The Market


Bonhams’ £5.3m 2020 Goodwood Speedweek sale

Bonhams’ £5.3m 2020 Goodwood Speedweek sale 18th October 2020

The Bond St saleroom’s flagship Goodwood events have been badly hit by the pandemic. Its Speedweek auction – conducted live from London, with the cars on site in West Sussex – finished early yesterday evening.

At such a disconnect it was not an ideal arrangement, and the result was a disappointing 44% sold by number – though 49% was recorded at the Festival in 2019, perhaps a foretaste of ‘too many cars, too many sales’. Viewing of the catalogue this year was by appointment only, over two days mid-week, the cars artfully arranged in the Earls Court Motor Show building inside the circuit.

On Saturday 17 October, regular auctioneer James Knight hosted a marathon live from the company’s London head office, attended by a (very) small number of would-be buyers, with bids accepted over the telephones and online.

Proceedings were slowed by regular saleroom notices, and at least one car on the website carried the advice: “Please note that on inspection we feel this vehicle was overdescribed, please contact the department for a detailed condition report.” This was the 1968 Porsche 911 2.0 ‘soft window’ Targa, sold for an on-the-face-of-it ‘cheap’ £43.7k gross. It carried an initial, catch-all estimate of £100k to £170k and, like other entries consigned from the same source, was just not a very good car.

At a glance:

* Gross (motor cars): £5,344,408
* Percentage sold by number: 44%
* Top-selling car: 1967 Ferrari 330 GTS £1,269,400 gross, £1,120,000 net (est. £1.2m to £1.5m)
* Well sold? A relentless battle late in the day over the 1960 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL resulted in the well-restored roadster achieving £155,250 gross (est. £100k to £120k)
* Well bought? Among a raft of Astons, only some of which sold, £72,083 all-in as a post-sale deal bought a smart blue 1997 V8 Volante LWB

The top-selling Ferrari looked as if it was going home to Scotland until Knight dropped a casual, “Well, I’m selling the car” when it was in the low-£900ks. Originally Blu Chiaro with Rosso interior, the open Ferrari had made the inevitable journey to the US where it was, predictably, painted red. Reserve met, interest in a possible bargain led to a flurry of bids of £5k and £10k – “I’ll take that, we’re only going in one direction” – until the hammer fell at £1.12m, not so far off its lower guide price. After offering 89 lots in the hot seat, well done, JK.

The 330 GTS was preceded by the lurid lilac (“Amethyst, actually…” pictured, top) automatic DB6 Volante, a car marketed at various dealers for at least a year. Restoration to build-sheet spec might have made sense at the height of the market; perhaps it’s time to return it to more acceptable black, the colour first, and long-term, owner fashion mogul Stephen Marks of French Connection favoured in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s.

Neither the big-money Ferrari F40 nor the Invicta 4½-Litre S-Type Low Chassis ever looked like selling.

Bonhams was stuck between a rock and a hard place. The combination of average-quality cars, many of which were outside the company’s control, an ‘event sale’ without a conventional event and an entry list too long by at least 30 entries led, inevitably, to a low-key result. The entire catalogue was displayed at the circuit to underline Bonhams’ status as official event partner, and Goodwood’s online streaming of Speedweek did include a feature on the auction. Whether a former joke-writer for BBC Top Gear and a fellow scamp poking fun at some of the weaker entries aided Bonhams’ cause is questionable. Besides, that’s our job.

All things considered, perhaps grossing £5.3m was not so bad after all.

Bonhams at Goodwood Speedweek, 17 October 2020 – Results

Total gross cars: £5,344,408
Number of cars not sold: 56
Number of cars withdrawn: 0
Total number of cars: 100
Number sold: 44
Percentage cars sold by number: 44%
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 24%
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 68%
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 91%
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 5%
Average value of cars sold: £121,464
Average year of cars offered: 1966
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 5%

Photos by K500