Bonhams Simeone Museum 2015 – Auction Report

Bonhams ‘Preserving the Automobile’, Simeone Museum, Philadelphia, October 5, 2015

Now in its fourth year, Bonhams’ annual tribute to the unrestored has become a fixture on the auction calendar.

A sale composed entirely of crusty, rusty, grimy, vermin-chewed barn finds would require a hand sanitation station after every car. Fortunately for those attending, the ‘Preserving the Automobile’ consignment includes several well maintained older restorations as well as a few pleasingly well maintained (or freshly mechanically resuscitated) original cars.

It’s the mix, and the always intriguing possibility of something truly unusual begging for an understanding and sympathetic new home, that makes this auction an expedition.

That, and the chance once again to visit Dr. Fred Simeone’s marvelous collection – which this year has quietly grown to include, on display if not changing hands, the Ferrari 365 P Berlinetta Tre Posti which was offered at Gooding’s Pebble Beach auction in 2014.

This year’s ‘Preserving the Automobile’ included lots from several collections including a number from the Evergreen Collection in Missouri and several pieces from Alexis du Pont’s collection. Du Pont’s Morgan Super Sport was the hit of the show, a tired, non-running car that brought a world record price. It’s the kind of surprise that always seems to turn up here.

Bonhams Simeone Museum
Cars Offered / Sold
Sale %
Sold < Low Est.
Sold > High Est.
Average Sale
Median Sale
Total Sales
74 / 64
$35,200 [68.0%]
60 / 48
$28,600 [35.8%]
66 / 55
$25,300 [50.8%]
62 / 50
$25,875 [50.2%]

Bonhams Simeone Museum 2015 – Auction Report

1954 MG TF Roadster
Lot # 207 1954 MG TF Roadster; S/N HDE432667; Engine # 39054; Dark Green/Green leather; Beige vinyl top; Estimate $18,500 – $22,500; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $11,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $12,100. No Reserve. 1,778cc Volvo engine and 4-speed transmission, fender mirrors, silver painted wire wheels, Michelin XZX tires. – Sound and presentable old paint, good upholstery, chrome and aftermarket top. Orderly but oily engine compartment. Clean, dry underbody. A pampered and well preserved largely original car, except for the engine swap. – Completely stock appearing, but with nearly double the horsepower of the car onlookers will expect, this TF promises to be fun to drive and a whole new take on the concept of a classic British sports car. It was bought very reasonably not only for its condition but also for its performance.
1964 Ford Falcon Ranchero Pickup
Lot # 209 1964 Ford Falcon Ranchero Pickup; S/N 4H27U180177; Prairie Tan/Gold, Cream vinyl; Estimate $10,000 – $15,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $6,800 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $7,480. No Reserve. 170/101hp, 3-speed, accessory cassette stereo, underdash engine gauges, cream bedcover, wheel covers, blackwall radial tires. – Sound clear coat repaint three years ago, good interior and chrome. New tires. Engine has been out and painted but put back in an aged and largely original compartment. Underbody repainted over old undercoat. Sound body with no evidence of rust. A presentable, usable, practical driver with 79,375 miles from new. – Done to a reasonable standard appropriate to its pedestrian drivetrain, but eminently usable in the way a pickup should be, this is a sound value in a sound Ranchero.
1981 Ferrari 308 GTSi
Lot # 211 1981 Ferrari 308 GTSi; S/N ZFFAA02A9B0036295; Red, Black roof panel, White air dam nose/Black leather; Estimate $40,000 – $50,000; Unrestored original, 4+ condition; Hammered Sold at $30,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $33,000. Reserve. A/C, radio missing. – Dull, blotchy paint with tape adhesive marks. Sound upholstery and dashtop. Missing fuel filler door, night mirror and roof spoiler. Nose modified with an air dam from Koenig. Driver’s door pocket broken off. Original nose radio and mirrors included but in California. Sound body. – Generally needy and likely to have many more needs become apparent as the new owner gets into it, this is a project for someone with skills and money although it is unlikely to prove to be financially rewarding even at this modest price. The bidders were not keen on the prospects and so, apparently, was the seller who let it go, probably without regret even at this price.
1958 Jaguar XK 150 Roadster
Lot # 212 1958 Jaguar XK 150 Roadster; S/N S830831; Engine # V4419-8; Burgundy/Black leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $55,000 – $65,000; Unrestored original, 4 condition; Hammered Sold at $52,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $57,200. Reserve. Chrome wire wheels, luggage rack, fender mirror. – Chipped, scratched, microblistered old paint, cracked, torn original upholstery and top. Grimy engine, chassis and underbody. Sound body. A worthwhile and approachable project, but a project all the same. – This Jag is pretty far gone and it is difficult to imagine it being ‘preserved’ with its blistered paint, torn upholstery and filthy trunk and engine compartment. Restored it could be a six-figure car, but the new owner will have to get on it right away to be assured of catching the present inflated market.
1955 Arnolt-MG Coupe, Body by Bertone
Lot # 213 1955 Arnolt-MG Coupe, Body by Bertone; S/N 26873; Engine # 27325; Dark Green Metallic/Beige vinyl Red piping; Estimate $20,000 – $30,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 4+ condition; Hammered Sold at $36,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $39,600. No Reserve. Automatic radio, Arvin heater, body color wheels, whitewalls, aluminum valve and side cover. – Superficial, scratched old repaint applied over poor prep. Pitted trim chrome. Sound upholstery. Dry, surface rusted underbody, largely original engine compartment. Flaky bumper chrome. Tired and needs everything but a sound basis upon which to build. – An unusual collaboration between MG and Bertone, mid-wifed by Stanley ‘Wacky’ Arnolt. 100 built of which 65 were coupes like this and only about a third remain so it will make a real impression among MG fans. Given its rarity and style it is a sound buy even at this over-estimate price.
60 Triumph TR3A Roadster
Lot # 214 1960 Triumph TR3A Roadster; S/N TS57907LO; Engine # TS58043E; Dark Green/Parchment leather; Parchment leatherette top; Estimate $20,000 – $22,500; Unrestored original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $17,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $18,700. Reserve. Hubcaps, radial blackwall tires, left fender mirror, Stromberg Carlson radio. – Scratched old repaint over original red paint. Sound but surface cracked original leather. Decent chrome. Dirty but dry original underbody. A sound mostly original car with great potential. – Aside from the old repaint this is a sound and reasonably well preserved TR in condition that supports the 64,324 miles showing on its odometer. The price it brought is reasonable enough that the few things it needs will be attended to without making it expensive.
1963 Mercedes-Benz 300SE 2-Dr. Hardtop
Lot # 215 1963 Mercedes-Benz 300SE 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 11202210004361; Engine # 18998510000145; Black/Saddle leather; Estimate $40,000 – $50,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $41,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $45,100. Reserve. 4-speed, sliding sunroof, Becker Mexico radio, wheel covers, air suspension, narrow whitewalls, wheel well moldings. – Fair old repaint with some dirt inclusions. Orderly but aged engine compartment and underbody. Very good original interior, dashtop and wood. Suspension and fuel system freshly rebuilt. A freshly resuscitated survivor in very good and usable mechanical and cosmetic condition. – With only 170hp this is not one of Mercedes-Benz’s better performing coupes, but it is no slouch, either, and is built to the highest standards of quality and luxury. Freshly sorted with careful attention to mechanical details it should be a rewarding car to own and drive, especially as this realistic price.
1938 Wanderer W25K Roadster
Lot # 219 1938 Wanderer W25K Roadster; S/N 252702; Engine # 252922; Dark Red/Dark Red leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $350,000 – $450,000; Cosmetic restoration, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $290,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $319,000. Reserve. Supercharged 2-liter overhead valve 4-cylinder, white rim banjo spoke steering wheel, silver painted wire wheels, Bosch headlights, inset rear spare, blackwall tires. – Sound recent paint over old paint, dull bright trim, some dressed up with chrome tape. Sound, slightly aged upholstery, cracked dashboard wood. A little messy but clean underhood. Underbody painted quickly over peeling old paint. Superficially restored but pretty much all there and sound. Supercharger drive makes a wonderful whine. – Offered by Bonhams at Amelia seven months ago where it was reported bid to $400,000. It wasn’t worth that then, but is certainly worth this much now, not so much on account of its equipment but certainly for its rarity. There is great intrinsic value in being the only one in town and in this case this is probably the only one in its time zone.