Bonhams dedicates a new book to its greatest classics

Few understand the classic car business as well as British auction house Bonhams. In the new book, ‘Gentlemen, start your engines!’, author Jared Zaugg looks back at the most important classics that have been sold at auction by Bonhams in recent years.

Large-format, beautifully detailed illustrations accompany descriptions of some of the most famous, most expensive, but also the most unusual classic automobiles...

Which are the most desirable classics in the world? If you ask James Knight, head of the automotive division at the prestigious auction house Bonhams, instead of a reply you will probably find a thick book thrust into your hand. ‘Gentlemen, start your engines! The Bonhams Guide to Classic Sports & Race Cars’ is a 320-page illustrated book just published by Gestalten. And the book delivers what it promises: large-format, beautifully detailed illustrations accompany descriptions of some of the most famous, most expensive, but also the most unusual classic automobiles that have recently come under the hammer at Bonhams.

Reunited with our favourites

The spectrum ranges from a 1902 16HP De Dietrich to the 1997 McLaren F1 GTR. In between are some Classic Driver favourites, car we drooled over when writing the auction reviews: Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport Spider, Aston Martin DB4 GT Jet, Ferrari 250 GT Speciale Aerodinamica, Iso Grifo 5.4-litre Coupé and Lamborghini Countach ‘Periscopio’. Of course, the Ecurie Ecosse collection, including the famous transporter, and Juan Manuel Fangio’s Mercedes-Benz W196 – still one of the most expensive cars ever sold – are there too.

Breathing space for great classics

Bonhams’ classic ‘bible’ is written by Jared Zaugg, who was responsible for the content along with Publisher Robert Klanten. They have managed to put together a coffee-table book that you’ll enjoy delving into again and again, to read the history of some great classics. The pictures, too, are outstanding, from photographers of the calibre of Pawel Litwinski, Tom Wood and Simon Clay, and the layout is generous. Here, these exceptional classics finally have room to breathe, a luxury that is often missing from the auction catalogues. We recommend it.

The book ‘Gentlemen, start your engines! The Bonhams Guide to Classic Sports & Race Cars’ by Jared Zaugg is published by Gestalten and is available directly from the website or from high-quality bookshops.