Bonhams’ £5.3m Goodwood Members’ Meeting sale

Bonhams’ £5.3m Goodwood Members’ Meeting sale 8th April 2019

Delays in customs clearance meant Bonhams’ star lot, the 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL ‘Gullwing’, failed to make the grid at the company’s first Goodwood sale of 2019. So top honours in an auction of mixed fortunes fell to the £636.6k Aston Martin DB5.

Conducted in a familiar breezy manner by auctioneer James Knight, the sale was held this year on a Sunday, the main day of racing at Goodwood’s lower-key Members' event.

Without the desirable 300 SL, the remaining cars of the Turkish Key Collection had an air of déjà vu about them: yet more Brighton Run and US inter-war oldies, brightened up by the £109.3k Facel HK 500, on-the-face-of-it reasonable DB4 and £86.3k Fiat Abarth ‘Double Bubble’ Zagato.

At a glance:

* Gross: £5,316,024 (2018: £3,584,032)
* Percentage sold by number: 65% (2018, 71%)
* Top-selling car: 1964 Aston Martin DB5, £636,600 gross, £555,000 net (est. £580k to £660k)    
* Well sold? 1961 Jaguar E-type 3.8-Litre FHC. Despite its ‘flat floor’ being removed during a restoration that added modern niceties such as a Kenlowe fan, modern ignition and 4-pot calipers, this early (28th of 175 RHD cars) E-type sold £30k over its upper estimate: £115,000 with premium
* Well bought? The ex-museum 1962 Aston Martin DB4 S4 (£201,250 gross before duty) looked a bargain, however with no engine number (or even a chassis plate), a restoration carried out in Izmir rather than England and only the barest of catalogue information, it was one for the brave
* One to take away? Summer’s coming, so the £117.3k all-in Citroën DS21 Décapotable. Or the affordable (£224.5k gross but needed some recommissioning) 1974 Ferrari 365 GT4 BB

Significant non-sellers included the DB6 Volante, the two Vintage Bentleys (the 1929 4½-Litre Tourer subsequently sold post-sale for  £525k) and the ex-Gerry Marshall Vauxhall Firenza racing car. The latter, mad and historically significant thing though it is, is the sort of car bought on a whim in more buoyant times. Prices, overall, were soft and continued the trend of the last few years: 57% were sold below low estimate. In 2015 at the same venue that figure was 29% – and Bonhams is known for its inviting guides.

With premium, the DB5 was sold at a market-correct value for 2019.

Some crumbs of comfort can be found in the performance of the 1986 Porsche 911 Turbo SE 'Slant Nose' (£140k hammer vs. £100k to £130k estimate) and – scraping the barrel, perhaps – brisk bidding on the Lamborghini tractor.

Next stop Essen later this week, when over two days RM will present a block-busting, 212-car catalogue, 52% of which are offered at No Reserve. Rely on K500 to give you the low-down as it happens.   

Bonhams at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting, 7 April 2019 (2018)

Gross: £5,316,024 (£3,584,032)
Number of cars not sold: 36 (31)
Number of cars withdrawn: 5 (3)
Total number of cars: 104 (106)
Number sold: 68 (75)
Percentage cars sold by number: 65% (71%)
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 41% (39%)
Percentage of cars met or sold below low estimate: 57% (47%)
Percentage of cars sold below avge of estimates: 74% (71%)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 21% (24%)
Average price of cars sold: £78,177 (£47,787)
Average year of cars offered: 1956 (1965)
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 6% (22%)

Photos by Bonhams