Bonhams at the Goodwood Revival 16th September 2005 - Preview

Reprising their hardback catalogue format for 2005, Bonhams have put together a sale that they hope will repeat the success of their £7.7 million auction last year. The highly desirable Bugatti GP cars have been well publicised, but your editor’s choice would be the Ex-Peter Sutcliffe genuine 'Lightweight' Jaguar E-Type.

Described as the "...most successful 'Lightweight' of 1964", the car is the ninth of a series of just twelve cars produced by the Coventry company extensively utilising alloy components such as the engine block (Xks of course always had alloy heads, with steel blocks) and many body and monocoque chassis components, together with a 5-speed ZF gearbox and fuel injection. The idea was to beat the then dominant Ferrari GTOs. That idea never quite worked out, but the cars did well at British short-circuit races (think Roy Salvadori and Innes Ireland in slacks and slip-ons) and in American Briggs Cunningham’s hands at Le Mans. British privateer Peter Sutcliffe campaigned this car at all the big events (Goodwood, Reims, Monthléry etc) in ’64 with great success and it should be a shoe-in for today’s busy historic racing scene. The estimate is £1,000,000 - 1,200,000 - and I think it will go all the way.

The two Bugattis will be familiar to Classic Driver readers, having been previewed before. However suffice it to say that given the right bidders the ex-Works/'Williams', inaugural Monaco Grand Prix-winning, 1928 Bugatti Type 35B Grand Prix Racing Two-Seater may well go through the roof. There’s no estimate on this, but given the tremendous history of the car, and its current condition (well-patinated, and still exhibiting some of the original Green paint favoured by the English driver William Grover-Williams) this has to be right up there with the best of them (2300B Alfas, ‘Blower’ Bentleys and supercharged Mercedes SSK models). Oh, and the company is near to launching its 21st century, supercar, the Veyron - this would look nice in the atrium... The other classic French GP car from the French factory is the 'Treasure Chest',1935 Bugatti Type 56/50B Offset-Seat Grand Prix Car, from the Molsheim factory’s secret store rooms 'No. 2' at £750,000 - 1,000,000. Précising the catalogue description severely, this is a car that has been assembled from original 1930s Bugatti parts that comprise 90% of the total. The result is an example of one of the marque’s most desirable straight-eight models with probably more original componentry than many cars competing today built around a genuine chassis plate. Think George Washington’s axe.

As befits the surroundings a lot of the catalogue is competition-oriented, and many of the cars very (if you can get an entry...) ‘Goodwood-able’. Take the ex-works Rootes Team Car, Le Mans 24-Hour, Index of Thermal Efficiency-winning,1961 Sunbeam Harrington Alpine Coupe B, estimated at £50,000 - 60,000, a car that has competed at the Revival on more than one occasion. Or the Ex-Dan Blocker/Nickey-Chevrolet Team/Skip Hudson,1963-64 Cooper-Chevrolet Racing-Sports Prototype ‘CM/4/63’ at £120,000 - 140,000 – and yes it’s that Dan Blocker (‘Hoss’ in the popular TV series of the time, Bonanza). And if you can’t quite afford the genuine Lightweight E-Type then why not bid on another GT car with period competition history, the ex-John Bekaert 'Autosport' Championship,1961 Jaguar E-Type at £170,000 - 230,000?

GT40s don’t come up for auction very often, and Bonhams have done well to get the 'One-Owner from New',1969-72 Ford GT40 in the catalogue. Estimated at £300,000 - 350,000, the low price reflects the cars history as one of the last chassis sold (out of period) by JW Automotive, John Wyer’s company that took over the Ford Advanced Vehicles facility, and completed by veteran team owner and racer David Piper in the '70s.

1929 Bentley 4 1/2 litre Supercharged ‘Blower’ Four Seater

1961 Sunbeam Harrington Alpine Coupe

On the pre-war front Bentleys feature large (both literally and figuratively). £90,000 - 110,000 is the estimate for the 1939 Bentley 4.25-Litre Drophead Coupé by Vanden Plas, a pistachio-coloured ‘Derby’ elegant of line and the subject of an extensive restoration completed just a few years ago. There’s also a 1929 Bentley 4 1/2 litre Supercharged ‘Blower’ Four Seater, a car built to Birkin Team Car Specification at £280,000 - 350,000. Aston Martin is represented by the 1929 1-1/2 Litre International Roadster at £35,000 - 40,000.

And finally what better car to go out on than 'XMC 76' - the Ex-Works Lightweight Le Mans, Mille Miglia,1951-53 Aston Martin DB2, chassis LML/50/50? £240,000 - 280,000 is the estimate and the successful bidder will buy a car with racing green blood in its veins that personifies the early David Brown/John Wyer days of the celebrated Feltham marque. An evocative car - and a surprisingly quick one nowadays too.

The Sale commences with an extensive selection of Automobilia at 5.30 pm, the Motor Car Sale following on. Basic access to the Revival meeting for two is included with the catalogue price (£30.00 + post).

Please CLICK HERE to see the full lotlist.

Bonhams has been appointed as the exclusive auction house for the next three years at the International Historic Motorsport Show, held at Stoneleigh Park in Coventry. The first sale will be held on Saturday 25 February 2006 and will feature sports, competition and collectors' cars, motorcycles, automobilia and memorabilia.

"It is exciting to see how quickly the International Historic Motorsport Show has become an integral part of the historic motor-racing calendar, and we are delighted to be working with the Show organisers at Stoneleigh, who have put in tremendous efforts to establish the event", said Tim Schofield, Head of Bonhams Motor Car Department. "Following the winter recess, enthusiasts are planning the upcoming racing season by February and this is a perfect time for us to hold a sale with a sports and competition flavour."

Bonhams Motor Cars Dept.
101 New Bond Street
London W1S 1SR

Tel: +44 (0)20 7313 3176
Fax: +44 (0)20 7313 3170

Text - Steve Wakefield
Photos - Bonhams

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