Strong Performance of Bonhams at Goodwood

  • 20 April 2024
  • 3 min read
  • 9 images
Strong Performance of Bonhams at Goodwood image

Photo credit: Bonhams

There was nice weather and spring air at the Goodwood Members Meeting on April 14th where the Bonhams auction took place. The clouds of a possible market slowdown were not in sight and in fact the results seemed a photocopy of last year: A handful more cars (102 vs. 94 in the previous year), one less car sold (67 vs. 68), a percentage dropped slightly but nothing really significant (65.69% in 2024, 72.34% in 2023) and even almost the same number of cars without reserve (27 and 26 respectively).
Bonhams, Goodwood, 14th April 2024
There is, however, a bigger difference in terms of values: In 2023 they offered cars worth £8,976,000 and this year the value dropped to £7,404,000. So it is also quite understandable that total sales suffered, falling from £6,276,938 to £4,939,020 and in fact the ratios remain very similar on this parameter as well.

So let's a look at the cars. Instead of starting with the top lot, we start with the "Best of Show," the most scenic car, the one that was the subject to the most photos. The reconstruction of the 1954 Bristol 450 Le Mans two-seat aerodyne coupe. Reconstruction was based on a Bristol 404 to revive the famous coupe that had participated in Le Mans in 1955, then lost (destroyed, over 60 years ago).

No budget limits were set to remake it: £270,000 in 2021. The effort was rewarded by a cup at the Chantilly Concours d'Elegance in 2022 and participation at Goodwood, Silverstone and Castle Combe. All perfect, but what about the value? That explains the "wide" estimate of £140,000-240,000. It sold for £172,500, not a small amount for a replica. But the value of the memento can't be underestimated.

Bonhams, at Goodwood, went fast... - NEW1 1954 Bristol 450 Aerodyne Coupe Recreation sold for £172,500 (€201,825)

This time the most expensive car was a road car: A 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren "Crown Edition" Coupe from the mysterious Middle Eastern "secret collection" that methodically fuels auctions. Ready to be driven, estimated at £150,000-200,000 it flew to £425,500.

Bonhams, at Goodwood, went strong... - 2 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren "Crown Edition" sold for £425,500 (€497,850)

At the beginning of each year people say that pre-wars are finished, in decline, and so on. Predictions punctually disproved: At Goodwood a couple of lots set the room ablaze. Here they were: A 1927 Bentley and a 1936 Frazer-Nash.

The first was a 1927 Bentley 3 Litre Sport. Started as an Offord Coupe (the first was the coachbuilder) on a 10' and 10" (330 cm) chassis but by 1950 converted to sport on a chassis shortened to 9' (275 cm) and since March 1957 in the garage of the same owner to this day. Barn finds always attract interest and the estimate of £50,000-70,000 was blown away when the gavel dropped to £101,200. Double that.

Bonhams, at Goodwood, went strong... - 3 1927 Bentley 3-Litre Sports sold for £101,200 (€118,400)

Then there was the Frazer-Nash TT Replica Roadster. Don't be fooled, though: "TT Replica" should be read together, because it was a 1930s model that replicated the TT-winning car. So we're not talking about reconstructions of dubious provenance. On the contrary, the history was crystal clear. It was even known that in 1939 the engine had been replaced with a different one. Again the transparent history deserved a premium but one could argue it was already in the £150,000-200,000 range. It went for £276,000. A record price.

Bonhams, at Goodwood, went strong... - 4 1936 Frazer Nash "TT Replica" Roadster sold for £276,000 (€322,925)

Moving on to more recent cars: 1974 Morgan Plus 8 owned by DJ and radio presenter John Peel. Offered at £25,000-35,000 it was sold for £21,375. Little, but the first owner was long gone, it had passed through other hands and the glamour wore off.

Bonhams, at Goodwood, went strong... - 5 1974 Morgan Plus 8 four-seater roadster sold for £21,275 (€24,900)

Many do not know that Alastair Caldwell was the team manager of McLaren from 1974 to 1978 and then switched to Brabham. The British, however, knew it so well that they overestimated the cars from his collection: A 1982 "strawberry candy" colored Porsche 928 fetched £40,250, almost triple the minimum estimate of £15,000-20,000.

A 1967 Citroen DS19 Pallas that was equally estimated at £15,000-20,000 fetched £37,375. A 1981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 4.2 was estimated at £20,000-25,000 and ultimately sold for £36,800. Only the small 1961 BMW 700 Saloon closed below its estimate at £ 6,900. Caldwell won the Liège-Rome-Liège in a BMW 700.

Bonhams, at Goodwood, went strong... - 6 1961 BMW 700 Saloon sold for £6,900 (€8,100)

Although the auction was held on a racetrack, there were pretty well-attended "luxury" models as well. An example for this is the 1968 Mercedes-Benz 280SE Cabriolet is a car enjoying considerable appreciation in recent times.It did not disappoint. Estimated at £70,000-90,000, it was sold at £138,000.

Bonhams, at Goodwood, went strong... - 7 1968 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE Convertible sold for £138,000 (€161,450)

One could argue that a Cavallino on the hood and 12 cylinders below are always a great combination.

For this reason, a popular item at this auction was the 2007 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano F1. Dark gray with white interior, 36,000 miles, right-hand drive (outside England not the best), idle for about three years and with a warning light on. Estimated at £60,000-80,000 it was already a good investment. At the selling price of £55,200, it was a total bargain.

Bonhams, at Goodwood, went strong... - 8 2007 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano F1 Coupe sold for £55,200 (€64,600)