Bonhams at the Goodwood Revival, 16 September 2011: Review

It was all change for Bonhams at its 2011 Revival sale as the Bond St house swapped auction-tent ends for its rostrum. A ‘dream team’ of James Knight - International Managing Director - and the company's Chairman, Robert Brooks, then shared the stage for another, multi-million-pound sale.

With the ex-Sir Robert Ropner ‘Semi-Lightweight’ E-type selling post-sale for "an undisclosed sum", it was down to the £595,500, 1971 Ferrari Daytona Spider (an original car, one of only 25 to European specification) fighting it out with two pre-War Rolls for overall, on-the-afternoon honours.

The 1908 Silver Ghost sold for £485,500, while the 1911 Silver Ghost – a magnificent ceremonial car which was ordered by the Maharajah of Mysore for the 1911 Delhi Durbar – made £419,500.

Other big-ticket items included the perfect car to arrive at the pre-Revival cricket match, a 1954 Bentley R-Type Continental, formerly the property of celebrated English test cricketers Godfrey Evans and Ted Dexter (£290,250), the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL 'Gullwing' (£342,500), and another post-sale seller, the 1959 Lister-Chevrolet which achieved £265,000.

The popularity of classic Porsche 911s shows no sign of abating and the 1973 Carrera RS 2.7-Litre 'Lightweight' sold well at £221,500. Maybe a little too ‘Athena poster’ for some, the wingless, periscopica 1976 Lamborghini Countach LP400 is nonetheless rare and was truly ground-breaking in its day. The yellow, RHD example at Bonhams’ Revival sale made £166,500.

Elsewhere in the catalogue, £32,775 for the 1973 Lotus Elan S4 Sprint FHC was at the lower end of its estimate, but still a fair old price for an Elan, albeit the penultimate example built, with only 1599 miles from new. The same sort of money (£31,338) bought a nice-looking, ‘works replica’ 1972 Alpine A110 1600S to Group IV specification.

Finally, with the smell of wet tweed in our nostrils and the sound of stiletto on asphalt still ringing in our ears, which car was the most ‘Goodwood-able’ of the 2011 Bonhams sale crop? My money – all £23,000 of it – would go on the ex-works, Peter Jopp/Les Leston, 1959 Sunbeam Rapier Series III Rally Car. No it’s not an SWB. Nor is it a big Healey.

It is, however, an interesting historic rally car, apparently ‘ready to go’, unmodified by tree or stone wall, with Monte Carlo Rally history in the hands of top drivers Jopp and Leston.

Twenty-three grand for all of this? A bargain. Now, which way is the Col de Turini...

To see the complete results of the Bonhams 16 September Goodwood Revival sale, please click HERE.

Text: Steve Wakefield
Photos: Classic Driver

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