The Market


The 2022 Zoute Sale: Bonhams grosses €21.3m

The 2022 Zoute Sale: Bonhams grosses €21.3m 9th October 2022

Despite the Ferrari 288 GTO and 250 GT Lusso not selling on the day, the Bond St firm nonetheless clocked up a record total at the fashionable Flanders seaside town of Knokke Le Zoute.

Playing to a packed tent, multilingual auctioneer Maarten ten Holder assisted by Paul Darvill sold nine out of ten lots in the 74-car catalogue.

The saleroom comprised some European dealers but most bidding came from Belgian and Dutch private buyers, via the internet and over the phones. The area’s reputation for expensive holiday homes and the associated upmarket Zoute Grand Prix undoubtedly aided Bonhams’ cause. Plus, the catalogue ticked a lot of boxes for today’s younger collectors: there was no sign of elderly Lagondas, Bentleys and Rolls-Royces previously a staple of this market because of their suitability for old-fashioned tours and events. The hat and gloves set.

Bonhams built on its success at the Goodwood Revival by presenting more ‘delivery mileage’ AMG Mercedes. Would-be buyers flocked to them, despite a likely 50 per cent plus liability for buyer’s fees, taxes and duties if registering in the EU.

†At a glance (on the day):

* Gross, motor cars: €21,285,350 (2021, €12,218,175)
* Percentage sold by number: 88% (2021, 77%)
* Top-selling car: 1957 BMW 507 Series I Roadster with Factory Hardtop €2,093,000 gross, €1,820,000 net (est. €2m to €2.5m)        
* Well sold? Any of the modern ‘new’, No Reserve Mercedes supercars such as the million-Euro 2009 SLR McLaren 722 S Roadster
* Well bought? Bargains were thin on the ground. It wasn’t exactly ‘cheap’, but we liked the 1972 Ferrari 365 GTC/4 in 1970s Marrone Colorado with Panno Scozzese interior. The one family owner car for recommissioning sold for €184,000 all-in

The 288 GTO carried a massive estimate of €3.7m to €4.1m – the market probably needed a breather after the big prices recorded in Monterey. The 250 GT Lusso, as a model, falls into the more elegant, ‘touring’ category of 1960s Ferrari, a sector yet to feel the heat of current market conditions. Likewise, the 250 GTE, Aston Martin DB4 Convertible (no bids) and Lancia Aurelia B24S Convertible failed to sell on the day, though some found buyers post-sale.

A saleroom notice informed bidders that the Miura P400’s engine had seized. That did not deter a forward-thinking buyer investing €1,115,500 with 15% premium in a car requiring a total Italian restoration (in the region of €400k-500k). Although it has been missing in action in the US for much of its life, its original spec of Bleu Miura with Gobi (sand) interior is attractive, and the model has been in the spotlight for the last two years.

Other results of note (all prices gross):

* 1997 Porsche 911 Type 993 Turbo 'X50' Coupé, € 278,300. Big price for ‘individual’ Turbo with cream/red comfort interior and walnut dashboard.
* 1974 Maserati Bora 4.9-litre, €195,500. Attractive green car beat upper estimate yet looks a bargain compared with a ‘Daytona’.
* 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Series II Cabriolet, €1,092,500. Sensibly cut loose below lower estimate.
* 1964 Citroën DS19M Décapotable, €253,000. Generated huge interest in the tent when the market normally favours the final fuel-injected cars.
* 1962 Aston Martin DB4 Series IV Special Series (DB4 GT engine), €1,236,250. Proof that buyers exist for interesting ‘DB’ Astons outside the raft of no-papers, taxes-due cars seen at auction this year and last.
* 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL ‘Gullwing’, €1,380,000. Unloved red since new, non-matching, non-original-type alloy-block engine, and with an unusual ‘low-rider’ stance more Puerto Rico than Porto Cervo, this car sold well.

It was an impressive afternoon for the Brits at what is becoming one of its most successful venues, although, as always, the No Reserve cars pulled the buyers in. The main takeaway is the success of the AMG Mercedes SLR McLarens in unusual colours. Anyone kicking themselves they ticked that box marked ‘Silver’?

†STOP PRESS: Several lots found new owners in post-sale deals. These included the 250 GT Lusso for €1.7m, the Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS cabriolet (‘Sold’), the Lancia Aurelia B24S Convertible (€290k) and the BMW 327/328 Sports Cabriolet (€303k). At €23.6m, the sale's revised gross beats the Goodwood Festival and Revival auctions combined, and knocks on the door of the company's flagship $28m Quail Lodge event – impressive stuff.

Bonhams The Zoute Sale, 9 October 2022 – final results (2021)

Total gross cars: €23,578,491 (€12,218,175)
Number of cars not sold: 5 (12)
Number of cars withdrawn: 0 (1)
Total number of cars: 74 (52)
Number sold: 69 (40)
Percentage cars sold by number: 93% (77%)
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 72% (66%)
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 32% (48%)
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 54% (68%)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 26% (18%)
Average value of cars sold: €341,717 (€305,454)
Average year of cars offered: 1975 (1971)
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 59% (33%)

Photos by Thomas Berns for K500