Bonhams Greenwich 2015 – Auction Report

Bonhams, Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, May 31, 2015

By any measure, Bonhams is through hard work and dedication turning its auction in conjunction with the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance into a consistent success.

This year’s total was helped by having 51 of the 95 lots offered without reserve and selling to the highest bidder from the time the first bid was taken. That’s well over half the entire consignment and goes a long way to achieving the 87.4% sell through.

One million and a half dollar car, the Bugatti Type 57S Stelvio Convertible, along with a 1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 sold for $775,000 and a Porsche 911RS 2.7 sold for $594,000, brought in a total of over $2.9 million, pushing the average transaction to a record for this sale.

Bonhams Greenwich
Cars Offered / Sold
Sale %
Sold < Low Est.
Sold > High Est.
Average Sale
Median Sale
Total Sales
2015
95 / 83
87.4%
55.4%
13.3%
$90,491
$45,100 [49.8%]
$7,510,719
2014
104 / 97
93.3%
58.8%
20.6%
$81,065
$45,100 [55.6%]
$7,863,310
2013
100 / 74
74%
54.1%
10.8%
$72,172
$36,300 [50.3%]
$5,340,745
2012
90 / 62
68.9%
67.2%
6.8%
$84,929
$42,120 [49.6%]
$5,265,577
2011
82 / 56
68.3%
46.4%
21.4%
$68,942
$38,610 [56.0%]
$3,860,727
2010
78 / 55
70.5%
52.7%
18.2%
$53,116
$35,100 [66.1%]
$2,921,397
2009
89 / 44
49.4%
65.9%
11.4%
$100,132
$67,860 [67.8%]
$4,405,800
2008
49 / 27
55.1%
29.6%
3.7%
$95,603
$52,650 [55.1%]
$2,581,280

The backbone of the sale were twenty-four cars from Missouri’s Evergreen Collection, twenty of them offered without reserve and all but one sold on the block or shortly thereafter. They brought a total of $2,162,650, 28.8% of the entire sale total.

The Saturday preview for Bonhams Greenwich auction is open to the public on the first day of the Concours (The Concours Americana), giving spectators a chance to peruse the auction offerings and speculate based on the published estimates how easy it is to acquire a fun car for not a lot of money [32 of the cars sold were hammered on bids of $30,000 or less; 18 were $20,000 or less.] It makes for a diverse crowd.

Listening to the comments on Saturday it is clear that many of the spectators know little to nothing about the cars on offer, nor probably about the cars in the Concours. Yet they are drawn to the show and to the auction by a continuing interest in old cars, an interest (and willingness to part with $40 per adult in daily admission – cleverly, the Concours organizers invite kids under 12 in for free) that shows there is a much larger pool of potential collectors than even the most optimistic count of active participants takes into account.

That is the most valuable attribute of the Greenwich Concours and Bonhams auction there, it exposes many, many people to the cars, and to their accessibility. It may be six- and seven-figure cars that build the numbers, but it is $40,000 cars that build the hobby.

Monterey, Hershey, Kissimmee and Scottsdale are preaching to the choir of already committed participants who journey from near and far with intent and involvement. Even Barrett-Jackson and Mecum reach an audience already conditioned by regular television coverage and ready to buy, buy, buy.

The hobby needs more shows like the partnership between the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance and Bonhams.

[On-site observations are by the editor and Andrew C. Newton; the editor is responsible for the final content.]

Bonhams Greenwich 2015 – Auction Report

1929 Ford Model A Roadster Pickup
Lot # 201 1929 Ford Model A Roadster Pickup; S/N Engine No.; Engine # CA112717; Gray, Black fenders/Brown leather; Black vinyl top; Estimate $18,000 – $24,000; Older restoration, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $18,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $19,800. No Reserve. Black wire wheels, Firestone whitewalls, wood stake bed, single sidemount spare with black vinyl cover, painted horn, bench seat. – Very dull chrome. Dull paint. Scratches on the fenders and running boards. Chips flaking off on the door hinges. Paint blister on the passenger’s side door. Door fit is off. Good, lightly worn top. Very dull, dry wood. Tailgate is beat up and chipped with rust coming through on the exposed spots. Slightly scruffy underbody. An unremarkable Model A that got a basic restoration some time ago, but cool in that it’s a roadster pickup. – This Model A Roadster Pickup shows plenty of evidence of being used for some time as a weekend errand runner, an application for which it is ideally suited and which, at this price, it can continue to fulfill for many years to come. Usually worked to death in farms and orchards, the few survivors suffered further depredations to their numbers at the hands of hot rodders who recognize their charm and adaptability while taxing the torque-handling capacity of their frames with Detroit V-8s. It should be a rewarding purchase for the new owner at this price.
1967 Alfa Romeo Giulia Duetto Spider, Body by Pininfarina
Lot # 204 1967 Alfa Romeo Giulia Duetto Spider, Body by Pininfarina; S/N AR664804; Engine # AR0053614416; Red,/Black leather; Black vinyl top; Estimate $12,000 – $18,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $23,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $25,300. No Reserve. Dual Weber carbs, Ansa exhaust, hub caps, pushbutton radio. – A much older and much used restoration. Chips on the bottom of the hood. Dinged up and scratched chrome. Alfa Romeo grille cover is dented and crooked. There are two small dents on the right side of the tail. Dull paint overall that has scratches and crazing on the tail. Grimy but complete engine bay. Worn but complete top. Aged but tidy and complete interior. A pretty beat up old Alfa Spider, but sound underneath. – This Alfa was bid to a price for a healthy #3 car, but it is notably worse than a healthy #3 car. The seller should go home happy. Curiously, it was sold at Bonhams Beaulieu auction in the UK last September for $18,759 and was repatriated to its original destination with good results for the seller. This is the Duetto to have, with Webers and a smog control system that is limited to recycling crankcase oil fumes. Dustin Hoffman never drove a ‘Graduate’ with Spica fuel injection, he drove one of these.
1966 Austin-Healey 3000 Mk III Phase 2 Convertible
Lot # 207 1966 Austin-Healey 3000 Mk III Phase 2 Convertible; S/N HBJ8L32079; Engine # 29KRUH6808; Ice Blue,/Blue vinyl; Blue leatherette top; Estimate $55,000 – $70,000; Older restoration, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $52,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $57,200. With Reserve. Silver painted wire wheels, Michelin XZX blackwalls, overdrive. – Good older repaint, chrome and original interior. Dirty engine compartment with many miles. An honest driver quality early BJ8 owned by the same family since 1968 and given a competent but not exhaustive restoration six years ago. – A few years ago Austin-Healey restorers would be lined up to buy this car, give it a nut-and-bolt restoration and re-sell it for six figures. Not so much today as the bloom is off the BJ8 Phase 2 rose and this is a realistic price for a good, sound, driver quality car.
1957 Morgan Plus 4 Tourer; S/N 3506; Dark Green,/Dark Green leather
Lot # 208 1957 Morgan Plus 4 Tourer; S/N 3506; Dark Green,/Dark Green leather; Estimate $38,000 – $45,000; Modified restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $42,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $46,200. With Reserve. Weber carbs, rollbar, chrome wire wheels, banjo spoke Bluemel’s steering wheel, Brooklands aeroscreens, no bumpers, full tonneau cover, stainless steel exhaust, oil cooler. – Very good paint, chrome and upholstery. New scratch on the right side of the hood. Sharp, clean engine compartment, underbody and chassis. A very good Morgan. – A classic, by any standards, thoughtfully upgraded for more power and spotlessly presented in ready to drive and enjoy condition, the Greenwich bidders responded with enthusiasm and gave it a premium which its condition and performance deserved.
1967 Mercedes-Benz 300SE Convertible
Lot # 210 1967 Mercedes-Benz 300SE Convertible; S/N 11202312009508; Engine # 18998712001298; Cream,/Dark Brown leather; Dark Brown cloth top; Estimate $100,000 – $140,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $90,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $99,000. With Reserve. 2996/160hp six-cylinder, Bosch mechanical fuel injection, color-coded hub caps and trim rings, Michelin Rain Force tires, column-shift automatic, bucket seats, VDO dash clock, Becker Grand Prix radio, burled wood dash, power windows. – Very good paint with a chip above the right headlight. Good older chrome. Lightly worn top with very lightly scratched plastic rear window. Very good, lightly worn interior. A tiny bit of fluid on the valve cover but otherwise very clean engine bay. A car that’s received quality maintenance restoration over the last few years but hasn’t been done top to bottom. – This was the first lot of the day with the potential to be a six-figure transaction, at least according to Bonhams’ presale estimate. While it missed the mark by 10%, this was still a very healthy number for a very good but far from concours quality 300SE convertible, a rare and magnificent car notable for its self-leveling pneumatic suspension. Collectors would rather have a V-8 280SE 3.5.
1965 Austin A35 Van
Lot # 209 1965 Austin A35 Van; S/N AAC853922; Engine # 1ABUL39393; Blue,/Black vinyl piped in White; Estimate $13,500 – $15,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $11,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $12,100. No Reserve. 948/34hp, single SU carb, 4-speed, cream wheels, hub caps, blackwall tires, dual wing mirrors, Austin hood ornament, bucket seats. – Grubby engine bay. Dull, pitted chrome, especially around the grille trim. Decent repaint. Visibly worn but complete interior. Recently given a basic repaint and mechanical servicing, this is a neat, casual classic right-hand-drive little van that’s a rare sight in this country. It would be a perfect accessory in the paddock at a vintage race accompanying an open wheel Cooper or Lotus. – ‘Butcher, baker, candlestick maker’ this A35 van has almost limitless possibilities for business promotion, and it’s way cute on top of that. It doesn’t have a lot of value for an individual collector, but for someone trading in British cars (cheese, furniture, tea, etc.) it is almost unbeatable, and there are plenty of them in Fairfield County.
1949 MG TC Roadster
Lot # 211 1949 MG TC Roadster; S/N TC8868EXU; Engine # XPAG9639; Black,/Maroon leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $22,000 – $26,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 4+ condition; Hammered Sold at $25,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $27,500. With Reserve. RHD. Red centerlock wire wheels, badge bar, rear-mounted spare wheel, rear luggage rack, woodrim steering wheel. – Dull, pitted chrome. Dull old paint. Cracks on the front of the hood. Scratches and cracks on the fenders and hood louvers. Cracks around doors. Dusty, dirty but unripped top. Shabby but dry and complete underneath. Interior is a bit worn and the seat has some long scratches on it. Surprisingly clean engine bay. All original and consigned by the original owner’s son. It looks rough, but this car is all there and still usable. It’s also, like all collector cars, only original once. – A slight premium for the patina and originality was paid here with a price several grand over what an older restoration in this condition would bring, but the Greenwich bidders refrained from going bonkers over ‘originality’.
1939 Ford Model 91A Deluxe Coupe
Lot # 212 1939 Ford Model 91A Deluxe Coupe; S/N 184899568; True Black,/Red vinyl; Estimate $52,500 – $57,500; Modified restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $70,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $77,000. With Reserve. 265/150hp flathead bored .030 over, Mercury crank, 9:1 compression, Offenhauser heads, Isky 3/4 race cam, dual carb Edelbrock intake, Mallory electric ignition, aluminum flywheel, 12 volt electrics, floor-shift 3-speed, red steel wheels with hub caps and trim rings, dual mirrors, whitewalls, split rear window, dash clock, Pioneer stereo, banjo steering wheel, aftermarket Moon tachometer. – Very good paint, chrome and interior. Very clean, detailed engine bay. Body-off restored to high but not excessive standards and tastefully modified. – Very well done and attractive, a sleeper ’39 Ford rumble seat coupe that clearly caught the attention of the Greenwich bidders for its style, quality and performance. It is expensive but also a classic street rod showpiece.

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  1. Very enjoyable review Rick. I always look forward to your comments. Great eye for detail and I appreciate your depth of information of “prior sales” as well as prices, good or bad. Also the choice of cars reviewed is always interesting. I always feel, after reading your articles, that i’ve learned something about the collector car market. Thanks.