Bonhams Amelia Island auction 2017: Arnolt-Bristol one of eleven strong sales
The recent series of sales at Amelia Island, linked to the Concours d’Elegance, was kicked off by Bonhams. Held in their tent overlooking the Fernandina Beach airport, this year’s event was Bonhams’ third Amelia auction. Of the 86 motorcar lots offered, 87% were sold, this result corresponding to a total value of USD 10.2 million. Just one car broke the USD 1 million barrier, and it was the one that had already been given the highest pre-sale estimate, namely the 1955 Ferrari 250 Europa GT Alloy, with a Pinin Farina body, which sold for USD 2,227,500 (10% premium included). The only other car that had been predicted to fetch more than USD 1 million, the 1938 Talbot-Lago T150C “Lago Speciale” Cabriolet, was not sold.
Just like the top-selling car, the one with the lowest estimated value (USD 12–20 K), a 1972 Fiat 500 F, offered without reserve, confirmed its pre-sale ranking, becoming the auction’s cheapest at USD 8,250 (10% buyer’s premium included). A further three cars that sold below the USD 20,000 mark, all offered without reserve, fetched exactly the same price (USD 16.5 K, premium included). These were: a 1990 Toyota 4X4 Pick-Up (chassis #JT4VN01D7L2007514) in good preserved condition with an estimated value of USD 25–35 K, a 1989 Mazda Miata 1.6 Supercharged (chassis #JM1NA3515L0151863) with one owner and less than 7000 miles from new, which had been expected to fetch USD 15–20 K, and a fully restored 1959 Berkeley SE492 Roadster (chassis #74), one of the only 666 built, which therefore fell well below its pre-sale estimated value of USD 25–35 K. On the other hand, in the course of this auction, four new world record values were set.
The six cars we previewed
Of the six cars we covered in our preview of Bonhams’ Amelia Island sale, three were sold, one being the event’s top-selling lot and another one also entering the list of the ten most expensive cars. The 1955 Ferrari 250 Europa GT Alloy by Pinin Farina, one of the only two 250 Europa models built with an aluminum body, offered with a pre-sale estimated value of USD 2.3–2.6 million, went to a European collector for USD 2,227,500 (premium included).
The 1951 Allard J2, one of the 82 survivors and with a comprehensive history, offered with an estimated value of USD 250–325 K, was sold for USD 275 K, becoming the 8th most expensive car of the auction, while the 1958 Lancia Aurelia B20 GT series VI Pinin Farina Coupé, the 28th to last B20 GT manufactured, and one of the 425 making up the final VI series, offered with a pre-sale estimated value of USD 110–140 K, fetched USD 101,200. Instead, the 1938 Talbot-Lago T150C “Lago Speciale” Cabriolet, the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe, and the 1927 Bentley 4.5 Liter Tourer by Vanden Plas were all no sales.
The Top Ten of the Bonhams Amelia Island Auction
The Top Ten sales (or we should say the Top Eleven, since three cars after the one in eighth place were all sold for exactly the same amount) generated 53.7% of the day’s turnover, together fetching a total of USD 5,374,300. Having already mentioned the auction’s top seller in the above account of our selected six cars, our look at the ten top-selling lots starts with the second most expensive car. In all cases, the prices given include the 10% commission. The second most expensive lot was a very fine example of a 1911 Pierce-Arrow Model 48 Tourer (chassis #9079). This car, a genuine example restored by renowned specialists and boasting a good pedigree, sold for USD 550 K, thereby just making the lower end of its pre-sale estimated value range of USD 550–750 K.
Third place went to a 1986 Lamborghini Countach 5000S Quattrovalvole (chassis #ZA9C005A0GLA12927), one of about 300 carbureted Quattrovalvole examples produced, which was sold for USD 335,500 to an American enthusiast, just failing to match its lower estimate (it had been expected to fetch USD 340–380 K). Fourth in the ranking was a 1961 Jaguar E-type Series 1 “external bonnet latch” Roadster (chassis #875053). One of the earliest known E-Types and boasting a known history from new, this fully matching numbers car sold for USD 326.7 K, rather below its estimated value of USD 350–425 K.
The fifth most expensive car was a 1954 Arnolt-Bristol Roadster (chassis #404/X/3000), the original factory prototype with an exceptionally well-documented history. Despite failing to reach its estimate of USD 400–500 K, it nevertheless sold for a strong price: USD 324.5 K. Number six in the classification was a modern supercar, specifically a 1997 Porsche 993 Turbo S (chassis #WP0AC2992VS375859) with two owners from new. This car, one of the only 183 produced for the US market, sold for USD 300 K, thus reaching its estimated value range of USD 300–400 K. The oldest lot offered at the auction was a 1904 Knox 16/18 HP Tudor 5-Passenger Touring (chassis #312), a London to Brighton eligible car with a known history from new; this car became the sale’s seventh most expensive lot, selling for USD 292.6 K, which was well above its pre-sale estimate of USD 200–225 K and set a new world record for the model at auction.
Eighth place went to the Allard J2, which was one of the cars we previewed, while the next three cars all sold for exactly the same amount (USD 247,500) and therefore took, with equal merit, 9th , 10th and 11th places. Taking them in age order, the oldest of the three was a 1968 Lamborghini Islero 2+2 (chassis #6318), the 104th of the 125 built. This one, still with its original color scheme of Argento silver over tobacco leather, had been offered with an estimated value of USD 250–300 K. The next was a 1989 Aston Martin V8 Volante (chassis #SCFCV81CXKTL15770), one of the few built during the last year this model was manufactured. Originally delivered in the USA, this LHD car featuring the much prized five-speed manual gearbox had been expected to fetch in the region of USD 225–275 K. Finally, the youngest of the three, and also of the whole auction, was a 2011 Porsche 911 “997” Speedster (chassis #WPOCB2A92BS795608) with 5,500 miles on the clock. This car, one of the 356 built, had been assigned a pre-sale estimated value of USD 250–300 K.
The world records (4 cars)
Four of the cars coming under the hammer at the Bonhams Amelia Island auction set new world record prices for their models sold at auction. One, as already mentioned, was the sale’s oldest car, the 1904 Knox 16/18 HP Tudor, but another “early” car also set a new record, namely a 1913 Lancia Theta Speedster runabout with coachwork by Hayes and Miller (chassis #2182) equipped with a correct engine and with the matching number engine supplied with the car. This car, largely original and well maintained, never previously taken down and restored, and coming from a long-term ownership, sold for USD 216.7 K, after an estimate of USD 225–250 K.
Also setting a world record price at auction was a 1953 Sunbeam Talbot Alpine MK1 Roadster with coachwork by Thrupp & Maberly (chassis #A3013164) that has done only 800 miles since undergoing a marque expert restoration. This car, in show condition and fitted with the Tremec five-speed overdrive transmission, fetched USD 88 K, well above its pre-sale estimate of USD 55–75 K. Finally, the fourth record-setting price was the USD 104.5 K paid for a 1987 BMW M6 Coupé (chassis #WBAEE1405H2560181), a USA example of a Paul Bracq design with less than 7000 certified miles on the clock. This result was in line with its pre-sale estimate of USD 100–120 K.
All pics courtesy of Bonhams.