Market and auctions

Bonhams Greenwich. The key to success

Cliff Goodall's view

Photo credit: Bonhams

There is more than one key to success: Bonhams has however chosen the right one for the American auction in Greenwich (CT) which has not been held, in presence, for two years. 

Just like being behind the wheel: everything you need to know to fully understand the situation

What are the ingredients? Well-chosen cars, over 80% without reserve (48 out of 59 offers) and correct evaluations that have allowed, with 95% of sales, to reach 106% of the estimated with an average price per car of $105,761  (€101,375). Last figure: only three unsold cars of the 59 offered.

Just like being behind the wheel: everything you need to know to fully understand the situation

Key to the right success and also a lot of mouth-watering business, follow me.

It was not only the top lot but also one of the best deals of the sale, the 1929 Bentley 4 1/2 litre Tourer. Re-built in Vanden Plas style, very suggestive, in an unspecified period probably not too far away.  Although without information on its original configuration, it was still a Bentley 4 1/2 liters, one of the most selectable pre-war cars! The sale price was $604,500 (€576,620), nearly $50,000 below the already cautious minimum estimate of $650,000. In my opinion, a bargain for those who bought.

1929 Bentley 4½ Liter Tourer Coachwork in the style of Vanden Plas sold for $604,500

There were two Jaguar XK120s and I would have bought both. A 1953 FHC (or coupe) and a Roadster from the following year looked like a perfect pair. 

1953 Jaguar XK120 Fixed Head Coupe sold for $85,120 (€81,195)

Both sold below estimates, for the closed version needed $85,120 (€81,195), while for the open version $66,080 (€63,032) was enough. It happens rarely but in this case, the Coupé was sold at a higher figure than the Roadster, the reason being that it was fresh from restoration.  

1954 Jaguar XK120 Open Two Seater sold for $66,080 (€63,032)

Greenwich, is on the ocean and there are more villas than apartments and in addition, the Americans are crazy about the “beaches” so the 1966 Fiat 500 Jolly estimated $70-90,000 and sold for $89,600 (€85,467) should not cause a sensation but, beware, the catalog reports “Conversion”. So it was born as a normal Fiat 500 and then it was transformed (when…?) into Jolly. In fact, a replica. The sale price is more or less in line with a “real” so there are two things; either having been rebuilt does not affect the price, or the price of authentic specimens is going up. Actually, it’s been a while since I saw one at auctions…

1966 Fiat 500 Jolly Beach Car Conversion sold for $89,600 (€85,467)

This auction was the opportunity to take stock of the state of health of the Facel-Vega, with 4 specimens from the same collection (I think a record for an American auction). In a period where youngtimer is synonymous with gold mining, the brand French, luxurious, oscuro, produced in the late 50s and early 60s, had all the characteristics to fall into oblivion of offers. Instead he held the flag high. Three of the four were sold in the estimates. A 1961 Excellence sedan went for $97,440 (€93,400) while the two Facel IIs, one from 1962 and one from 1963 were beaten to $235,200 (€224,352) and $179,200 (€171,768).

1962 Facel Vega Facel II sold for $235,200 (€224,352)

Since today we are talking about business, we are dealing with the two Aston Martin DB MkIII from the collection of Judson Lutz, a 1958 Convertible owned by him since the 80s and the 1959 Coupé that the current collector bought from a Californian car wrecker in 1989. 

1958 Aston Martin DB MkIII Drophead Coupe sold for $246,400 (€235,036)

Both to be restored (the FHC appeared to have been bitten by a T-Rex) were estimated at $120-160,000 the convertible and $25-40,000 the other, both without reservation. Estimates were strategically low but if the DHC doubled flying to $246,400 (€235,036), it failed to do the magic at the coupe that went for $33,600 (€32,050), a bargain.

1959 Aston Martin DB MkIII Fixed Coupe sold for $33,600 (€32,050)

To conclude, a personal consideration: there was a 1981 Porsche 911 SC Coupé, brown with beige interior, fantastic. The perfect youngtimer. Maybe the effect of the new Top Gun where Tom Cruise seems to have been hibernated in the 80s and the association with F14, but I convinced myself I wanted one…. Estimated $35-50,000, sold for $39,200 (€37,392). When is the F14?

1981 Porsche 911SC Coupe sold for $39,200 (€37,392)