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Bonhams and Christie's in London - December 2005 Review

With a combined total sold of over £3 million, it was another successful Christmas sale-time for Bonhams and Christie’s. The latter achieved an excellent 81% lots sold, while the former found a new owner for the one-off Lamborghini 400GT Monza.

5th December - Bonhams ‘Important Collectors’ Motor Cars, Pioneer and Vintage Motorcycles and Fine Automobilia’ at Olympia, London W14

Not as successful as Christie’s in the percentage of lots sold, the Bond St auctioneers nevertheless pulled in an impressive gross figure by virtue of the size of the catalogue, and the fact that some ‘big’ cars sold well, in some cases way over estimate.

The Ex-Barcelona Motor Show 1966 Lamborghini 400GT Monza, listed missing for over 35 years, was offered 'as found', having been hidden away in the Spanish playboy owner's garage since 1970. Eight telephone bidders lined up to do battle with clients in the room, and the car finally sold well above pre-sale estimate for £177,500, to a UK collector. And the 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet 'A' was ‘Refer Dept.’, so we don’t know what the estimate was but the eventual price £595,500 was pretty good.

Eyebrows were raised at the price achieved for the 1959 Jaguar XK150S 3.8-Litre Roadster - £88,400. In everyone’s opinion a very attractive car, and in a rare specification, but this was a colossal price - perhaps something to do with the registration ‘XK150 S’? As is so often the case after a jaw-dropping price the room tends to go a little flat afterwards, witness only three of the ensuing eighteen lots selling.

Another big seller was the 1970 Lamborghini Miura SV Coupé, a car uprated to SV specification, at £195,320, while the attraction of Silver Birch DB5s goes unabated - the 1964 Aston Martin sold for £99,400, a figure that includes buyer’s commission as all our quoted prices do. Neither of the DB6s sold.

A nice car for small money was the 1970 Bentley T1 Saloon at £9,430, finished in two-tone grey. Civilised transport for a connoisseur.

Tim Schofield, head of UK Motor Car department commented; "The market is selective and by offering a wide spectrum of interesting cars, we sold a good percentage - in some cases for record prices - to a discerning clientele. As an international company we have demonstrated our ability to attract buyers from as far afield as the Czech Republic, Romania, Italy, France, Germany, Holland, Denmark, Spain, Portugal as well as the USA and home markets. We look forward to building on our continued success into next year".

To see the complete results please click HERE.

For further information visit

6th December - Christie’s Sale of Exceptional Motor Cars & Automobilia at The Jack Barclay Showroom, Vauxhall, London SW8.

As mentioned before, Christie’s had a good sale with, to be fair, a selective catalogue. A round of applause from the saleroom is always a good sign, and when Rupert Banner dropped the hammer on the 1927 Bentley 3 Litre Speed Model Two-Seater at pretty well twice its estimate (£105,750 with premium) the ‘audience’ expressed their appreciation. The car sold to a UK Private Buyer.

Another good pre-war car was the 1930 Fiat 514 MM Sports 2-Seater selling for £54,050, "All to do with its ability to enter the right sort of events" opined a fellow attendee in the saleroom, while neither the 1907 Wolseley-Siddeley 18HP Roi-des-Belges Tourer (£55,225) nor 1897 Panhard et Levassor Type M2F Single Phaeton with Hood (£90,475) may have been your Editor’s ‘cup of tea’, hats off to Christie’s for top-end of estimate figures.

Of the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraiths, the superb ex-concours 1954 Six Light Sports Saloon sold for £105,750, the 1952 Touring Limousine for £31,725, and its 1952 fellow failing to find a buyer. The 1965 Mercedes-Benz SL Pagoda 230SL was a very nice car all round and at £35,250 was priced well for seller and buyer alike.

And like Bonhams, Christie’s had a very elegant ‘70s luxury gentleman’s conveyance from Crewe. This time a 1975 Rolls-Royce Corniche Fixed head Coupe selling for £9,400 - and I could live with the colour, honest.

Noteworthy items of automobilia sold included £3,290 for the cast bronze desk piece sculpture of a Ferrari 250 GTO we previewed, and £2,350 for a rare, original, pre-war Brooklands Flying Club members car badge.

Comment: Rupert Banner, Director and Head of Christie’s International Motor Car Department:

"We were delighted with the results of this evening’s sale. Dominated by fresh private consignments from long-term ownerships, most cars were heavily contested in the room producing a number of exceptional results, and a very solid 81% sale rate by lot. We look forward to 2006 with our annual Rétromobile auction on February 11th, where entries include the ex-Olry Roederer 1904 C.G.V. 6.3 litre Tourer, a 1933 Cadillac V16 Sports Roadster and first Ecurie Ecosse 1952 Jaguar C-Type Sports Racing Car".

To see the complete results please click HERE.

For further information visit

Text - Steve Wakefield
Photos - Bonhams/Christies

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