Bonhams Padova Auction at Auto e Moto d’Epoca 2017

The Bonhams Padova sale, taking place on October 28th, is an auction organized in conjunction with the annual classic car show Auto e Moto d’Epoca, held in the city of Padova, in North East Italy. The show, which always attracts hundreds of traders of cars, automobilia and spare parts, is the most important in Italy, visited by collectors from all over Europe. It is therefore a great aggregation point for collectors and potential buyers. The lots will be previewed at the auction venue, Padiglione (hall) II at the Fiera di Padova, on the Thursday and Friday before the sale (from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. respectively), and will continue on the Saturday from 9 a.m. until 2.30 p.m., when the sale is due to get under way. The catalog includes 60 cars (or 58+2 if we consider that one lot is a bumper car and another an APE Calessino), and only four lots are being offered without reserve. The buyer’s commission will be quite high, with a rate of 15% + IVA (Italian VAT, usually 22%) being charged on the hammer price.

Two cars, both from the same Greek collection and both armored, have the lowest pre-sale estimated value (EUR 12–18 K): one is a 1990 Lancia Thema Turbo (chassis #ZLA834 00000325993) used by the national bank of Greece, and the other a 1982 Lancia Delta 16 HF (chassis #ZLA831AB000246259) used by the Italian police force. The highest estimate (EUR 750–950 K) has been assigned to a 1957 matching numbers Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (chassis #198042-7500328), originally sold in the USA but now coming from Norway. The youngest car up for sale is a 2016 Porsche 911 Targa 4S “30th Anniversary Porsche Italia” (chassis #WP0ZZZ99ZG5134367), while the oldest is a 1947 Fiat 1100 A Carrozzeria Boneschi Cabriolet (chassis #261989). Twelve of the cars offered have a lower estimate of at least EUR 100 K, with hammer prices of EUR 200 K, 300 K and 400 K each expected to be paid for two cars, while one car has been given a lower estimate of EUR 600 K and another is predicted to fetch at least EUR 700 K.


1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster

Considered a “blue chip” on the classic car market, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, both in the closed “Gullwing” version and in the Roadster one, is one of the easiest cars to trade, despite its value. A wonderful car to drive (the Roadster version in particular), it is reliable and always well received at any kind of rally or classic car show. The 1957 300 SL Roadster being offered in Padova, a matching numbers car, was sold new in the USA, and was delivered fitted with sealed-beam headlights and a Becker Mexico radio, with the optional lower-than-standard rear axle ratio, and in a color scheme of metallic silver gray on blue leather interior. Nothing is known of its early history, the first available document being a letter dated 7th April 1970 in which a resident of Dallas (TX), Stephen Muethe, writes of having just bought the car. Muethe kept it until 1976, when he sold it in Michigan. The late father of the second to last owner bought the car in April 1988 and had it shipped to Norway. It has been in the hands of its present Norwegian owner since 2014. In the nearly 30 years it has spent in Europe it has covered a mere, well documented, 6320 miles, and is now offered for sale, restored and in excellent order, with a pre-sale estimated value of EUR 750–950 K.


1960 Maserati 3500 GT Spyder Vignale

The Maserati 3500 GT, which was the Modena firm’s first “production car”, is the perfect classic car, being beautiful to look, fun to drive and, above all, rare. And it becomes even more perfect (if this is possible) in the open version designed by Giovanni Michelotto for Carrozzeria Vignale, i.e. the Spyder, based on a shorter (by 10 centimeters) 3500 GT chassis, of which only about 242 specimens were built.

The one being offered for sale on this occasion (chassis #AM101 1013) was completed on August 29th, 1960, in Argento Luna on black leather interior, paired with a 3,500cc engine equipped with triple Weber carburetors. It was sold through Chinetti in Los Angeles (CA), USA (source, Ferrari Classiche). The body was resprayed (to concours standards) in 2003, its second respray following a total restoration carried out in England in 1990, and the car remains in excellent condition today. The engine underwent a complete overhaul at some point, and was fitted with a new head gasket and a replacement cylinder block stamped with the same number as the original one. To improve the usability of the car on long journeys, a five-speed ZF gearbox was installed in the later models. Fastidiously maintained by respected UK-based Maserati specialists, this UK-registered 3500 Vignale is offered with an estimate of EUR 600–700 K.


1953 Alfa Romeo 1900 C Sprint Coupé Pinin Farina

The Alfa 1900 was a dream car for many drivers of the 1950s, especially in the shorter chassis coupé version that, based on the Sprint mechanics, was capable of delivering 100 HP. The Coupé 1900 C built by Pinin Farina is indeed rare, with only 100 being manufactured between 1952 and 1953. The 1953 matching numbers car offered here (chassis #AR1900C01630), a Mille Miglia eligible car, left the factory on 25th June 1953 painted in Grigio Chiaro, to be delivered to its first owner in Rome. After passing through the hands of different owners in Tuscany, in April 1979 it entered a collection in Florence, where, after restoration work in the mid-1980s, during which the engine was replaced with another one, correct for type, it was left parked and never used. Sold to a new owner at the end of 2014, the car was made usable and the interior re-upholstered. It was sold to the current owner in 2015, and he managed to track down the original engine, restore it and re-install it in the car, with the result that, today, it is a matching numbers car. Made in steel, thinner than usual to save weight, the Pinin Farina Coupé, just 50 kilos heavier than the Touring version, is still a wonderful car to drive, maybe in the Mille Miglia historic. This one is offered with a EUR 350– 450 K estimate.


1967 De Tomaso Vallelunga Berlinetta Ghia

The De Tomaso Vallelunga is an unusual model: only about 50 pieces were built in all. It was the very first road car manufactured by De Tomaso, which until then had focused exclusively on building racing cars, and its sporty background is clear from its technical specification: powered by a 1.5-liter Ford Kent four-cylinder engine, it has all-round independent suspension, rack-and-pinion steering, four-wheel disc brakes and a backbone-type chassis.

Alejandro De Tomaso, himself a racing driver — he raced for Maserati and OSCA among others —, asked carrozzeria Fissore to design and Carrozzeria Ghia to build the body, and the result was a compact berlinetta with beautiful and balanced lines. The car coming under the hammer in Padova (chassis #807DT0115) comes from an Italian De Tomaso collection, where it has spent the last nine years of its life. The car is presented in original condition — it is believed never to have been restored — with the original Italian libretto. It has been assigned an estimated value of EUR 200–250 K.


1962 Lancia Flaminia Sport 3C Coupé Zagato

Back in the early 1960s, Lancias were among the best cars on the market, and the quality of their construction was legendary. The Flaminia, which featured a six-cylinder 2.5-liter engine (from 1962 increased to a 2.8 liters), was Lancia’s top-of-the-range model. The Coupé version, despite being a big car by for the period, offered a wonderful but still comfortable driving experience. In 1961, an enhanced version with triple Weber 35 DCN carburetors, named 3C, was made available too.

For customers looking for something more in terms of speed and handling, Carrozzeria Zagato provided the answer, thanks to the shortened wheelbase of the Flaminia Coupé Zagato. This was, in fact, Zagato’s golden period, partly because of the input of designer Ercole Spada, who was responsible for some beautiful lines. Zagato created a perfectly shaped body, rounded but still aggressive. Most of the 400 or so cars built were given the firm’s trademark “double bubble” roof, a solution that allowed the roof to be lowered while still leaving enough space for the driver’s head and racing helmet.

The car now coming up for sale (chassis #824133388) is a 1962 2.8-liter 3C that was discovered in Switzerland during the 1980s. Nothing is known, so far at least, of its early history. It has a very rare, if not unique, configuration, consisting of faired-in headlamps under Plexiglas cowls, usually found only on the first 99 cars built, paired with the 2.8-liter engine that was a specific feature of the last 70, of which only 37 received the Super Sport 3C specification. The originality of this combination is demonstrated by Lancia factory documentation recording the original specification, which is confirmed by a Lancia Club certificate and by a 1993 letter from Elio Zagato confirming that Carrozzeria Zagato would retrofit the faired-in headlamps to later cars after they had left the factory.

This Flaminia was completely restored in Italy, by KCA, in the period 1990–1993, and for the subsequent 20 years or so it was barely driven, spending most of its time in a temperature-controlled garage. When it was sold to its current owner in 2015, the car was maintained to a good level. It has recently undergone a service, including replacement of the exhaust system and an overhaul of the braking system at Thornley Kelham in the UK, where it is currently registered, with a valid MoT. It is now expected to fetch between EUR 400 and 500 K.


1973 Porsche 911 2.4 S

Right now, anything named 911 is eagerly sought on the market, but within this category it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a decent 2.4 S, since only 1,430 examples of this model were built. For many, the 2.4 S represents the perfect combination of style and mechanics. Its 2.4-liter engine delivers up to 190 HP and it features the Type 915 five-speed gearbox. The 1973 car offered here (chassis #9113301047), finished in metallic dark blue on black leather interior, was delivered new in Italy and registered on January 1st, 1973. Today, still registered in Italy, it remains in good condition, and is offered for sale with the correct 6x15” rims refurbished and paired with four new tires. It still has the original interior, and comes complete with manuals and tool box. It has a Porsche Certificate of Authenticity and is offered with an estimate of EUR 110–130 K.

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