Auction Preview: Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed 2015
On June 26, Bonhams will conduct its annual sale in conjunction with the Goodwood Festival of Speed, one of the world’s premier classic automobile events. Goodwood attracts a fairly elite crowd of car people each year as well as some of the most significant, desirable and interesting cars in the world. The auction therefore has to feature some top-notch stuff, and this year Bonhams certainly doesn’t disappoint. About 90 cars will be on offer and they range from early veteran motorcars to modern exotics. Narrowing them down to an easily digestible five cars was as hard as it’s ever been, but here are a few that we will be looking out for.
1998 Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR Roadster
Presale estimate: $2,100,000 – $2,800,000
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
The 1990s was a spectacular time for super-expensive, race-honed hypercars. It was a decade that let us see cars like the McLaren F1, Ferrari F40, Porsche 911 GT1, and of course the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR in all their glory on the race track. Anyone who flipped through a Guinness Book of World Records back then will remember that the road-going version of the CLK GTR was the world’s most expensive production automobile at $1.5 million. That price of course came with exclusivity, as only a few dozen were produced. That and the CLK GTR’s FIA GT1 racing prowess have made it a collectible car since new, but Bonhams’ example has the distinction of being one of only six roadster versions produced. These were leftover chassis built up as roadsters and given enhanced motors and paddle shifters. This will likely be the only one offered at a public sale for some time.
1961 Porsche RS-61 Spyder
Presale estimate: $2,600,000 – $3,100,000
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
The RS-61 was the most developed version of the series of small Porsche racing spyders that began with the 550 in the mid-1950s. The example offered by Bonhams is the property of Sir Stirling Moss, which is a name that gets the attention of any enthusiast and especially bidders at auction. The car does not, however, have period racing history with Sir Stirling. He bought the car later in life because he had fond memories of co-driving one with Graham Hill at the Targa Florio and at the Nurburgring. This car actually has a successful race history here in the United States, but it wasn’t driven by anybody legendary. Even so, the Moss connection is there and Bonhams’ presale estimate seems appropriate.
Alfa first introduced a lightened version of the Giulia Sprint GT in 1965. It was called the GTA (“A” for alleggerita – lightened), and featured aluminum body panels, Plexiglas windows and a more spartan interior. The engine also featured twin plug ignition. The GTA was developed over the next several years and became a very popular choice on European race tracks, particularly in touring car racing. The GTAm was the ultimate version of the GTA, and featured a larger 1,985-cc engine with SPICA fuel injection and some fiberglass body panels. Autodelta, the racing arm of Alfa Romeo, built 19 GTAm works cars and 21 customer cars. Bonhams’ example was raced at the Nurburgring, but failed to finish and was swiftly retired from competition. Recently and sympathetically restored, it will make a perfect historic race car. As the hottest version of the Giulia and with that kind of rarity, however, it comes at a price well into six-figure territory.
Bonhams is still unloading cars from the Maranello Rosso collection, which provided the $38 million Ferrari 250 GTO at Monterey last year. Nothing that serious remains from the collection, but there are still some very neat Italian sports cars like this ASA Coupe. The idea for this car was originally conceived by Ferrari, who wanted to build a small, relatively cheap four-cylinder sports car. Giotto Bizzarrini did some early development work on a car at Ferrari before the rights to build the car were sold to the De Nora family of Milan. This car became the Autocostruzioni Societá per Azioni (ASA). Bizzarrini did more engineering work on the new ASA, but like many promising sports cars, it was just too expensive and fewer than 100 examples in total were built. Like all the cars from the Maranello Rosso collection, this one has all the issues of a car that’s spent years as a static display piece, but these “Ferrarinas” rarely come up for sale.
RM made big news in Arizona earlier this year when they sold a 1984 Audi Sport Quattro for $401,500. Bonhams’ 1986 example doesn’t have the same ridiculously low mileage going for it, but it’s still a very well-preserved example of Audi’s Group B rallying homologation special, of which only about 200 were built. As collector cars from the 1980s and 1990s are really starting to come into their own at auction and in the classic car market, we can expect to see more cars like this begin to surface.