Gooding & Company made a splash with its first auction outside the U.S., setting record after record with only a 15-car docket featuring the collection of Hubert Fabri.
There was no insignificant car on the docket. They ranged from a concours restored Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Alpine Eagle tourer to a pair of aged, peeling, used Bugattis that showed generations of enthusiastic use and caring preservation. The diversity reflected the collector’s approach that cars are made to be driven and don’t need to be pristine trailer queens to be enjoyed.
The $45 million that changed hands produced a record average transaction of $3.2 million. Even the median transaction was $1.35 million.
Fourteen of the fifteen cars offered found new owners.
Results were somewhat bolstered by a 12.6% average buyer’s premium (15% on the first £500,000 and 12% on the rest) and a relatively strong Pound Sterling at $1.323/£1. Back in June that rate was $1.2635/£1. That represents a 5% increase in US$ values in three months based on currency fluctuations alone.
The cars were attractively displayed in a courtyard of Hampton Court Palace. At one point the Bugatti Type 35C was fired up; the sound of its 2-litre supercharged straight eight reverberated off the castle walls, an anthem highlighting the passion of the collector.
There was some (socially distanced) live bidding in the marquee but most bidding took place on the phones. Several times the phone bank was all standing, in one case David Gooding on the podium took an overflow phone call – and was the successful bidder.
It was a landmark event, in a landmark setting, with landmark cars, and it should be noted that nine of the fifteen cars offered were built before World War II. All of them sold and many of them set marque and model record transaction values, an aggressive demonstration of the enduring value of serious classic cars.
Here are the numbers:
|Cars Sold/ Offered||Sale %||Sold < Low Est||Sold > High Est||Average Sale||Median Sale||Total $||Exchange Rate|
Chris Sharpe attended the sale and provided excellent, thoughtful descriptions.
Photos are all copyright © and courtesy of Gooding & Company and shot by Mathieu Heurtault. Thanks also are due to David Gooding who returned my phone call to clarify some questions about original bodywork.
Lot # 1 1927 Bentley 3-Liter Speed Model Sports Tourer, Body by Vanden Plas; S/N BL1620; Engine # BL1620; Blue-Grey, Blue fenders/Blue leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $463,050 – $595,350; Recent restoration 2 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $396,900 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $456,435. – RHD. 2,996/82hp SOHC inline-4 with hemispherical heads and four-valves per cylinder, twin spark ignition, twin “sloper” carburetors, painted wire wheels, single spotlight, single rear-mounted spare wheel, wood dash. – Recently restored by R.C. Moss with original-style Rexine fabric-covered body. Comes with a large history file with report by marque expert Dr. Clare Hay. A known car to the UK Bentley Drivers Club. Represented as original body, chassis and Red Label Speed Model engine. Excellent coachwork and paint finish. The fabric finish on the scuttle is fantastic. Nicely polished and presented exterior trim. New running board rubbers. The grille and surround are slightly yellowing. The side exhausts are freshly matte black painted. There are oil stains trickling lines down the alloy engine sump cover. The interior leather is ever so slightly creased, the driver’s seat being the only one used but the rest are superb. Tiny signs of road dust and recent use but only in the awkward corners. The carpets and even the pedal rubbers are fresh and shiny. A few details aside, it’s great showing from a recently restored and correct open Bentley. – RM sold this Bentley at Arizona in 2011 for $346,500 before its most recent restoration. It’s been driven since then (as any great 3-Liter Bentley should be). The combination of original chassis, engine and body is the Gold Standard among classic Bentleys. This is a representative result, but could reasonably have been higher given the original chassis, engine and body and is a solid value for the new owner.
Lot # 2 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV Speciale Coupe, Body by Bertone; S/N 4878; Engine # 30644; Oro Metallizzato (Gold metallic), Silver sills/Dark brown leather, gold carpets; Estimate $2,116,800 – $2,646,000; Older restoration 2- condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $3,770,550 plus commission of 12.53%; Final Price $4,242,862. – 3,929/385hp, four Weber 40IDL-3L carburetors, 5-speed, ZF limited-slip, dry sump lubrication, power windows, original tool kit and manuals. – One of 150 SVs built, and ordered new by French industrialist Jacques Dembiermont, the third of his Miuras, with rare special-order dry-sump engine and ZF limited-slip developed in the one-off Bob Wallace Miura Jota. Restoration in the last few years by Carrozzeria Autosport and Top Motors in its original colors. Immaculate fresh paint with no chips. The silver sills have a tiny bit of overspray showing, and there is overspray around the door edges on both sides as well. Freshly painted wheels with the caps slightly marked on the corners. The passenger’s side rear wheel edge has two chips. Two large balance weights are also stuck on the outer rim, spoiling the look a bit. The Pirelli tires are from 2014. One small area flaking on the rear window slats. The taillight trims are not fresh and show age. All exterior chrome and trim appears to be original but in great condition. Seat coverings are superb condition and quality leather but not new. Interior air vent black paint is flaking and chipped. While not immaculate, its special order features and SV equipment more than make up for small cosmetic flaws. – Bidding opened at £1 million and didn’t stop for a long time, until £2,850,000 in fact. The P400 SV is both the most powerful and the most valuable regular production Miura, so this car was always going to command a lot of attention and a hefty price. Its special-order equipment makes it that much more desirable, but the final number is nevertheless a big surprise to anybody watching. It smashed its £2M high estimate, and it smashed the previous world record price for a Miura – €2,388,400 ($2.54M) for another SV – back in 2017. Even for this exceptional Miura SV this is an extraordinary price.
Lot # 3 1955 Lancia Aurelia B24S Spider America Spider, Body by Pinin Farina; S/N B24S1178; Engine # B241240; Rosso Rubino/Orange leather; Estimate $926,100 – $1,190,700; Older restoration 2 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $820,260 plus commission of 14.42%; Final Price $938,536. – 2,451/118hp V-6, single Weber 40 DCZ carburetor, 4-speed transaxle, chrome wire wheels, wraparound windshield, woodrim steering wheel, Veglia instruments, open glove box, tool roll. – One of 181 left hand drive spiders. Delivered new to Brussels and stayed in Belgium until 1972. Changed hands to only its third owner in 2013. During that year B & F Touring went through the car mechanically, but no details to the extent of work done. Bodywork has been refreshed as well. The paint and panel finish is superb. Panel fit is exemplary with every gap even. Chrome wire wheels are excellent. The inner wheel arch tubs are freshly painted. The engine has been repainted on every surface and even though this work was completed seven years ago it still looks fresh. The seats are covered in leather which looks fresh and is of the highest quality, perfect but close up do not quite look brand new. The carpets are good but with slight heel marks. The interior carpets, dash and controls are superb with excellent presentation and finish to bring it up to a show standard. The gearstick and knob are the only true indication of the car’s true age. The exterior chrome is plated to a high standard. The trunk shows refreshed matte paint and original tools that look older and original. A mostly immaculate Spider America. – Bidding opened at £300K and labored at times before selling at this modest result for one of the most celebrated and avidly sought of all 50’s open Italian cars with surprising performance from its 118bhp and a beautifully balanced chassis. It embodies the original thinking that characterized all Lancias until they became fluffed-up Fiats and Alfas under Fiat ownership. It is a sound value in a quality car at this result.
Lot # 4 1934 Bugatti Type 59 Sports Race Car; S/N 57248; Engine # 5; Black/Brown leather; Estimate $13,230,002; Older restoration 3 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $11,245,501 plus commission of 12.18%; Final Price $12,614,807. – RHD. 3,257/250hp inline-8, twin Zenith carburetors with Rootes-type supercharger, 4-speed dry sump transmission, four-wheel cable drum brakes, piano wire alloy wheels, twin fuel filler, rear-mounted spare wheel, twin driving lights, small driver’s windshield, wood dash. – First used as a works Grand Prix car, driven by Rene Dreyfus to third place in Monaco and to victory at the Belgian Grand Prix. Then developed into a winning sports racing car with revised bodywork, chassis, and drivetrain. Five owners from new, including King Leopold III of Belgium. Other than factory modifications including spraying black, this marvel reeks of originality, in a good way. The very chipped old black paint reveals its original French Racing Blue seductively. The wheel arches and sills are stone blasted and marked. The wheels are not too polished and the signature thin piano wire spokes are rusty. The 6 ply tires are part worn. The yellow racing stripes were not lined up accurately but hey, she’s a racer not a showgirl. The headlamps are yellowing. The dashboard wood is excellent. The steering wheel wood is darkened from sweat and mechanics’ grubby hands but not cracked at all. Small dents from a rear collision. It is a wonderfully original and untouched speed machine, plus it is considered by many to be the ultimate Bugatti Grand Prix racer. There’s a lot to covet here. – Opened at £5 million; reserve off and sold at £8.5 million, US$11,245,500, a world record price for a Bugatti at auction and a healthy margin over the $10.4 million Gooding got for the Type 55 Jean Bugatti Roadster at Pebble Beach in 2016. Its originality, preservation and provenance are superb and it must run and drive well, too, given the list of events where it’s been used. This is a huge car and a huge but realistic price.
Lot # 5 1924 Lancia Lambda 3rd Series Torpedo Tourer; S/N 11744; Engine # 1757; Burgundy, Black fenders/Brown leather; Estimate $423,360 – $529,200; Older restoration 3 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $449,820 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $517,293. – RHD. 2,199/49hp SOHC V-4, one Zenith carburetor, 3-speed manual, Nivex white face gauges on an embossed dashboard, vee split-fold windshield, black painted wire wheel, rear-mounted spare wheel, tool roll. – Delivered new to Uruguay and stayed with the same family until 1975. Then sold to the USA where its third owner tasked Lancia restorer Arthur Archer to thoroughly yet sympathetically go through the car. The patina of the leather seats is a testimony to that intent. Good paint let down by chips on door edges caused by sagging hinges and rushed entry. The front fenders have paint marks, too. The original exterior trim and screen surround has been smartly polished and refitted. The wheel paint is fresh and superb fitted with Excelsior 6-ply tires and good tread. There’s a star emblem badge fitted to the grill top corner. The wonderfully engineered suspension uprights are well painted. The front fender mounts are a later non-original addition and look poorly made. The seat covers are aged but perfectly serviceable. The dash surround is very roughly painted and lets the standard down. The pedal rubbers are good, which is rare with old cars. The carpets also let the side down as they are light green, faded and threadbare. A great, rare car in very good mechanical condition and the interior could easily be improved but also is sound enough to be left alone for continued use. – Opened at £200,000; reserve off at £280,000. As Lancia Lambda displacements grow, so do the angle of their V-4 engines, from 13 degrees initially, to 14 degrees and then to 13 degrees 40 minutes in the ultimate specification. It’s one more indication of how carefully Lancia focused its technical sophistication on fine details. This is a Lambda record result and an exceptional price but it also bought an exceptional highly original and well-documented car.
Lot # 6 1965 Lamborghini 350 GT Coupe, Body by Touring; S/N 0226; Engine # 0181; Dark Blue/Red leather; Estimate $529,200 – $727,650; Older restoration 2 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $436,590 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $502,079. – 3,464/270hp V-12, six Weber carburetors, 5-speed ZF transmission, Borrani wire wheels, Ansa exhaust, red leather interior, woodrim steering wheel, wood shift knob. – One of about 130 examples built. Delivered new in Italy. In present ownership since 1999. Represented as original engine. Recent cosmetic restoration by Bachelli and Villa, mechanically refreshed by marque specialists. Superb fresh-looking paint. Exterior chrome and trim have been refitted without replating but rightly so as they are in very good order. The wheel arches have some road dust. The wheels are polished but slightly soiled on the inner edges. The jacking point covers are chipped. The bumper chrome has fine swirl scratches but nothing deep. A smartly detailed engine reveals no obvious leaks or problems. The seat covers are not new but are fresh enough. The carpets and door cards are again very good but not brand new. Original steering wheel looks spot on. Attractive, significant and extremely rare. – The 350 GT was Lamborghini’s first production model, affirming Ferruccio Lamborghini’s intent to build high-quality gran turismos rather than the racy exotics for which its company would later become famous. Perhaps this one was overshadowed a bit by the Miura SV in the sale, but it’s a very good car and the number it sold for was surprisingly light. Opened at £240K to an absentee bidder; reserve off and sold at £330K. Like several of the sub-$1M cars in this star-studded auction, it performed modestly while the bigger cars broke records.
Photo by Chris Sharpe
Lot # 7 1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato Coupe, Body by Zagato; S/N DB4GT0176R; Engine # 3700176GT; Peony/Black leather; Estimate $9,261,001 – $11,907,002; Competition restoration 3+ condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $8,334,901. – RHD. 3,670/314hp inline-6, triple Webers, 4-speed manual, dual mirrors, dark red painted wire wheels, woodrim steering wheel, Blaupunkt pushbutton radio, twin fuel fillers. – One of 19 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagatos built, and the only one in finished in this color. Four owners from new, including Victor Gauntlet, the Aston Martin chairman. Represented in unrestored condition having retained its original engine and never requiring full restoration. The current owner since 1985 has covered 30,000 miles in this well-known example. The coachwork paint appears fresh and crisp at first glance, but reveals its age upon closer inspection. There only a few tiny, easily missed stone chips. The panel gaps look right on every opening. The grille is unrestored and aged. The headlamp clear cowls have marks. All the exterior chrome has been refitted after repaint without being restored or plated. The biggest issue on this car are the brakes, as the discs and calipers are rusty and poorly painted. They look amateurish on a car of this caliber. The wheel outer rims are dull and not polished. The inner wires are painted in the body peony color but have been masked off poorly with paint runs and uneven edges, another disappointing detail. The exhaust tailpipe and mounting have been roughly daubed with silver paint over rust and look poor as well. An old-ish interior but the seat coverings are high quality leather with slight, forgivable creasing. The black carpets are sun faded but not worn out. A rare car that would be the crown jewel in many Aston Martin collections for what it is, but its presentation is inconsistent. – Bidding opened at £3 million, went straight to 4 million, then 4.5, 5, 5.25, 5.5, 5.75, 6, 6.1, 6.2 and finally 6.3 where it languished as Charlie Ross tried to coax out another bid that might have put it in the “Sold” column. It was not to come. Its originality is charming and highly unusual for a DB4 GT Zagato which are so highly regarded that they usually sit on a turntable as a feast for their owners’ eyes. It takes a certain type of collector to place a value on usability in this context and neither the bidders nor the owner were wrong in arriving at a standoff although it is somewhat surprising that Gooding couldn’t put a compromise deal together after the auction.
Lot # 8 1959 Lancia Flaminia 2500 Sport Coupe, Body by Zagato; S/N 824001369; Engine # 823002467; Grigio Newmarket/Black leather with White piping; Estimate $529,200 – $661,500; Older restoration 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $357,210 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $410,792. – 2,458/119hp V-6, 4-speed transaxle, woodrim steering wheel, steel wheels and hub caps. – An elegant and beautifully proportioned car. One of 99 ‘Pre-Series’ Flaminas built before Zagato revised the styling with less graceful open headlamps. A saleroom notice noted that the covered headlights may have been added later. The Grigio Newmarket paint is of a good finish but slightly lacking in surface preparation and is uneven to the eye. The headlamp trim is poor and old. The grille is aged as well. The wheels are freshly painted and in good order but are wrapped in 10-year-old Michelin tires. The headlights and driving lights are yellowing. All the exterior trim shows age. The windshield glass corners are delaminating. The interior is mostly very good. The leather is older but of high quality. The original steering wheel is a highlight. A mostly average quality example of an exemplary Lancia model. – Open at 150K; reserve off and sold at £270K, well under the £400,000 low estimate
Lot # 9 1939 Bentley 4 1/4 Litre Cabriolet, Body by Vanvooren; S/N B160MR; Engine # Y6BP [E5BDX installed]; Blue, Dark Blue/Turquoise leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $595,350 – $793,800; Older restoration 2- condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $595,350 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $684,653. – RHD. 4,257/126hp F-head inline-6, twin SU carburetors, 4-speed, overdrive, wheels discs, rear spats, rear-mounted enclosed spare wheel, Flying B mascot, suicide doors, dual mirrors, boot cover, original engine block Y6BP included. – One of only two cabriolet versions by Carrosserie Vanvooren, and painted blue in a nod to Vanvooren’s French origins. Sleek, streamlined coachwork with teardrop fenders and covered rear wheels. Immaculate paint with no chips. All fresh, perfect chrome. The Marchal headlamps are clear and crisp. The tonneau cover is creased but superb. The running board rubbers have slight foot wear. The seat leather is slightly creased but unmarked and of a very high grade leather by a superb trimmer. There’s a wonderful Vanvooren badge at the bottom corner of the hood. The wheel trims are imperfect with chips, unfortunately. A gorgeous, nearly perfect coachbuilt Bentley. – Opened at £300K, reserve off at £360K, sold for £450K hammer. It was sold by Christie’s at Retromobile in 2004 for $488,186 (£258,300 at the time) and has been consistently maintained since then in consistent condition. This is beautiful automobile that brought a superior price.
Lot # 10 1928 Bugatti Type 35C Grand Prix; S/N 4871; Engine # 139; Red/Black leather; Estimate $3,969,001; Competition car, original as-raced 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $4,630,501 plus commission of 12.43%; Final Price $5,206,006. – RHD. 1,991/125hp inline-8, Rootes-type supercharger, 4-speed, 4-wheel cable drum brakes, passenger’s side mounted spare wheel, woodrim steering wheel. – A works entry for the 1928 Targa Florio (an event the Type 35 won five consecutive years from 1925-29), then appeared at various European circuit races and hill climbs under private ownership. Winner of the 1928 Coupe de Bourgogne won by Mme. Jannine Jennky. Given a repaint in red in 1932 for its Italian driver Ricardo Bernasconi, which it still wears today. Bernasconi owned it until 1958. UK registered and with 3 Belgian owners since 1958. Thoroughly mechanically restored and maintained since 2000 while retaining the 1932 paint. Paint is sun dried, oil lashed and flaking on every panel, but the car wears that age proudly. The horseshoe radiator has a wire mesh shield with the wires bent and out of line, secured by old leather hoops to the radiator cap. The wonderful alloy wheel surfaces have darkened and aged but the best clue to originality is their similarity of condition. The tires are well used. The seats, dash, floor, pedals and controls all show consistent and charming age. Under the hood the look of undisturbed originality continues. The exhaust manifolds have thick surface rust, while the engine bay is dusty and oil stained with leaks from the block still evident. The engine number stampings and the chassis plate look right. The chassis rails look correct with no repair platings or unused holes. One never be perfectly certain of untouched originality with a works race car, but this wonderous machine makes a great character witness. The immaculate preservation and provenance, as well as the engineering under the surface, also make it an easy car to fall in love with. – Opened at £2 million; reserve off at £2.8 million, sold at £3.5 million. One of several lovingly preserved prewar cars from the Hubert Fabri collection, this may be the best Bugatti Type 35C in the world. Not because it is immaculate but rather because it is honest. This is a triumphant result for a singular Type 35C, much more than the $2,585,000 that Gooding got for s/n 4889 at Pebble Beach in 2006, which was a cosmetically restored car with less history. S/N 4871’s owners were connoisseurs who recognized its history and carefully preserved it and it is achingly wonderful. It is expensive, and it is worth every dollar, pound or Euro it brought.
Lot # 11 1935 Aston Martin Ulster Sports; S/N G5588U; Engine # G5588U [E4429L installed]; Sky Blue/Black; Estimate $2,116,800 – $2,910,600; Older restoration 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $1,852,200 plus commission of 13.07%; Final Price $2,094,309. – RHD. 1,495/85hp inline-4, 4 speed, 4-wheel cable drum brakes, foldable full-width windshield with twin aero screens, twin driving lights, louvered hood vents, hood straps, fishtail exhaust silencer, twin fuel fillers, body color wire wheels. – Represented as the original engine and “Scuttle Bodywork” but later described as restored with “new scuttle bodywork and seats”. The original body center section and seats along with the original engine on a stand come with the lot. The engine now installed is E4429L. One of 21 customer supplied Ulster specification Astons. Sold new to Prince Bira and Chula of Siam’s White Mouse Stable team. Raced in the 1935 RAC Tourist Trophy and won its class at the 24 Hours of Spa in 1936. Documentation shows two owners since 1949 but an ephemeral history for a few years before. Authentically and sympathetically restored by Ecurie Bertelli in the 1990s. The paint finish is uneven as are the panel work and gaps. There are paint chips and flakes around the hood louvres as well as stone chips on the front area and the number plate. The blue body colored wire wheels are rusty and painted over. Tires are used but with good tread depth and look good for a few more years. There are lots of stone chips on the rear fender guards. The engine is maintained but not overly polished with the expected weep of oil here and there. The steering wheel looks original and commensurate to the car’s age but perfectly serviceable. The black seat leather is creased but supple and correct to the car. The foot pedals are worn. There’s a large upward dent in the chassis just behind the right front wheel, and the alloy body panel covering the chassis is clearly buckled. The car simply doesn’t look straight and true. The buyer should get the chassis checked, but afterwards they will have a good useable stalwart that importantly qualifies for a the premier European vintage rallies. – Bidding opened at £1 million and the reserve was off at £1.35 million before selling at £1.4 million. Sold by Christie’s at London in 1996 for $155,899 and comprehensive restored since as well as being driven enthusiastically. The original engine and “scuttle bodywork and seats” were displayed on-site and accompanied the lot, despite the confusing descriptions. The seller should be pleased with getting this much for it. This isn’t a pristine, preserved car like, for instance, the Type 35C or Type 59 offered in this collection but the result reflects the preservation of its original elements and its eminent usability in historic races, events and tours.
Lot # 12 1924 Vauxhall 30-98 OE Type Wensum Tourer; S/N OE183; Engine # OE220; Grey/Red leather; Estimate $1,058,400 – $1,587,600; Older restoration 3 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $1,455,300 plus commission of 13.36%; Final Price $1,649,781. – RHD. 4,224/112hp OHV inline-4, single Zenith updraft carburetor, wire wheels, split windshield, fender-mounted horn, single spare mounted on passenger’s side, Bakelite steering wheel with center brass ignition timing adjustment ring, Griffin radiator cap mascot, tools and jack. – Represented as one of a dozen cars with this lovely boat-inspired Wensum coachwork. The paint finish is older and is cracking on the fenders. The front badge is chipped. The chassis looks straight with some rust blistering around the bolt holes. Under the hood the block is clean and leak free. The grey painted hand brushed coachwork is consistent considering the method and slightly worn through at the used edges. Chipped paint on the wheels. The tires have good tread but look older. Well-varnished wood dashboard filled by switches and gauges all with a mellow patina. The leather seat covers are replacements, but they look age appropriate with creases and darker areas but are perfectly useable. Unfortunately the rear boat tail and interior wood has had cheap replacements where someone has tried but not succeeded in recreating the fine wood inlays. The wood just does not look right. Still, an impressive sporty gentleman’s carriage that will be in demand for all the right reasons. – Built between 1923 and 1927, Vauxhall’s landmark 30-98 was called “Britain’s First Sports Car” for a good reason. It was the first production car to top 100 miles an hour – good going with Bentley as your competitor. Costing around £1,200, 600 examples were built with an estimated 120 survivors and this one’s rare, rakish body style makes it a further standout. Vauxhall is one of the most genuinely historic marques. Its marine engines date back to the 1850s. Today, however, it’s mostly known for budget-friendly hatchbacks like the Astra. This is the most expensive Vauxhall ever sold at auction and the first to break seven figures. It deserved to be and the bidding was enthusiastic, opening at £400K, straight to 600K; 625K and right to 700K when the reserve came off. It just kept going to this outstanding result. The previous record for a 30-98 was £437,000 ($557,313) in London two years ago.
Lot # 13 1955 Aston Martin DB3S Sports Racer; S/N DB3S102; Engine # V6K102; Almond Green/Light brown; Estimate $3,969,001 – $5,292,001; Older restoration 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $3,539,025 plus commission of 12.56%; Final Price $3,983,554. – RHD. 2,992/210hp, triple Weber 40 DCO3 carburetors DB3 engine, original engine VB6K102 included, 4-speed, modern Stack tach, front disc and rear drum brakes, painted wire wheels, woodrim steering wheel, metal passenger’s tonneau cover, wraparound driver’s plexiglass windscreen, fire system. – One of 31 Aston Martin DB3Ss made, one of just 20 sold to customers. Extensively campaigned in the UK, Europe and New Zealand in period. Set the Australian Land Speed Record in 1957 with an average of 143.19 mph on a dirt road. Wrecked at Bathurst in 1960 and placed in storage, then subject to a high standard restoration 1970s. An active historic racer since. The panel finish is crisp and straight. The paint is not new but to a high standard that has just been freshly machine polished, there is still the odd small blister visible. The door fitment is tight and probably better than when new. The headlight trims are rechromed but they reused worn old rubbers. The engine is tidy. The exhaust manifolds are heat coated black. Triple Webber 40 DCO3’s look well-maintained. The large fan in front of the radiator is a good addition for queueing in traffic. The wheel knock-ons are dog eared and dented. The engine and chassis stampings look correct. The leather hood straps are top quality. The wraparound windshield is chipped on the corners and offers little protection but looks spiffing. The wire wheels, knock-ons and tires have been badly masked off during repaint but are generally in good condition. The cockpit is well equipped with battery dead switch and fire extinguisher. The original engine isn’t fitted but is supplied in the sale. The condition is presentable and ideal for the kind of historic racing it has been doing for years. Plus, a car like this will always get in to the premier events. – Bidding opened at £1 million, went from 1.6 to 2.0 in one bid then advanced by 100s. The reserve came off at £2.45 million. Regularly used in historic racing and maintained in excellent race-ready condition, this is a car that will be a welcome entrant anywhere, and is capable of bringing home excellent results. This result is well off Gooding’s record of $5.5 million for DB3S/111 at Pebble Beach in 2014 but appropriate to this example’s history and condition.
Lot # 14 1919 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost 40/50hp Alpine Eagle Tourer, Body after Million-Guiet; S/N 24LW; Engine # TW72; Aubergine/Green leather; Black canvas top; Estimate $1,455,300 – $1,852,200; Concours restoration 1 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $1,190,700 plus commission of 13.67%; Final Price $1,353,429. – RHD. 7,428/50hp L-head inline-6, single updraft Rolls-Royce carburetor, 4-speed, rear wheel mechanical drum brakes, black painted wire wheels, driver’s side spotlight, Bleriot headlights, running board storage boxes with tool kit, rear compartment drinks cabinet with crystal glasses, half split folding windshield, delightful retractive rear windscreen not shown in the photos. – This extremely desirable Alpine Eagle edition of the Silver Ghost makes huge impact with its bold Aubergine Million-Guiet coachwork. Completely immaculate show standard paintwork on every surface. The wheels and even the hub knock on large nuts are perfect and unmarked. The running board rubber surfaces are clearly new and of the highest craftsmanship. The black hood cover is slightly faded with cotton threads hanging, a minor point. The rounded wood hood bars are new and superb. The alloy dash has the most wonderfully engine turned swirls. The French-language instrumentation looks original. The green seat leather is of the highest quality. Rear passengers are not neglected with the rear drinks cabinets having a full set of art deco accoutrements. The chassis and engine are pristine throughout. From top to toe this is the best presented car here. – Opened at £500K; reserve off and sold at 900K. The coachwork history of this spectacular Rolls-Royce is not clearly described in the various cataloging but has been confirmed by David Gooding as a Tourer originally bodied in Paris by Million-Guiet. The Million-Guiet Tourer body was rebuilt with expert guidance during its meticulous restoration preserving as many original features as possible. It is a magnificent example and almost too beautiful and pristine to be toured, a concours-ready Rolls-Royce for a concours-level price.
Lot # 15 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante; S/N 57502; Engine # 26S; Black/Chestnut leather; Estimate $9,261,001; Older restoration 2- condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $9,261,001 plus commission of 12.21%; Final Price $10,392,166. – RHD. 3,257/220hp inline-8, single Stromberg carburetor, Marshall K200 supercharger added in the late 40’s, 4-speed, twin driving lights, chrome slatted horseshoe grille, rear fender spats and mud guards, silver painted wire wheels with eared knock-ons, rear trunk top mounted covered spare wheel, walnut dashboard, luggage rack, C-pillar trafficators. – Represented as original throughout with a supercharger added in the 1950s by an English owner. Ordered new by Earl Howe, co-founder of the BRDC, winner of Le Mans in 1931 and former president of the Bugatti Owners Club. Parked in a garage in Newcastle from the 1960s until being discovered after the owner’s death in 2007. Then restored. One of 17 Type 57Ss fitted with the glorious Jean Bugatti-designed Atalante body. Good paint to smooth polished finish but there are small marks and even cracks appearing. The rear wheel fender and spats are stone chipped extensively. The headlight trim is rechromed but the actual lamps are yellowing and aged. The grille plating is ageing and imperfect. The front badge is cracked from top to bottom. The bumper iron appear to be recently chrome plated. The art deco fender topping sidelights are made from frosted glass and are simply gorgeous, a true design delight, incredibly stylish and nothing compares. The wheel rims are polished but not to perfection and fitted slightly worn tires. The exhaust pipes look like they have recently been rattle canned black matte and have run lines underneath. The interior shows more art deco delight. The wood and leather are maturing nicely, but the driver’s door glass is yellowing and delaminating. The Jaeger instrumentation, headlining, seat coverings and carpets are aged but of the highest order. The roof mounted interior light is more art deco perfection. A carriage of timeless beauty and engineering from an era of elegance sadly gone. – This car made headlines after its discovery in the UK as one of the great barn finds. Bonhams sold it in Paris in 2009 in well-preserved cosmetically maintained condition for €3.4 million ($4.4 million). The restoration it has received in the years since is not as good as the car deserves, but it was enough to see the car bring more than any other Bugatti Type 57 ever has at auction. Bidding opened at £3 million, went straight to 4 then 4.5, 5, 5.5, 6 and 6.25. At 6.5 the reserve came off but the bidding didn’t stop, going to 6.6 and then a pre-emptive 7 million straightaway which took the prize. The price is notable, but the car is even more so.
What an inspiring report. Any one of the top six cars would be a “Star Car” at any other auction, which shows the dizzying heights of this important collection. But for me it’s inspiring because of the strong prices. Auction sales have been on a gradual decline for a while and with the Covid-19 pandemic putting the whole world on hold this auction might have stalled too. But no, the cars were too exceptional for that and clearly anticipation only added to the values. The buyers were determined not to miss out after waiting so long. The Bugatti Type 57 buyer took the bids straight to 7 million, a very strong tactic but it worked. I’m sure that when father time compares 7 million paid for this Bugatti to the 20 million plus highest sale prices of paid for Alfas and Ferraris this is a great deal. Hard for us mere mortals to grasp but when then compared art values, high end automobiles are still undervalued. As we say over the pond “we’ll see!’
It’s inspiring only on account of your top notch, informed and insightful on-the-scene observations and comments. Thank you!