The Market


Royal cars crown Bonhams’ €8m 2020 Zoute sale

Royal cars crown Bonhams’ €8m 2020 Zoute sale 12th October 2020

Conducting auctions at the upmarket coastal resort of Knokke-Heist has proved successful in the past for the Bond St saleroom. Although sell-through-by-number was down this year, the two headlining cars sold just below low estimate and the auction grossed €7,990,200.

Auctioneer Malcolm Barber was the man at the rostrum, ‘live’ on location, addressing a picked audience while taking bids over the telephones and the internet. The small catalogue of 30 cars suited this format and proceedings rattled along at a good pace.

Top-selling car was the 1959 BMW 507 Series II Roadster sold new to HRH Prince Constantine II of Greece that went for € 2,070,000 (the equivalent of $2.45m).

The overall success of a Zoute sale is dependent on quality of catalogue rather than market temperature; previous years have grossed up to €10.9m. Despite the 2020 event’s total being some €2m adrift, at €399,510, the average value of car sold is the highest yet. Nearly all lots, though, failed to meet the average of their estimates; three-quarters did not meet low estimate.

At a glance:

* Gross (motor cars): €7,990,200 (2019, €10,541,490)
* Percentage sold by number: 67% (2019, 73%)
* Top-selling car: BMW 507 Series II Roadster €2,070,000 gross, €1,800,000 net (est. €1.9m to €2.3m)
* Well sold? 250 GT Lussos have come off the highs of 2014 but the last time one sold at auction for around $2.1m was in August 2016. Bonhams’ silver car had Classiche papers and had been restored by the right Italian specialists in the last couple of years, yet still needed a buyer. There was one on the day and it sold for €1,782,500 all-in
* Well bought? Tricky, with the Zoute sale’s broad estimates. Maybe the grey E-type 4.2-litre Roadster for €111.6k gross

The BMW 507 sold well in the circumstances despite non-original white (was dark silver) and an older (1989) restoration that had souped-up the replacement-block engine for events including the modern Mille Miglia and Tour Auto. The 250 GT Lusso was a similar, former event car, but the total restoration by highly rated Bacchelli & Villa and others, plus Classiche certification, paid dividends.

The 1955 Aston Martin DB2/4 ordered new by King Baudouin of Belgium sold for market-correct €264.5k with Bonhams’ standard European sales 15% premium. Neither the 2005 Ford GT nor the 2018 Ford GT sold. The 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster – US-delivered, original black but non-original interior – was held back by a replacement block and sold for €851k all-in. Although less fashionable nowadays, northern European buyers still like old-school British cars for tours and events. Zoute was the ideal location to present the 1956 Bentley S1 Continental Coupé. It sold for a with-premium price of €368k, a touch under lower estimate.

Bonhams at the Zoute Grand Prix, 11 October 2020 – Results (2019)

Total gross cars: €7,990,200 (€10,541,490)
Number of cars not sold: 10 (11)
Number of cars withdrawn: 0 (0)
Total number of cars: 30 (41)
Number sold: 20 (30)
Percentage cars sold by number: 67% (73%)
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 59% (64%)
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 75% (60%)
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 95% (87%)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 0% (0%)
Average value of cars sold: €399,510 (€351,383)
Average year of cars offered: 1973 (1967)
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve:  10% (17%)

Photos by Bonhams