Bonhams, this time played on home turf at their headquarters in New Bond Street, London. And they took home a more than flattering result: 72.41% of the available cars were sold (21 out of 29) and £6,302,700 (€7,239,975) in takings against a pre-sale estimate of £6,540,000 (€7,512,565), a splendid 96.37%. The boutique auction also delivered an average price per car of £315,135 (€362,000).
The top lot of the sale was a 1969 Lamborghini Miura S. Red, originally left-hand drive, it was converted to right-hand drive in the mid-70s. Always kept in England, the last owner used it very little and in fact a complete restoration was recommended. Lately, it would very much seem that Miuras in need of restoration are popping up like mushrooms: a P400 went for €1,115,000 at the beginning of October and about ten days later, another S (in borderline conditions) changed hands for €1,416,000.
This one from Bonhams was estimated at £800,000-£1,000,000, somewhat on the light side (in my view that’s more the price of a “basic” P400), at and £1,067,800 (€1,226,600), it sold for a price that was in line with the market.
The 1981 Lamborghini Countach LP400S delivered new in Italy in June 1989 to the same owner and used very little over the course of those 33 years, was in pretty good shape. As prices increase, finding a Countach that has been lovingly kept by the same owner for over three decades is becoming increasingly difficult, so the estimate of £280,000-£340,000 seemed pessimistic. Indeed, the bids kept coming and eventually the car changed hands for £460.000 (€528,400).
Third bull and third bullseye. My favourite car of the day was a Lamborghini Diablo VT 6.0 SE Coupe. Standout features? A 2001 model, 50,000 km on the clock, one owner. The fifth of 40 produced and built to Gulf States specification, it was ordered new in the ‘sunrise’ specification of Oro Elios with Marrone trim. Despite being stored for some time, and hence requiring re-commissioning before returning to the road, the £120,000-£180,000 pre-sale estimate still seemed low. In fact, it sold for £276,000 (€317,000).
The line-up at this event was somewhat anomalous: there were no Ferraris – a Dino 246 GT, sold for £270,250 but, you know, it’s not a Ferrari – only a couple of Porsches and no Jaguars (can an SS100 2.5 litre be called a Jaguar?). Six Aston Martins were on sale, however, and of these, my eye was caught by the 1970 DB6 Mk2 Vantage. It was certainly an interesting example because it was a mix between some very desirable features (Vantage specifications and carburettors) and the less desirable ones (originally fitted with fuel injection and automatic transmission). Kept overseas in long-term storage, it would also be subject to a small duty fee to clear customs, and it was in need of re-commissioning before further use. Estimated at £125,000-£175,000 it sold for £207,000 (€237,800). This price is well worth a restoration.
Pre-war cars are perfectly at home at Bonhams and the 1925 Bugatti Type 30 Skiff Tourer confirmed that it was at the right place. Despite the Type 30 not being the most desirable model among the range, the coachwork by Carrosserie Kelsch & Cie. of Paris, a name known only to the most ardent of enthusiasts and not even a sports model but a tourer, it had a number of interesting features such as the Skiff body with mahogany decking to the top of the scuttle and tail, like a boat, and only two owners in the last 41 years. In short, a car for an expert connoisseur. Estimated at £300,000-£350,000, it changed hands for a very handsome £345,000 (€396,300).
I’d like to close with an Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione from 2009, offered in the very rare yellow exterior colour with just 6,200 miles from new. Perhaps the fact that it was left-hand drive stopped a couple of bids but taking it to a European auction would have incurred customs duties. The record for this model is £259,000 ($346,000 precisely) for a yellow example with 4,200 miles, so the estimate of £225,000-£300,000 for this one was correct, despite its steering configuration. The final price was £253,000 (€290,600). Chapeau!