Bonhams’ £2.2m 25 July 2020 MPH auction
Bicester Heritage once again played host to the Bond St saleroom’s more affordable, MPH-branded division, an event that produced the biggest gross for the set-up yet.
Bonhams brought its auction viewing back into the main hangar at Bicester, writes Paul Hardiman, though once again conducted the closed-doors online sale from its nearby showroom at Kidlington, next to the amusingly named London Oxford Airport [some 63 miles from Hyde Park Corner - Ed.].
At a glance:
* Gross (motor cars): £2,158,143
* Percentage sold by number: 67%
* Top-selling car: 1927 Bentley 3 Litre Speed Model Sports Roadster £225,000 gross, £200,00 net (est. £200k to £250k)
* Well sold? A dedicated buyer waited patiently for the 1993 Porsche 911 (964) Turbo 3.6-litre and paid £164,250 with Bonhams standard MPH-sale 12.5% buyer’s premium (est. £100k to £130k)
* Well bought? At £112,500, the 1954 Aston Martin DB2/4. This was a well-prepared ‘event’ car, non-matching but with the right badge and heritage, all for modest money
Following a bunch of motorcycles, the large catalogue was a collection of a few high-end ‘Bonhams-type’ lots and a mixed bag of ‘MPH-type’ fare, though the results were released under the MPH tag and were missing the two star cars: the 1928 Bentley 41/2 with VdP-type body, bid to £345k – surely enough to sell in today’s market – and the first production Aston Martin V8 Zagato (bid to £260k).
MPH boss Rob Hubbard kicked off proceedings, with a slimline James Knight taking over just after the half-way mark, quickly deploying his traditional “The only one I’ve got today” gag over a very clean, 391-mile Rover Mini Cooper Sport 500, (£25,875).
Bonhams commented post-sale that 65% of lots were bought online, the rest coming via telephones and absentee bids submitted in advance.
Standout result was a Porsche 911 (964) Turbo that went far above its estimate to sell for £164.25k. The Bentley 3 Litre Speed Model was on the money at £225k all-in, as was a 1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II with saloon body by HJ Mulliner at £84,375. An Aston DB2/4 looked good value at £112,500 considering its very sharp, recently restored condition, as did a RHD-converted 1963 E-type 3.8 roadster at £78,750. A lightly ‘Coombs-ised’ 3.8 Mk 2 Jaguar fetched £51,750 at the second attempt.
Bonhams’ MPH-tagged online sales are the only game in town for the Bond St team right now until some sort of normality returns for better-quality cars with its ‘virtual Quail Lodge’ sale on 14 August, a planned live event at Bonmont, Switzerland, on 20 September and an auction at the closed-doors Goodwood meeting (format TBA) on 17 October. It’s hard creating the right atmosphere that suits the beard-and-slippers rear-entrance tonneau crowd as well as younger buyers seeking more in-vogue modern Porsches – as the results show.
Bonhams live online at Bicester Heritage, 25 July 2020 – results
Total gross cars: £2,158,143
Number of cars not sold: 38
Number of cars withdrawn: 1
Total number of cars: 114
Number sold: 76
Percentage cars sold by number: 67%
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 39%
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 63%
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 79%
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 17%
Average value of cars sold: £28,397
Average year of cars offered: 1971
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 9%
Photo by Paul Hardiman