A dilapidated garage find example of a rare car that burst onto the 1960s racing scene a Costin Nathan was sold by H&H Classics
at their Chateau Impney sale on Sunday July 10th for over £80,000. It had been estimated to fetch £25,000 to £30,000.
The car emerged from its 45-year slumber when a Manchester company carried out a house clearance. Racing as both a Spyder and GT in the 1960s, the two-seater now requires total restoration. Appearing to be substantially complete, it comes with a highly prized Hewland MK5 gearbox and Ford-based Twin-Cam engine in pieces.
Despite its short career, the Costin-Nathan proved to be a very capable racer. Surviving examples showcase Costin's unique talent for designing lightweight and very aerodynamic racers.
The car is the original Works Prototype as raced with considerable success by Roger Nathan in 1966. Bought by the previous owner (deceased) on 6th January 1967, without the initial Imp engine, it was given a Twin-Cam powerplant coupled to a Hewland Mk 5 transmission.
The driver was to be Chris Meek and the car was further modified with a hard-top to allow it to run as a GT. A large folder of correspondence charts the trials and tribulations of the next three years which added but a single class win at Snetterton in May 1967 to the two-seaters impressive racing resume.
Former race-driver, John Markey, who runs the H&H Classics Hindhead Surrey operation, says: It is an amazing restoration project and a true 'barn find' slumbering in the late owners garage for the last 45 years. This is quite a special car. It is the original Works Prototype as driven with success by Roger himself in 66. Im probably dewy eyed having raced one quite extensively in the 60s. From a personal angle, the car as an Imp engined GT was a delight to drive, very quick in its class with neutral handling and my car did the Targa Florio, the Montjuich 12 hours and an event at Anderstorp in Sweden without any mechanical problems whatsoever.
An emotional Roger Nathan was on hand at the auction to see his former creation sold and was thrilled and moved as the price soared and the hammer came down at a price few would have thought possible.
Once restored the Costin Nathan Works Prototype will be a unique proposition that would be welcome at some of the worlds most prestigious historic race meetings.
Another car which created great interest at the H&H Classics sale was a huge black 1949 Cadillac Series 75 Fleetwood Sedan, originally owned by Cardinal Richard J. Cushing, a close friend of the similarly Boston-based (and Catholic) Kennedy family. It sold for nigh on £40,000.
A high profile clergyman who once graced the cover of Time magazine, Cushing retained the Cadillac until the mid / late 1960s by which time he had married JFK to Jackie, baptized their children, given the blessing at his friends presidential inauguration and conducted one of the most high profile funerals in history. JFKs assassination still being a story that perplexes and fascinates the world.
Research indicates that this car is likely to have transported the Cardinal to many of these happy and sad Kennedy events. Cushing was known for his very liberal views on Catholicism which led him on occasion to openly disagree with the Vatican. He was made a Cardinal in 1958 by Pope John XIII.
Martin van der Zeeuw, H&H Classics agent in Holland who found the car, says: Every now and then one comes across a car that is particularly interesting not just for its engineering or design or any other physical reason but because it casts a light onto our own human history. And this is one such car, its very close links with the remarkable, brilliant, tragic Kennedy family, makes it an object of particular and historic interest.
The 1949 Cadillac 75 Fleetwood 5-passenger Sedan has a 160 hp 5.4 litre V8 engine. Only 220 cars of this type were made and this is number 103. It is finished in black with a beige/brown cloth interior with wooden trim, and whitewall tyres and has a 4-speed Hydra-Matic (automatic) gearbox. The car is fitted with electric windows and it still has the original radio. It was one of the last Cadillacs with 'Turret-Top' styling. The car is well restored, is in excellent condition and will turn heads at shows or on the road because of its fascinating history and massive size - 5,7 meter (226 inches) length, 1,83 meter (68,5 inches) height and 2 meter (82 5/16 inches) width.