The weathermen forecast a cloudy but dry Sunday but they didn’t warn of the wicked wind blowing up from the Channel which, like the Revival last year made the Bonhams marquee an occasionally crowded refuge. And the location inside the perimeter of the circuit offered event visitors a glimpse of what was on offer but also made the sale a noisy affair as the PA system competed manfully with the circuit action.
We went to see the Aston Martin DP214 Replica GT Competition Coupe – based off a standard DB4 chassis (DB4/618/R) this is an immaculately prepared car and it was a disappointment to see a SOLD sign on the car at the start of the day. Enquiries elicited the information that an offer had come in that the owner felt too good to refuse and the offer had been accepted.
The information on the day was that the bid had been within 10% of bottom estimate. That tuned out to be a slight exaggeration as the results show the bid as £510,000 (£551,666 incl. premium). But also showed a level of pragmatism by Bonhams that belies the bluster of headlines that include premiums and boost perceived performance. It was also interesting that Bonhams both on the floor and from the rostrum were free with information about a second car available from a specialist dealer.
Strangely enough, the overall performance of the sale measuring sales (with premium) against bottom estimate, the car sales revenue for the day was £5,530,745 which was 116.92% of bottom premium – better than their 97.17% at Amelia Island – so maybe, if they had been a little braver on the Aston……?
There were just two other Astons at the sale – a project 15/98 went to an Italian buyer at a hammer price of £52,000 (£59,740 incl. premium) while a very nice 1934 12/50 HP Long Chassis Tourer failed to find a buyer with the top bid of £75,000 falling woefully short of the estimate.
So where were the stars of the show and what accounted for the high returns versus estimate? There was an exceptional 1997 Subaru Impreza Prototype as new with 51 kilometres on the clock with the hammer coming down at £100,000 (£113,500 incl. premium) and a 1957 Jaguar Mk I Sports Saloon, a perfect Goodwood car that sold for £168,000 (£189660 incl. premium) against a bottom estimate of just £70,000. As has been the trend, the best of the best – and there were more than a few in the inventory – sold well.
But top prize for finger in the air valuations went to the 1988 Cadillac Trump Golden Series Limousine, one of a pair of prototypes commissioned at the suggestion of the then billionaire and now US President – estimated at £10,000 and offered with No Reserve, the hammer price of £47,500 (£54,625 incl. premium) showed the true vagaries of the auction arena.
That car, along with a number of others, was displayed outside the marquee and that display did the event, as well as the lots displayed, no favours. There is a saying in the motor trade that with used cars, if you pump up the tyres and clean the cars, you have half a chance. Well those cars were shown some with flat tyres, some plain dirty and some in their poorest light.
There was a 1964 Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider – in the catalogue, shown with the hood down, it looked delightful. The car needed a new hood / frame and, displayed outside it was raised and made the car look quite sad. These little Alfas are making strong money and somebody will point to the £38,000 achieved (£43,700 incl. premium) as a success. Others would say that was a disappointment and that a little effort on Bonhams’ part would have delivered a lot more.
Next major stop for Aston Martin will be Newport Pagnell in May but there are other events in between and we will try our best to keep you up to date with this ever-changing market.
© BYRON INTERNATIONAL