Bonhams’ £5.2m Aston Martin Works Sale 2017

Bonhams’ £5.2m Aston Martin Works Sale 2017 13th May 2017

Aston Martin Works had an almost cathedral-like look to it today, the 18th annual all-Aston auction to be held at the spiritual home of the marque. The congregation in the saleroom might well have been true believers, but it took all of auctioneer James Knight’s powers of persuasion to sell them 60% of the motor car catalogue – up from 52% in 2016.  

What you need to know:


* £5,153,121 gross, 60% sold by number
* Top-selling car the 1964 DB5 for £561,500 all-in (£500k hammer vs £500k to £600k estimate)
* None of the three DB6 Volantes sold
* Buy of the day: 1953 DB2 Drophead Coupé, sold for £180,700 gross

A place of worship and well-bought DB2 Drophead Coupé, sold for £180.7k with premium
A place of worship and well-bought DB2 Drophead Coupé, sold for £180.7k with premium

You couldn’t fault the presentation: a new rostrum set-up for Bonhams’ British sales made its debut at Newport Pagnell today and it gave the occasion a sharp new look, aided by moving the saleroom to a separate area (the paint shop) at the rear of Aston Martin Works. The sale was a standalone event, so while in previous years attendance figures were greatly boosted by the AMOC’s International Concours, this time it was a classic car auction pure and simple.

And speaking of concours, no matter how skilfully the entries are photographed for the catalogue, it should be remembered that these events are auctions, not concours. The quality of the cars presented was ‘varied’, at best. And quite a number had been marketed on and off the radar for a while, the saleroom being the port of last resort. In the more pragmatic and hard-headed world of North American auctions, this would mean ‘No Reserve’, but there was only one car that was going to sell come-what-may today. The vendors won’t wear it at this sale, apparently.

DB4 racer sprinted to a lucky win for the vendor: £236.7k all-in
DB4 racer sprinted to a lucky win for the vendor: £236.7k all-in
'Barn-Find Corner.' Massive amount of work needed on £20k Lagonda
'Barn-Find Corner.' Massive amount of work needed on £20k Lagonda

There was a slightly nervous air to a thinly attended preview on Friday, though by Saturday lunchtime there was a healthy audience including many from Europe, trade and private, clearly there to buy.

Of the three DB6 Volantes, the silver/black Mk2 was the pick of the bunch: non-original manual gearbox, but with a well-patinated, original interior. It was catalogued as “requiring recommissioning”. Buyers nowadays know what this might entail, and in today’s less headstrong market are likely to think twice, when “What will my car be worth in two years’ time?” preys on their minds. The other two cars were nothing really special.

Do not feed... £309,500 V8 Vantage Le Mans
Do not feed... £309,500 V8 Vantage Le Mans

The DB5 was too expensive for a dealer to restore and trade on so, at £561.5k gross, honours were probably split between vendor and buyer. DB2s still remain in ‘bargain Aston’ territory, the DB Mk III saloon leading the way at mid-estimate £212,060 all-up, while the DB2 Drophead Coupé (an honest car, 30 years in single ownership) that sold for £180,700 was probably the buy of the day. The vendor of the DB4 racing car was the luckiest: it sold for £236,700 gross.

Unusual V8 'Sportsman Estate Car' sold for £337.5k gross
Unusual V8 'Sportsman Estate Car' sold for £337.5k gross
V8 Vantage Zagato did not sell on the day
V8 Vantage Zagato did not sell on the day

We had thought the estimates pre-sale, if not bargain basement, were on the money; after the event we’re not so sure. The mainstream Aston market has weathered recent market corrections; perhaps this was the day when they hit home, exacerbated by a lack of truly exceptionable entries, and with just one entry at No Reserve.

And there was no halo car of the standing of a DB4 GT or DB3S, big-bucks, blue-chip models that still catch the serious collectors’ attention, a sector of the market that remains demanding, yet firm. Over to RM for its Villa Erba auction on 27 May – see you there.

We found this strangely attractive... so, at £281.5k all-in, did the successful buyer
We found this strangely attractive... so, at £281.5k all-in, did the successful buyer
Memorabilia always goes down a storm. Various items of Tanner Krolle luggage
Memorabilia always goes down a storm. Various items of Tanner Krolle luggage

Bonhams at Aston Martin Works, 13 May 2017 (2016)

Gross: £5,153,121 (£7,442,730)
Number of cars not sold: 17 (25)
Total number of cars: 42 (52)
Number sold: 25 (27)
Percentage cars sold by number: 60% (52%)
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 43% (35%)
Percentage of cars met or sold below low estimate: 44% (48%)
Percentage of cars sold below avge of estimates: 88% (67)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 4% (26%)
Average age of cars offered: 1977 (1971)
Average price of cars sold: £206,125 (£275,657)

Tailpiece: the non-selling Vantage GT12 lives to fight another day
Tailpiece: the non-selling Vantage GT12 lives to fight another day

Lot Car Gross Price
201 1950 Lagonda 2.6-Litre Drophead Coupé Project £19,950
202 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 Mk II  Project £54,625
203 1968 Aston Martin DBS  £101,180
204 1990 Aston Martin Virage 6.3-Litre 'Works Special' Coupé Not Sold
205 1953 Aston Martin DB2 Drophead Coupé £180,700
206 1996 Aston Martin Vantage Coupé £166,666
207 1961 Aston Martin DB4 'Series III'  Project £225,500
208 1970 Aston Martin DB6 Mark 2 Volante Not Sold
209 1964 Aston Martin DB5  £561,500
210 1961 Aston Martin DB4 'Series II'  Not Sold
211 1958 Aston Martin DB Mk III  £212,060
212 1967 Aston Martin DB6 Vantage  £292,700
214 1979 Aston Martin Lagonda Saloon £28,750
215 1982 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante £197,500
216 1960 Aston Martin DB4 'Series II'  Not Sold
217 1996 Aston Martin V8 Sportsman Estate Car £337,500
218 2007 Aston Martin Vanquish S 2+2 Coupé Not Sold
219 1987 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Zagato Coupé Not Sold
220 1970 Aston Martin DB6 Mark 2 Vantage £382,300
221 1968 Aston Martin DB6 Volante Not Sold
222 1969 Aston Martin DBs  Not Sold
223 1961 Aston Martin DB4 'Series III' 4.2-Litre £399,100
224 2002 Aston Martin DB7 V12 Vantage Jubilee Limited Edition Coupé Not Sold
225 1967 Aston Martin DB6  Not Sold
226 1989 Aston Martin V8 Zagato Volante Convertible £281,500
227 1989 Aston Martin Lagonda Series 4 Saloon £91,100
228 1970 Aston Martin DB6 Mark 2  Not Sold
229 1968 Aston Martin DB6 'Mark 1' Volante To Vantage Specification Not Sold
230 1989 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante 'X-Pack' 7.0-Litre £387,900
231 1954 Aston Martin DB2 Mk 1  £152,700
232 1960 Aston Martin DB4 4.5-Litre Lightweight £236,700
233 1997 Aston Martin Vantage V600 Coupé £253,500
234 1971 Aston Martin DBS V8 Saloon £51,750
235 1999 Aston Martin DB7 Limited Edition Coupé Not Sold
236 2000 Aston Martin Vantage Le Mans Coupé £309,500
237 1959 Aston Martin DB4 'Series I'  Not Sold
238 2003 Aston Martin DB7 V12 Vantage Coupé £55,200
239 1971 Aston Martin DBS V8 Saloon £82,140
240 2004 Aston Martin Vanquish Coupé £91,100
241 1990 Aston Martin Virage Coupé Not Sold
242 1981 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Not Sold
243 2016 Aston Martin Vantage GT12 Coupé Not Sold

Photos by K500