28/07/2004 Christie's at the Le Mans Classic 23rd July 2004 - Review
Intense interest pre-sale in the 1930 Bentley Speed Six
Not only was it the highest price paid at auction for a car in France, it was also a world record for a Bentley sold at Auction. ‘It’ was the 1930 Bentley Speed Six, 2nd at Le Mans in 1930, selling for €4,188,250 at the Christie’s Le Mans Classic 2004 Sale.
If the temperature outside was hot and humid, inside Christie’s air-conditioned saleroom (usually another ACO office at the regular 24 Hours), bidding was calm but assured as the hammer finally fell on the star lot of the event. Sold to a bidder inside the room for the Sterling equivalent of £2,789,375 (including buyer’s premium, as do all our prices), the car always looked as if it was going to sell for big money. Of the other vintage Bentleys both went, the 1928 4 1/2 Litre ex-Team Car, 3rd at Le Mans 1929, for €1,658,250 and the 1931 8 Litre 4-seat Tourer by Gurney Nutting for €470,250 - right on market price. There were two other lots in this private collection, the superb Sunbeam going way over-estimate (double the lower) for €723,250 while the very attractive Frazer Nash TT Replica, ex-Michael Collier 1935 Le Mans entry, did not (strangely given the saleroom atmosphere, its provenance and condition) find a successful buyer.
Another big-ticket item was of course the 1956 Aston Martin DB3S, ex-Le Mans 1957, selling for €1,350,250. Sitting in the middle of the showroom on preview day, the car did look wonderful in its original bright French Blue paintwork. In the race the following day, DB3Ss finished 6th, 7th and 13th in ‘Plateau 2’; perhaps we may see this one out in 2006?
Of more modern machinery the 1975 Porsche Carrera 3.0 RSR, ex-Team Evertz, had been fancied highly by your correspondent and it duly sold (again over-estimate) for €393,250. This looked really nice ‘in the metal’ and seeing all the cars out there racing in ‘Plateau 6’ this weekend, it showed what a great car this would be for this sort of event. The ’73 911 Carrera RSL was withdrawn prior to sale, and the nice little 1961 Porsche 356 B T5 GT 'Works Car' failed to sell.
1914 Sunbeam Tourist Trophy - Sold for €723,250
1959 Fiat Abarth 750GT Zagato 'Double Bubble' - Sold for €61,100
One of the favourites with the pre-sale viewers was the 1959 Fiat Abarth 750GT Zagato 'Double Bubble'. Appearing almost toy-like, its small size belied the fact that with the twin roof bulges a reasonably sized driver could slip behind the wheel for some frantic action from the 965cc device. It sold very well for €61,100.
Both the Aston Martin Racing Prototypes sold, neither was in the best running condition, and to run them safely again on the track would require a reasonable budget - a factor clearly affecting the prices. The ‘Big Healey’ racer failed to find a new home but to most people’s amazement the extraordinary 1988 Bentley Turbo R Empress II by Hooper sold for €64,625.
A tremendous result for Christie’s, the total for the entire auction reaching €10,641,633, the highest result for a Motor Car auction at Christie’s since 2000.
1971 Ferrari 365GTB/4 'Daytona' Ex Jackie Ickx - Sold for €111,625
On August 12 Christie’s will be holding ‘their’ Monterey Sale at The Monterey Jet Center. Amongst other entries one of the features must be the 1959 Ferrari 250GT LWB California Spyder. Finished in black with red leather interior, the car is number 19 of only 49 produced and was originally delivered to the Swiss GP and Porsche driver Jo Siffert. Not seen on the market for more than a decade, it carries an estimate of $1,000,000-1,200,000.
Christie's have a made a special internet promotion for the sale which you can access HERE.
Christie's International Motor Cars Ltd
The Jack Barclay Showroom
2-4 Ponton Rd
London SW8 5BA