Bonhams' famous coup in Newport

  • 04 October 2023
  • 3 min read
  • 9 images
Bonhams' famous coup in Newport image

Photo credit: Bonhams

Cliff Goodall's view

The first thing that springs to mind, in front of the spectacular success of Bonhams' enchantment in the Audrain Museum, which are the only two cars not sold. Two out of 51. Reading you will discover which were...

September 29 in Newport, Rhode Island (where the Audrain Museum is located) was the victory on all fronts: not only 96% of sales but also turnover, $ 7,203,760 compared to $ 6,883,000 estimated, 104.66%! This being the case, comparisons with 2022 are superfluous. To be fair, it helped the high number of cars without reserves, 76% compared to 51% last year, but the turnover is clear of any doubt.

Bonhams Audrain, 29th September 2023 Bonhams Audrain, 29th September 2023 Usually the $1,262,000 wouldn't say much about selling a 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster, estimated at $1.2-1,500,000. To understand something more you have to go and see the details. First of all the specifications: disc brakes? Aluminum motor? Not even. Let's move on to the conditions: the color is certainly beautiful (Anthracite metallic) and the restoration done by professionals, however, dates back to 1997-1999. Finally the accessories: it does not have the hardtop, it does not have Rudge wheels and not even the set of suitcases. At this point you can get a correct idea of the value. In my opinion the estimate was definitely optimistic and I would not have gone beyond $ 1.1 million. We can conclude that this award is a good signal for the model market. A top lot definitely deserved.

Bonhams' famous coup in Newport - 11960 Mercedes- Benz 300SL Roadster sold for $1,262,000 (€1,193,475)

The second most expensive batch of the sale is another car "curious" for the market. Precisely it is a 1973 Porsche 911 2.7 Carrera RS Touring converted into Lightweight. In the catalog it was not specified but I assume that the change took place when the values of these cars were not as high as now. However, like the 300SL, this Porsche was not in very good condition: not original engine, non-original color and also without reservation. A car more beautiful to drive than to study. The estimate? $450-500,000 (ambitious again). The award? $398,500 is much more correct.

Bonhams' famous coup in Newport - 21973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 "Lightweight" sold for $398,500 (€376,850)

I was intrigued by the sale of a 1966 Aston Martin DB6 Vantage because the market for this model looks a bit crazy right now: the cheapest this year was $ 150,000 for one to be restored but also the most expensive, from $ 330,000, was to be restored! In between many with prices around $ 220-260,000. This specimen had excellent specifications: left-hand drive, five-speed manual transmission, original air conditioning and matching numbers. The color was also great, dark gray with red interior. Precisely because of the "vagueness" of the market, Bonhams had also entrusted her with a decidedly wide estimate, from $ 200,000 to $ 300,000. The final price of $280,000 is in line with what I thought.

Bonhams' famous coup in Newport - 31966 Aston Martin DB6 Vantage sold for $280,000 (€264,800)

We now see a couple of cars of a collector of American cars from the 30s and 40s and also historic fire trucks and ambulances.

The first is a 1970 Cadillac Parkway Professional Hightop Ambulance. This car struck me because, despite being a Station Wagon, it had a 472ci engine (about 7.7 liters) with 375 hp, practically the power of the Lamborghini Miura of the same era. Still 53,000 miles, restored at the turn of the millennium and exhibited at Daytona Beach in 2004. Estimated at $30-50,000 (correct in my opinion), sold for $68,000 – more than double the estimate.

Bonhams' famous coup in Newport - 41970 Cadillac Parkway Professional Hightop Ambulance sold for $68,000 (€64,300)

Curiosity for the other car was more ... professional. We saw that cars from the 1910s (especially sports cars or "super") are very fashionable at this time so my eyes were on the 1915 Mercer Series 22-70 Sporting. Difficult, for these cars a complete story but, from 1952 onwards perfectly documented. The estimate of $110-130,000 correctly reflected the market in my opinion but the $140,000 sale confirms this year's growth for these cars.

Bonhams' famous coup in Newport - 51915 Mercer Series 22-70 Sporting sold for $140,000 (€132,400)

The Maserati Mistral is a car that has always fascinated me: it is a true Italian colt, of a prestigious and also very rare brand. Yet its prices have been stuck between $100 and $150,000 for years. Year 1966, 4.0 engine, Borrani spoked wheels, air conditioning and an elegant color combination of dark brown and beige interior. Yet, even in this case the estimate did not go beyond $ 125-150,000. The sale at $107,500, definitely a bargain. Yet, I am sure, sooner or later they will wake up.

Bonhams' famous coup in Newport - 61966 Maserati Mistral 4000 Coupe sold for $107,500 (€101,650)

Another deal was the 1947 Chrysler Windsor Highlander Convertible. Only two new owners (the last since 1975) was a car that represented in my opinion the opulent northeast of the late 40s. It reminds me of a Frank Capra movie. However, 2023 is not 1953 and collectors want much better performing cars so much that the estimate of $ 30-40,000 was absolutely reasonable. But the $17,920 price tag represents something to be taken on.

Bonhams' famous coup in Newport - 71947 Chrysler Windsor Highlander Convertible sold for $17,920 (€16,950)

Do we close with my favorite car? I usually choose cars from limited budgets but this time I ask you to break the rule. My favorite car is... the 2019 Porsche 911 Speedster. ' Practically a GT3 (991 series) without a roof and in limited numbers, sorry if it is little. 4.0 naturally aspirated engine, 502 hp, MANUAL gearbox and carbon-ceramic brakes, 2000 miles traveled, color of a magnificent: Brewster Green and $ 40,000 of accessories. The estimate? $325-375,000. Sold for $362,500.

By the way. And the two unsold? Innocent: a Sunbeam Alpine Harrington Coupe and a Land Rover S2 109 NADA.

Bonhams' famous coup in Newport - 82019 Porsche 911 Speedster sold for $362,500 (€342,800)