- Written by webmin
The Australian market underwent what may have been a unique convulsion last year, when Tim Goodman of Bonhams and Goodman simultaneously dismantled both the Bonhams and Sotheby’s operations in that country. Not surprisingly, it’s taken some time for everyone to get their act back together, but today both have their feet back on the ground: Sotheby’s Australia, with a car department led by James Nicholls, held their first auction in April; and Bonhams Australia, Robert Glover representing, will have their first on November 13.
The consignments Bonhams has revealed to date are fascinating, and heavy on the pre-war. According to their press release,
Leading the charge is a delightful 1925 Bentley 3-Litre Speed Model Tourer, which carries original coachwork by Vanden Plas. “This Australian-delivered matching numbers example is in wonderfully correct and original condition, even retaining most of its original upholstery. It is one of the finest examples of its type I have ever seen,” enthuses Bonhams’ motoring specialist Robert Glover. “Speed Model 3-Litre Bentleys in any form are highly sought after in the current market. Obtaining a matching numbers car that retains its original and desirable Vanden Plas coachwork is becoming increasingly challenging, and thus we expect to receive interest in the car from both Australian and international collectors of the marque.” The motor car is estimated at AU$290,000-340,000.
Continuing with the vintage theme, the Bonhams team have also consigned an extremely original and very rare 1928 Sunbeam 20/70hp “Light Tourer.” It is thought that as few as three examples of 12/70hp Sunbeams survive anywhere in the world. To this end, the car is sure to receive plenty of interest from the vintage motoring cognoscenti who will appreciate the quality of the Sunbeam workmanship from the era. It is expected to achieve upwards of AU$50,000.
For those who prefer to enjoy their garage time, another interesting lot will be the 1926 Bugatti Type 38 restoration project that was unearthed from a barn in Queensland, Australia, earlier in the year. A great “entry level” into the magical cars from Molsheim, the project is estimated to achieve between AU$15,000-$25,000 and will be offered for sale without reserve. James Knight, International Director of Bonhams’ Motoring division comments, “I was extremely interested in the collections I saw and collectors I met during my recent visit to Australia. The early consignments to our sale are very encouraging and clearly demonstrate why Bonhams feels it’s so important to re-establish our brand in Australia and continue servicing the market for the long-term.”
They’re also offering a 1923 Vauxhall, 1923 Delage and (front-wheel drive) 1928 Alvis. The post-war effort is led by an alloy-body 1949 Jaguar XK120. As they said, there is little doubt the international fraternity will be active in the bidding. The sale is at the Royal Hall of Industries in Sydney.
Alvis and alloy Jaguar
Sotheby’s, interestingly, is holding a non-auction private treaty sale at their Double Bay location the same weekend, some 10 minutes away from Bonhams’, and is competing with them in both the pre-war Bentley and important Jaguar arenas, to boot. Their offerings include Peter Brock’s own 1987 Brock VL Director, and:
A very rare 1929 Bentley 8-Litre in superb condition that still performs as one would expect of one of the greatest of all pre-1930 cars, it is a vehicle that in every sense typifies the glory of one of the most famous of all marques.
Another highlight is a 1937 SS Jaguar 100, in original condition. This car is an exceptional example of the new range of cars launched in September 1935 by Sir William Lyons under the “Jaguar” name and is featured in the book The Forerunners of Jaguar in Australia and SE Asia, by Terry McGrath.
Perhaps the ultimate vehicle to celebrate Jaguar’s 75th year is a Jaguar XJ13 replica. Described by motoring correspondent John Connolly as “a perfect replica, down to the Concorde plane rivets in the bodywork” (The Australian, August 6, 2010), this is a remarkable reconstruction of the unique and mythical 1966 Jaguar XJ13.
Regarded by many as one of the finest driving cars of its period, if not of all time, is a superb 1958 Lancia Aurelia B20GT that has been meticulously maintained to world class standard by its owner of the last 41 years.
But wait, there are more pre-war Bentleys! Sotheby’s also has a 1925 Bentley 4½-Litre on offer on private treaty, which I presume will also be exhibited in November.
So what’s an Australian Bentley enthusiast to do? The high profile weekend will surely bring in big checkbooks, pushing all those big cars out of reach of the…casual…pre-war Bentley collector. If only there were another Australian auction on another weekend with a pre-war Bentley, an auction that’s more known for selling hi-po Holdens then for early motoring Classics.
Alas. In unrelated news, Shannons is wrapping up the catalog for their October 24 Motorclassica Collector Vehicle Auction at the big eponymous concours down in Melbourne. One of their standouts will be a 1934 “Derby” Bentley 3½-litre drophead coupe:
In July 1934, Chassis number B107BL was delivered to Park Ward for the fitting of a new Drophead body. After the fitment, the completed car was delivered to its first Melbourne owner, a Mr R.H.Wilkinson of South Yarra. The Bentley remained in his care until 1938 when it then became the property of a Major E.P.Henty (also of Melbourne). In 1941, the vehicle was placed into storage for the remainder of WWII. It was then acquired by J.Wright – a pilot with the RAAF. The car appears to have spent time in Sydney in 1945 and then in Brisbane in 1947. It then made its way back to Victoria in the hands of Major Osborn-Fairbairn, circa 1951.
From 1952 to 1970, it had three more Melbourne owners. The Bentley also belonged to a well-known SA collector and VIC collector of the famous brand, before being acquired by the current owner in 2005. The spare wheel, which originally was fixed to the rear of the vehicle, had been changed to fit into the left-hand front fender. The Bentley was in sound mechanical condition, with bodywork in good order, but the upholstery, hood and woodwork required attention. A comprehensive refurbishment followed, which included new leather trim, hood, leather hood cover, Wilton carpeting throughout, woodwork refurbished and repairs of gauges/instruments, all by Bentley of Sydney, at a cost of over $31,000. The Bentley was also entrusted to Master Coachbuilder Woods & Woods in NSW to carry out the bodywork, replacement of some timber frame and repainting, all at a cost of over $16,000 (photo documentation of the restoration is available and will be supplied with the car).
Since the refurbishment, the Bentley has seen minimal use and presents beautifully in Clotted Cream offset by black guards and belt line, and the lack of protruding door hinges enhances the beautiful lines of this Drophead further. Sold unregistered, the Bentley is supplied with a comprehensive receipt file, along with a reprint of the Bentley owner’s handbook, and is ready for the next owner to simply enjoy.
Meanwhile, in Omaha, Auction Solutions is handling the complete liquidation of all assets of the former John Kraft Chevrolet dealership on Friday. It includes all equipment, parts, shelving, office supplies and tools. There’s nothing at all unusual about this, especially when you consider the number of dealerships that have closed and continue to close, but many people aren’t aware of how much great stuff is available to the public at these auctions. Where else are you going to get a 75-gallon drum of washer fluid, brake lathe or downdraft paint booth? Seriously, dealership liquidations are all over the place and filled with wonderful deals.