RM Auctions, Salon Privé London 23 June 2011: Preview

1929 Bentley Speed Six 'Le Mans' Style Tourer: £450,000 - 570,000

‘Quintessentially English’ – now what does that mean to you? I’m not speaking of cricket, village greens, bowler hats and fox-hunting. No, in the automotive sense it could be represented by bluff pre-War sports cars from Bentley and Lagonda, or rakish straight-six Astons and Jaguars from the 50s, driven by ex-Army types, all cavalry twills and pipe-smoke.

Ten years later and the country was setting the agenda for fashion and pop music, an E-type or DB5 (just earning its James Bond connection) was the car to have or, if on two wheels, a BSA or Triumph. British 'bikes, sports cars and luxury limos from Rolls and Bentley led the world.

Until the 1970s, that is, when ‘Quintessentially English’ was replaced by ‘Typically British’. And it all went a bit pear-shaped.

1939 Lagonda LG6 Drophead Coupé: £170,000 - 220,000 1964 Aston Martin DB5: £215,000 - 275,000

Well, Ontario-based RM Auctions (which has its European offices in that 1960s hot spot, London’s Carnaby Street) is holding its first sale at the luxury and supercar ‘Salon Privé’ event, to be held in West London later this month.

The sale will be held late-afternoon on 23 June, and the 126-page catalogue – just delivered from the printers – is packed with many such gems from the annals of British car-making.

1961 Aston Martin DB4 Vantage Convertible, ex-Peter Ustinov: £250,000 - 320,000

There are 16 Aston Martins, for starters. Ranging in age from a 1937 15/98 Roadster (£90,000 - 120,000) to the brutish, twin-supercharged 1997 Vantage (£55,000 - 70,000). Both are red, incidentally, as is the significant 1939 2-Litre 'Brooklands' Speed Model. Carrying an estimate of £320,000 - 380,000, those familiar with British historic racing wil know just how fast these cars can be (this has been restored by marque expert Andy Bell) and it’s eligible for all the right events. There’s also a LHD 1961 DB4 Vantage Convertible (£250,000 - 320,000) and a Bond-tastic Silver Birch 1964 DB5 for £215,000 - 275,000.

1959 Jaguar XK150 3.8S Roadster: £180,000 - 240,000 1963 Bentley SIII Continental Coupé: £75,000 - 90,000

The Bentley entries are highlighted by a magnificent 1929 Speed Six 'Le Mans' Style Tourer (£450,000 - 570,000) although the Classic Driver office always has a space in the car park for ‘Chinese Eye’ Rolls and Bentleys and we do rather fancy Lot 140, the LHD, two-tone-green 1963 Bentley SIII Continental Coupé, for £75,000 - 90,000.

Closely related family member for so many years, Rolls-Royce, supplies the sporting (Bentley-baiting, some would suggest) 1926 Phantom I Experimental Sports Tourer ‘10EX’ at £400,000 - 800,000, and another stylish pre-War Rolls, the 1932 Phantom II Continental Drophead Coupé (£380,000 - 420,000).

1962 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II Drophead Coupé: £240,000 - 280,000

Did someone mention the Jaguar E-type was enjoying its fiftieth? I think I read something about it, but might have been mistaken. Anyway, should there be some sort of celebration for what is still one of the most beautiful cars ever designed, RM lists three in the catalogue, including the pick of the bunch, a 1966 Series I 4.2 Fixed Head Coupé, in black with red interior and estimated at £40,000 - 50,000. There’s also an all-aluminium 1951 C-type Recreation for £70,000 - 90,000, a 1948 Mk IV Saloon (£30,000 - 38,000) and a nice-specification (3.8S motor, matching numbers, BRG) 1960 XK150 3.8S Fixed Head Coupé for £55,000 - 65,000.

1952 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage Drophead Coupé: £125,000 - 175,000 1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback: £325,000 - 425,000

The sale commences with seven motorbikes highlighted by the 1960 BSA Gold Star (£14,000 - 18,000) and the 1939 Brough Superior 11.50 V-Twin (£35,000 - 45,000). These, together with the more accessibly estimated BSAs and Triumphs, are nice entries and just as Swinging Sixties as an E-type or Cloud II Drophead.

1960 AC Aceca Bristol: £80,000 - 95,000 1926 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Experimental Sports Tourer: £400,000 - 800,000

Finally, a quick run-through on some of the single-marque entries. The 1992 Allard J2X Hardy Replica (£45,000 - 60,000) seems true to the original and the 1961 Sunbeam Alpine Harrington Coupé (£58,000 - 70,000 and a works entry at Le Mans in '61 , to boot) is an attractive car eminently suitable for the Revival or Le Mans Classic. We also like the 1960 AC Aceca Bristol (£80,000 - 95,000, an original LHD car, Weber-equipped with recent Tour Auto history) and feel this could be one of the surprises of the night.

All in all, an impressive catalogue and interesting sale: one that we look forward to attending on the 23rd.

1932 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Drophead Coupé: £380,000 - 420,000

You can view all the entries in the Classic Driver car database.

Please click HERE to see a full lotlist.

Admission to this event requires the purchase of an official auction catalogue for £50.00. The catalogue admits two and must be presented at the entrance to the sale to be granted entry.

Syon House
Syon Park
London, United Kingdom TW8 8JF

June 23, 2011
5:00 PM - 9:00 PM GMT

June 22, 2011
11:00 AM - 9:00 PM GMT
June 23, 2011
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM GMT

Please note that on Wednesday, 22 June, the preview will be open to Salon Privé guests only until 4:30 PM. The preview will then open for those with an official auction catalogue (plus one guest) until 9:00 PM.

RM Auctions
One Classic Car Drive
Ontario N0P 1A0

Telephone: +1 519 352 45 75
+44 (0)20 7851 7077
Fax: +1 519 351 13 37

Website: www.rmauctions.com

Email: [email protected].

Text: Steve Wakefield
Photos: Courtesy of RM Auctions

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