Lot # 22 1925 Bugatti Type 35 Grand Prix; S/N 4487; Engine # 43; Blue/Black leather; Estimate $2,600,000 - $3,200,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $3,000,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $3,300,000 – RHD. Alloy wheels, single sidemount, single aeroscreen. – Original everything right down to the body undertrays, one of the original series of 'Lyon' Type 35s. Bought new by Wallace Bird, acquired from the Bird estate in 1962 by Henry Austin Clark, Jr. (for $1,750) and by the present owner from Clark. Restored in 2004 with all due sympathy to its originality and as good as it gets. Includes the original fuel tank, leather gearbox cover, road equipment and the original ARCA dash plate. – It helps to have a guide and in this case it was Scott Sargent who has maintained this Bugatti as well as the Williamsons' peerless collection. He could not have been more effusive in his praise for this Type 35's originality and completeness as well as the care it has received in the hands of its three owners. It is a marvelous piece of history, but it runs and drives, by all available evidence, superbly, lightly and with alacrity. This is a record price for a Type 35 and it deserves to be.
Gooding & Company, Fashion Square, Scottsdale, January 20-21, 2017
Pride of place at Gooding & Company’s Scottsdale auction in 2017 went to its two top-selling cars, the impressively original and well preserved ex-Wallace Bird Bugatti Type 35 and the impressively beautiful and sleek Ferrari 500 Superfast. At $3.3 and $2.915 million respectively they were the cream that rose to the top.
The sell-through was a respectable 84.1%. The sale total was the lowest since 2009 — in the wake of the financial crisis — and the reason was apparent in the modest presence of seven-figure cars on offer. While in 2016 there were fifteen cars with low estimates of $1 million or more and nine of them sold, in 2017 there were twelve, with seven sold.
Gooding proudly displayed one of the headline lots for Amelia Island, taking place a scant six weeks after Scottsdale, a Porsche 911 GT1 Strassenversion, and has announced that it also will offer a Jaguar XK SS (XKSS 716/XKD 575) there, two eight-figure cars. Either of them would have made a huge difference in the Scottsdale total. That neither of these were consigned to Scottsdale suggests that the makeup of the January Arizona audience is changing. In fact, none of the 2017 Scottsdale auctions had a car that was sold in eight-figures.
Is this, then, the new normal for Scottsdale? On the available evidence it would seem to be so as the available supply of high dollar consignments is spread over more, and bigger, auctions.
Even with that proviso, though, there was a tentful of wonderful, diverse, intriguing cars at Gooding & Company, including one, the ex-Dave Garroway SS100 that had special significance for me. Any one of them kept bidders’ eyes riveted on David Gooding and auctioneer Charlie Ross on the podium.
Here are the numbers:
Cars Offered / Sold
Sold < Low Est
Sold > High Est
126 / 106
113 / 97
126 / 113
117 / 110
106 / 101
118 / 116
129 / 121
125 / 114
101 / 84
93 / 86
Andrew Newton contributed some of the on-site observations and photographs; final comments are the responsibility of the editor.
Gooding and Company Scottsdale 2017 – Auction Report