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Brits feel the chill at Bonhams’ Goodwood Members’ Meeting sale

Words: Nathan Chadwick | Photography: Bonhams

Bonhams returned to the Goodwood Members’ Meeting on April 13-14, 2024 with a proposed 203 lots spread across automobilia and vehicles. However, on the day there were numerous withdrawals, and the three leading cars on pre-sale estimate – all British – failed to find homes. The top result came as a surprise, even though it did grace the cover of the Bonhams catalogue. A 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Crown Edition sold for £425k, blasting past its £200k-£300k pre-sale estimate; more on that car further down.

One of the highlights of the sale was supposed to be 60 lots drawn from the estate of Patricia Surtees (née Burke), who prior to marrying John Surtees in 1962, was a handy club racer behind the wheel of cars such as the Healey Silverstone and the Porsche 356. Unfortunately, the items, including everything from posters and Team Surtees apparel, to trophies and Patricia’s treasured Lemania Nero stopwatch, were removed from sale prior to the auction. However, there was further Formula 1 luminary interest in the sale of former McLaren team manager Alastair Caldwell’s car collection.

The three leading cars were all British – a 1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Tourer (estimated at £450k-£600k), a 1954 Bentley R-type Continental 4.9-litre Fastback Sports Saloon (estimated at £450k-£550k) and a 1967 Aston Martin DB6 4.2 Volante Conversion (estimated £250k-£350k). In a sale with a large proportion of British metal, particularly Jaguars, only a handful sold. Hopes were high for a couple of XJS models to reach the six-figure mark, but neither sold, and there wasn’t much interest in Series 1 E-types and 1950s XKs, either. A Heather Pink 1973 Jaguar E-type Series 3 V12 Roadster (pictured above) did beat its pre-sale estimate of £45k-£55k to reach £63,250, however.

Broadly, the British cars that did attract buyers were much newer, and wore Aston Martin badges – a sub-1000-mile 2008 DBS sold just above mid-estimate at £82,800, while a 2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage N400 Roadster, chassis number 001 of 240, sold for £43,700 against a £40k-60k estimate, with barely more than delivery miles on the clock.

We’ve picked out some of the highlights below – what did you have your eye on?

2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Crown Edition

The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren has been piquing the interest of collectors for some time, with above-estimate results by a significant margin occurring several times over the past 12 months. Bonhams’ car was one of just ten Crown Edition models upgraded with an uprated and modified engine, carbonfibre aerodynamic parts, stiffer dampers and 19in lightweight alloy wheels. The SLR McLaren had not been registered for the road, and instead had been kept on static display by its one owner in the Middle East, with fewer than 50 miles on the odometer. Recently recommissioned by Stratton Motor Company in the UK, with a service, seal refreshment and fuel-system overhaul, it blasted past its £200k-£300k estimate to settle on £425,500.

1936 Frazer Nash TT Replica

This 1936 Frazer Nash TT Replica Roadster provided a surprise estimate-beating result. Featuring a BMW Type 55 engine (exchanged for its original by the factory), the car was at one time owned by well known Frazer Nash aficionado John Teague, who sold it to Colin Maughan in 1965. He would keep the car until his recent passing, having had it restored over several years between the mid-2000s and 2015. Estimated at between £150k and £200k, it ended up selling for £276k.

2006 Ferrari 575 Superamerica

It wasn’t only British marques feeling the chill, because the Ferraris on offer didn’t quite hit their marks, either. Unlike for the more modern British cars, the appetite wasn’t quite there; a 2006 612 Scaglietti was unsold against a £50k-£70k estimate, and a 2007 599 GTB Fiorano sold for £55,200 against a £60k-£80k estimate. That pair had reasonable mileage in the 30ks, but had been stored for around a year or so, which counted against them.

It was a similar case with this 2006 Ferrari 575 Superamerica, too. Despite having covered a mere 1664 miles, and being one of only 63 UK-supplied cars, it sold for £189,700 against a £200k-£250k estimate. Look beyond those figures, and the reason why was stark – its last stamped service was in 2016, on 1663 miles.

1934 MG Q-Type Monoposto

One of the most charming-to-behold lots at the sale was this 1934 MG Q-type. One of just eight made, it was a stripped-back racer based on a narrowed MG K3 chassis powered by a Zoller supercharger-fed P-type engine. First sold to chartered surveyor and amateur racer Kenneth Evans, it was raced by brother Denis and sister Doreen. After some success in 1934, the car developed engine problems, so MG installed the unit from the Olympia Motor Show car.

In 1935, the MG was developed by Wilkie Wilkinson into a bespoke racing car for Doreen, with lower suspension and a monoposto body and chassis. On Doreen’s second outing, and very much to the amazement of the excited crowd, she achieved first place in the Second Haw Handicap in car number 9 at a record-breaking speed of 101.7 mph. She was just 17 at the time. The MG was used extensively in hillclimbs before eventually being sold to Robin Hanson, and then to Mrs Corbett Fisher, who sponsored Stuart Wilton to drive the car in speed trials and circuit races. It passed through several owners, and would lose its original engine and gearbox in around 1951. Tom Norton, alias T Dryver, installed a 6.1-litre Gypsy Moth engine, but found little success. Further refinements followed, and it became known as the ATN de Havilland Special, but it was broken up in 1957.

The Q-type’s original tail section can now be found on a special that competes to this day, called Wasp. The chassis would lose its aero engine and would eventually end up in the possession of Julian Majzub of the Blockley Tyre Company. A chance conversation with Tom Dark, who was building a replica of this MG, resulted in the car leaving Julian’s mother’s barn and entering Tom’s possession, whereupon it was validated by the MG Register. Tom then combined his replica parts with the original, and installed an authentic P-type engine and Zoller supercharger. It then passed through several owners before it was bought by Richard Powell, who restored the car to period condition, and raced in 2021 at Cadwell Park, Prescott and Donington Park. Against an estimate of £140k-£180k, it sold for £103,500.

1970 Ferrari 365 GT 2+2 Berlinetta

Another Ferrari to struggle came from the Enzo period – this 365 GT 2+2 was originally sold to Hong Kong in Oro Kelso (gold metallic) in right-hand-drive specification. Equipped with air-conditioning, black Connolly leather and a Voxson radio, it would come to the UK in September 1974. Subject to a restoration in the 2000s, it would enter the vendor’s ownership in 2013. Since then it has been recommissioned by Autofficina; estimated at £135k-£165k, it sold for £120,750.

1936 Lagonda LG45 4½ Litre Fox & Nicholl Le Mans Team Car Replica

This 1936 Lagonda LG45 4½ Litre started life as a saloon, first registered on May 8, 1936, and it had the replica Rapide body fitted at some time between 1959 and 1963. After starring on the TV programme Claret & Classics in 1993, in later life it was restored by the vendor. This involved refreshing the brakes, steering box, wiring loom, wheels, chassis, suspension and gearbox, and the engine was rebuilt, too. The bodywork was stripped to bare aluminium, and had its dents removed before being etch-primed and repainted. Estimated at £100k-£130k, it eventually sold for £135,700.

1968 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE Cabriolet

Perhaps showing that the appeal of Mercedes-Benz wasn’t only limited to hypercars, one of the more surprising results came from this 1968 280 SE Convertible. While the car had seen only three owners in its lifetime – its most recent for 14 years– there was little to suggest that we would be in for an estimate-busting result, considering it had last been serviced in around 2020. Nevertheless, against a pre-sale estimate of £70k-£90k, it sold for £138k.

1962 Jaguar E-type Series I 3.8 Roadster

A good indicator of the issues currently facing the E-type market, this Series 1 3.8-litre Roadster had been professionally rebuilt by a father-and-son team specialising in E-types between 2015 and 2019, and further improved in subsequent ownership that has only seen 3308 miles added since the restoration. Estimated at £85k-£110k, it sold for £74,750.

More details on the Bonhams Goodwood Members’ Meeting 2024 sale can be found here.

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