Gooding & Company, European Sporting & Historic Collection, London, Geared Online, February 5, 2021

There were only nine lots in Gooding & Company’s February 5 “Geared Online” auction, styled the “European Sporting & Historic Collection”, but they were all very special lots.

Whether it’s “Geared Online” from Gooding or “Online Only” from RM Sotheby’s the online format that CoViD has promoted lends itself to tightly structured limited consignment offerings. With no requirement for a lavish printed catalog with a hundred or more consignments to defray the production and distribution costs, no site and production costs aside from a well-lit location for limited preview viewing and a thoughtfully developed and managed internet presentation, pop-up auctions for a few great cars – particularly those with well-known history and provenance – has become a viable and practical technique.

That’s easily illustrated by Gooding & Company’s “European Sporting and Historic Collection” that with only nine lots offered, sold them all and totted up $11.6 million in sales following Artcurial’s similar (but live/online format) “Parisienne” auction also on February 5.

Alone among the major auctions, Gooding has recognized the efficiency of “Geared Online”, by rolling back its Buyer’s Premium from the previous stepped rate to a flat 10%.

While the Charlie Ross and David Gooding show on the block is missed, the effectiveness of “Geared Online” is not to be minimized.

Four lots were bid to over $1 million hammer, all sold.

Here are the numbers:

Cars Sold/ Offered Sale % Sold < Low Est Sold > High Est Average Sale Median Sale Total $ Exchange Rate
9/9 100% 66.7% 0% $1,288,126 $859,868


$11,593,131 $1.2035

On-site observations and photos are by Chris Sharpe.

Lot # 1 1963 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster; S/N 19804210003243; Bisquitgelb (Biscuit Yellow, DB 648), Black hardtop/Cognac leather; Dark Brown cloth top; Estimate $1,234,260 – $1,645,680; Older restoration 2 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $1,165,690 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $1,282,259. – 2,996/250hp alloy engine, 4-speed, disc brakes all-round, very rare Talbot racing mirror with ambient temperature gauge built in, original hardtop with a custom transportation wood crate box, full set of boot stowed travel luggage, tool roll and jack stand, period manuals. – Final-year 300SL, one of just 26 roadsters built for 1963. Sold new in Germany and with its original owner until the 1990s. Restored in 2008-10. Fuel injection and rear axle overhauled in 2019. Currently has an unstamped engine block fitted early in the car’s life. Excellent paint finish with only the tiniest of fine swirl lines. Panel fit is excellent, too. The chrome work is impressive with only the finest of swirl lines to show it’s not new. The interior is near perfection. The high-grade seat leather has the right perforations and the short tuft carpets are high quality. There are signs of hand marks in the leather. The underbody is well-preserved. The wheels are mint but the tyres are old, from 2003. Very smart engine bay with slight dust in the corners, and the beginnings of surface deterioration on the manifold. All commensurate with 13 years since restoration. The ambient temperature gauge in the Talbot wing mirror is a delight. The colour is subjective but this is a sublime condition 300 SL nonetheless. – The restoration may not have been done yesterday but it is holding up very well and, save for the engine number issue it’s a very desirable car with good features. This price is a straightforward reflection of all the above, and both parties should be happy.

Lot # 2 1950 Bentley B Special Speed 8 Sports Tourer, Body by Racing Green Engineering; S/N B125JN; Engine # B187RG; Black, Black/Dark brown; Black top; Estimate $308,565 – $411,420; Facsimile restoration 2- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $267,423 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $294,165. – RHD. 5,675-cc Rolls-Royce B-Series OHV inline eight-cylinder engine, dry sump, four side draft SU H.6 carburetors, black painted wire wheels with two prong knock-ons, road leaf springs and friction dampers, 3-spoke string-wrapped steering wheel, engine turned dashboard, digital rally clock, large bore exhaust, single dry-plate clutch to a 4-speed gearbox, Luvax Bijur central lubrication, servo assisted hydraulic front and mechanical rear drum brakes, fold-flat windscreen with laminated safety glass, leather heated front bucket seats, large capacity fuel tank, headlamp stone guards, driving lights, running board tool box. – Assembled to this specification in 1950, this is a seriously impressive Speed 8 recreation based on a 1950 Bentley Mk VI chassis. It greets you with coachwork clad in a very shiny black modern two pack paint of a very high standard. The only minor distraction is the masking errors on the fender guards. The chrome work is superb but the nickel radiator surround has forgivable fine swirl lines. The Lucas headlamps are as new. The chassis, axles, suspension uprights, and dampers are all in top condition. The windscreen glass looks brand new. The Rudge Whitworth Patent wheels are near perfect. The interior materials are high quality. Understandably for such a high car, there are hand marks on the driver’s seat bolster leather from awkward entry and exit. Gorgeous engine bay. It is a re-creation, yes, but the presentation is superb. – The B-Series inline eight engine is a WWII product with inlet-over-exhaust heads. Except for having eight cylinders and being built by Rolls/Bentley it’s pretty dull with even in this highly-prepared 4-carburetor setup estimated at 220hp from 5.7 liters. Still, the visage is impressive and the value when wailing over country roads is substantial. It’s a reasonable result for its history.

Lot # 3 1963 Aston Martin DB5 Drophead Coupe; S/N DB5C1261R; Engine # 4001306; Silver Birch/Red leather; Black top; Estimate $1,028,550 – $1,371,400; Older restoration 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $1,042,264 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $1,146,490. – RHD. 4,196/282hp, 5-speed ZF gearbox, chromed wire wheels, front seat belts, woodrim steering wheel, power steering, air conditioning, retro digital radio, Girling disc brakes, power windows, original tool roll, jack, and instruction book. – One of just 123 DB5 dropheads. Ordered new by a woman in Scotland in California Sage over White Gold leather with an automatic gearbox. Restored by Marque Specialist Adrian Johnson, completed in 2008 and with engine enlarged to 4.2 liters and 5-speed fitted. A beautiful DB5 drop-top, it has a great paint finish and panel fit from 20 feet but up close there are paint chips and marks. The bonnet is slightly uneven and needs work. It has good chrome with tiny pitting from storage. The front grille is original with minor indentations. The headlight rims are original with a dull finish. The exterior and all the door shuts trims have been refitted without renovation and it shows. The hood top covering is creased and aged. The interior presents well, with high-quality red leather that is slightly creasing and aging nicely. The bright red carpets look good quality. The throttle pedal is very worn but the clutch and brake pedal rubbers look newer. The engine is clean and well-presented but not show field polished. The engine air filter looks aged and ready for replacement. The tool roll and jack stand are newer additions. The dashtop Sony cone speakers look out of place in a car like this; the engine and exhaust should be the only music you need. An achingly gorgeous English dream car in need of some minor attention. – Let down by numerous flaws, non-original colors, the bigger engine and a gearbox change, this car is nevertheless a very rare classic and is a right-hand driver in its home market. The price is a fair one.

Lot # 4 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Drophead Coupe, Body by Barker; S/N 42GX; Engine # DH95; Brewster Green and black with red striping/Red leather; Black top; Estimate $617,130 – $891,410; Recent restoration 2- condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $356,564 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $392,220. – RHD. 7,668/120hp straight-six engine with a crossflow cylinder head, 4-speed gearbox, leaf springs and friction dampers, wire wheels with hexagon knock-ons, hinged windscreen, louvered bonnet, twin rear-mounted spare wheels and luggage, extra 6-gallon fuel tank, inlaid wood door cappings and dashboard, miles and kilometers speedometer. – Restored in 2019 to the original order specifications of its first owner, Captain Jack Frederick Conrad Kruse, a serial owner of great cars. This impeccable motorcar has a great paint finish that is too glossy for the period. The proud Rolls-Royce signature grille is the best I’ve ever seen, simply faultless, and the R-R badge has the early original red lettering. The Marchal headlamps lenses look tired and aged. The hand-painted coachlines are immaculate, as are the transitions to black which are perfectly executed. The wire wheels show evidence of pitting on some spokes and are shod in old tyres. Top-quality leather and the woodwork is of the highest order and craftsmanship. Lovely engine presentation with some paint chipping and small water stain areas but it all looks honest. – Captain Jack’s Drophead Coupe is a distinctive and sporting example, a PII Continental at its best. It was offered by Bonhams at Quail Lodge in 2008 where it was reported bid to $620,000 but not sold. It seems to have deteriorated little in the subsequent thirteen years despite its being used in the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge. Its price here is a bargain.

Lot # 5 1930 Bentley 4 1/2 Liter Sports Tourer, Body by Vanden Plas; S/N AD3668; Engine # AD3666; Green/Green leather; Black top; Estimate $891,410 – $1,234,260; Visually maintained, largely original 3 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $671,986 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $739,185. – RHD. 4,398/105hp four cylinder, green painted wire wheels, tonneau cover, rear-mounted spare, radiator mascot, 4-spoke Bakelite steering wheel, running board low mounted tool box, heavy crank specification engine, “C” type gearbox, Bentley & Draper friction shock absorbers, 10′ 10″ wheelbase chassis. – A total of 720 4 1/2 Litre cars were produced between 1927 and 1931, the 4-cylinders simply being a 2-pot reduction of the famed Speed Six. This example has imperfect two-pack paint with chips and swirl lines. The body fabric looks aged and faded. The headlamp rims have been sprayed over in body paint and it doesn’t sit right. The windscreen frame is dull. The running board underslung toolboxes are superb. The wheels and tyres are very well presented and look recently refreshed. The chassis look straight and original. Frame replaced at Bentley in 1936 after an accident, believed to be “most likely new, unnumbered old stock.” Eventually acquired by Bill Spear in 1951, then passed to George Waterman, Jr. in 1956. Returned to the U.K. in 1973. Inspected by Dr. Clare Hay in 2013 and found to be the original bodywork, engine, gearbox, both axles and bonnet. The seat leather is good but aged. The carpets disappoint with heel wear near the pedals. The engine looked correct and well kept. It doesn’t appear ever to have been fully restored, just maintained as needed and used as W.O. Bentley would have approved. A 4 1/2 Blower was James Bond’s original car in the first three novels. This is a good honest car but James might have sworn at Q if he was offered the key to this one rather than the Blower. – With excellent provenance and a history of being used and maintained by enthusiastic owners, this Bentley is an ideal and welcome entrant in the many events, shows and gatherings that cater to the vintage Bentley crowd. It is good enough to be shown with pride, but not so good it can’t continue to be used enthusiastically. It is the real deal and brought a realistic price.

Lot # 6 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT Coupe, Body by Touring; S/N DB4GT0144L; Engine # 3700144GT; Black Pearl/Dark Blue leather; Estimate $2,742,800 – $3,428,500; Recent restoration 2- condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $3,428,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $3,771,350. – LHD. Engine enlarged to 4.7 liters, triple Weber 45DCOE carburettors, 4-speed, Girling disc brakes all round, Borrani wire wheels, twin competition-style quick-release external fuel fillers, extended range fuel tank, boot mounted spare wheel, tool roll and jack stand. – Sold new in Switzerland. Modified at Frua in the late 1960s with a DB6-style tail, rear seats, driving lights, and a DB5 5-speed. Restored in 2020 by R.W. Williams and put to all correct specs. Presented as a matching numbers original car, this one of 75 made (one of 30 with left-hand drive). The very recent paint has some imperfections. It could be the light in this storage building but the grey metallic looks different shades, and there are some small bubbles visible on the roof. There’s only one minor chip to the frontal area. The gorgeous bonnet scoop is let down by uneven dips on the flatter areas. The grille is a replacement and looks like a modern take, a good attempt but the mesh doesn’t look quite right. The chrome work is perfection. The wire wheels are very smart and reveal newly painted brake calipers. The passenger’s door has issues, as it opens stiffly and only halfway. The lower trim on the driver’s side rear quarter window is bent and nearly touching the door skin. The seat leather is superb and fresh but the carpets are nylon and disappoint. Inherently a very desirable car and it wears a fresh restoration, but it misses on some important details. – The DB4 GT is among the most desirable cars to wear an Aston Martin badge, and this one was far and away the most expensive lot of the “European Sporting & Historic Collection” despite its flaws and its left-hand drive configuration. Gooding sold a better example in Pebble Beach 2019 for $3.6M. Meanwhile, across the Channel on the same day as Gooding’s Geared Online sale closed, Artcurial sold a worse (but not bad) DB4 GT for Euros 1,358,800 ($1,635,316) at its “Parisienne” sale, an inexplicably modest result. This result therefore seems well on the expensive side, but genuine DB4 GTs don’t exactly pop up for sale every day and the buyer here may have had their heart set on one.

Lot # 7 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Berlinetta, Body by Pininfarina-Scaglietti; S/N 09389; Engine # 09389; Black/Green leather; Estimate $2,399,950 – $2,742,800; Visually maintained, largely original 3 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $2,331,380 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $2,564,518. – 3,286/300hp, six Webers, 5-speed transaxle, Dunlop disc brakes, centerlock alloy wheels, dual mirrors, covered headlights, woodrim steering wheel, tool roll. – A Series 2 car with known provenance from new, this 275 GTB/4 Berlinetta was Ferrari Classiche examined and Red Book certified on 11 March 2015. Retains its original coachwork, matching-numbers engine, gearbox, and back axle. Four owners from new. The paint needs a detailed polish with a few too many fine swirls and chips. All the painted wheels are similarly badly chipped, possibly from misplaced hammer blows. A tidy engine bay with perhaps too much gloss black paint in addition to the body colour. The exterior trim is very good but the window rubber seals are aged. The green interior is subjective but the upholstery is impressive and new. The engine was overhauled in 2020. The dash top has an Alcantara covering to prevent unwanted reflections. Supplied new in Rosso Chiaro over beige the change to black coachwork is a cool colour choice but the mid-green leather and carpets were an odd choice. Catalog described as “visually maintained and never fully restored,” and that’s a fair assessment in the flesh. – Exchange rates can be frustrating when trying to evaluate the market, especially given recent fluctuations and other world events, but if we’re looking in dollar terms this car sold for what a concours-quality 275 GTB/4 ordinarily would, so it’s hard to call this driver-quality car anything but expensive with a healthy premium for the known ownership history and originality.

Lot # 8 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental 3-pos. Drophead Coupe, Body by Freestone & Webb; S/N 47RY; Engine # KC45; Grey, Light Grey/Red leather; Black top; Estimate $822,840 – $1,097,120; Older restoration 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $493,704 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $543,074. – RHD. 7,668/50hp pushrod OHV straight-six with crossflow cylinder head, 4-speed gearbox, leaf springs and friction dampers, wheel discs, hinged windscreen, twin windscreen pillar-mounted side mirrors, rear-mounted covered spare wheel, black tonneau cover, front single driving light, twin chromed horns, working semaphore turn signal indicator arms, walnut dashboard and door cappings, lift up covered rear rumble dickey seats. – Restored in 1990 whilst owned by Sir Anthony Bamford (JCB) this well-traveled Phantom possesses superb modern paint if slightly uneven on the wings. The chrome plating is exemplary. The Lucas headlight lenses are yellowing. The chassis is black painted and dry clean. The grille top has uneven chrome. The wheels and tyres are in superb condition. The driver’s door drops slightly when opened and the bottom edge gap is too tight. The clocks have thick crystal glass lens. The seat leather is superb, but looks too red for the period. The carpets disappoint, they’re lumpy and ill-fitted. The woodwork is wonderful, truly artisan. This car will please, if it’s a remote buyer, when delivered. A very good showing. – Offered by RM Sotheby’s at Salon Privee in 2011 where it did not sell, with an estimate of £380,000-£420,000. It appears to have been little used but consistently maintained since then and is an extraordinary example bought for a reasonable price.

Lot # 9 1931 Bentley 8 Liter Boattail Two-Seater, Body by Hoffmann & Burton; S/N YR5092; Blue/Blue leather; Estimate $548,560 – $822,840; Rebodied or re-created 3- condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $781,698 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $859,868. – RHD. 7,983/220hp sohc six, three side draft SU H.6 carburetors, pointed tail bodywork with cutaway suicide doors and clamshell wings, blue painted wire wheels with two prong knock-ons, Marchal headlights, road leaf springs and friction dampers, engine-turned aluminium dash panel, large bore exhaust, single dry-plate clutch to a 4-speed gearbox, front and mechanical rear drum brakes, headlamp stone guards, rear-mounted spare, power steering added. – In 2005 this Speed 8 received an updated dash and instruments, new blue upholstery, lightweight 19″ alloy-rim wheels, two new electric cooling fans and hydraulic power steering. Originally a close-coupled saloon by H.J. Mulliner. Rescued from a field in 1958 and rebodied with this body in 1960-61 on a shortened chassis and fitted with a replacement crankcase. The pointed tail bodywork with cutaway suicide doors gives a purposeful sporting stance. Poor paint and panel work disappoints in this harsh indoor lighting, though. The wings are particularly uneven. The radiator chrome is very good. The front chassis legs have been gloss painted in body colour. The Marchal headlights are impressive. The chassis looks straight and well protected with paint over paint. The seat leather is superb with minimal creases from use, but the clocks have reprinted facias and look wrong. Nylon carpets detract, also. Chrome is flaking off the corners of the wheel knock-ons, but the wheels themselves are well-painted. A great car with an average presentation that can be put right without too much effort and expense. – This does seem to be a generous price for a rebodied, shortened, aged Bentley with a replacement aluminum crankcase, but it is an 8 Liter with a traceable history and that counts for a lot. It has passed through the hands of a number of informed collectors and been commented upon favorably by many experts. How much one balances the other is a subject best left to the bidders here, who paid generously for it.

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  1. Reply

    Hi Rick,

    I’ve not commented in a while, but wanted to be sure to tell you how much I appreciate these auction reports, especially at a time when it’s difficult or impossible to attend any auctions in person. You’re providing a valuable service to us in the hobby.

    Best regards, Richard

      • rickcarey1
      • February 16, 2021

      Thank you. Encouragement helps.
      Auctions are coming thick and fast in February/March. Keep checking back.

        • Alex Hay
        • February 17, 2021

        Hi Rick,
        Encouragement? Please let me wish you an abundance of it. When your email arrives, I pretty much stop everything to read it. I doubt I will ever tire of learning what you say about the state of the car market. Fascinating reads. Please keep the reports flowing!

          • rickcarey1
          • February 18, 2021

          Good, here’s another one for you: RM Sotheby’s “Paris” Online auction February 13.

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