December London Auctions 2005

Christmas comes but once a year...and the London auction scene comes alive for one last chance to buy or sell a desirable car before the New Year. Three auctions will be held within a few days of each other with entries such as this 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster for starters.

1st December - Coys ‘True Greats’ at the Royal Horticultural Hall, Westminster London SW1

Coys have over 50 motor cars and motorcycles for sale, in addition to a selection of automobilia and watches, and the Moulin Poster Collection (some 120 lots of motoring or travel-related posters).

The red Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster is ‘Refer Department’ for estimate, and has come from a Private Swedish collection. Coys advise some attention as the car has not been run very much in recent years, and if open-top 300 SL motoring is not to your taste they also have a ‘Gullwing’ in maroon from the same collection. ‘Refer Department’ again for the price I’m afraid.

Coys usually have a strong pre-war presence and this auction is no exception with notable entries being a very nice 1936 Lagonda LG45 at £85,000-110,000, a 1937 Alvis Speed 25 Type SB at £28,000-34,000 that had appeared in the film ‘The Battle of Britain’, and a 1937 Bentley 4¼ All weather Tourer by Vanden Plas (£95,000-115,000).

Ferrari Type 196S Dino - 'Refer Department'

1977 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Shooting Brake 'Safari' - £45,000-55,000

More modern machinery includes a 1964 Alfa Romeo Giulia SS Sport Speciale by Bertone, £17,000-20,000, a 1982 Lancia 037 (ex-Martini and Markku Alen) at £110,000-130,000, and a 1986 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Zagato (£65,000-78,000) in the pleasing combination of Titanium Grey/St James Red leather interior.

The Sale commences with Collectors’ Items and Watches at 15.30, the Moulin Poster Collection at 17.00, and Motor Cars at 19.00.

To see the complete lotlisting please click HERE.

For further information visit

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

The 1966 Lamborghini 400GT Monza one-off with coachwork by Neri & Bonacini (£80,000 - 120,000) has been extensively promoted pre-sale by Bonhams, but important additions to the catalogue come from Mercedes-Benz, in the form of a ‘Refer Department’ 1938 540K Cabriolet 'A' , and Bentley with a 1927 4½-Litre Tourer at £220,000 - 250,000.

The German car has the classic two-door Sindelfingen coachwork complete with side-mounted spare wheels, a central spotlight and twin horns, and was of course one of the fastest touring cars of the 1930s, having genuine 100+mph performance from its supercharged engine. Slightly showy for many people’s taste, and perhaps more suitable for a Pebble Beach sale, if sold the car will go for big money. The Bentley is all British-bulldog and is a relatively recent (2001 - 2005) total rebuild of a genuine 4½ engine and chassis with typical Vanden Plas-style ‘Le Mans’ bodywork (the car having originally sported Gurney Nutting clothes as a Weyman saloon). It looks wonderful in the catalogue and given the cost of restoration, and the high level of current interest in these cars, may well go all the way.

1966 Lamborghini 400GT Monza - £80,000-120,000

1964 Aston Martin DB5 4.2 Litre - £90,000-110,000

Bonhams have had a tremendous amount of interest on the Lamborghini, a car we have previewed on Classic Driver last month, and it represents one of the few rarities from the 1960s only recently unearthed. Let’s see what happens to the price on the night for a car that should be (after restoration) a shoe-in at Pebble and Villa d’Este. On the 1960s GT car front other entries include several Aston Martins, such as the 1964 DB5 4.2-Litre at £90,000 - 110,000, and 1968 DB6, £34,000 - 38,000.

The Sale commences with Automobilia at 11.00, the Motor Cars starting at 16.00.

To see the complete lotlisting 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.

Christie’s have produced a pre-Christmas catalogue that includes some selected automobilia together with a predominantly pre-war entry of Motor Cars.

Pick of the cars would be one of the early post-War Rolls-Royce, the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club Annual Rally and Concours 'Best in Show' 2000 1954 Silver Wraith Six Light Sports Saloon with coachwork by H.J.Mulliner, estimated at £100,000 – 150,000. Rolls-Royce and Bentley had been merged since the 1930s and after WW2 produced more models that were basically identical bar badging and discrete changes of bodywork.

The traditional ‘Royce owner of the ‘20s and ‘30s was now probably an owner/driver rather than chauffeur-driven passenger and so designs that would appeal to the social, driving aspect of purchase were becoming the norm. This car crosses the boundaries slightly as although it is built on the generic Standard Steel Saloon chassis, it was a lengthened one, and the bodywork was bespoke to the car. Subject to a complete restoration in the 1990s that saw the car completed in May 2000 and immediately set on its winning ways on the RREC concours circuit. It’s offered at a fraction of the re-build cost and this, together with its unique coachwork, make it one of the most desirable cars the marque produced in that period.

Such is the desirability of this particular car that the two other Silver Wraith Limousines, (1953 for £30.000 - 40.000 and 1952 for £20.000 - 30.000) are estimated accordingly. There’s also a more modern Rolls-Royce, the very 1970s Willow Gold/Dark Olive webasto roof 1975 Rolls-Royce Corniche FHC at £9.000 - 12.000, and a much earlier 1926 Rolls-Royce 20 H.P. Dual Cowl Tourer at £16.000 - 24.000.

1990 Mercedes-Benz SL 500SL - £10,000 - 15,000

1975 Rolls-Royce Corniche Fixed Head Coupe £9,000 - 12,000

A curiosity is the rather elegant 1939 Atalanta 4.4 Litre V12 Drophead Coupe (£45.000 - 55.000). A product of the company that made cleverly-designed sporting cars in the late 1930s, this is one of the few examples remaining and has a 4,387cc, 112bhp [Those were the days! - Ed.] Lincoln V12 in a tubular-steel chassis clothed in racy coachwork by Abbott. And the cars entered competitive events at the time so it could present an interesting entry to historic rallying.

On the automobilia front, some interesting entries include several period photographs of racing in the early ‘60s and this decorative desk piece sculpture of a Ferrari 250 GTO in polished cast bronze, surmounting a wood base plinth; of modern origin. With a length of 14ins (35 cm) it would make a nice Christmas present for the writing table in one’s study. The estimate is £2,000 - 3,000.

Ferrari 250 GTO - a decorative desk piece sculpture - £2,000-3,000

Black and white photograph of 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO chassis no. 3505GT - £300-500

The Sale commences at 19.00.

To see all the Motor Cars with colour photographs and descriptions in the Classic Driver database, please click HERE.

To see the complete lotlisting please click HERE.

For further information visit

Text - Steve Wakefield
Photos - Coys/Bonhams/Christies

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