Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed 2012 – Auction Report

Bonhams, Goodwood Festival of Speed, Chichester, Sussex, June 12, 2012

Report by Rick Carey | Photos courtesy of Bonhams

Bonhams sold $34.9 million at its Goodwood Festival of Speed auction.

It would have been handily over $35 million at last year’s more robust £/US$ exchange rate.

In the overall scheme of things, $35 million is a healthy auction, number 33 on my list of the top-grossing auctions of all time, but its place within Bonhams history is at the top of the chart, 67.8% more than the Brooks-Bonhams next highest grossing sale, $20,799,800 at Quail Lodge in 2008 (number 78 on the top-grossing auctions list, neither aided nor impeded by exchange rates).

Robert Brooks and Malcolm Barber, first as competitors and in recent years as partners, have set many auction records, but they are individual transaction records that have regularly startled the collector car hobby with eye-popping, curve-setting transactions.

Like the Goodwood Festival’s $7,908,098 for the Bentley 4 ½ Liter Supercharged Tim Birkin Brooklands record holder and $7,381,048 for ‘The Corgi’, the ex-Richard Solove, John O’Quinn 1905 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Barker Double Pullman, both records for the marque.

The Bentley surpasses the highest previous Bentley sale (Speed Six HM2868 by Christie’s at Le Mans in 2004) by $2.8 million and £2.275 million. ‘The Corgi’ squeaks past the prior Rolls-Royce record (Bonhams sale of the only surviving 1904 Rolls-Royce at Olympia in 2007) by just over $100,000, but is a substantial £1.2 million more on account of a failing £/US$ exchange rate.

Goodwood included two important collections, horologist (it would be misleading to characterize him as a watchmaker) George Daniels’ collection which included the Bentley, and Olav Glasius’ superb collection of significant Lotus cars.

It’s unlikely the Goodwood Festival sale foreshadows a fundamental shift in Bonhams business plan. They’ve become successful with a succession of focused seven-figure auctions, a history that represents over a quarter of the auctions in my twenty plus-year database.

In that context, the Goodwood Festival auction was ‘hitting it for six.’

[Thank you, Malcolm Welford, for the British equivalent of ‘hitting it out of the park.’]

Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed 2012 – Auction Report

1908 Itala 12-Liter Grand Prix Car
Lot # 202 1908 Itala 12-Liter Grand Prix Car, Body by W. Vincent; S/N 871; Engine # 871; Red, Black fenders/Tan leather; Estimate $2,352,900 – $3,921,500; Competition car, original as-raced, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $2,431,330 plus commission of 12.10%; Final Price $2,725,443 – RHD. 4-seat body, black centerlock wire wheels, single rear spare. One of three GP cars built by Itala for the GP de l’ACF, probably driven by Giovanni Piacenza, rebodied long ago with this 4-seat coachwork and with a long history in the UK with a series of enthusiastic owners; R. Wil-de-Gose, John Pole, ‘Sam’ Clutton, Dr. Bob Ewen, Jack Williamson and George Daniels. Cataloged with a series of marvelous vignettes and quotes from its history and in good, solid, running and driving condition. George Daniels Collection. Survivors from this age of heroes are nearly impossibly rare, having survived the scrap drives of two wars and the depredations of farmers to whom the whippy chassis were more valuable as hay carts than self-powered transportation. Despite the odds this Itala has survived, and in impressively complete and functional condition. It’s something of a miracle. The new owner becomes part of an important history, from Dieppe in 1908 through Brooklands and modern VSCC events. The price is what it took to own it, a chance of a lifetime.
1929 Bentley 4.5 Liter Supercharged Blower Single-Seater
Lot # 204 1929 Bentley 4 1/2 Liter Supercharged ‘Blower’ Single-Seater; S/N HB3402; Engine # SM3901; Red/Red leather; Competition car, original as-raced, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $7,058,701 plus commission of 12.03%; Final Price $7,908,098 – RHD. Open wheel, black centerlock wheels, single aeroscreen. ‘Tim’ Birkin’s Dorothy Paget-backed famed Brooklands record setter, far and away the most successful of all the Blower 4 1/2 Liter Bentleys. Aged and used but well preserved by a succession of British enthusiasts. Wears its original body, slightly modified for drivers larger than the diminutive Birkin. Includes historic documentation and road equipment. George Daniels Collection. It would take a Le Mans winning Bentley to be worth more than this. A whole cast of famous Bentley Boys messed around with it and it’ll keep a current generation happy continuing its mythic history.
1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Lungo Spider
Lot # 206 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Lungo Spider, Body by after Touring; S/N 2211065; Engine # 2211065; Red/Brown leather; Estimate $3,921,500 – $6,274,401; Competition restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $3,764,640 plus commission of 12.06%; Final Price $4,218,750 – RHD. Cycle fenders, black painted centerlock wheels, fixed flat windshield, rear spare enclosed under bodywork. Raced at LeMans in 1932 by ‘Tim’ Birkin and Frances, Earl Howe. First to finish but 4th on handicap at the Ards Tourist Trophy. Later owned by Giuseppe Campari, rebodied by Farina as a drophead coupe and eventually sold to Marshal Italo Balbo. Eventually purchased by George Daniels who had the Touring-style LeMans body re-created by Rod Jolley during a restoration completed in 1998. Farina drophead body included. Clean, sharp and only lightly used. A genuine LeMans Alfa 8C, even if the body had to be re-made, and there’s always the Farina drophead accurately to represent the Marshal Balbo (the impresario of the Tripoli GPs) period. For its history and presentation it’s a sound value at this price even if it’s not as pretty as a Zagato or Touring Spider.
1957 AC Ace-Bristol Roadster
Lot # 220 1957 AC Ace-Bristol Roadster; S/N BE321; Engine # 100D658; Red/Black leather; Estimate $266,662 – $313,720; Older restoration, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $235,990 plus commission of 13.00%; Final Price $266,662 – RHD. Silver wire wheels, blackwall tires, three carbs on the engine. Raced and rallied when new, rolled at the Alpine Rally. Restored in the early 90’s and still clean and orderly but showing use. A good driver with sound paint and a good interior. Closed post-block at this price, a healthy price for an Ace Bristol with a somewhat checkered history and an upgraded 100D engine.
1930 Bugatti Type 46 Sport Sedan
Lot # 223 1930 Bugatti Type 46 Sport Sedan, Body by Lancefield; S/N 46534; Engine # 383; Black/Green leather, Heather cloth trim; Estimate $219,604 – $250,976; Older restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $250,976 plus commission of 12.94%; Final Price $283,446 – RHD. Black wire wheels, Marchal headlights and driving light, dual mirrors, Trico trafficators, sliding sunroof, dual rear spares, dual horns, rear seat center armrest, smoker’s kit, vanity, footrest. Attractive coachwork by Lancefield with good paint, chrome, upholstery and interior wood. Very orderly underhood. The only known Lancefield body on a Type 46 ‘Baby Royale’ maintained and preserved to high standards and bought reasonably for the quality of its presentation and the inherent quality of the Type 46.
1964 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale
Lot # 224 1964 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale, Body by Bertone; S/N AR381237; Red/Black; Estimate $47,058 – $54,901; Modified restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $47,058 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $54,117 – Leather rim Alfa steering wheel, fire system, roll bar, steel wheels, 4-point belts, Webers with short velocity stacks, Colotti limited slip, close ratio gearbox, headers, oil cooler, bullet outside mirrors, hood pins. Raced from new, restored for historic racing in the 80’s, later owned by Lord Brockett but escaped being buried. Cosmetically attractive and mechanically above reproach. Fresh engine with only dyno time. Comes with FIA and HSCC papers. Choice. Sold here in 2004 for $31,426, then in 2010 for $52,368 with one subsequent race then the fresh engine. This result, GBP 34,500, is exactly the same as 2010’s. With concours prepared Sprint Speciales bringing six figure money, this is nothing if not a great value in a fully sorted and prepared car.
1925 Bentley 3-Liter Speed Model Sports Two-Seater
Lot # 225 1925 Bentley 3-Liter Speed Model Sports Two-Seater, Body by Park Ward; S/N 1025; Engine # 451; Black/Burgundy leather; Black top; Estimate $203,918 – $235,290; Non-factory replica, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $310,583 plus commission of 12.76%; Final Price $350,206 – RHD. Burgundy wire wheels, single sidemount, electric fan, overdrive. Original coachwork but not the original engine (that was 1037, this is from chassis 443). Restored in the late 90’s for John Maylan and showing age and some use but still very presentable. Peter Gwynn collection. This original bodied 2-seat roadster is very neat looking, and unusual, both important factors in its value. The Goodwood bidders appreciated it, a lot, and paid a premium price for it.
1965 Ferrari 275 GTS
Lot # 231 1965 Ferrari 275 GTS, Body by Pininfarina; S/N 7293; Engine # 7293; Red/Tan leather; Estimate $596,068 – $658,812; Older restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $784,300 plus commission of 12.30%; Final Price $880,769 – RHD. Borrani chrome spoke wire wheels, nearly full tool roll. One of 19 RHD 275 GTSs built. Restored to nearly like new condition with excellent paint and chrome and gently patinaed older upholstery. Driven since the restoration, but not much. Ferrari Classiche certified. This is a record-setting price for a 275 GTS, particularly in the attractive, but not exceptional, condition of this one.
1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS Spider
Lot # 234 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS Spider; S/N 0312897; Engine # 0312897; Red/Black leather; Estimate $596,068 – $705,870; Rebodied or re-created, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $517,638 plus commission of 12.45%; Final Price $582,108 – RHD. Red painted wire wheels, dual mirrors, dual rear spares, folding flat windshield. Once bodied with a James Young body, replaced in 2002 with this Zagato replica built by Western Coachworks. Engine rebuilt with a new supercharger and SU carburetor in 2004. Owned by AROC Pre-War Registrar Carol Corliss since 1964, sympathetically maintained with good paint, upholstery and brightwork without being over-restored. Any car, especially an old one, that’s driven a lot over the years is going to need continuing maintenance and repairs and this Alfa has a long term presence in British vintage and historic circles that substantiates its history. It’s fully priced in this transaction but gives its new owner a chance to become part of that history.
1925 Bentley 3-Liter Tourer, Body by Gurney Nutting
Lot # 240 1925 Bentley 3-Liter Tourer, Body by Gurney Nutting; S/N 890; Engine # 886; Blue, Black fenders/Light Grey leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $172,546 – $203,918; Recent restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $164,703 plus commission of 13.43%; Final Price $186,820 – RHD. Black painted wire wheels, dual sidemounts, folding windshield, full weather equipment. Owned by H.A. Stonor in the Sixties, then by the Sharpe family since. Restored in recent years, but only just completed and in need of attention to finish the work and shake it down. Very presentable cosmetics, sound and complete in fine driving/touring condition after it is fettled and settled. Compared with the 3-Liter Speed Model two-seater sold earlier for over $300,000, this is something of a value even if it needs work.
1954 Lotus-Climax Mk VI
Lot # 245 1954 Lotus-Climax Mk VI; S/N Mk6/24; Engine # FW499-28376; Silver/Red; Estimate $47,058 – $62,744; Facsimile restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $65,881 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $75,763 – RHD. 1098cc Coventry Climax engine. Built up from parts, but meticulously done to standards and with parts appropriate to the time. Great cosmetics, clean, sanitary and like new. FIA Historic Identity papers. Glasius collection. This is what started Colin Chapman’s reputation for gifted design and concept. Coupled with the desirable Coventry Climax engine, it’s always going to be a welcome entrant and was bought at a competitive price.
1955 Lotus-Climax Mk IX Sports Racer
Lot # 248 1955 Lotus-Climax Mk IX Sports Racer; S/N 102; White, Blue stripe/Red; Estimate $117,645 – $149,017; Competition restoration, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $163,134 plus commission of 13.44%; Final Price $185,063 – RHD. Silver painted wire wheels, hood-mounted driving lights, driver’s wraparound windscreen, Coventry Climax 1098cc Stage II engine with dual sidedraft Webers. Raced when new by Tony Page in the UK with best result being a 4th in class in the 9-Hour at Goodwood. Uprated during subsequent racing then restored for vintage racing in the early 90’s with a new Shapecraft body and the current engine. Sound, orderly and presentable but shows historic racing use and age. A great track car. Olav Glasius Collection. Offered but not sold by Coys at Monaco in 2006, the price it brought here is generous by any standard. Even if it had been freshly restored and race-ready this would be all the money.

1 2 Next

Show Comments (2)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Why the variable changes in commission rates, all on the same day with the same hammer man operating the rostrum, from a low of 12.00% to a high of 15.00%. There are some strange variables e.g. 12.45, 13.33 and 13.44?

    1. David:
      Most auction companies have a fixed buyer’s commission rate. Bonhams uses a split commission rate.
      The SCD report gives the effective commission on the entire price.
      For Goodwood the buyer’s commission was 15% of the first £50,000 and 12% of anything over that.
      Thus, any lot hammered sold for £50K or less has a flat 15% commission. Anything over that has a variable effective rate calculated by taking the all-in price, dividing it by the successful hammer bid and subtracting 1.
      The commission on the ‘Birkin’ Bentley, hammered sold at £4.5 million, was actually 12.0333…%, the difference being the extra 3% of the first £50K.
      The effect diminishes to relative insignificance at a value like that, but for a lot like the Aceca V-8, hammered sold for £55K the extra 3%, £1,650, becomes material, which is why the effective commission is 14.727272… rounded to 14.73%.