A Ferrari convertible and two Rolls-Royce Silver Ghosts stole the limelight at $11.8 million U.K. auctions as collectors competed for the finest classic cars and passed on others. Two high-value Jaguars failed to sell.
The Ferrari 365GTS/4 Daytona Spyder last night took a top price of 595,500 pounds ($940,592) with fees at Bonhams’s annual auction during the Goodwood Revival festival. The 1971 car overtook the veteran Rolls-Royces, which fetched 485,500 pounds and 419,500 pounds.
“There’s a good market for collectors’ cars that excite people,” James Knight, Bonhams’s international managing director of autos, said in an interview. “Buyers are price sensitive, though.”
The week’s sales of 230 vehicles, at Goodwood and Beaulieu, raised 7.5 million pounds. Yesterday’s sale alone made 4.7 million pounds -- less than an estimate of as much as 11 million pounds, and with just 60 percent of the offered cars successful.
Last month, Gooding & Co., RM Auctions and Bonhams raised $166.7 million from their car auctions in Monterey, California. Though the total was up from $150.2 million in 2010 and some prices rose to records, demand was selective for more routine models, said dealers.
The top-selling Ferrari yesterday, with red coachwork by Pininfarina, was the world’s fastest production car at the time of its launch, with a maximum speed of more than 170mph. This particular example was one of only 25 left-hand drive examples built for the European market, said the London-based auction house. It sold to a Far Eastern buyer in the room after being estimated at 500,000 pounds to 600,000 pounds.
Much of the auction’s presale publicity was focused on a rare 1963 “Semi-Lightweight” hardtop Jaguar E-Type that was one of two road models built as variants of the 12 competition cars the factory created to take on Ferrari at Le Mans. Estimated to fetch as much as 2 million pounds, it failed to find a buyer.
A similar fate befell a Lister-Jaguar racer that had dominated the Sports Car Club of America championships of 1958 and 1959, valued at as much as 1 million pounds.
“They were undoubtedly brilliant cars,” Knight said of the Jaguars. “The owners’ expectations were just a bit ahead of where the market was.”
A 1964 Aston Martin DB5 offered by singer Shane Filan, of the Irish pop band Westlife, sold for 348,000 pounds to a telephone bidder against a low valuation of 250,000 pounds. The car had undergone three years of restoration for Filan, having been found in dilapidated condition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, several years ago by the Aston specialist dealer Desmond J. Smail, said Bonhams.
“I think the seller probably made a profit,” said Knight. “You can renovate an Aston for less than 200,000 pounds and if you’re going to spend that kind of money restoring a car, you may as well do it with a DB5.”
An Aston Martin DB5 was the runaround of choice for James Bond in five movies, beginning with “Goldfinger” in 1964.
The more expensive Edwardian Silver Ghost was one of only five surviving examples from 1908, and the other dated from 1911 and was a ceremonial car emblazoned with the coat of arms of the Maharaja of Mysore. Both cars were in blue livery and had been formerly owned by the Ohio collector Richard Solove, according to the Bonhams catalog.
(Scott Reyburn writes about the art market for Muse, the arts and culture section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)