The Market


Bonhams’ 91% sold, £6.8m Members’ Meeting auction

Bonhams’ 91% sold, £6.8m Members’ Meeting auction 11th April 2022

Yesterday, the Bond St firm held a classic car sale at an uninterrupted Goodwood Members’ Meeting for the first time in two years. With fewer cars sold below low estimate, more above top and, most significantly, nine out of 10 lots in the 76-car catalogue finding new owners, the results are in line with those posted in Arizona, Amelia Island and Paris this year.

Attractive estimates were a feature of the sale. Despite the presence of another raft of No Reserve, non-EU Astons, the ‘runner’ DB5 came from another vendor who had owned it since 1969. It needed a restoration (say £350k) but was unlikely to sell for its modest £280k to £350k guide. With premium, it finished on £506,000 gross, the top-selling lot of the day, a ca. £850k car done by RS Williams or Aston Engineering, though not all might like its original colour of Dubonnet.

At a glance:
* Gross, motor cars: £6,836,362 (2019, £5,841,024)
* Percentage sold by number: 91% (2019, 66%)
* Top-selling car: 1964 Aston Martin DB5 £506,000 gross, £440,000 net (est. £280k to £350k)
* Well sold?  Import taxes apart, the LHD, 64,000km, black/black 1998 Porsche 993 Turbo that sold for £138k all-in, 50% over upper estimate, was a win for the seller. And not such a bad purchase for the successful bidder: unlike the vendor’s usual DB Astons, it would not need work costing many £100ks by a specialist firm
* Well bought? We like blue 365 Boxers. Bonhams’ RHD car was an average restoration by a non-specialist and had the wrong exhaust, but had been delivered new to Don Shead, a well-known powerboat racer who crewed with Maranello Concessionaires’ owner Col Ronnie Hoare, an important fact missed by the cataloguers. The Blu Chiaro with beige Connolly leather car sold for a modest £253,000 incl. 15% premium, perhaps leaving enough in the tank for further corrective work by an expert

Nearly a quarter of the catalogue came from Bonhams’ familiar Middle Eastern source. Most, but not all, were Aston Martins. May we remind subscribers once again that these cars generally have no paperwork, are liable to import duty and other taxes, and after years in static storage require restoration. So, how ‘cheap’ was the £151,800 gross 1971 DB6 Mk2 Automatic?  With restoration costs today running at £300k-350k (plus inflation…) expect owners to value these cars at £500k+ in three or four years’ time. Which, as a leading marque expert told us this week, means buying a good one now at £325k could be a wise move. It’s a subjective view – but maybe not such an unrealistic one.

Included in this section of the sale was one of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ Aston Martin Lagonda Series 1 Saloons, a 1975 7.0-litre conversion completed and owned by the late Richard Williams. In storage since its purchase at Bonhams’ annual Aston sale for £337,500 gross in 2012, it sold for £276,000 all-in on Sunday.

Elsewhere, the AC-engined 1958 AC Ace Roadster (the least fancied combination, est. £140k to £180k) sold for £200,100, and the 1967 Maserati Mistral 4000 Spyder £299,000. The latter, an older restoration estimated at £300k to £400k, was a US car from new and, though no longer black with tan interior, had good recent service history with marque expert Bill McGrath Maserati. It was something of a buy. Both prices gross.

So, it was a successful day out for Bonhams in West Sussex. Ironically, many of the non-sellers on the day were competition machines, disproving the theory that racers will flock to buy at race meeting auctions. They usually have other things to do.

Bonhams at the Goodwood Members’ meeting, 10 April 2022 – results (2019)

Gross: £6,836,362 (£5,841,024)
Number of cars not sold: 7 (35)
Number of cars withdrawn: 1 (5)
Total number of cars: 76 (104)
Number sold: 69 (69)
Percentage cars sold by number: 91% (66%)
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 82% (45%)
Percentage of cars met or sold below low estimate: 36% (58%)
Percentage of cars sold below avge of estimates: 62% (74%)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 16% (20%)
Average price of cars sold: £99,078 (£84,653)
Average year of cars offered: 1964 (1956)
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 32% (6%)

Photos by James Brown for K500