Bonhams Quail Lodge 2014 – Auction Report

Coming off the ten-car Thursday sale of no-reserve Maranello Rosso Ferraris, marked by the Monterey week benchmark sale of Ferrari 250 GTO s/n 3851GT, Friday’s Bonhams auction had high expectations to meet.

And meet them it did.

Bonhams offered 105 cars on Friday, selling 95 of them, a 90.5% sale rate and $41,550,100 in total sales.

The total is $10 million more than last year’s record Quail Lodge auction, $30 million more than 2012. The sell-through is 6.5 points better than last year and so much better than 2012 and earlier it barely resembles the same auction.

To what to attribute this breakout? Well, you might first identify the new guys, on the block and engaging with consignors and bidders, who are bringing a renewed vitality to Bonhams’ presentation.

Supported by stalwarts Robert Brooks and Malcolm Barber, Bonhams is a refreshed organization ceding initiative to fresh faces, approaches and presentations.

The underlying achievements of Bonhams at Quail Lodge in 2014 is masked by the Thursday Maranello Rosso results, an overwhelming package that blended the new guys’ vitality with the old guys’ contacts.

$41.6 million on Friday is still firmly in third place among the Monterey auctions, but the trend is emphatically ‘up’ and the fresh-faced, diligent, astute Bonhams’ team is on a roll that should continue to their ‘Preserving the Automobile’ auction at the Simeone Museum in October, Scottsdale and their new Amelia Island auction in 2015.

Bonhams has a premier team. They understand the cars, appreciate the market, work hard and return phone calls.

Quail 2014 demonstrates the success of the formula.

Here are the numbers for Bonhams’ Friday auction; the combined Thursday-Friday sale blows these out of the water, but this is the comparable 2013-2104 data set:

Bonhams Quail Lodge
Cars Offered / Sold
Sale %
Sold < Low Est
Sold > High Est
Average Sale
Total Sales
Chg from prior year
105 / 95
92 / 78
96 / 55
129 / 62
102 / 79
103 / 60
77 / 43

Bonhams Quail Lodge 2014 – Auction Report

1959 Jaguar XK 150 Roadster
Lot # 201 1959 Jaguar XK 150 Roadster; S/N S830118DN; Engine # V3269-8; Red/Black; Black top; Estimate $90,000 – $120,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $90,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $99,000. No Reserve – Disc brakes, overdrive transmission, wire wheels, driving lights, 4-pipe exhaust, tool kit, owner’s books and extensive historical documentation. – A low-mileage original with some paint work and re-covered seats. The cosmetics are tired with unevenly faded paint, dings on the doors, checked chrome, aged top with fogged rear window and a ratty boot cover. The engine compartment has been better maintained. The seats have been recovered while pieces like the passenger sun visor are missing. An interesting but tired car showing 18,292 miles on its odometer, almost certainly in actuality having a 1 in front. – Basically a #2- price for a #3- car, but likely to be a sweet runner since factories generally build cars better than restorers. Replace what’s necessary (including all seals) and drive it on tours. Its condition will lead to many interesting discussions, and the new owner could always save the ratty boot cover for preservation class exhibition.
1958 Mercedes-Benz 190SL Roadster
Lot # 202 1958 Mercedes-Benz 190SL Roadster; S/N 1210428502300; Engine # 1219218502300; Silver/Tan; Black top; Estimate $140,000 – $180,000; Recent restoration, 1 condition; Hammered Sold at $150,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $165,000. No Reserve – Becker Europa radio, Kienle clock, extensive restoration documentation. – A fresh restoration that was expertly executed inside and out. A stunning, concours-worthy car. – Perfect 190SL restorations have been regularly hitting above $200K. This example wasn’t too far off in condition but a fair spot away in price. A mid-estimate result, but ultimately a shrewd purchase considering its condition.
1956 Austin-Healey 100/4 Roadster
Lot # 204 1956 Austin-Healey 100/4 Roadster; S/N BN2L230518; Engine # B230518M; Olde English White/Blue; Estimate $80,000 – $120,000; 1- condition; Hammered Sold at $60,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $66,000. No Reserve – Represented as matching numbers, overdrive, Le Mans upgrades, Denis Welch valve cover, leather bonnet strap added at some point, painted wire wheels, tonneau cover. – Fully restored with very few flaws worth comment. Easily a show winning car. Documented with BMIHT Heritage Trust certificate. – Factory Le Mans are good for 110 bhp, the dealer package promised 100 bhp, and base horsepower was 90 bhp. This car was cataloged as the last and the bidders probably concluded that the hood, strap, and valve cover were all that was added, a reasonable conclusion. If the engine was really fitted with larger carburetors, high lift cam and the body had alloy panels, the buyer did rather well.
1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427/435 Convertible
Lot # 205 1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427/435 Convertible; S/N 194677S120664; Engine # T0424JE7120664; Marlboro Maroon, Black stinger/Parchment vinyl; Black vinyl top; Estimate $80,000 – $120,000; Recent restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $93,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $102,300. No Reserve – 427/435hp, 4-speed, manual steering, manual brakes, side pipes, Rally wheels with trim rings, red line tires, pushbutton AM/FM radio. – Represented as matching numbers. Fresh restoration, excellent paint with straight body panels. Bumpers appear to be replacements. Interior is excellent. A very well done and desirable Corvette. – Provenance issues dog collector-quality Corvettes. If you cannot prove your car was delivered exactly as it stands, or experts can deduce its real identity quickly, the price penalty is severe. If correct, this should have been bid past $150K, so draw your own conclusions.
1963 Lincoln Continental Convertible
Lot # 206 1963 Lincoln Continental Convertible; S/N 3Y86N426887; Metallic Green/Burgundy leather; White vinyl top; Estimate $60,000 – $100,000; Unrestored original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $50,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $55,000 – Power windows, power locks, aftermarket radio. Bought new by Undersecretary of the Navy Paul Fay who was close friends with President Kennedy. – An original, single-family owned car. Paint has scratching, chrome is pitted, interior is faded and worn with cracks in the dash. An interesting, well-preserved car with equally interesting history. – The Camelot connection helped this car, but these are very complicated and expensive to restore. This was a #3 car that sold for a #2+ price even below Bonhams low estimate. With less than 20,000 miles it should be an excellent driver to be enjoyed as long as the buyer can afford 10 mpg.
1955 Lancia Aurelia B20 GT 4th Series Coupe, Body by Pinin Farina
Lot # 208 1955 Lancia Aurelia B20 GT 4th Series Coupe, Body by Pinin Farina; S/N B20-3618; Engine # B20-4372; Maroon/Beige; Estimate $220,000 – $260,000; Cosmetic restoration, 3+ condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $185,000 – RHD. Nardi air cleaner, woodrim steering wheel and performance kit including floor shift, Borrani wire wheels, Carello lights. Books, tools and jack included. Imported from Italy in 2011. – A superior driver-quality car, kept in Italy until 2011. Painted and reupholstered at some point, but aging gracefully. Chrome is checking, back window oddly scratched, later rear turn signals added. – Worse cars have done as well as the amount bid here and B20 prices have certainly been running rampant. It could have been cut loose before reaching the reported high bid.
1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL Roadster
Lot # 209 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL Roadster; S/N 11304412019165; Engine # 13098312012717; White, White hardtop/Grey; Blue cloth top; Estimate $130,000 – $160,000; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $80,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $88,000. No Reserve – Automatic, air conditioning, two tops, Becker Europa radio, factory build sheet and records, tools and warranty paperwork. – The product of a thoroughly documented restoration. Paint and brightwork are excellent, panel fit is superb. Terrific attention to detail throughout. A high-end, show-quality car. – An excellent example, but it seems that most of the 23,885 production run are on the market right now. Without a 4- or 5-speed manual transmission, they are boulevardiers, mostly driven by folks in gated communities who are too old to lift off the hard top. Given the law of supply and demand, the price was right.
1973 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spider, Body by Pininfarina
Lot # 212 1973 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spider, Body by Pininfarina.; S/N 17057; Engine # B2944; Azzuro Hyperion/Beige leather, Black stripes; Estimate $2,600,000 – $3,200,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $2,400,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $2,640,000 – Becker Europa AM-FM, P/W, A/C, alloy wheels, Michelin XWX tires, painted nose panel, pop up lights. – Good repaint in the original color, clean, orderly underbody, good major chrome but scratched windshield header. Soiled original seats and door trim. Weak wind wing trim chrome. 3,345 miles from new. Ex-Mansour Ojjeh – Ferrari Classiche Certified, highly original but showing age. Comprehensively documented from new. – At RM Monterey thirteen years ago this was a no-sale at a bid of $375,000. Now it’s a sound but aged car with a decent repaint for this price, and estimated at even more. It has uncontested history and is appealingly original. It also is expensive.