Bonhams saw an exciting climax to its Paris car sale over the weekend. As we reported last week, amongst the many fascinating vehicles available for collectors and investors to battle over was a very special 1933 Bugatti Type 51, previously owned by Fitzroy John Somerset - Lord Raglan.
The stunning car was a favourite of the late patron and former chairman of the Bugatti Owners' Club. On Saturday February 5, set against the backdrop of the beautiful Grand Palais, a highly competitive auction saw several keen bidders chase the classic racer.
Restored by Lord Raglan in the late 1970s over a period of two and a half years, the Bugatti eventually outstripped its estimate and sold for a staggering €943,000 ($1.27m) to a private French collector. This remarkable tribute to the quality of Lord Raglan's car collection was reinforced by the sale of another of his Bugattis - a 1930 Type 46 Cabriolet, which realised €333,500.
Another highlight of the auction was a gorgeous 1955 Aston Martin DB2/4 Sports Saloon, formerly belonging to King Baudouin of Belgium. Described by Autocar magazine as "an expensive car designed to cater for the connoisseur of sports cars who is not limited by financial considerations", it eventually sold for €333,500 - a world record price for the model.
Other notable sales included a 1961 Cadillac 'Jacquelline' Coupé - named in honour of Jackie Kennedy and created by Italian coachbuilder Pininfarina - which sold for €212,750. Coincidentally, the vehicle was first exhibited at the Grand Palais in 1961; its return was certainly highly successful.
Collectors and investors also snapped up a 1930 Bugatti Type 46 for an enormous €632,500, a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet for a similarly impressive €506,000, as well as a 1992 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI Landaulette, which went under the hammer at €483,000.
The sale also included motorcycles, which realised a triumphant total of €375,705. The leading lots were a 1955 Vincent 998cc Black Knight - bought for €55,200 - and a 1936 Brough Superior 982cc SS80, which made an excellent €44,850. In terms of automobilia, a rare Mickey Mouse mascot, circa 1929, lit up the auction by selling for €19,200.
The Bonhams sale attracted a large attendance of collectors and alternative investors and realised a grand total of nearly €10 million with 73% sold by lot - a brilliant achievement, and a sign of a fruitful year ahead for the classic car collectors market.