Bonhams hosted its annual motorcar auction in Carmel Valley at a slightly new venue, approximately half a mile down the road from the location it occupied for more than a decade. While the old location forced attendees to compete with The Quail patrons for parking and road space, the new placement gave Bonhams more room with which to work. A shuttle conveniently transported enthusiasts between the two events, making the overall setup much more comfortable.
The company’s two-day sale fell slightly short of 2011 numbers, with preliminary results totaling $8.8 million on the sale of 76 automobiles and motorcycles, compared to last year’s total of $10.3 million via 63 lots sold. The first day’s action consisted exclusively of motorcycles, with 1937 and 1940 Crocker V-Twin motorcycles both fetching $302,000. Top lot the following day was a 1966 Ford GT40 with fantastic race provenance that sold for $2.205 million. Other notable sales included $92,000 for Steve McQueen’s 1958 GMC pickup truck, a healthy $280,000 for a 1941 Tatra T87 Aerodynamic coupe, and a strong $82,800 for a fully restored Fiat 600 Jolly.
The sale’s premier lot was a highly anticipated 1997 McLaren F1 GT1 longtail coupe. McLaren F1 prices have appreciated swiftly during the past few years, with the racing variants at the forefront of the market, and expectations were set accordingly for this particular car. This example’s longtail configuration was designed to excel on long and straight courses, which ultimately reduces the number of venues at which it can effectively compete, and this fact perhaps helped stall bidding at $3.3 million before offers stopped and the car was passed. (Editor's note: Bonhams reported that the McLaren sold post-block within the presale estimate of $4m-$5m, but would not disclose the exact price. Accounting for the sale of this car, the auction's total is now approximately $12.8m.)
- 1966 Ford GT40 Coupe sold for $2,205,000
- 1966 Lola T70 Mk II GT Coupe sold for $324,000
- 1937 Crocker V-Twin Motorcycle sold for $302,000
- 1940 Crocker Big Tank V-Twin Motorcycle sold for $302,000
- 1967 Ferrari 330 GTC Berlinetta sold for $299,800
- 1937 Crocker V-Twin Motorcycle sold for $291,000
- 1941 Tatra T87 Aerodynamic Saloon sold for $280,000
- 1938 Aston Martin 15/98 Sports Tourer sold for $214,000
- 1970 BMW 3.0 CSL Group 2 Coupe sold for $214,000
- 1937 Brough Superior SS100 Motorcycle sold for $203,000
Bonhams continued to set the standard for automobilia sales in the U.S. Proof of this can be found in the $338,500 achieved by a 1930 Lalique mascot depicting a fox. This figure surpassed the prices realized by most of the cars that changed hands for all auction houses during the weekend.
The next U.S. sale for Bonhams will be held at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia on Oct. 8, 2012. UK operations will take the stage on Sept. 8 for its annual Beaulieu sale.