A 1935 Ferrari-team Alfa Romeo sold yesterday for a record $9.37 million at a U.K. auction.
The Grand Prix car driven by Tazio Nuvolari had been estimated at 5.5 million pounds ($8.73 million) to 6.5 million pounds at hammer prices by Bonhams in its Goodwood Revival auction. Its final price with fees was 5.9 million pounds.
“This is very special car,” Angela Cherrett, a U.K. author of books on classic Alfa Romeos, said before the sale. “I don’t think anyone else has got one with this history.”
Though single-seat racers are often deemed less desirable than two- and four-seat cars, certain historic models are increasingly prized by wealthy enthusiasts to show off at exclusive Concours d’Excellence events, dealers said.
The price was an auction record for an Alfa and the second-highest for a car at an auction in Europe, Bonhams said. The racer was bought by an unidentified buyer in the Sussex saleroom, underbid on the telephone.
The supercharged 8C-35 was part of the “Scuderia Ferrari (F)” team founded by Enzo Ferrari that built and raced cars under the Alfa name from 1929 to 1939. Bearing the trademark “prancing horse” logo on the hood, the well-preserved plum-red car competed in eight Grand Prix races before being driven to victory by Nuvolari in the 1936 Coppa Ciano in Italy.
The Alfa also has a distinguished auction history. The U.K.-based collector Anthony Mayman paid $2.85 million for it at a Bonhams auction in Monaco in 1989 -- at that time, an auction record for a Grand Prix car. It has since been raced by two further owners.
A 1954 silver Mercedes W196 that the five-times world champion Juan Manuel Fangio drove to two Grand Prix victories sold for 19.6 million pounds -- a record for any car at auction -- at Bonhams’s 20th-anniversary “Festival of Speed” auction at Goodwood in July.
Earlier in this latest Bonhams sale, a 1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 convertible with single-family ownership and just 32,000 miles on the odometer sold for 225,500 pounds. The price, achieved against an estimate of 120,000 pounds to 140,000 pounds, was an auction record for a road-going Jaguar E-Type, Bonhams said.
Muse highlights include Manuela Hoelterhoff on arts, Mark Beech on music, Richard Vines on food, Jason Harper on cars and Amanda Gordon’s Scene Last Night.