Bonhams Amelia Island Auction 2019 – Preview N° 2

1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 SL (lot 208)

The Mercedes-Benz W113 series, better known as the Pagoda, is an iconic 1960s open car, and one of the masterpieces of French designer Paul Bracq. The first version was the one equipped with the six-cylinder 2.3-liter engine capable of generating about 150 HP. This is not a huge amount, but more than enough, given that it was delivered by a very lively and quick-to-rev engine, perfectly complemented by a manual four-speed gearbox that allows you to enjoy the car’s road capabilities to the full. The 230 SL offered here (chassis #113042 10 015934), finished in Classic White on Tobacco interior, was manufactured in April 1966 and originally sold in Switzerland, in the Basel area, in the September of the same year. For several decades, it stayed with the same family and was kept mostly original: it just had a light respray before entering its current ownership. It is offered without reserve, complete with hard top and original manuals and tools, with an estimated value of USD 40–55 K.

1966 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 4.2 Roadster (lot 222)

Ever since the 1980s the open E-Type has been the perfect symbol of the classic car movement, immune to fashions and national preferences. Indeed, it is hard to think of a car better able to define the term classic. However, for this very reason, many of these cars have, in the past, been tampered with, assembled to achieve an easy profit on resale, or poorly maintained by less careful owners. Furthermore, they have tended to change hands frequently, and therefore often have lengthy lists of previous owners. The E-Type up for sale at the forthcoming Bonhams auction (chassis #1E12683), a first series 1966 4.2-litre Roadster, escaped this fate, and is indeed offered by its original owner, who has taken very good care of it since day 1. Delivered in the USA, in Opalescent Gunmetal over black leather, it has been used with care, covering just 30,000 miles in all its 53 years. Excluding its new soft top and the repaint it received a few years ago, it remains in very good original condition. It recently underwent work at Whipple Motorsports in Spokane (WA): in addition to a new exhaust, a new electrical fan was added to help keep the engine cool in today’s more challenging traffic conditions, and the brake system was overhauled. Finally, new carpet was fitted and a period correct (but with added USB input) stereo was installed, thus completing the “upgrade” of this very honest, good looking and usable E-Type with a wonderful history behind it. It is now offered to its second owner, without reserve, and with a very reasonable estimate of USD 100–140 K.

1936 Bentley 4¼ Litre Tourer by Vanden Plas (lot 233)

Prewar Bentleys often tend to be a “bit of a mess”, having new bodies mounted on old, original rolling chassis, or fitted with a mix of original and upgraded parts, and so on. Most of them have a similar story that explains why this is the case. They were often raced in period, and then, when their appeal declined, were dismantled for parts. Subsequently, when they were “rediscovered” and their value started to rise, they would be resuscitated, keeping what was available and replacing any missing parts with market-sourced spares, which had to be adapted to the car. Clearly, then, when a very original Bentley turns up on the market, it is always a very interesting car to keep an eye on, all the more so when it is equipped with an (original) open body. This 1936 4¼ (chassis #B 138 GA teamed with engine K6BW) is one of the only 2,442 “Derby” Bentleys manufactured. Furthermore, its entire history is well known. Completed in 1936, it was dispatched to coachbuilder Vanden Plas to receive their body number 3441, the second “tourer” style body installed on the model, after the one delivered to Sir Malcom Campbell (chassis #B 22 GA). It was delivered to its first owner, a Mr W.G. Jordan, on March 25th 1936. Following its second ownership (from 1939 to 1946), the car was purchased by Mr Peter Riley, an apprentice and production car road tester at the Rolls-Royce works. Riley got the best out of his car, entering it in several club events, hill-climbs, sprints and rallies. In his hands, its best result was 2nd overall at the 1950 Welsh Rally, where it came just behind the car belonging to the legendary Sidney Allard. This was a great achievement, considering that the car was, by then, 14 years old. Several owners later, in the late 1980s, the 4¼ was sold in dismantled condition to Michael Bradfield, chairman of the Bentley Drivers Club, who commissioned a total restoration. The work was done to a very high standard and cost around GBP 140,000. Two owners after this, in 2003, it underwent a further restoration, and went on to participate in a number of rallies and tours. The car was so amazingly kept that, despite having been well driven, it took 3rd in Class at Pebble Beach in 2009, by which time it had covered several thousand miles since the restoration work done six years earlier. The current owner purchased the car in 2016 (at the Bonhams Quail Lodge sale) and has used it regularly at weekends. To help it cope with modern traffic conditions, and to better preserve its mechanics, the Bentley has been equipped with a well-hidden electronic overdrive. It is now offered with an estimate of USD 600–800 K.

1913 Renault Type DP 22/24 CV Coupé-Chauffeur by Renaudin & Besson (lot 237)

In the early 1910s, French cars, and Renaults in particular, were the most advanced expressions of automotive technology and style.

The Renault offered here, a DP 22/24 CV (chassis #37217) with a five-liter, side-valve, four-cylinder bi-bloc engine (number 5044), was a top-of-the range product. Parisian coachbuilder Renaudin et Besson (situated at 42 Rue Campo Formio) was commissioned to build its wooden body, which was finished with interiors in a dedicated fabric. This is the very same original body, in amazing preserved condition, that it has today. All of the above is well documented but also woven into family history, given that the car was ordered and bought new by the current owner’s great-grandfather, making this a more than 100-year single-family ownership. “The damask of the interior”, says the current owner “was chosen by my great-grandmother to replicate the decoration and green color of what she had at home”. Meticulously specified in every single detail, this Renault is equipped with three different kinds of lights: “My great-grandad, being worried about short circuits and the risk of fire, opted for acetylene lighting at the front, electricity for easier map reading in the cockpit, and oil feed red lights on the back” explains the current custodian. After surviving an attempted requisition during WW2 (“it had flat tires”), it was left parked in a corner of the family garage, and has remained completely untouched ever since. It is now offered, without reserve, with an estimate of USD 200–300 K.

1964 Shelby Cobra 289 (lot 238)

The 289 CI V8 engine is perfect for the light body and the short wheelbase of the Shelby Cobra, especially if, as in the case of the car offered here (chassis #CSX 2328, a late model), the Cobra also has rack and pinion steering. CSX 2328, whose appearance today (red with correctly painted wire wheels and white wall tires) still matches the original order specifications, was sold on October 29th 1964, to a Mr Dodge Olmstead of Washington DC. Well optioned, with a luggage rack, wind wings, seatbelts, radio and external rearview mirror, and selling for a grand total of USD 5791,75, the car was never intended to race, and indeed never did. Two years later it was traded in for a 427, and entered the ownership of Army Lieutenant Robert Whittaker, who took it to Florida and painted it in a flamboyant metallic green. Its next owner, from Michigan, who purchased it in 1972, painted it silver, and it remained this color until 1986, when it was bought by Cobra specialist and expert Bill Kemper, who returned it to its original configuration before selling it to Cobra collector Seymour Lavin. Lavin kept it parked in his collection for the following 24 years before finally parting with it. Freshly mechanically overhauled by its current owner, the car, still mainly original and ready to be used, is offered with an estimate of USD 0.9–1 million.

1951 Lancia Aurelia B20 GT “pre-series” Coupe by Viotti/Ghia (lot 271)

The Lancia Aurelia B20, considered one of the most technologically advanced cars of its era and among the best engineered models ever built, is a sort of holy grail for Lancia enthusiasts (and for 1950s sports car collectors in general). The specimen offered (chassis #1047, paired with its original 2.0-liter engine: number 1001) is an exceptionally rare pre-series car, and one of the earliest B20s known still to survive. It was among the first 98 pre-series cars originally commissioned to Ghia but later subcontracted to Pinin Farina and to the smaller coachbuilder Viotti. Unfortunately, the currently available records are not detailed enough to allow it to be established with certainty which coachbuilder made what. What is known, however, is that #1047 was originally painted in metallic beige over a Nocciola (hazelnut) interior and was sold new on June 8th, 1951 to a European customer. It is believed to have gone to England in the early 1960s, spending around 25 years there before returning to Italy in 1988. First restored in 2000 by Gianni Sala of Reggio Emilia, when it received a bare metal repaint, mechanical rebuild and new upholstery, it was subsequently sold to its current owner in 2014, and underwent a second restoration, this time performed with greater attention to detail. This Mille Miglia eligible car, which appears to have a very interesting past that would be worth investigating in depth, is now offered for sale, without reserve and with a (very high) estimate of USD 175–225 USD.

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