Two auction houses held three sales in early December with 174 cars coming under the hammer. Some 117 cars sold, with 43 of them going for a six-figure sum and a further nine for seven-figure sums. One car comfortably achieved an eight-figure price and in so doing it became one of the top 10 most valuable cars ever sold at auction.
With quality prioritised over quantity, among the 29 cars in the Bonhams at Bond St catalogue were two Rolls-Royces, five Ferraris, six Jaguars, nine Aston Martins (inc. three Zagatos) and… no Porsches. Among those which caught our pre-sale eye was an Aston Vanquish Zagato, a Vantage V600 Le Mans, a V8 Vantage X-Pack, a Jag F-Type Project 8, a Ferrari 365 GT4 Boxer and a 500 Superfast – the ultimate in ‘60s Ferrari road cars.
With almost 100 automobilia lots being offered prior to the 78 catalogued cars, Bonhams Olympia sale is a comparative marathon. As in previous years, the cars here were generally lower value offerings with no seven-figure blockbusters, but in addition to the 20-or-so pre-war and vintage lots were half a dozen Astons and Ferraris – including a ‘73 246 GTS Dino (est. £350-400k), four Porsches and a fabulous ‘67 ‘Bullitt’ replica Mustang (est. £70-90k).
In stark contrast to the conservative design of traditional car auction catalogues, RM Sotheby’s flamboyant production for its Petersen Museum sale in LA featured over 70 West Coast Kustom Kulture memorabilia lots followed by 68 vehicles ranging from Honda Monkey bikes to a ’66 Batmobile.
Two of the three Aston entries were Zagatos (do we spot a trend here?), while among the nine Porsches was a 959 Komfort, a Carrera GT, a 997 GT2 RS and a 918 Weissach Spider. No LaFerraris under the hammer this time, but instead you could have bid on a McLaren P1, a Miura P400 SV or one (or all!) of ten other Ferraris including, for serious high-rollers, an ex-works ‘56 Ferrari 290 MM carrying a $22-26 million estimate.
(All quoted sales figures are inclusive of buyers’ premiums.)
BONHAMS, THE BOND STREET SALE
Aston Martins accounted for a quarter of the cars offered at last year’s Bond St. sale, and this year the ratio was up to almost a third, with only a third of those being sold.
The unspectacular Aston sell-through rate was reflected in the sale overall with 10 (34%) of the 29 cars offered finding new homes on the day – the most notable price-wise being the BMW 507 which went for a robust £2,367,000.
Only two cars were offered at no reserve and this along with some bullish reserves and estimates, not to mention the ‘B-word’, won’t have helped matters. The cars we had our eye on (Vanquish Zagato, F-Type Project 8, V8 Vantage X-Pack, V600 Le Mans, 365 GT4 Boxer and the 500 Superfast) all failed to sell, as did a pair of ex-works Jaguar endurance racers.
The BMW 507 saved the day. It bumped the average price of cars sold from a little over £300k to a coincidental £507k, and it accounted for almost half of the day’s £5,070,750 takings. That’s £244k down on last year’s total (inc. the three cars sold in post-sale deals last year), but a substantial £1.32m up on 2016. So, Bond St. 2018 could’ve been better, could’ve been worse…
ALL CARS SOLD:
|28.||1958 BMW 507 3.2-Litre Series II Roadster||£2,367,000|
|25.||1964 Aston DB5 4.2-Litre Sports Saloon||£743,000|
|03.||1924 Vauxhall 30/98hp OE Velox Tourer||£437,000|
|06.||1958 Aston Martin DB Mk.III DHC *||£408,250|
|16.||1954 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Roadster||£264,500|
|02.||2004 Aston Martin DB7 Zagato Coupé *||£253,000|
|29.||1979 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI Limousine||£241,500|
|12.||1966 Citroen DS 21 Decapotable||£172,500|
|18.||1960 Jaguar XK150 ‘S’ 3.8-Litre Coupé||£115,000|
|01.||1959 Jaguar XK150 ‘S’ 3.4-Litre Coupé||£69,000|
(* no reserve)
CARS NOT SOLD included:
|26.||1993 Jaguar XJ220C Competition||£2.2-2.8m||£1.8m|
|21.||1966 Aston DB6 short-chassis Volante||£1.4-1.6m||£1.35m|
|10.||1958 Ferrari 500 Superfast||£1.3-1.4m||£1.05m|
|24.||1970 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona||£520-580k||£490k|
|30.||2017 Aston Vanquish Zagato||£550-650k||£490k|
|23.||1973 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS||£450-550k||£410k|
|27.||2011 Ferrari 599 GTO||£450-550k||£400k|
|07.||1999 Aston Vantage V600 Le Mans||£425-475k||£380k|
|08.||1975 Ferrari 365 GT4 BB||£260-290k||£250k|
|05.||1988 Aston V8 Vantage X-Pack||£270-340k||£240k|
|22.||1980 Aston V8 Volante||£160-200k||£155k|
|04.||2016 Jaguar F-Type Project 7||£150-200k||£130k|
With an average value of £62.5k for cars sold at this auction over the past three years, the Olympia sale is more of a provincial-style affair with a pre-1970s bias, but there was nonetheless a decent assortment of not so old-school classics carrying estimates upward of £60k. These included one of two early Vanquishes, the ’73 246 GTS Dino, an F12 Berlinetta, a 599 GTB and a couple of 308s. On the day though, all these were going home unsold.
Almost all of the higher value cars that did sell were from the 1930s, ‘50s and early ‘60s, eg. a couple of 1921 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghosts, the more desirable achieving the sale’s highest price of £276,000 (est. £300-400k).
Selling for £189,750 a ’36 Talbot Tourer exceeded its high estimate, as did a ’39 Derby Bentley 4.25L Tourer (£163,300) and a ’53 Aston DB2 Vantage X (£201,250). Those that sold for figures within their guide prices included a ’58 Aston DB Mk. III (£112,700), a ’60 Bentley S2 Continental saloon (£94,300) and a ’62 E-Type 3.8 FHC (£97,750), while one more recent lot that also sold within estimate was an ‘89 Porsche 911 Carrera Super Sport Cabrio (£72,800). Four cars changed hands in post sale deals: a ‘61 E-Type 3.8 roadster (£74,167), a ’73 BMW 3.0 CSL (£73,600), the Mustang Bullitt rep. (£71,250) and an ’03 Vanquish (£43,833).
Of the 77 cars offered only five were at no reserve, and when all was done and dusted, 53 cars (69%) had sold for a total of £3,189,563. That’s £69k up on last year’s Olympia sale (59% sold) and a little over £87k up on the year before (57% sold).
One just-above average value sale made the difference between this year and last, but in any event, 69% sold roundly beats the 34% from two days earlier. Not a bad effort considering the omnipresent ‘uncertainty’.
RM SOTHEBY’S, PETERSEN MUSEUM, LA
It did seem a little incongruous that one of the world’s most valuable cars – the ex-works Ferrari 290 MM – was to be offered at the Mecca of Californian hot-rodding culture, alongside Von Dutch artworks, krazy kustoms and all manner of weird and wonderful memorabilia. However, this juxtaposition didn’t prove problematic.
With the bidding opening at $10m, the Grand Finale 290 MM ignited an extended over-the-phone contest between three collectors before the hammer fell at $20m, or $22,005,000 (£17,284,597) with premium.
That’s serious money by any standards, but two very similar Ferraris have sold for substantially more (scroll down here The 75 Most Expensive).
Sixty-eight vehicles were offered and 54 of them sold for an average price of $727,290 to make a grand total of $39,273,680. This made it the Petersen sale the most successful car auction ever held in Los Angeles, but at the same time it’s worth noting the gross totals achieved at RM Sotheby’s previous end-of-year sales:
- 2017 New York – $44,846,500
- 2016 Duemila Ruote, Milan (no reserve) – €47,690,272
- 2015 New York – $72,534,000
CARS SOLD included:
|241.||1956 Ferrari 290 MM||$22,005,000|
|200.||1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV||$2,205,000|
|201.||1989 Ferrari F40||$1,545,000|
|227.||2015 Porsche 918 Weissach||$1,534,000|
|208.||2015 McLaren P1||$1,435,000|
|199.||1955 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing||$1,270,000|
|196.||1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona||$775,000|
|222.||2005 Porsche Carrera GT||$775,000|
|207.||2018 Aston Vanquish Zagato Villa d’Este||$637,500|
|234.||1965 Lamborghini 350GT||$555,000|
|219.||1971 Lamborghini LP400S Series 2||$368,000|
|188.||2006 Ford GT *||$318,500|
|226.||2003 Ferrari 575 Maranello||$224,000|
|220.||1992 Ferrari 512 TR||$173,000|
|240.||1974 De Tomaso Pantera L *||$134,400|
|224.||1996 Ferrari F355 Spider||$114,800|
(* no reserve)
CARS NOT SOLD included:
|198.||1987 Porsche 959 Komfort||$950k-1.1m||$870k|
|191.||1964 Shelby 289 Cobra||$850-950k||$840k|
|236.||1960 Alfa Giulietta SZ Zagato||$600-750k||$540k|
|225.||2011 Porsche GT2 RS||$400-500k||$370k|
|203.||2003 Aston DB AR1 Zagato||$325-375k||$270k|
|229.||2008 Ferrari 430 Scuderia||$200-220k||$180k|
|221.||1989 Ferrari Testarossa||$130-160k||$105k|
Of the three, only Bonhams at Olympia managed to better its 2017 total, but the other two could hardly be described as failures, especially considering the all too prevalent ‘B’ and ‘T’ words…
Perhaps more notable is the divergence between the UK and US auction scenes. Despite its best efforts, across both Bonhams’ recent London sales fewer than 7% of lots were at no reserve while just under 52% were sold. In contrast, RM Sotheby’s offered 46% at no reserve with almost 80% of cars selling in LA, while its September Battersea sales had 30% (2018) and 32% (2017) of cars at no reserve.
From these and other sales on both sides of the pond, it’s clear that UK sellers, or certainly Bonham’s clientele, have become considerably more intransigent than RM Sotheby’s sellers.
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