The Market


€12.2m gross: Bonhams records best-ever result at Zoute

€12.2m gross: Bonhams records best-ever result at Zoute 11th October 2021

Helped by a third of the 52-car catalogue offered at No Reserve, the Bond St firm turned in another strong result at the upmarket Belgian seaside resort of Knokke-le-Zoute, home to the modern Zoute Grand Prix.

Unsurprisingly, new-for-2021 Bonhams head of motoring Maarten ten Holder took the rostrum, aided by Paul Darvill announcing the lots. With the set-up described by Bonhams as “a new cabaret layout”, for the €275 ticket price bidders were given a table of booze and nibbles, access to a full buffet and free bar plus a musical serenade after every car was hammered away.

As it resulted in the Brits’ biggest gross at the event since its inception in 2012, it might catch on.

At a glance:
* Gross, motor cars: €12,218,175 (2020, €7,990,200)
* Percentage sold by number: 77% (2020, 67%)
* Top-selling car: 1994 Bugatti EB110 Super Sport €2,242,500 gross, €1,950,000 net (est. €2m to €2.5m)
* Well sold? The US import converted to Euro-spec Mercedes 280 SL ‘Pagoda’. Yes, it was a rare manual, but €161,000 gross for the restored car with non-original interior was €15k over top estimate
* Well bought? Has to be either of the classic Maserati convertibles. The €494,500 4.7-litre Ghibli Spyder (manual, US-spec) or the €391,000 4.0-litre Mistral Spyder, though neither car was in its first flush of youth – or original colours. Both prices gross

At €2,242,500 including Bonhams’ full-strength 15% buyer’s premium, the top-selling Bugatti comes in at around $2.6m. RM sold another EB110 Super Sport in Monterey this August for $2.76m. Both were super-safe silver, though the North American car had covered fewer kilometres: c.10,000 vs c.30,000. This, clearly, is the market price for a good but not exceptional EB110 SS.

A flurry of bidding in the room, over the phones and from the internet saw the first 20-or-so lots swiftly sold. Maserati Spyders apart, most of these were on or above low estimate.

The 1992 F40 – non-cat, non-adjustable, with wind-up windows and a/c – had been put in at a seductive No Reserve. It sold just above upper estimate for €1,840,000 gross, say $2.1m. The car came out of long-term storage almost from new, so in addition to the inevitable recommissioning costs, as its odometer showed just 1,790km there is a potential ‘new car’ tax implication of around 20% if registered in the EU. As always, it pays to read those saleroom notices and catalogue notes.

Cars from the collection of arch Lancia enthusiast Anthony Maclean fared less well: only two out of six offered found new owners.

Other entries that did included the superb Bianco 1961 Ferrari 250 GTE (est. €400k to €500k, a car already marketed in the trade for some time) that achieved €592,250 and the €356,500 Blu Dino 1971 Ferrari Dino 246 GT (€300k to €400k), a pretty Dino with a lot of owners round the globe, but still with its all-important matching numbers engine and now Ferrari Classiche certification. All values gross.

An all-in figure of €356,500 for the left-hand drive 1957 AC Ace-Bristol proves once again the enduring appeal of these cars for touring and events. The car came with its original engine but only a salvageable part of its original body left after a restoration in the UK.

The gross at Zoute of €12.2m roughly matches that posted by Bonhams at Goodwood a month ago. And achieved with half the number of cars in the catalogue. Those present were impressed. By holding a smart and well-executed event at an exclusive resort Bonhams is on to something of a winner here – and the figures prove it.

Bonhams at the Zoute Grand Prix, 10 October 2021 – results (2020)

Total gross motor cars: €12,218,175 (€7,990,200)
Number of cars not sold: 12 (10)
Number of cars withdrawn: 1 (0)
Total number of cars: 52 (30)
Number sold: 40 (20)
Percentage cars sold by number: 77% (67%)
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 48% (75%)
Number of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 27 (19)
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 68% (95%)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 18% (0%)
Average value of cars sold: €305,454 (€399,510)
Average year of cars offered: 1971 (1973)
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 33% (10%)

Photos by Thomas Berns for K500