Bonhams, the international auction house, took over the magnificent Grand Palais to showcase and auction an enviable selection of their finest motorcars, motorcycles and automobilia at their Grandes Marques du Monde sale yesterday, 9th February.
The star of the show was undoubtedly the 1935 Aston Martin Ulster ‘CML 719’, which drew countless admirers during both the preview and the sale. With an outstanding provenance and racing history including a 5th place in its class at the 1935 Le Mans 24H, it is of little surprise that it well exceeded its estimate to achieve the astonishing sum of $2,151,765 (€2,012,500) after an intense exchange between four bidders in the sale room which lasted several minutes. A round of applause broke out in the audience when the hammer finally came down.
British cars performed consistently well across the sale, with the second most valuable lot realizing $1,144,151 (€1,070,100). The 1957 Bentley S1 Continental, one of a mere 31 built and previously owned by the shipping magnate George Embiricos,caught the eye of several bidders both online and in the Grand Palais. Bidding starting quickly but settled in to a lengthy and determined exchange between two bidders, eventually realizing over a million dollars.
The eternally glamorous 1966 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL ‘Gullwing’ Coupé demonstrated that its iconic looks and unmatched German engineering have stood the test of time when it became one of three cars selling over the million euro mark on the day. A swift exchange between two keen bidders eventually culminated in a price of $1,087,661 (€1,017,266)
Another German offering to achieve a Top 10 position was the 1929 Maybach SW-36 Spezial Cabriolet which achieved a respectable $719,946 (€673,350). Following closely behind was the beautifully original and charming ‘getaway car’ in the shape of a 1923 Bugatti Type 27 Brescia Torpedo which realized $541,015 (€506,600)
The perpetually popular Italian marque, Ferrari, did not fail to perform. The 1959 Ferrari 250 GT ‘Series 1’ coupé sold to a buyer in the cavernous saleroom for $467,882 (€437,600) whilst the 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 ‘Series 2’ sold online for $295,741 (€276,600).
Rally cars were well represented in the sale. ‘The world’s best and most beautiful rally car’ the 1977 Lancia Stratos Coupé achieved $400,255 (€374,350) and the highly original 1983 Renault 5 Turbo Tour de Corse Group B Rally Works Car was sold in the room for $209,029 (€195,500), whilst the ex-Ecurie Kremer 1970 Porsche 914/6 achieved $197,374 (€184,600)
Further highlights of the sale included:
– One of the oldest cars in the sale, the 1902 Panhard & Levassor 7 HP Type A Voiturette, was sold for $271,149 (€253,600)
– The 1955 Porsche 356 1500 Super Speedster ‘Pre A’ achieved $413,353 (€386,600)
– 1962 Facel Vega Facellia F2B Cabriolet achieved double its pre-sale estimate of $32,000-42,800 (€30,000-40,000), realizing $92,860 (€86,850).
– The 1938 Mercedes Benz 320 3.2 Liters Cabriolet sold in the room for $381,170 (€356,500)
– After one of the lengthiest exchanges in the sale, the 1955 Renault 4CV ‘Magpie’ Police Car sold for $42,447 (€39,700), well exceeding its pre-sale estimate.
From the collection of motorcycles, the star lot was the 2009 Ducati 990 Desmosedici RR, which sparked intense bidding, eventually achieving $77,346 (€72,340) against a pre-sale estimate of $53,460-64,152 (€50,000-60,000). A similar success story was that of the unique 2016 Motul 800 CM3 Onirika 2853, a bespoke custom creation which realized $31,060 (€29,050). The proceeds will support the Motul Corazón Foundation, a socially responsible charitable organization which supports underprivileged adolescents worldwide.
In the automobilia sale, the top lot was the exquisite Lalique glass mascot representing ‘Victoire’ which realized $30,579 (€28,600). Three carburettors 40 DCZ for a Ferrari realized over 5 times their estimate of 1,604-2,138 (€1,500-2,000) when they achieved the incredible price of $10,959 (€10,250).
Philip Kantor, Bonhams European Head of Motoring, said: “This is our sixth sale at the Grand Palais, and it is clear that the event has become recognized as the season opener in the collectors’ car world during Retromobile. We were delighted to open our European season of sales with such a strong collection of vehicles from the world’s best marques, with several lots achieving well in excess of a million euros. The UK motoring department are now looking forward to the Goodwood Member’s Meeting auction on March 19th, and the European team to the Spa Classic sale on May 21st in Belgium to build upon this successful opening sale.”