Bonhams’ 2019 Revival sale: Bugatti Type 57 Atalante comes out top
Held in a quiet but serious atmosphere, this year’s Goodwood Revival auction grossed just over £8m with 60% of the 103 cars offered finding new homes. As we predicted, after the sale of the Aston Martin DB4 GT pre-event for an undisclosed sum, top-selling car, at £1.5m all-in, was the Bugatti Atalante.
Bonhams' familiar white tent ‘Over the Road’ wasn’t packed on sale day, hardly surprising given the ‘sold out’ show going on outside. The mood was generally good, helped by auctioneer James Knight on breezy form, a “crooner at the mic” when his Britney Spears-style headset failed mid-sale.
The sell-through rate of 60% reflected the catalogue offering. Adding the DB4 GT proceeds to the gross brings it to over £10.5m, while remarkably over 10% of cars beat top estimate. Considering the weakened line-up (the new Ford GT was also withdrawn), the Bond St Boys did their job.
At a glance:
* Gross: £8,199,567 (2018, £15,069,406)
* Percentage sold by number: 60% (2018, 66%)
* Top-selling car: 1935 Bugatti Type 57 Atalante Faux Cabriolet £1,499,000 gross, £1,325,000 net (est. £1m to £1.5m)
* Well sold? Without question, the DB4 GT, most likely for somewhere at or above £2.5m pre-sale, when it would have struggled in the auction tent
* Well bought? The Balmoral Green V8 Volante from the deceased estate. Although right-hand drive and not used for the last 18 months, the car was great value for £143,750 gross
* One to take away? With the caveat of not knowing what might lurk beneath its unusual Venetian Blue paintwork or the state of its flat-six, we’ll go for the 1988 Porsche 911 Turbo, a No Reserve car “extensively restored in 2019” bought for just £57.5k
The ‘bellwether cars’ failed to fire. The right-hand-drive Ferrari ‘Daytona’ has been seen before and went home unsold*, the Aston Martin DB6 Mk 2 Volante did move on, at a market correct £743k gross, and the retail red, right-hand-drive Ferrari 365 Boxer went under its £220k to £280k estimate for £247.25k all-in. More Aston woes came in the form of the 1960 DB4 S2, a non-matching-engine car lacking British marque specialist service history for £264.5k gross. An honest enough machine, but many better ones can be sourced any day of the week.
It’s worth mentioning that right-hand-drive cars, and Astons especially (as their market is still UK-centric), are currently being hit by Brexit jitters and buyers’ concerns that UK-based cars won’t be tax-paid elsewhere and their value will be tied to sterling. That could change quickly.
The 1988 Lamborghini Countach 5000 Quattrovalvole (est. £200k to £220k) was hammered at £180k, that’s £207k with premium. Sounds cheap? It was a US car flamboyantly presented in ‘Wolf of Wall St’ Bianco Polo, not one for the shy and retiring.
Bonhams generally steps up to the mark with its pre-War entries and the sale of the Bugatti Type 57 Atalante was no exception, comfortably beating mid-estimate. This was a good-looking example with a decent if not stellar history that the catalogue went to pains to explain, one that appealed to a narrow but healthy market: the recent Beaulieu sale was a big success, with Continental buyers taking advantage of the weak British currency, hopping over the Channel to snap up rare antiquities. Yesterday, the 1923 Aston Martin 1½-Litre Two-Seat Sports Tourer was another good result for an oldie, achieving £154.1k with premium against an estimate of £100k to £140k.
Overall, though, 2019’s trend of no-sales and underwhelming results for £150k to £750k darlings of the recent market continued at Goodwood. Bonhams’ new MPH division (for sub-£100k entries) holds its first sale at Bicester Heritage on 26 September – rely on K500 for a report on what is still a healthy market.
Bonhams at the Goodwood Revival, 14 September 2019 (2018)
Total gross cars: £8,199,567 (£15,069,406)
Number of cars not sold: 41 (39)
Number of cars withdrawn: 4 (1)
Total number of cars: 103 (114)
Number sold: 62 (75)
Percentage cars sold by number: 60% (66%)
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 47% (39%)
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 50% (56%)
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 76% (79%)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 11% (11%)
Average value of cars sold: £137,251 (£200,925)
Average year of cars offered: 1966 (1965)
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 7% (1%)
*The 'Daytona' was sold post-sale for £437,500 incl. premium
Photos by K500