South to Surrey
Set amidst the rolling Surrey Hills and yet within easy reach of Guildford, Loseley Park can trace its history back to the Domesday Book of 1086. A trusted adviser to Queen Elizabeth I, Sir William More built the present Manor House between 1562 and 1568 using masonry salvaged from nearby Waverley Abbey (itself a twelfth-century building). Still home to his descendants, this imposing Elizabethan edifice is surrounded by stunning parkland not to mention a walled garden, ornamental lake and plethora of ancient trees. Visited by various monarchs from Queen Elizabeth I in the 1560s through to Queen Mary during the 1930s, Loseley Park will play host to H&H for the first time on Sunday June 8th 2008.
With a large clear-span marquee in which to house the cars, motorcycles and automobilia as well as good road / rail / airport links, the sale promises to be a great event and has already attracted a suitably aristocratic 1936 Bugatti Type 57 Graber Sports Saloon as the headline lot. Invoiced to Bugatti’s Swiss agency, Bucar SA, on September 19th 1936, chassis 57443 was subsequently dispatched to Carrosserie Graber. Believed but not warranted to be a one-off commissioned by its architect first owner, the resultant Sports Saloon offered the same internal accommodation as a factory-bodied Galibier but with far more flamboyant packaging.
The last of a long line of Bugattis to have belonged to the vendor’s family, chassis 57443 was purchased from A. van Ramshorst’s renowned NV Albatros dealership in November 1962. Resident in Sweden before then, the past forty-six years have seen it used for a variety of touring duties including attending a wedding at Molsheim. Pleasingly retaining its original leather upholstery, the Type 57 is in unrestored but running order (though, the engine was treated to an extensive overhaul by Jan Keizer of Doetinchem in 1991). A familiar sight in Dutch Bugatti circles and well known to the late Hugh Conway with whom the vendor’s family were good friends, this timewarp Graber Sports Saloon carries a saleroom estimate of £100,000 – £120,000.
Back to Buxton
H&H’s ancestral home and the venue at which we have established more auction world record prices than any other, the Pavilion Gardens in Buxton will be the site of our second summer sale on July 22nd -23rd 2008. Following on from the success of last November’s £1.5million auction, we are anticipating a strong result and have already been instructed to sell a barn find Lister sports racer which boasts a wonderful history. Having finished 2nd overall aboard his Jehu Riley Special at the 1954 Bol DOr 24-hours, John Horridge determined to go one better the following year. Enlisting the help of Geoffrey Beetson (a fellow Lancastrian and former Le Mans entrant), the pair bought a brand new Lister sports racing chassis BHL9 to which they fitted a Riley 1.5 litre engine and two-seater fibreglass bodywork.
Road registered as DEN 275 on 9th May 1955, the resultant Lister-Riley duly lined up for the Bol DOr 24-hours Grand Prix de Paris some six days later. Running against Porsche 550, Maserati A6GCS, Ferrari 500 Mondial and Gordini T15S opposition, the Lister was forced to retire with big-end failure. Returning to the UK, it then entered various domestic meetings but met with little success. By the year?s end Beetson had apparently lost interest in the project and ceased his co-driving duties. Undeterred, Horridge had the Lister re-engineered for 1956 with a Bristol engine and while their first few outings were unspectacular, car and driver soon picked up momentum. Despite an unwelcome retirement from the April British Empire Trophy meeting, 1957 promised to be even better until a coming together with Lance Reventlow’s Maserati at Snetterton on July 27th.
Reputedly assuming full responsibility for the accident which left Horridge with a broken spine, Reventlow had BHL9 returned to Lister for substantial repairs. While, the exact details of its reconstruction have yet to be verified, it is thought that the Cambridge firm rebuilt the sports racer using the chassis from BHL3 (formerly registered as VPP 9) and an ex-Works flatiron alloy body. Retiring from its final Continental outing at the Grand Prix des Frontiers on May 5th 1958, DEN 275 was put up for sale some three months later – Horridge having switched allegiance to Lotus. Although, advertised as just completely rebuilt, the Lister was by then a little long in the tooth and did not change hands until 1966. Entering the current ownership in August 1969, the sports racer was reportedly used for various sprints and hillclimbs during the 1970s but without distinction. Laid-up for many years in a partially dismantled state, the two-seater nevertheless appears to be substantially complete. An exciting restoration project, this barn find Lister Bristol is potentially eligible for some of the world’s most prestigious historic racing events and wears a saleroom estimate of £50,000 – £70,000.