Bonhams’ £7.9m Goodwood Festival sale: Mansell’s Williams wins again

Bonhams’ £7.9m Goodwood Festival sale: Mansell’s Williams wins again 5th July 2019

A 1992 Williams-Renault Formula 1 car driven by the fans’ favourite came out on top in an afternoon of mixed fortunes for Bonhams. ‘Red Five’ was sold for £2.7m gross and will join other significant cars in one of the best collections in the world.

Our Nige’s F1 car was a lone highlight in an otherwise thin sale, despite a good catalogue of interesting and broad-ranging entries. Auctioneer James Knight (above) completed the event solo, (rightly) exasperated at one point that entries such as the 1928 Bentley 4½ Litre Tourer by Vanden Plas were being “stolen” at £400k net (est. £600k to £800k, a lovely thing for £460k gross). The cars were there, the buyers were not.

At a glance:

* Gross: £7,936,033 (2018, £31,558,309)
* Percentage sold by number: 49% (68%)
* Top-selling car: 1992 Williams-Renault FW14B Formula 1, £2,703,000 gross, £2,400,000 net (est. Refer Dept.)
* Well sold? The £316.25k all-in 2011 Land Rover Defender SVX 'Spectre' 4x4 Utility. Crazy car, crazy price. And £465,750 for a so-so DB4 was big money in today’s market
* Well bought? The Vintage Bentley 4½ Litre Tourer. A quality car
* One to take away? How about £23k for a 1979 Ferrari 400 GT?

There was little meaningful interest in the 1934 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 'Long Chassis' Tourer (bottom). This is a specialised market – if you want an 8C, you want the best: budget does not really come into it, nor do lengthy explanations about a car’s history. Likewise, the Jackson Special Bentley ‘Old Mother Gun’ (below, right) failed to find a new owner.

Many of the rest of the Cricklewood Bentleys, such as the Bird's Custard family's 1928 6½ Litre Standard Six Saloon, went home unsold. These were good sporting Bentleys, appealing right across the board. Not ‘old men’s cars’.

Others, such as the 1960 Lancia Flaminia 2.5-Litre Convertible at £92,000 gross, sold at today’s money.

You could argue that the Festival of Speed is not the same event it was some 20 years ago. Certainly, Dad and his kids there to see the stars of modern F1 and tyre-shredding stunt drivers are not Bonhams’ target market. Many serious collectors need a reason to go to the Festival now: most likely the Cartier lunch on Sunday, two days after the auction. The traffic and the never-ending bustle puts them off.

And yet there were some good cars to be had, such as the 1989 Ferrari 328 GTS Targa sold for modern Mercedes estate money, £63,250 with premium. It’s probably the same story: too many cars, too many auctions, buyer fatigue. But for those willing to take a punt, there were bargains.

Bonhams at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, 5 July 2019

Total gross cars: £7,936,033 (£31,558,309)
Number of cars not sold: 42 (28)
Number of cars withdrawn: 1 (2)
Total number of cars: 83 (87)
Number sold: 41 (59)
Percentage cars sold by number: 49% (68%)
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 20% (84%)
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 44% (36%)
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 78% (54%)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 10% (34%)
Average year of cars offered: 1968 (1971)
Average price of cars sold: £193,562 (£534,887)
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 6% (14%)

Photos by K500