20th Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction opens Monterey Week 2017

As always the “Monterey Week” is the most important week in the classic car auction season, with all the major international auction houses organizing a sale. One of the two leading players opening the 2017 series, on August 18, will be Bonhams, which is this year staging its twentieth Quail Lodge auction. In the wake of several months of (relative) calm, the Monterey Week will undoubtedly be seen by the classic car market as an opportunity to gauge its health on American soil — and the verdict, good or bad, will have repercussions worldwide.

The Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction: a preview

The Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction will take place on Friday August 18, 2017. Following two full-day previews on the Wednesday and Thursday (from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day) and a short preview on the day of the sale itself (from 8.30 to 10 a.m.), the sale will get under way at 10 a.m. sharp. The catalog includes a total of 110 cars (or 109 cars and a tractor to be precise) and the buyer’s premium will be 10% + VAT and taxes. The lots include 53 cars offered without reserve and five with an undisclosed estimate. Nine of the cars included in the auction have a pre-sale estimated value of over one million USD; of these, one is predicted to fetch more than USD 6 million, while a further three have been valued at USD 3 million plus, and four are expected top the USD 2 million mark. The oldest cars offered are both from 1904. One is a Premier Model F 16HP Rear Entrance Tonneau, one of the only two survivors (registered under the state assigned number #TNVIN993431057280, but without a known chassis number); the other is a Humber 8.5 HP Twin Cylinder Two Seater (chassis #2411). Instead, the “baby” of the event is a Ford GT (chassis #1FAFP90S76Y400150) that has done less than 4000 miles from new. The cheapest car, offered without reserve and with an estimated value of USD 30–40 K, is a 1969 Austin Mini Cooper S Mk II (chassis #C-A2SB-L/1238234A) prepared to Monte Carlo Rally specifications, while a 1956 Maserati 300 S, once driven by Manuel Fangio, is the car expected to fetch the top price of the entire sale, having been assigned a pre-sale estimated value of EUR 6–7 million USD.

Back in the days: The Lancia 037 and its contenders.

1956 Maserati 300 S

Completed in 1956, this Maserati 300 S (chassis #3069, shown in the header of this posting) was kept by the manufacturer for several months before it was finally sold, in 1957, to the manager of five-times world champion Juan Manuel Fangio. It is possible that #3069 was used by the works team in those early months, but if this is the case there is no definite proof of it now. Upgraded by the firm to the latest specification, the car was entrusted to Argentinian racing legend Fangio (in 1956 already Maserati works driver for F1), who, competing under the colors of the Milan-based Scuderia Madunina team, raced it at the Mansanto circuit in Portugal, winning the race and also recording the fastest lap; this was followed by another victory on the Interlagos track in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

At this point, the car, having swapped engines with #3062, was sold to wealthy Brazilian playboy Severino Gomez-Silva, and then to Henrique Casini. The latter entered the 300 S in the very first Barra de Tijuca in Argentina and took home the first prize. After these early successes, the car, under different owners, continued racing in South America until the late 1970s. In 1978, it was purchased by restorer Colin Crabbe and imported to England, where, after undergoing restoration work, it took part in several historic races from 1983 onwards. In 1998, the 300 S entered its current ownership, and went on to win the Ferrari-Maserati Shell Historic Challenge and compete in a number of Mille Miglia recreations. Having recently undergone further restoration work and a complete engine overhaul, it is now offered for sale, complete with many spare parts, with an estimate of USD 6–7 million.

1958 Ferrari 250 GT “Tour de France” Alloy Berlinetta

Chassis #0899 GT was completed at the end of March 1958; it is the third of the 37 Ferrari 250 GTs built with a single vent sail panel, and the 42nd of the grand total of 77 Tour de France models produced. It was delivered new, in the first week of April 1958, to Edoardo Lualdi Gabardi, a privateer racing driver and textile entrepreneur from the northern Italian town of Busto Arsizio. He lost no time putting his new 250 hard at work, and in its first year with him, he entered it in no fewer than 13 races, which included the Varese-Campo di Fiori Hill Climb and the Coppa InterEuropa in Monza.

In late 1958, Gabardi sold the TdF to Ferdinando Pagliarini, who campaigned the car throughout the 1959 season, before selling it, in the spring of 1960, to Paul Mounier, a Frenchman resident in Algeria. Mounier registered the TdF in the French colony for racing use and campaigned it both in France and in Africa. In 1961, the car was damaged in a road accident and Mounier sold it to a garage owner near Marseilles. Soon afterwards its experimental engine (internal no. 174 C) was sold to French shoe manufacturer Charles Jourdan, who installed it in a second-series 250 GT Cabriolet, while the rear portion of the bodywork was purchased by a racing enthusiast and mounted on a Swallow-Doretti chassis to build a one-off race car. In 1969 the chassis, still complete with gearbox, front and rear suspension, brakes, steering box, rear-end drive, fuel tank and the complete dash console, was purchased by Jacques O’Hana of Marseilles, thereby entering a long ownership during which O’Hana sold and subsequently repurchased some of its components, and also succeeded in buying the original rear bodywork that had been used to build a TdF replica, stamped with the very same chassis number (#0899).

In 1990, Carrozzeria Auto Sport in Modena built a new body for the original 250 TdF #0899, and in 2012 Ferrari Classiche carried out a further refurbishment, fitting the car with a newly cast, correct specification type 128C engine. The car is being offered for sale with an undisclosed estimate, and it will be interesting to see how the market reacts to this extensively reconstructed car, and whether it will prove appealing simply because of its Ferrari Classiche certification.

1963 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight Competition (lot 52)

This E-Type (chassis #S850664, engine number 5114 WK) rolled off the production line on June 7, 1963, the seventh Lightweight Competition built. Under project number ZP 537/24, which had actually got under way on March 16, 1961, even ahead of the launch of the “standard” E-Type at the March 1961 Geneva car show, the Jaguar factory set out to build seven racing versions of the model with special engines trademarked by gas-flowed cylinder heads, polished and crack-tested connecting rods, a lightened flywheel, a competition crankshaft damper, and trumpet tips for the S.U. carburetors, paired with a modified clutch and a close-ratio competition 4-speed gearbox. The body was to remain in steel and the suspension to be modified only through the use of stiffer springs. #S850664 is one of the final evolutions of this design.

The cars proved successful, and one of them was used as test bed and developed with a lighter-gauge steel body and a more powerful engine. From October 1962, a further 17 of these engines were built, all featuring a 3.8-liter competition engine upgraded with Lucas fuel injection and dry-sump lubrication, a new suspension geometry and aluminum alloy bodies paired with an aluminum hardtop, which increased the rigidity of the shell, and aerodynamic roof and tail. The only clue, in the chassis number, to the Lightweight status of this car is the prefix S. Indeed, Jaguar did not intend to build enough cars for the Lightweight to be homologated separately, and the model was passed off as part of the E-Type production family, even though it actually had very few parts in common with this family. Since the five-speed gearbox was not ready, this car was initially equipped with the four-speed version.

The finished car was delivered to the Cunningham Racing Team to be used at Le Mans, piloted by Walt Hansgen and Augie Pabst. The four-speed gearbox failed after just an hour, forcing the car to retire after qualifying in 14th place. It was immediately returned to the factory to have the desirable five-speed ZF gearbox installed, before being shipped to the USA to resume racing. It took 11th place at the 1963 Road America 500 and finished 4th at Bridgehampton in September the same year. It competition life finished here, however, and the car was retired to Cunningham’s museum in Costa Mesa, California. By the early 1970s it had come into the possession of a Jaguar enthusiast named Robert Lane, who, in 1973, sold it to British collector Sir Anthony Bamford. These were the first in a long chain of respected owners from all over the world, and the Lightweight, despite undergoing a restoration in the 1980s and some modifications to allow it to participate in road events or displays, remains an impressively original matching numbers car. Although it is being offered with an undisclosed estimate, it can be considered a better car than a similar one recently sold at auction for USD 1.2 million.

1963 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight Competition

1936 Talbot-Lago T120 Sports Cabriolet by Figoni

Chassis #85722 is one of only five known survivors among the forty T120 Cabriolets manufactured. Dressed in a Figoni body it was delivered new on April 9, 1937, registered to one Jacques Puget of Marseilles. On January 4, 1939, it was sold to Maurice Martignon, who took loving care of it for over 22 years, keeping it safely in storage throughout the war years. In August 1962, the car, still largely sound and complete, was discovered in Marseilles by the present owner’s father, who purchased it and took it to southern California, with the intention of restoring it.

It took “some time” to get this process started and it was not until 2005 that the charming restoration, carried out with the primary aim of preserving the car’s originality, was finally complete, allowing it to be shown at the Quail Concours, the first of a number of concours where it was successfully exhibited. With this lot, Bonhams is offering prospective buyers a rare opportunity to become only the fourth owner of a pre-war car. After 55 years with the same family, #85722 is being offered with an estimated value of USD 375–475 K.

1933 Delage D8 S Coupe, Conduite Interieur by Letourneur et Marchand (lot 95)

A top French car of the early 1930s, this Delage D8 S Coupe 130 inch S-type chassis model (chassis number #38186), featuring an inline 8-cylinder 4-liter engine, was dressed in a closed body, one of the small series ordered in 1932 by Delage from the Letourneur et Marchand body shop. The body is characterized by a low rounded coupé greenhouse coupled with a seemingly endless long hood, sweeping fender lines and a narrow vertical windshield. Only four Delage D8 S Coupes were built, all slightly different, and only two are known to survive today.

Nothing is known of the early life of the car on sail at Quail Lodge auction , believed to be the one shown at the Delage stand during the October 1934 Paris Show. However, in the mid-1950s it was registered, in Marseilles, to a certain Mr Retornaz, who laid the car up in a garage where it remained, forgotten, until 1999, when it was discovered, in virtually untouched condition, by classic car dealer Charles Howard. Howard purchased the car and almost immediately sold it on to an owner in Madrid, where it was restored. It was bought and re-restored by its current owner around five years ago. It is offered with an estimate of USD 700–800 K.

1983 Lancia Rally 037 Stradale (lot 78)

There are few Rally cars more iconic than the 037, the very last competitive non-turbo, two wheel- drive racing-only car. The 200 road cars that, under FIA rules, had to be produced prior to homologation of the racing version soon sold out, and many were soon converted into racing cars. While the works Martini 037s were winning in the World Championship, less fortunate cars were being trashed by less skilled drivers in secondary races. Some road legal cars survived, but very few remained totally original.

One of the few that did is chassis # ZLA151AR000000159, about to come up for sale at the Quail Lodge auction. It was purchased on February 15, 1990 by a Mr Edoardo Magnone in Italy, where it has remained ever since, retaining its original Turin registration plates. It has had just one owner and is believed to have covered only 9,342 kilometers from new. The interior and exterior show some signs of use, but the car is complete, with every detail intact. A full mechanical service will be mandatory before using it, as the Abarth two-liter DOHC supercharged 4-cylinder engine has long remained idle. It is offered, without reserve, with an estimate of USD 300–400 K.

1983 Lancia 037 Stradale with less than 10.000 km.

For more information on the auction, please visit the Bonhams website.

All pictures courtesy of Bonhams.

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