The Market


Solid, €4.9m result for Bonhams in Brussels

Solid, €4.9m result for Bonhams in Brussels 15th May 2023

The Brits' second visit to the Belgian capital was far more productive than its first in 2020. Last weekend – helped by two thirds of the catalogue offered at No Reserve – 80 percent of motor cars found new owners and the event grossed nearly €5 million.

In pandemic-hit 2020 those figures were 54% and a whisker over €2m.

The catalogue-cover 1961 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster did not sell. Blame the non-matching exterior and interior colours, engine (and type, its iron block had been replaced with a later alloy unit) and gearbox. To mention that the early-1990s restoration had been completed by the owner of a German dental laboratory might be unkind – but true.

At a glance:

* Gross, motor cars: € 4,942,376 (2020, € 2,034,925)
* Percentage sold by number: 80% (2020, 54%)
* Top-selling car: 2007 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722 Edition €770,500 gross, €670,000 net (est. €300k to €500k, pictured, top)
* Well sold? The non-EU No Reserve SLR McLarens. Don’t forget these cars have zero documentation and if to remain in Belgium liable to import duty of 10% (+VAT) and then 21% Import VAT on the hammer price
* Well bought? The model is a bit of an oddball, but this five-owner 914/6 appeared pretty original and sold for €80,500 all-in, well under its €80k to €120k estimate

Although 60 percent were sold under low estimate, 17% beat top guide and prices at the auction for everyday fare were pretty much bang-on market average in mid-2023. For example, a non-Kuwaiti, LHD 1961 Aston Martin DB4 S3 with non-original engine sold for a €362,250, a 1954 Austin-Healey 100/4 BN1 Roadster for €71,300 and a 1969 Jaguar E-type 4.2-litre Series II Roadster for €80,500. All values include buyer’s premium levied at an across-the-board 15%.

Non-sellers other than the 300 SL Roadster included the expensive 21-window VW Samba bus, the 996 GT3 RSR probably best offered online and the 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS, a steel car with carbs delivered new to the US in red, later converted to EU spec and painted blue.

Bonhams at Brussels Autoworld, 13 May 2023 – results (2020)

Total gross cars: €4,942,376 (€2,034,925)
Number of cars not sold: 12 (31)
Number of cars withdrawn: 2 (0)
Total number of cars: 60 (67)
Number sold: 48 (36)
Percentage cars sold by number: 80% (54%)
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 52% (27%)
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 60% (69%)
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 81% (97%)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 17% (3%)
Average value of cars sold: €102,966 (€56,526)
Average year of cars offered: 1975 (1964)
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 68% (36%)

Photo by Bonhams