Peter Grant was one of the most respected, revered and indeed feared rock group managers of the 20th century. He is best remembered for the creation and management of Led Zeppelin, the rock group that reigned supreme from 1968 to 1980.
In 1973, when Grant took delivery of this Ferrari Dino 246 GTS, Led Zeppelin were one of the biggest rock bands in the world. Dazed and Confused, Whole Lotta Love, Immigrant Song, Black Dog and, of course, Stairway to Heaven, had already graced jukeboxes and record players across the globe.
Grant had therefore earned the right to splash the cash. Not that he was known for a public display of his vast wealth. His obituary in the Independent – Grant died in 1995 – spoke of thrift and second-hand furniture. An excerpt from the obituary reads as follows:
Grant rarely wore a suit and often turned up in a first class lounge wearing an old T-shirt and a coonskin hat. His gloomy offices in King’s Road in London were stocked with second-hand furniture. He said, “I don’t need to put on a show. It’s all b******t. The only thing that impresses people is Led Zeppelin’s music. I don’t need a fancy office.”
Clearly, Grant needed a fancy car. Back in 1973, the Dino 246 GTS commanded a list price of £6,620.39 plus delivery charges, number plates and road tax. But Grant didn’t stop there, adding non-metallic paint and leather upholstery for a combined £274.09.
Today, Coys – which is auctioning the Dino on 8 September – have slapped a £350,000 – £400,000 estimate on the car. The question is: who is going to Bring it on Home?
What Peter Grant would make of the pre-auction estimate is up for debate. He famously campaigned for rock stars to receive their fair share of the profits, going as far as trashing bootleg copies of Led Zeppelin albums. The contract he secured with Atlantic Records was unprecedented.
Grant, a larger than life character in more ways than one, must have cut a mean figure at the wheel of the Dino. The GTS – an open version of the 246 GT – was launched a year earlier at the 1972 Geneva Motor Show and is easy to spot thanks to the omission of the rear quarter windows.
Relatively speaking, the GTS was even more popular than the GT. Between 1969 and 1974, a total of 2,487 GTs were produced, compared with 1,274 GTS models between 1972 and 1974. The closed Dino 246 GT had been thrust into the public’s consciousness following its role in the hit TV series The Persuaders.
Chris Routledge, CEO of Coys, said: “London is filled with mythical places reminding us of the city’s rock n’ roll and music legacy. Swan Song Records was Led Zeppelin’s own record label, overseen by Peter Grant and used by the band to promote its own products as well as sign new upcoming artists.
“It’s not hard to imagine Peter Grant driving the Dino around Chelsea and parking it outside the studio back in the day, before meeting with the band.”
The Dino 246 GTS will be auctioned as part of the Coys auction at Fontwell House on 8 September 2016. You can find the house Over the Hills and Far Away on the Sussex Downs. If you’ve got a Whole Lotta Love for Grant’s old Dino, you know what to do.
But we won’t Ramble On.