Signalling the beginning of the weekend of the historic London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, Bonhams is delighted to announce a new world record for a Veteran Sunbeam. The 1903 10/12hp rear-entrance tonneau, which is one of the earliest examples created by the British company, exceeded its presale estimate to sell for $521,882 (est. $250,000 – 290,000).
The saleroom for Bonhams annual sale of Veteran Motor Cars, Steam and other Related Automobilia today (Friday 5th November) was packed. Bidders in the room and on the telephone fiercely competed for the eleven veteran cars in the sale that raised a total of over $1.6 million with 90% sold by lot, including automobilia and artwork.
The lucky buyers of three of the Veteran cars in the sale will be able to take part in the London to Brighton run on Sunday November 7th. These include a 1903 De Dion Bouton 8hp model r rear-entrance tonneau that sold for $118,462, a 1902 Rochet 4 ½hp Vis-à-vis, estimated at $61,665 – $73,024 and sold for $89,008 and the oldest entrant, a 1900 De Dion Bouton 41/2 6hp Vis-à-vis that sold for $98,826. A further highlight included a 1900 De Dion Bouton 3 1/2 hp Vis-à-vis project that had been in the same ownership for more than 90yrs selling for $42,922. The new owner will certainly have their work cut out, but the car could be back on the road in time. The oldest car in the sale, a 111yr old 1899 Decauville 5hp sold for $44,788.
The automobilia section also proved hugely successful. Fifteen works, from a private collection, by the accomplished artist Margery Balfour- Browne made over $71,401. As a young woman at the turn of the century, Margery Balfour- Browne became very interested in the motor course at Brooklands, attending many meetings and vividly recalling these dramatic events in her watercolours. Many of the lots were sold for over double their pre-sale estimates, such as “Mercedes Racing Car at Speed” that sold for $7,464 (est. $811 – $1,298) and “Brooklands Paddock Scene” that sold for $15,862 (est. $4,056 – $6,491).
The sale also included a section of Live Steam Locomotives, Stationary Engines and Models from a private collection. A 19th century 6 inch gauge model of the East India Railway 2-2-2 Well Tank Locomotive ‘Express’ commissioned by the East Indian Railway boardroom in London sold for $27,992. A further highlight was a 19th century model of a midland railway Kirtley 0-6-0 Goods Locomotive and Tender that exceeded its pre-sale estimate of $11,359 – $16,227 to sell for $20,528.
James Knight, International Managing Director of Collectors Cars comments, “Once again, the magic appeal of the London to Brighton run has a secured a record breaking sale at Bonhams – we’re now all looking forward to the 77th Veteran car run on Sunday”
Robert Brooks, Chairman of Bonhams comments, “We are very proud of the Veteran motoring team here at Bonhams, particularly as this is our first year as joint title sponsor of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run with Tindle Group Newspapers”

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