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Home  /  April 2018  /  Comment

Would you pay $200 million for a picture of a nude person?

Look I have nothing against pictures of nude people of any sex but in the interests of complete transparency (excuse the pun) I do prefer people of the women sex to any other of the sexes.

Italian bad boy Amedeo Modigliani painted the Nu couche (lying nude) when he was 32 as part of a series that he put on sale at a big show in Paris. Unfortunately the French no-nude fun police shut down his exhibition before he could get a franc and he died three years later of TB, drugs and ­alcohol.

Anyway readers if you are thinking of a new career, the painting caper could be for you. At any time you like you can get good looking people into your home studio and ask them to drop their gear. The rest of us would go to jail for asking the same question.

The point I’m making is that for the same price as one of Amedeo’s pics you could buy all the 65 cars and 10 motorbikes in Shannons Melbourne Autumn Classic Auction next Monday plus all 12 cars in Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale in July and all 102 cars in the RM Sotheby’s Monaco sale on May 12.

The lack of nudes in all these auctions might be a minus for some of you but I still think having a 1971 Holden HQ Monaro 350 GTS Coupe ($120,000) in the lounge room, the ex Jim Clark 1961 Aston DB4GT Zagato (don’t ask) in the home studio and the Feezer 250GT Berlinetta Tour de France ($15m) in the patio would be better than any old painting even if the subject did have no kit on.

Now I hear you saying “what about the last of the air-cooled Porkers, they have had a pretty good run?”

The Coolmore stud owner, John (The Boss) Magnier, only paid $35m for Amedeo’s nude on a couch with a sultry look in 2003. So if the big picture does sell for $150m, Johnny has picked up a lazy $125m for 15 years of having a painting on his wall. This is not a bad earn when you think he hasn’t had to shell out for oil changes, spare parts, prangs, registration, third party or parking tickets.

Of course all good things come to an end and it seems 993 Porker prices have cooled off (pun intended). Unlike a year ago prices aren’t going up 20 per cent year on year but water-cooled 968s/928a/996s are moving up gently.

We will see what the Porker market is doing at Monaco when RM puts a beautiful collection of Porkers on the blocks including a 1973 911 Carrera RS 2.7 that should bring $3m.

1973 Porsche 911 Carrera-RS-27 Lightweight

1973 Porsche 911 Carrera-RS-27 Lightweight


1973 Porsche 911 Carrera-RS-27 Lightweight

Now is actually a good time to be buying new cars. Dealers are telling me that despite what the official figures are showing, the first quarter of this year was terrible.

One top European brand is in very serious trouble. Another, Jaguar Land Rover, Britain’s largest carmaker, will cut 1000 jobs after sales plummeted. JLR blamed Brexit and the “demonisation” of diesel-engined vehicles.

On top of that Ford has its own set of issues with Rocket Rod Sims and his team at the ACCC handing it a record $10m fine for failing to fix dodgy transmissions on 10,500 Fiesta, Focus and EcoSport vehicles fitted with PowerShift transmissions. Of course as we know, like Mazda with the CX-5, Ford blamed the owners for crook ­driving.

Talking of Porkers, the unluckiest team in last weekend’s Targa was Mat Close and Cameron Reeves in their GT3. The pair was closing on the eventual winners, John and Jason White, when cold tyres took them off the track on the last day.

Still they were probably luckier than the first tour leaders who parked their Porker on some very nasty rocks on a corner and the subsequent tour leaders who put their EVO end-for-end down a very slippery hill.

Talking of Targa Tasmania, in the print edition of this mighty publication last Saturday, I said former Sale of the Century host and now professional MC Glenn Ridge (based on his performance at the Targa prize giving I would be booking him now for your next bar mitzvah, bat mitzvah, smoko or annual general meeting) and his son were driving a Falcon Cobra. Of course the Ridges were in an RX-7SP and it was the Riversdale Wine Estates team of Ian and Rainier Roberts who were in the very mean white-with-blue go-fast stripes Cobra.

The Targa business model has come a long way since John Large created the first event in Tasmania in 1992. A succession of owners has turned the small rally into a multi-million-dollar, highly profitable business with four events across Australia.

Many readers have written to ask if Prince Harry and fiancee Meghan Markle will be dropping by the Kensington Hotel in Regent Street in the equally well named Royal Borough of Kensington in Adelaide when they visit Australia in October.

I put the question directly to Harry who said that while he “fondly remembers visiting the Kenso when I was an ankle-biter with Gran and I think the new menu with the halloumi, duck spring rolls, sticky pork belly, sweet potato and salmon croquettes, dip and pita for $38 plus $19 per extra person is a steal” he has been put off by what he’s heard about Michael McMichael taking up the nude faith-healing caper and also moving into painting.

“One wouldn’t want Michael suggesting to Meghan that he was the official Kenso portrait painter and that his BMW workshop-cum-art studio was just down the road.”

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