Bonhams 26 May 2003 Review - "Les Grandes Marques à Monaco"

Bonhams’ 14th annual Sale in magical Monte Carlo during the period of the world-famous Monaco Grand Prix was characterised on May 26 by dynamic bidding from the broad spectrum of international clientele now so typical of Bonhams’ classic and prestige car auctions. Bonhams’ Les Grandes Marques a Monaco 2003 Sale totalled EUR5,250,000 with 117 lots sold including motor cars, automobilia and wristwatches.

Notable successes included the first-ever sale by auction of two modern models from those most legendary of German motor manufacturing marques – Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. The 1999 Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR Coupé – powered by a 6.9-litre 600-horsepower V12-cylinder engine mounted amidships – sold for EUR808,800 plus taxes to a Swiss collector bidding by telephone. This startlingly-styled ‘Silver Arrow’ is one of only 25 built, based upon the design of the FIA GT World Championship-dominating racing coupés.

Also secured by a young Swiss-based collector after an energetic bidding battle – the first 1998 Porsche 911 GT1 Coupé ever to be sold at auction realised EUR640,500. With just one previous owner ex-works and a mere 4,750kms on the odometer, this 544-horsepower, 1,100kg projectile offers its new owner 200+mph capability – although for road use it is electronically limited to 192mph - with acceleration from 0-60mph in just 3.7 seconds.

Another prolonged bidding battle between Greek and Italian enthusiasts saw the aggressively-styled 1960 Lancia Flaminia Sport Berlinetta with bodywork by Carrozzeria Zagato bound for Greece at the price of EUR70,700.

An internationally-renowned Monaco FC football star secured the 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL ‘Gullwing’ Coupe for EUR206,000. The car had been owned for many years by five-times Tour de France Automobile winning racing and rally driver Bernard Consten.

Another bidding duel between British and Italian would-be buyers saw the 1968 Ferrari 275GTB/4 sold to the former for a record EUR400,700 to spontaneous applause from the auction audience. Finished in Ferrari’s most startling livery – Giallo Fly yellow – this wonderful Pininfarina-styled front-engined Gran Turismo is considered by many Ferraristi to mark the high-tide of Maranello’s classical front-engined GT development.

A new world record price for sale by auction was also achieved for the 1961 Maserati 3500GT Spider with coachwork by Carrozzeria Vignale – the property of Ferdinand Piech, of automotive fame. This superb example of Maserati’s finest sold for EUR134,500, completing yet another highly successful sale for Bonhams, proving the wide-ranging capabilities of the world’s fastest growing international auction house to find new buyers for cars built at any time during the motoring century…

President of Bonhams Europe, Simon Kidston, said after the sale: “It was a breath of fresh air to see so many new faces bidding in the audience, and to note that despite the strong Euro and the absence of the Historic Grand Prix this was our strongest European sale since 2000. The whole team is delighted.”

For a full listing, see the Provisional Auction Results

Bonhams Europe's next sale is at the Nurburgring Oldtimer Grand Prix meeting, August 9 2003.

Text - Bonhams