June 29 (Bloomberg) -- A 1929 Bentley single-seat racer that once reached 137 miles per hour sold today for 5 million pounds ($7.8 million), making it the most expensive example of the U.K.-made marque ever sold at public auction.
The 4.5-liter supercharged “Blower” Bentley was the star lot at Bonhams’s sale of the Daniels Collection of classic autos at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Sussex, southern England.
The car achieved record speeds around the banked Brooklands track when driven by Henry “Tim” Birkin, one of the “Bentley Boy” racers of the 1920s and 1930s. More recently, it had been owned by George Daniels, a U.K.-based maker of bespoke watches.
The Bentley, which carried no official presale estimate, was acquired by an unidentified buyer in the salesroom against competition from two other bidders, said Bonhams.
A 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa prototype, which competed in the Le Mans 24-hour race, remains the most expensive car sold at auction. It went for $16.4 million at Gooding & Co. in August 2011 at the Monterey Car Week in California. Earlier this month, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO made for race driver Stirling Moss sold in a private transaction for a record $35 million.
(Scott Reyburn writes about the art market for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)
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