The hurricane at Goodwood also struck at Bonhams

  • 19 July 2023
  • 3 min read
  • 9 images
The hurricane at Goodwood also struck at Bonhams image

Photo credit: Bonhams

Cliff Goodall’s view

At first glance, the initial data may not reveal the full picture: a comparable number of cars were offered (77 compared to 75 in 2022), and a similar number were sold (48 vs. 47). However, it is worth noting that there was a noticeable increase in cars offered without reserve, climbing from 26.66% to 29.87%. Even in terms of value, the auction seemed robust: it closed at £10,181,884, down from the pre-sale estimate of £17,196,000, but still higher than the £6,601,341 of 2022. This translates to a success rate of 59%, up from last year's 51%.
Bonhams Goodwood, 14th July 2023 However, these numbers could have been significantly different had the Top Lots been successfully sold. Thankfully, the situation was saved by the 2007 Koenigsegg CCGT GT1 Coupé. It was a unique model, based on the CCR (with parts from the CCX). The car was developed between 2003 and 2007 to participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. However, just as it was ready, the ACO and the FIA changed the rules, rendering the car unusable for its intended purpose. The question remained: What was to be done with it? Bard Eker, the main shareholder of the project, kept it preserved until this auction, without ever putting it to use (aside from sporadic starts to prevent deterioration). The estimate of £3m - £4m (which earned it the cover of the catalogue) seemed high, but the winning bid of £3,319,000 was very good and left me pleasantly surprised.

12007 Koenigsegg CCGT GT1 Competition Coupé sold for £3,319,000 (€3,865,085)

Apart from this success, the torrential downpour that led to the cancellation of Saturday's races at the Festival of Speed, where the auction was taking place, seems to have also impacted the auction room itself! Notably, the 1984 Audi Sport Quattro S1 Group B Rally Car “ex-works, ex-Mikkola” (£1.2m-£1.4m) remained unsold, as did the 2023 Ford GT Holman & Moody (£900,000-£1.1m). Adding to the list of disappointments, the 2006 Mercedes SLR 722 Coupé (£525,000-£575,000), the unique 2019 Bussink GT S Speedlegend (£550,000-£750,000), and a 2018 Aston Martin Vantage V600 Roadster (£500,000-£700,000) failed to find willing buyers.

21984/85 Audi Sport Quattro S1 Group B Rally Car went unsold at £1,000,000 (€1,164,500)

Further analysis is warranted for the other top lot, which, again, went unsold at the auction. It was a 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT previously owned by Peter Sellers. Originally purchased by the current seller in 2004, it first appeared at an RM auction in September 2018 with an estimated value of £3m-£4m. Despite its allure, it remained unsold at that time, stalling at £2,650,000. After a five-year absence from the market, it resurfaced at Goodwood with a revised estimate of £2.2-£2.6m. However, it once again failed to sell, reaching a final bid of £2,020,000.

31961 Aston Martin DB4GT Coupé "41 DPX" ex-Peter Sellers went unsold at £2,020,000 (€2,352,355)

With the Top Lots sadly relegated to the archives, the second most expensive car in the auction was a 1964 Aston DB5 Saloon. This particular vehicle, famously associated with James Bond, sported the iconic silver exterior and black interior, and hailed from the same year as Goldfinger. It had only one owner from 1972 until 2013 when it was sold for £320,700. Subsequently, between 2016 and 2019, it underwent a restoration that cost £363,000. Considering the purchase and restoration costs, which totalled over £680,000 for the seller, the chances of making a profit were virtually non-existent, especially with an estimated value of £600,000-£700,000. Ultimately, it was sold for £625,400. Interestingly, another unrestored DB5 was also offered, with an estimated price range of £220,000-£300,000. Surprisingly, it fetched £326,600. Remarkably, over the course of 10 years, the value of this model has remained perfectly stable.

41964 Aston Martin DB5 sold for £625,400 (€728,300)

In conclusion, one crucial variable that should not be overlooked is the significant number of Aston Martin cars offered, accounting for more than a third of the lots. Does anyone remember the law of supply and demand?

The 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 'Crown Edition' Coupé proved to be an intriguing vehicle, not so much for its own merits but rather for its origin. Always kept in a garage, only 41 km since new, built to Swiss specifications, without reserve, requiring an inspection and payment of duties. Does that ring a bell? It hailed from what I refer to as the “unknown collection”, which has consistently made appearances at Bonhams auctions over the past couple of years, featuring an array of modern supercars. Typically, these cars are undervalued in their estimates and sell for much higher prices. However, this time, the outcome was different: estimated at £300,000-£500,000, it sold for “just” £379,500. Either the market can't "digest" all these supercars or the buyer made the deal of a lifetime. However, another SLR, this time a roadster (with the same features), was estimated at £150,000-£200,000 and sold for more than double: £327,750.

52008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 'Crown Edition' Coupé sold for £379,500 (€441,950)

Likely from the same collection were two AC 428 Coupés, both produced in 1969 and both burgundy. They were so similar that even the chassis differed by just a few numbers (42 and 46). Purchased by the owner, one in November 2011 for £136,400 and the other in April 2012 for £77,660, they reappeared at Goodwood. Chassis no. CF46 had a light interior, while CF42 had black leather - and was a bit neglected. The latter was also the one with the higher estimate (£90,000-£130,000). The other, in better condition, was estimated at less, £60,000-£90,000. The final prices reflected the differences: £80,500 for the more expensive one, £59,800 for the more affordable one. The question arises: why did the less well-preserved car surpass the other by over £20,000? The answer lies in their technical specifications: CF46 had an automatic transmission, while CF42 had a manual gearbox.

61969 AC 428 Coupé sold for £80,500 (€93,745)

As a passionate Lotus Esprit enthusiast, I couldn't forget to mention the new record set by the model. The 1983 Turbo S3, in the hands of the same owner for 28 years and with just 20,800 miles on the clock, achieved an impressive feat. Furthermore, it underwent a thorough mechanical overhaul in 2022. With an estimated value of £60,000-£70,000, the presence of the "W 28" registration plate surely added to its appeal, considering the recent value of similar plates reaching £20,000 alone. The final price reached £66,700, slightly above the £65,800 of the previous record.

71983 Lotus Turbo Esprit Series 3 Coupé sold for £66,700 (€77,675)

Now, the "thing" I would have taken home was the Longline/Ricardo MkII Light Strike Vehicle. Produced in 1990 with the intention of being deployed in the Gulf War, it was entrusted to the renowned British SAS. However, it was considered too fragile for combat duty in the desert, resulting in only 6 units ever built. Given its unique purpose, it had an estimated value of £28,000-£30,000, but it sold slightly higher at £31,050. The fortunate buyer will undoubtedly have a lot of fun with this one!

81990 Longline/Ricardo MkII Light Strike Vehicle sold for £31,050 (€36,150)