Bonhams’ £36m Auction at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2013: Reaching new levels

Bonhams broke all records at its 2013 Festival sale. Not only did the Bond St company sell the ex-Fangio Mercedes W196 for a staggering £19.6m, it also achieved the record price for a Maserati at auction and grossed the highest figure for a European collectors’ car sale: £36,072,464.

You can read all about the Mercedes GP car elsewhere on Classic Driver, but once Lot 320 was safely despatched to the record books (and an anonymous telephone bidder) there followed more – sometimes record-breaking – prices to come. The previous record price of £2.3m for a historic Maserati was comfortably eclipsed by the £4,033,500 paid for the ex-Briggs Cunningham 1955 300S.

Other cars reaching stratospheric levels included the £1.9m 1934 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Le Mans Tourer, a rare, RHD Ferrari Superfast that achieved £852,700 and another Bonhams speciality, the ex-factory Healey 100S that also scaled heights never before achieved with its £843,000.

Celebrity ownership is not always reflected in higher-than-normal values, but the usually ‘plain Jane’, twin-headlamp 1965 Ferrari 330GT 2+2 clearly received some of the gloss from the brief period it was in Beatle John Lennon’s hands. It sold for £359,500.

And as for restoration projects – where would a Bonhams sale be without them? The motor car section commenced with someone paying £30,475 for the remains of the ex-Porsche Cars GB press fleet, earliest right-hand-drive 911S imported into the UK, 1966 Porsche 911S 'SWB'.

Held under blistering, 30deg heat, the auction tent was often packed – some 1000 people were present to see the Mercedes eventually sold for £17.5m (that equates to £19,601,500 with buyer’s premium). And when auctioneer Robert Brooks brought the hammer down on that lot, the saleroom erupted – sunshine and smiles all round.

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