Bonhams Delivers Sizzling Auction Action at its First Greenwich Sale of Collector Motorcars with Sales of Nearly $2.7 Million
Determined, competitive bidders did not let the sweltering 98-degree heat deter them from vying for the rare collector motorcars and automobilia Bonhams offered on Sunday, June 8th, at the site of the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance event in Connecticut. Spirited action kept the standing-room only crowd riveted to the podium where chief auctioneer and CEO Malcolm Barber adeptly and coolly auctioned off exceptional motorcars, with the sale totaling nearly $2.7-million.
The harbor breeze and a few electric fans helped cool the crowd, but the bidding action came at a scorching pace — as discerning collectors under the tent competed with phone bidders from around the world for prize catches, including the 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Convertible Sedan, a true “show” car, with an illustrious pedigree of past owners and awards. The classic sold for $364,000 to a bidder seated in the last row, offering his winning bid just before the hammer came down. His competition came from phone bidders and another discerning collector in the tent.
A rare, largely unrestored Bugatti, the 1934 Bugatti Type 57 Double Cabriolet Stelvio, with coachwork by Gangloff of Colmar, was acquired by a phone bidder from Europe at a selling price of $326,000.
A telephone bidder was successful in his pursuit of racing history, with the purchase of the ex-Ralph Salyer ‘Cro-Sal’ Special 1965 McLaren-Elva M1A Chevrolet Sports Racing Spider for $249,000, selling to the West Coast where the auctioneers understand the car will resume its racing career on track.
“This new Bonhams sale venue, linked with the well-established Greenwich Concours d’Elegance event, has all the ingredients to build a solid foundation for many years to come,” Malcolm Barber, CEO and Chief Auctioneer, said. “Bruce and Genia Wennerstrom should be applauded for creating such a wonderful atmosphere, attracting a world-wide gathering of collectors,” he continued. “We were delighted with the assembly of local, national and international bidders, and sales results support the continued strength of the international collectors’ market.”
Motorcar aficionados gathered at 10:30 am, for the Automobilia portion of the sale, comprised of over 180 lots of collectibles – from mascots, to models and motoring-themed movie posters. Assorted ephemera (books and publications, press cuttings and original motoring sales brochures, et al) were snapped up by the crowd, with many lots fetching over four times their pre-sale estimated values. “The Cunningham Challenge,” a signed watercolor and gouache on board by Peter Helck (1893-1988) depicting a scene of the 1952 Le Mans Twenty-Four Hours, sold for $14,625, taking the top lot position for the automobilia portion of the sale. A rare “Grenoille” clear glass mascot by famed French artist Rene Lalique, created in May 1928, sold for $9,945. A two-person cased tea set by J C Vickery of Regent Street, London, patented 1909, sold to a telephone bidder for $7,020.
Other sale highlights include: a 1956 AC Ace, bought by a phone bidder from Europe for $216,000; an exquisite 1934 Aston Martin 1 ½ Liter MkII Sport Saloon, sold for $155,500 to a phone bidder who beat out three or four interested parties under the tent; a 1948 Chrysler Town & Country Convertible, a largely original 64,000-mile car, sold for $150,000; and the 1928 Vauxhall 20/60 Hurlingham Speedster sold (followed by thunderous applause) to a bidder in the room, who conquered several phone bidders (sold for $139,000). Rounding out the top-ten lots of the sales were: the 1960 Pontiac Bonneville Tri-power convertible which sold for $105,300; and the 1974 Jaguar Series III V-12 XK-E Roadster, selling at $64,350.
“A warm welcome indeed to the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance venue,” Rupert Banner, Bonhams V.P. of Business Development, remarked. “This sale will no doubt become a fixture in our motorcar auction calendar for years to come.”
Full sale’s results are posted online at www.bonhams.com/us, and the Motoring Dept. is already preparing for its annual Quail Lodge Motorcar Sale, scheduled for August 15th in Carmel, California. The world-renowned auctioneers will be returning to New England this fall with the Richard C. Paine Jr. Collection sale, on September 26-27th at the Owls Head Transportation Museum in Maine; the annual “Vintage New England” event at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA, is to be held on October 4th. For more information and a full list of upcoming sales, visit www.bonhams.com/us.