The Market


Bonhams’ £6.5m 2021 Goodwood Festival sale

Bonhams’ £6.5m 2021 Goodwood Festival sale 9th July 2021

“Great to have you all here again at Goodwood!” The auctioneer was enthusiastic; socially distanced bidders in the room less so, leaving the telephones and more often the internet to pull the sell-through-by-number figure today to over 50%. It was the Bond St firm’s first proper ‘live’ Goodwood auction since the pandemic struck.
The two star lots – ex-Lord Snowdon/Peter Sellers DB5 Convertible (with replacement engine, pictured below) and 1972 Alfa Romeo TT3 sports-racer (above) – failed to receive many meaningful bids. Despite its royal connections, the shiny Aston was just too expensive in a weak market for the marque and lacked the charming originality for which it was once famous. The Alfa, too, had been owned by ‘royalty’ of the car collecting breed, Martin Morris, Steve O’Rourke and Peter Read – but was probably a car better sold by a specialist rather than at an auction only given the green light by the government in recent weeks and no longer the ‘must-do’ it once was for the high rollers.

At a glance:
* Gross, motor cars: £6,543,575 (2019, £7,936,033)*
* Percentage sold by number: 56% (2019, 49%)*
* Top-selling cars: 1928 Maserati Tipo 26B £967,000 gross, £850,000 net (est. £900k to £1.3m) and Ferrari Dino 246/60 Formula 1 £967,000 gross, £850,000 net (est. £900k to £1.3m)
* Well sold? Engine does not start and requires attention? No worries. Fault code thrown up by McLaren Special Operations? Bring it on. Liable to UK import tax of 20%? Not bothered. Another Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722 Edition Coupé went way over (a deliberately low) estimate today: £287,500 all-in against a guide of £180k to £240k
* Well bought? Not a Kuwait car, but a DB4 Series IV Special Series Vantage, in single ownership since 1970 and maintained by marque experts RS Williams but with a restamped engine, that was bought under low estimate for £327,750 with premium
The traders were out in force, bidding on yet more of the Middle East collection cars. At one stage it looked as if the manual DB6 Mk 2 Vantage for restoration might go for £110k, but a battle between specialists saw it hammered at £225,000 (£258,750 gross). The non-running automatic DB6 Vantage that went for £89,000 net/£102,350 gross was clearly a project too far.

So, first place was a tie between the ex-Corrado Cupellini Ferrari Dino 246 racing car (a potent machine with identity TBA, above right) and the racy Maserati Tipo 26B (below), itself a tribute to the British restoration industry’s creative art.
Of the Ferraris, the ex-Paul Vestey F40 sold for £883,000 (around $1.2m) and the rare manual 575 M Superamerica a low £379,500 (say $525k). Both prices include premium. The ‘high roof’ 250 GT Elena was not sold on the day*.


Compared with 2019, the sell-through was better but the gross the lowest recorded at the Festival since at least 2013. The tax implications of Brexit, a catalogue lacking a big-hitting entry sure to sell and the absence of well-estimated, more modern cars (no GT Porsches) are surely some of the reasons why.

* In results published two days later, Bonhams announced the 250 GT Elena sold at £514,166 gross. This nets down to £447,101 hammer (est. £700k to £900k). With this, and a DB6 traded post-event for £124k all-in, the figures improved to £7,181,907 gross at 61% sold by number.

Bonhams at the Goodwood Festival, 9 July 2021 – results (2019)

Total gross cars: £6,543,575 (£7,936,033)
Number of cars not sold: 27 (42)
Number of cars withdrawn: 2 (1)
Total number of cars: 61 (83)
Number sold: 34 (41)
Percentage cars sold by number: 56% (49%)
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 35% (20%)
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 82% (44%)
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 88% (78%)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 9% (10%)
Average year of cars offered: 1970 (1968)
Average price of cars sold: £192,458 (£193,562)
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 11% (6%)

Photos by K500