Lost Mercedes Finds a Home for $4.54 Million at $22 Million Bonhams Goodwood Revival Sale

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An extraordinary unrestored supercharged ‘S’ Type Mercedes that lay hidden in a garage for six decades led the pack at the Bonhams Goodwood Revival Sale at the Goodwood Motor Circuit in Chichester, UK, on Saturday 15th September, selling for more than $4.54 million. The sale achieved a selling rate of 84 percent in front of a huge and enthusiastic crowd.

The “lost” 1928 Mercedes-Benz 26/120/180 ‘S’ Type Sports Tourer, described as one of the most important motor car finds of the past decade, went for $4,543,085 to an anonymous bidder in the room.

Almost without precedent for motor cars of its age and type, the dark battleship grey ‘S’ Type was owned by the same family from new and had never been restored, retaining its original blue leather upholstery in its entirety.

Meanwhile an important collection of Maseratis owned by the Hartley family, from the Home Counties, sold for a collective $4.67 million. Leading the way was a unique 1929 Maserati Tipo 26M four-seater sports racing car with Brooklands Double Twelve, Irish Grand Prix and RAC Tourist Trophy racing pedigree, which realised $2,726,824.

Another strong performance came from the Lagonda V12 Team Car borne out of the desire of a pair of enthusiastic Lords – Lords Selsdon and Waleran – to go racing at the 1939 Le Mans 24-Hour Endurance Race. It sold for $2,091,132.

Top Alfa Romeo in this sale was the ex-Leonard Headlam, Tourist Trophy and Irish Grand Prix Team Car, a 1929 Alfa Romeo 1750 SS Competition Tourer which sold for $1,780,000, doubling its presale estimate of $810,830.

Other highlights in the $22.05 million auction included the sale of ‘ARX 91B’, the 1964 Austrian Alpine-winning, 1965 Targa Florio 1964 Austin-Healey 3000 MkIII Works Rally/Race Car, which beat its pre-sale estimate to go for $392,928 – an auction record for a rally Healey 3000.

The sale saw Bonhams continue with its success selling Ferraris, getting the 1965 275 GTS Spyder away for $648,664 in a post sale deal. A 1968 Ferrari 330GTC achieved $372,982. 

A lot that generated much interest was a unique piece of art modelled on the ‘Airfix’ kits lovingly built by generations of children. The life-sized model of the Aston Martin DBR1 that won the 1959 Le Mans 24-Hour Endurance Race, measuring 6.35m wide by 3.3m tall, sold for $44,595 to an unknown telephone bidder.

James Knight, International Managing Director Collectors Motor Cars, who took the sale with CEO Malcolm Barber, commented after the sale: “Once again Bonhams has shown its ability to sell every kind of marque. Today we saw the wonderful unrestored Mercedes 6.8-litre S-Type make $4.54m. This was followed by strong prices for Alfa Romeo, Lagonda, Maserati, Ferrari, AC Cobra and Bentley. With the world records achieved for Bentley and Rolls Royce at the Goodwood Festival of Speed it has been a very good summer for Bonhams at Goodwood. Given the economic context of both these sales – the worst financial downturn since the 1930’s – this is a sterling effort and a very encouraging message for collectors about the intrinsic and long-term value of collectors cars.”

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