Beautiful Aston Martin rivals Bond car at RM Sotheby’s Battersea auction
RM Sotheby’s will be offering 68 cars plus a couple of 1:1 wooden maquettes (two separate lots) at its forthcoming auction in London’s Battersea Park, taking place on Wednesday, 6th September. RM Sotheby’s September auction in the British capital has become something of a tradition for the firm, even though this year it finds itself “squeezed” in, as part of a packed calendar of events, between Monterey Week and the “Leggenda e Passione” Ferrari sale taking place on September 9th. The latter date, a one-off linked to Ferrari’s 70th anniversary celebrations in Maranello, was clearly added in later.
Previews of the entire sale will take place on the previous Tuesday (from 12 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and on the Wednesday (from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) of the sale itself. The buyer’s premium will be 15% + VAT on hammer prices of up to GBP 200,000 while 12.5% + VAT will be applied to any portion of a final hammer price exceeding this amount. The catalog includes 20 lots offered without reserve (including the two maquettes), and only two cars expected to break the GBP 1 million barrier (a 1935 Hispano-Suiza K6 Cabriolet by Brandone and a 2004 Ferrari Enzo). Porsche will be, by far, the most strongly represented brand at the sale, with 14 cars crossing the block, followed by Ferrari with nine, Mercedes-Benz with five, and Aston Martin and Jaguar each with four. The oldest car in the catalog is a 1900 Marlboro Steam Stanhope (chassis #1388), a rare Marlboro steam car with a well preserved older restoration; offered without reserve, it has been valued at GBP 35–45 K.
The most recent lots are both 2014 cars. One of these is a very special Land Rover, a Defender SVX “Spectre” (chassis #SALLDH5P8FA462391) crafted by the best in business as one of the only 10 original cars used in the James Bond movie “Spectre”; one of the 20 cars being offered without reserve, it has only 234 kilometers on the clock and has been assigned a pre-sale estimated value of GBP 100–150 K. The event’s other “youngster” is a 2014 Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS GT Roadster (chassis #WMX1974782AOO9666), one of the only two UK supplied RHD models. It has done less than 9000 miles and is being offered with an estimate of GBP 190–230 K. The two cars expected to be the auction’s cheapest are both just out of long-term storage, offered without reserve, and expected to fetch in the region of GBP 10–15 K. One is a 1963 Mercedes-Benz 300 SE Coupe (chassis #112.021.12.004862), a LHD automatic car, highly original but in need of a complete restoration. The other is a 1973 Jaguar E-Type Series 3 V-12 Roadster (chassis #UDIS22126), delivered in the US with LHD and manual transmission, in need of a complete restoration. The most expensive cars, both estimated at GBP 1.6–1.8 million, are a 1935 Hispano-Suiza K6 Cabriolet by Brandone and the 2004 Ferrari Enzo (chassis #ZFFCZ56B000136085). The latter, repainted in Blue Tour de France and Ferrari Classiche certified, has done less than 9000 kilometers from new.
1935 Hipsano-Suiza K6 Cabriolet by Brandone
The K6 model was created in 1935, after the manufacturer decided to replace its hallowed H6 model. Thus, the K6 was given a new, six-cylinder engine with a shorter (110-mm) stroke and improved air intake, all this adding up to more power from a smaller displacement. The new model also had a lighter, chassis, equipped with a new four-wheel braking system, and revised leaf spring suspensions. Chassis #16035 was originally delivered in Cannes, France, on 4th May 1935, complete with a Cabriolet body manufactured by local coachbuilder Brandone, famous as a small shop capable of manufacturing wonderful, luxurious open cars. After winning the Grand Prix d’Honneur at the 1936 concours “L’Elegance Automobile” on the Cote d’Azur and then changing hands a few times, the car was bought by its last French owners in 1955.
It was subsequently shipped to the USA, entering the Blackhawk collection and, some years later, the Peter Mullin collection. After a comprehensive restoration and appearances at different concours in the USA, it was purchased by Sam and Emily Mann for their collection. For a long time, the origin of the car’s bodywork had been disputed, the work being attributed to various coachbuilders. At this point, however, a thorough investigation of its history was finally commissioned and this revealed that its body was actually an original Brandone. The car was then sent to Stone Barn Restorations, where it was restored, respecting the original lines. Soon afterwards, it won its class at Pebble Beach and was also among the runners for Best in Show. Absolutely perfect, with a fresh mechanical overhaul done at RM Auto Restoration, it is now offered for sale with an estimated value of GBP 1.6–1.8 million.
1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback Sports Saloon by H.J. Mulliner
In the mid-1950s, Bentley was manufacturing some truly amazing, refined and very fast sport cars. The Continental, boasting extra power and a longer gear ratio, epitomized the firm’s production at that time. It was aimed at (very) wealthy gentlemen looking for a car that could take them across the Continent (hence the name) at a high average speed and in absolute comfort. The French highway connecting Calais with the Côte d’Azur is still known as the “Autoroute des Anglais”, and in fact it owes its name to these gentlemen, who would often be driving Bentleys.
The Fastback Sports Saloon created by H.J. Mulliner, one of the firm’s preferred coachbuilders, was one of the best-looking models. In addition to this fantastic design, the specimen coming up for sale in London (chassis #BC56D) features a manual gearbox, the most powerful (4.9-liter) engine and lightweight seats — the perfect combination! After its original intended buyer cancelled the order, placed with London dealer H.R. Owen, the car was sold to another customer, a certain P. Carrington, and registered PXC 163. Two owners and three years later, the car, by this time registered JD12, entered the ownership of Bentley collector John Donner, where it remained until 1978. Another well-known owner of this car, who took possession of it in 1982, was Victor Gauntlett, entrepreneur and, among other things, owner of Aston Martin. The following year, Gauntlett sold it to the brother of its current owner, starting a family ownership that has lasted 34 years. Beautifully preserved, well maintained and with a known history, it is offered for sale with an estimate of GBP 775–900 K.
1939 Aston Martin Speed Model Type C
The Aston Martin Speed Model was the fastest pre-war Aston Martin, capable of doing more than 100 mph thanks to its aerodynamic body and Claude Hill engine, a two-liter unit with larger carburetors than the previous model, higher lift cams and a dry sump lubricating system. Originally conceived as Le Mans racers, these cars were subsequently sold to privateers, with a series of different bodies. The last version was the Type C, of which only eight specimens were built in all. Speed Model Type Cs are therefore very rare.
The one car offered for sale by RM Sotheby’s (chassis #A9/722/U) is one of the first three built and it still has the registration (KMD 69) that it had when, driven by P.B. Mayne and probably still owned by AM, it made its racing debut at the RAC Rally, where it finished 8th in class. It was sold to its first private owner in 1939. In 1953, by this time in the hands of its subsequent owner, it underwent a complete engine overhaul. At some time in its life, the car’s body was detached from its chassis. It is only during the current ownership that a new one was manufactured, using, as far as possible, original parts coming from another Type C body. After the restoration, the car was shown at the 2012 Villa d’Este concours and at the Aston Martin 2013 Centenary Celebrations. It is offered with an estimated value of GBP 575–725 K.
1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Lightweight
The name of this car speaks volumes: for a collector, the 911 Carrera RS 2.7 is a highly coveted Porsche, and it becomes even more appealing if we are talking about the rarer and higher performing Lightweight version. If, on top of all this, it is in RHD configuration, it becomes one of a total of only 17 built with this specification. The one being offered for sale on this occasion (chassis #9113601501) is one of the most renowned and successful of this limited series. It was sold new to Harold Morley, a British rally driver and winner of the 1972 Motoring News Rally Championship. In 1973, painted white with the distinctive red Carrera lettering, and registered OM 77, it took part in three international rallies, including the RAC Rally that was the last race of the 1973 World Rally Championship. In January 1974 it was sold to Cathal Curley, a famous Irish driver, and re-registered AUI 1500.
With Curley at the wheel, it enjoyed a highly successful spell, winning various rallies, including some at international level. Indeed, this car-and-driver team enjoyed star status and was often featured in photos used for advertising purposes, in adverts for Porsche and Dunlop, for example. Sold at the end of the 1975 season, AUI 1500 continued racing for the next four years, under several British owners, achieving good results right up until 1979, when the model’s homologation expired. At this point, the car was sold to Albert Van Heerden, in South Africa, and continued to race in local rallies there. In 1984, it was upgraded to the Group 4 RSR specification, which included a 3.4-liter twin plug factory engine, and went on racing. It was still competitive — it had started in pole position — when it was involved in an accident at the Kyalami race track race in 1987.
Severely damaged, the RS Lightweight was sold to a Porsche collector who stored it for the following 23 years. In 2010, it was sold to its current owner who proceeded with a professional restoration in the UK, returning the car to the original specification, using, as far as possible, original parts. The engine was rebuilt starting from a proper 911/83 crankcase and was then re-stamped with a proper AT replacement suffix. Close to the end of the restoration work, in 2014, the 911 was fully inspected by Porsche AG and issued a new factory chassis plate. It is offered for sale with an estimate of GBP 0.825–1 million.
1952 Lancia Aurelia B20 GT Series II
The Aurelia is considered one of the most advanced models of its time, and many consider it one of the most beautiful and perfect cars ever built. Even today, good Aurelias are always sought after, because they are wonderful, reliable classics that allow their lucky owners to take part in practically every kind of event in the classic car world (races, rallies, concours competitions and so on), or simply to be used for driving around, even on long journeys. The car offered for sale (chassis #B201833) was completed on 30th July 1952 and sold in Milan; its “Italian period” is fully documented in copies of various original documents.
In 1963 it was de-registered and remained unused for the following 11 years, until it was sold to Peter Agg of Trojan Cars, who imported it into the UK and re-registered it, on 5th June 1974. The same month, now licensed WYM 493M, the car was purchased by an Englishman, who kept it until 2016. It was well maintained during this long-term ownership, and is now offered for sale complete with every invoice for work done from 1975 onwards as well as an extensive history file. It is also fitted with original period accessories, such as the Nardi steering wheel, floor change, Condor radio and Borrani Turbo alloy wheels. It has been valued at GBP 140–160 K.
1985 Mazda RX-7 EVO Group B Works
Lot 123 is an unusual but very interesting car. It is believed to be the only original RX-7 works car still in existence. Created under the guidance of Achim Warmbold, it was never raced and remained unused and on display at Mazda UK’s head office. The Group B rules required the firm to build 20 specimens in order to homologate the “EVO” version. However, due to the sudden cancellation of the Group B rally class following the deadly crash at the Tour de Corse involving Henry Toivonen and Sergio Cresto in a Lancia Delta S4, only seven were actually built, and the remaining, uncompleted ones were used for spares and parts. The other six finished EVOs saw some activity over the years, and have undergone modifications; instead, this one (chassis #MTRE 019), after also being exhibited for some time at the Belgian headquarters of the Mazda Racing Team, was acquired by the Mazda Swiss importer in the early 1990s. Some collectors on, it today remains as it was then: in original factory condition, complete with the exact Works specification. It is offered, in as new condition following recent maintenance, with an estimate of GBP 170–190 K.
All photos courtesy of RM Sotheby’s, © Hispano Suiza by James Mann,© Bentley by Tom Wood, © Porsche 911 and Lancia by Jack Passey, © Mazda by Rowan Horncastle.
For more information, please visit the auction website of RM Sotheby’s Battersea auction.