Bonhams 2019 Monterey week, The Quail sale – Preview

Monterey Week is almost upon us once again, and Bonhams will be the firm kicking off, by a matter of hours, the program of Monterey sales, which this year looks set to be a pretty intense one. Bonhams will be holding its traditional sale, this year over two days (Thursday 15th and 16th August), offering a total of 223 cars, while RM Sotheby’s, whose event will also start on the Thursday, will this year be organizing its first-ever three-day sale here. Gooding & Co., the official auction house of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, will also be sticking to the more usual two-day formula, but in this case, like last year, its sale will be scheduled to end on the Saturday. The Bonhams sale will take place at The Quail Lodge in Carmel (CA). The lots will be previewed on Wednesday 14th August, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and also on the two days of the sale itself, from 9 a.m. up to the start of the bidding, which will get under way at 2 p.m. on the first day and at 10 a.m. on the second. Any transaction worth up to USD 250 K will be subject to 12% commission, while the rate for any amounts paid beyond this threshold will be 10%.

A considerable proportion of the lots (56%, 125 cars) will be offered without a reserve price, meaning that they will surely be sold. Among the cars up for sale, 11 have been assigned estimates that break the million dollar barrier, while two are expected to fetch at least USD 2 million, and one USD 3 million. Two cars are being offered with an undisclosed estimate. These two cars aside, the sale’s most valuable car is a 1937 Delahaye 135M with open coachwork by Guillore. At the other end of the spectrum, two cars, both offered without reserve, have been assigned the event’s lowest estimated value (USD 15–20 K): one of these is a 1973 MG B Roadster (chassis #GHN5UD300883G) with only three owners from new, and the other is a 1979 Mazda RX-7 (chassis #SA22C553839), which has done less than 35,000 miles from new. The oldest car crossing the block at the Bonhams sale is a 1901 Panhard et Levassor 5HP, while the youngest is a 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS (chassis #WP0AF2A93KS164202), which has had a single owner and covered 350 miles from new (est. USD 225-275 K).

1958 AC ACE Bristol (lot 110)

The 1950s ACE design provided the perfect starting point for the development of some interesting sports cars, and following Carroll Shelby’s decision to use it as the basis for his Cobra project, one notable version even took shape on the other side of the Atlantic. The Bristol two-liter, six-cylinder engine was one of the best choices for this model, and it ended up equipping more than 50% of the total 723 ACEs built. Chassis #BEX436 was created as an LHD car and originally exported to Canada, to a Mr. Gold. When he passed away, his widow sold it to legendary collector car dealer and racing driver, Mr. Kirk F. White, who kept it until 1988. He then sold it to another renowned collector, Mr. John Moir, with whom the desirable Roadster then remained until 2014, when it was purchased by the consignor, a Philadelphia-based collector. Still highly original, this matching numbers car recently underwent a mechanical refurbishment carried out by Steve Babinsky. Worth an estimated USD 350–450 K, it is offered with tools, side curtains and soft top.

1989 Porsche 911 Carrera Speedster (lot 113)

Porsche 911s are quite common on today’s market, but the elements that make this 1989 911 Speedster stand out are its history and great condition. 911 Speedster chassis #WP0EB0913KS173014 is one of the rare Speedsters featuring the G50 gearbox, a configuration that remained in production for only a year. Sporting the charming Linen Gray Metallic over Cashmere Beige color scheme, it is the very car featured on the cover of January 1990 issue of Road & Track magazine. Ordered with a long list of optional equipment, it was completed in April 1989 at the Zuffenhausen Porsche works, destined for the North American market. Initially used for promotional purposes, the car, fitted with Stuttgart tourist-delivery license plates, was collected at the factory by its first owner, a Mr. Raymond Benford of Santa Ana. Just months later, it was exported to California, where it has remained ever since. In its 30 years, it has covered only 27,577 miles, and it is still accompanied by every possible document. Highly original, it is offered, without reserve, with a USD 160–210 K estimate.

1953 Fiat 8V Supersonic, coachwork by Ghia (lot 128)

The exquisite beauty of the Fiat 8V Supersonic, one of the masterpieces penned by designer Giovanni Savonuzzi, makes this model one of the most coveted and admired of the early post-war Italian cars. Its sheer rarity — only 15 were built — and the refined engine are two features that further increase market interest in this car, always a highly coveted model. This 8V, which has just been completely restored by model specialist Strada & Corsa in the Netherlands, is chassis #106.000043, now sporting its original color scheme of white with red leather. Other features are the front grille with extra lights and the absence of a bumper. Shortly after completion, it was shipped to New York to Howard “Dutch” Darrin, Dutch founder of the coachbuilder Hibbard & Darrin, who, during the 1954 World Motor Sports Show in Madison Square Garden in New York, sold it to Briggs Swift Cunningham, the famous entrepreneur, car and yacht racer, who planned to give it to his wife, Lucie. Cunningham invited Darrin to drive the Supersonic to Florida, for the 12 Hours of Sebring taking place on March 6th, 1954. Darrin drove the 8V the 1330 miles from New York to Sebring, arriving just in time for the Friday practice. Cunningham test drove the 8V and was delighted with its performance, as shown by his immediately proffering a check for USD 9,500. After the race, he presented the Supersonic to his wife, who drove it throughout the rest of that year, until her husband sold it to a dealer in Hartford, Connecticut. We know pretty much everything about this car’s history, in particular the identities of its different owners and the different colors it wore up until 2012, when it was bought by a Belgian collector who decided to put it through a nut and bolt restoration. This work took two years and returned the car to the exact specifications it boasted at the time of its unveiling at the 1954 World Motor Sports Show in Madison Square Garden. It was on the Pebble Beach field in 2017, and was bought by the consignor during the Retromobile Show in February 2018. It is offered with an estimate of USD 1.75–1.95 million.

1937 Delahaye 135M Competition Court, coachwork Roadster by Guilloré (lot 147)

At the end of the 1930s, French craftsmanship and style were particularly admired in the automotive sector, not least on account of the beautiful “Gout d’eau” shape. This Delahaye 135M (chassis #47471), one of only 30 special order short chassis cars based on the 135M mechanics, was completed in May 1937 and registered in Paris with license plates “7671 RL”. Its second owner — we are now in the post-war years — was a Monsieur Ihnno “Jacques” Ezratty, known to have been a close associate of the Russian artist Alexandra Exter. Ezratty at the wheel of his convertible Delahaye became a familiar sight in post-war Paris. Several French owners later, in 1980, the Delahaye was exported to the USA, where it was shown at the 1982 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. A decade later, it was back at Pebble Beach with a new owner, and four years after that, in 1996, it was bought by its current custodian. It was displayed at the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance in 2017, where it took the People’s Choice award. It is now offered for sale with an estimate of USD 3.25–3.75 million.

1951 Ferrari 340 America, coachwork Coupe Speciale by Carrozzeria Ghia (lot 152)

Ferraris never come cheap, and this is particularly true if you are talking about the 340 America version with the Lampredi 4.1-liter V12 engine. In the case of this 340 America Coupe Speciale Ghia (chassis #0132), the addition of a one-off special body, manufactured by Carrozzeria Ghia, one of the most renowned Italian coachbuilders of the period, contributed to an eye-wateringly high final price, when new, of USD 25,000. The construction of the chassis began in the summer of 1951, while Vignale started work on the car in the fall of the same year. The result was a creation absolutely unique in countless details. Completed in November 1951, it was delivered to Ponti & Mambretti, the official Ferrari dealer in Rome. In February 1952, it was featured in the American car magazine Road & Track, by which time it was already owned by millionaire playboy Mr. Johnny Ysmael, who kept it in LA. In 1953, the 0132A was sold to Mr. William Doheny, owner of the Union Oil Company (Union 76). He, in turn, sold it to car dealer Ernie McAfee, who went on to use it in races in Southern California. The father of the consignor, Mr. James Walter, bought it in the late 1950s, and it has remained in the Walter family ever since. Accompanied by a thick file of documentation, including dozens of exceptional photos from its early years, this matching numbers car is a perfect specimen to show or drive at the most important international events around the world. It is offered with an undisclosed estimate, possibly in the region of USD 4.5 million.

1901 Panhard et Levassor 5HP, Twin Cylinder Rear Entrance Tonneau (lot 164)

In the early years of the automobile, the French manufacturers were the market leaders. One of the most successful and respected French car firms was Panhard et Levassor. Having been originally founded, in 1887, as Panhard, in 1891 it changed its name to Panhard et Levassor. The car offered at the Bonhams sale is a highly original 5HP (chassis #2362) with matching numbers engine that makes a perfect steed for the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, in which it has already participated as many as 32 times! It was originally ordered, complete with the Tonneau body, on August 30th, 1901, by Christy, Médecet et Cie, the Panhard and Renault agent in Lyon. Very little is known about the first period in the car’s life, although photos from the 1980s, in which it is pictured in ‘as found’ condition, clearly show that it still wore a studded tire (a feature already outdated by the late 1910s) and was complete with the original body and hood, as well as original mahogany wings (a very rare feature). After spending around a decade with a Swiss professor, Jean Tua, who subsequently opened his own museum, in 1983 the Panhard et Levassor was sold to prominent veteran car collector Brian Garner and restored. In 1992, after several changes of ownership, it was sold to a Mr. Philip Tillyard. The current owner purchased it in October 2015, and then embarked on a complete restoration, which was completed in 2017. One of the only two known survivors, this 5HP Panhard et Levassor is offered with an estimate of USD 400–450 K.

All images copyright and courtesy of Bonhams

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