then continued into the gym.

Porsche 911 Targa

Funny how my Targa caught the eye of the bestselling author of The Tipping Point and Blink, which talk about why some ideas and concepts instinctively “feel right” and catch hold whereas others fall by the wayside and are forgotten. I think there's a similar sort of “automotive intuition” out there as well.

There’s no replacing a car you love once it’s gone, and I regret having sold my Targa, but its place in my car-shaped heart is now occupied by my beloved 1967 BMW 2000CS. Like the Targa, which Porsche purists broadly discount as the 911 for aesthetes—and women, and hairdressers, and me—the 2000CS is disregarded by BMW enthusiasts because its design (by Giovanni Michelotti) breaks with convention, and remains polarizing today. Yet “laypeople” are drawn to it like ants to a sugar bowl: I have never owned a car that gets more thumbs-up and smiles on the road. The 2000CS is gaining some newfound respect these days, including an awesome “homage” (video posted above) by David Obendorfer; and at auctions, including this 2000CS that sold for nearly $50,000 (about five times more than usual) at Gooding & Co. earlier this year in Scottsdale. The founder of Sports Car Market, Keith Martin, recently assured me—we were seated together during a dinner at Pebble Beach where I talked his ear off, so he may have just told me what I wanted to hear so I’d leave him alone—that while it’s previously been omitted, he’ll include the 2000CS in the updated edition of the Sports Car Market semi-annual Price Guide.

More than tracking the upwards escalation of multi-million dollar sales, my fascination for car collecting is drawn by the continued availability of cars I love at somewhat affordable prices. Will the broad arc of “automotive intuition” which I believe is pulling the BMW 2000CS out of obscurity have the same effect on more of my beloved underdogs, including the Ferrari 400i and 308 GT/4 Dino (check out this awesome video); Aston Martin Lagonda; Citroen SM and DS; and Rolls Royce Camargue? Time will tell!