The Market


Bonhams’ 2023 Goodwood Revival auction

Bonhams’ 2023 Goodwood Revival auction 11th September 2023

The Bond St firm’s latest Revival sale maintained the more recent trend of results at Goodwood: a solid performance without a headliner that fired on the day.

With neither the 1973 Porsche Carrera RSR (£3.75m to £5.75m) nor the 1983 Lancia Rally 037 Evoluzione 2 (£750k to £950k) finding buyers on Saturday, it was down to the £799k 1967 Toyota 2000GT to take top slot in the big white tent ‘over the road’ from the main action at the Goodwood Revival.

Runner-up was the much-fancied Jade Green (only RHD car) 1972 Porsche Carrera 2.7 RS Touring that was bought for £703,800 all-in, say $983k, below low estimate but still a strong result for a model in a fussy sector. It went to a member of the UK trade.

At a glance:

* Gross, motor cars: £8,527,707 (2022, £11,060,442)
* Percentage sold by number: 65% (2022, 69%)
* Top-selling car: 1967 Toyota 2000GT £799,000 gross, £700,000 net (est. £700k to £900k)

The 3.0-litre ex-factory Martini-Porsche RSR is a fabulous thing. And thanks to a recent court case in the US it has been proved beyond doubt to be the real thing, the actual car that finished 4th overall at Le Mans in 1973. After a further World Championship round in Europe that year it passed to works-supported Florida dealer Brumos, who raced it once, then sold it to private owners in Mexico who ran it in 1974 before discretely selling it to an Italian collector who kept it in under-the-radar storage for some 30 years. In the meantime, an impostor surfaced in North America, and it needed expensive – seven years of it – litigation in the US to prove which one was the genuine article when this car came out of hiding in the early 2010s.

Former Porsche team manager Norbert Singer inspected 'R7' in 2016 and confirmed it was indeed the wide-body RSR that raced at Le Mans and elsewhere in 1973. So all done and dusted, then; the car was cleared for take-off at Goodwood last weekend. In the court of public opinion, though, ‘court case’ gains as much attention as Bonhams’ official strapline: ‘The Ex-works team, Ex-Herbert Müller/Gijs van Lennep 4th place at Le Mans, Ex-Peter Gregg/Hurley Haywood, Ex-Hector Rebaque’. Perhaps unfairly, it surely had an effect.

Experienced auctioneer Malcolm Barber was at the rostrum when the car came up and accepted a handful of genuine bids over the telephones and internet before passing it at £3m. Ongoing negotiations might well find it a new owner this week.

Elsewhere, it was a typical Bonhams Goodwood sale, with some surprising results and quite a few all-to-predictable no-sales. An unexpected highlight was the £408,250 generated by the 175km c.2007 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster (est. £120k to £160k). The R-Type Bentley Continental, Ferrari 250 GT Pinin Farina Coupé and Bentley 8-Litre Vanden Plas-style Tourer went home unsold. Neither of the aeroplanes sold.

At the equivalent of $1m, the Toyota 2000GT will travel to a new home in the US at the sort of value last seen at the height of the 2008-2015 boom. The advantageous £STG/$USD rate probably helped.

It was another black day for Aston Martin prices at auction. After a Middle East No Reserve 1971 DB6 Mark 2 Vantage with (rare amongst its countrymen) matching-numbers engine and manual gearbox sold for £178,250, a DB2/4 Saloon went for just £115,00 and a Mark III Saloon for only £92,000. Both of these were working, UK-registered cars. All prices gross. The gold DB5 was unsold, as was the DB4 on the day. Both had discrepancies with their engine numbers, though the ’4 found an owner post-sale at an undisclosed price. Note the difference (below) in estimate once the engine mismatch was revealed.

It's not all bad news for Aston collectors, though. Chatting to one of the world’s pre-eminent marque specialists in the Goodwood paddock, he reports bumper business, with sales and restorations at record levels. The same was said by a London mews dealer who passed on news of one successful multi-million-dollar sale after another this year.

What happens in the auction tent is a quantifiable snapshot of activity in the market, but not the whole picture, which we know from personal experience and results recorded at the big international sales in the last 12 months prizes quality and rarity above all. Best-of-the-best sells for top dollar; the rest sells on price, or not at all, as we saw over the weekend.  

Bonhams at the Goodwood Revival, 9 September 2023 – results (2022)

Total gross cars: £8,527,707 (£11,060,442)
Number of cars not sold: 36 (36)
Number of cars withdrawn: 1 (3)
Total number of cars: 104 (117)
Number sold: 68 (81)
Percentage cars sold by number: 65% (69%)
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 37% (51%)
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 49% (42%)
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 82% (73%)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 9% (11%)
Average value of cars sold: £125,407 (£136,549)
Average year of cars offered: 1964 (1967)
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 11% (14%)

Photos by K500