Bugatti to star at Bonhams Goodwood Festival Sale 2004
International fine art auctioneers Bonhams will be sharing the spirit of the Goodwood Festival of Speed yet again on June 25 by offering for sale a delicious selection of motor cars, motorcycles and automobilia absolutely matching this prestigious event's "Young Chargers, Old Masters" theme.
The Bonhams team's world-famous Festival of Speed auction - now in its twelfth consecutive year - will take place on Friday June 25 at Goodwood House, Chichester, West Sussex. Bonhams' principals are founding co-sponsors of this wonderful event.
Super-sleek motor vehicles from times gone by will meet modern classics in the Bonhams Sale of Sports, Competition and Collectors' Motor Cars, F1 Memorabilia, Automobilia and Models. A broad selection of international motoring's greatest marques is to be offered for enthusiastic bidders.
Top billing this year goes to a stunningly original 1935 Bugatti Type 57TT Four Seat Tourer (estimated at £150,000-200,000).
This French-built classic - chassis no. 57316, or 'Térèse' as she became more fondly known - was originally owned by Colonel G. M. Giles -distinguished founder member of the British Bugatti Owners' Club. Colonel Giles had owned no fewer than 12 different Bugatti models before the outbreak of World War II, and this 3.3-litre twin-camshaft TT model, with highly unusual and most attractive coachwork by E. Bertelli of Feltham, was actually No.10 in his personal collection.
The Colonel once described Térèse as "truly the most superb car anybody could wish for - fast, silent, terrific acceleration, and yet so docile that thick traffic can be negotiated on top speed if desired."
Colonel Giles's comments were further endorsed by 'Motor Sport' magazine when the publication road-tested the car in September 1935. The editors described Térèse as being "at once striking, well streamlined and eminently suited for fast touring."
An understatement? Hardly. The Giles car was the TT model, distinguished by a special high-compression 148-horsepower engine and lowered, raked steering column, which enabled its particularly rakish body style to be adopted. It was precisely this model, which was to be campaigned in the RAC Tourist Trophy (TT) race in Ulster that October, co-driven by the Earl Howe, the Hon. Brian Lewis and McFerren. Earl Howe achieved a creditable 2nd place in Class C and 3rd overall in that race at an average speed of 79.72mph, while Lewis set fastest lap of the race at 82.51mph.
Another highlight of this Bonhams' Festival of Speed Sale will be an elegant 1935 Bentley 3½-Litre Sporting Two-Seater (£80,000-100,000), originally owned by Captain George Eyston, yachtsman, hydroplane champion, distinguished aviator, racing driver, and three-times World Land Speed Record holder. This superbly presented and illustrious 'Silent Sports Car' has been in the same family ownership for more than 40 years.
Other charismatic marques to be offered by Bonhams at Goodwood include Ferrari, Lagonda, Hispano-Suiza and Aston Martin.
Alongside around 100 motor cars, there will be an outstanding array of automobilia including a very important single-owner collection of vintage Bentley racing memorabilia for sale. Currently owned by the descendents of the late Dr J. Dudley Benjafield MD - founding member of the British Racing Drivers Club, Le Mans 24-Hours race winning driver and one of the original 'Bentley Boys' of the roaring '20s - this collection includes a Brooklands Automobile Racing Club 120mph badge (£2,000-3,000); Roy Nockolds' painting Brooklands BRDC 500 Mile Race, October 1930 (£1,500-2,500); a Sterling silver cigarette case, inscribed 'in appreciation of a Damned Good Show, Le Mans 1929' (£500-600); and a framed excerpt from the Autocar magazine, entitled 'The Victors of Le Mans' (1927). It has been signed by all the 'Bentley Boys' and other personalities associated with the famous race team of the day - W O Bentley, Gordon-Crosby and Roy Nockholds to name but a few. It is expected to fetch £1,200-2,000.
J.D. Benjafield, known to his friends as 'Benjy' - and referred to within the Bentley racing team as 'The Bald Headed Chemist'- was an eminent bacteriologist who listed amongst his patients the likes of Sir Malcolm Campbell, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the Duke of Kent. Having taken up motor racing as a hobby in 1923 and following the 1924 success of the Bentley team at Le Mans, Benjafield decided to invest in two of the team cars. Driving for Bentley at Le Mans in 1926-29, Benjafield's finest performance was in 1927 when - partnered by writer/artist S. C. H. 'Sammy' Davis, they survived the tremendous 'White House Crash' multiple collision before nursing their extensively damaged car not only to the finish... but to victory!
Of Bonhams' Goodwood Sale Formula 1 offerings, a cap is to be offered which was presented to its current owner - world-renowned motor racing commentator Murray Walker OBE - by the late Ayrton Senna during an interview at Imola just three days before the great Brazilian multiple World Champion's tragic fatal accident there, during the San Marino GP on May 1, 1994. This highly collectable item, which is both signed and dated by the motor racing legend, is expected to realise some £2,000-3,000.
However, for collectors wanting to vacate this year's Festival of Speed with a highly useable and exciting memento of the very first Goodwood motoring extravaganza in 1993, Bonhams will be selling the ex-Denis Jenkinson 'TriBSA' hillclimb special motorcycle with which this doyenne of worldwide motor racing journalists completed one of the first-ever runs on the modern hill-climb course.
Universally known as 'Jenks', this diminutive red-bearded personality -renowned throughout the motor sporting world for his fearless reporting and outspoken analyses - had been World Champion Motorcycle Side-car Passenger in 1949 (sharing a Norton-Watsonian combination with superstar rider Eric Oliver), and he rode his home-built 'TriBSA' up Lord March's Goodwood hill before compiling a competitor's guide to the then-new course, which was included in the competitors' information pack.
This 'TriBSA' special motorcycle (£3,500-4,000) was first used by Jenks at Loton Park in August 1976 before being campaigned energetically at such hillclimb courses as Wiscombe Park, Hartland Point, Gurston Down, Prescott and Shelsley Walsh - and also in such sprint events as Wroughton, Santa Pod and Ramsey. A Jenks quote from his handwritten 'TriBSA' notebook dated September 4, 1983 reads simply, "Happiness is 7,500 in 3rd!!!"
Jenks contributed much good advice during the build-up to that inaugural Goodwood Festival of Speed, and its organisers actually invented a new competition class tailored to him - for "Riders under 5ft 2½-ins tall and over 70 years of age". However, they recall "... but he finished second, behind a rider who was even shorter, and older!". Fun was the name of the game - at Goodwood for the Festival of Speed - and in the Bonhams Festival of Speed Auction Sale... it still is.
Bonhams Motor Cars Dept.
10 Salem Rd
London W2 4DL
Tel: +44 (0)20 7313 3176
Fax: +44 (0)20 7313 3170
Text/Photos - Bonhams