With the recent mess surrounding BBC’s successful television car program ‘Top Gear’, James May has found himself ostensibly out of a job. Being as good a presenter as he is, I’m sure he’ll be landing on his feet in no time. For now, though, James has to pay for that brand new Ferrari 458 Speciale that he ordered only a handful of days before the show’s cancellation. This lovely and somewhat rare right-hand-drive Carrera 3.2 of his could be yours if you’re the high bidder at Goodwood on the 26th of June. The color looks great, the car looks in good prep, and it’s mostly original. What’s not to like? Besides, just the mention of James ‘Captain Slow’ May is an excellent conversation starter.
Mr. May purchased this Porsche back in 2007 when he was recording a documentary called ‘Speed, Greed and the M25′ for Radio 4. In the process of recording that, he needed some nice engine sounds to complement his voice, and visited a local sports car showroom to borrow a car to record. The car was in good shape, it was for sale, and it didn’t take long for James to fall in love with it, so he purchased it on the spot. I’m not sure what Radio 4 pays for recording a documentary, but James might have lost money on that transaction. Since then, though, this 911 has appeared in a few on-screen things as well, including an episode of ‘James May’s Toy Stories’ and a Top Gear online short film called ‘James drives to work’. He’s been known to call it ‘the best car he’s ever bought‘, which seems pretty high praise to me.
According to Bonhams, James had only used the 911 as a ‘hobby‘ car, and it was only driven in good weather. The odometer shows that the legendary sports coupe has only traversed 55,000 miles, and both Bonhams and Mr. May have no reason to believe this is anything other than correct. The file of documents and history of the car is said to be quite comprehensive. For the last four years, James’ father has been the caretaker for the car, as he’d never had a ‘proper sports car‘. The Porsche is now for sale, because Mr. May the elder decided that he was getting too old to be seen in a ‘retro stockbroker’s car’, and Mrs. May hated the 911 besides.
‘As a 911, it’s significant for being near the tail-end of the development of the original 1963 car.’ says James, ‘As a piece of social history, since it’s Guards Red and has the sports pack, it stands as a monument to everything 1980s Britain was about. It’s the 911 that Denis Thatcher would have driven, if he’d had one.’
The Porsche is currently fitted with a CD player but James has a broadly period radio/cassette to go with it, if wanted. ‘It has the cassette storage rack fitted, after all,’ says James. ‘The ideal environment for listening to Duran Duran, etc.‘ Also included in the sale is a Haynes workshop manual; Porsche GB correspondence; service booklet; sundry service invoices; old and current V5 documents (the latter in James May’s name); and quantity of expired tax discs and MoTs dating back to 1984.
Bonhams expects the car to sell for somewhere between $48 and $53 thousand dollars. For some reason, I think this one will fetch just a bit more than that. Click here for Bonhams’ listing.