The United Kingdom's annual Goodwood Festival of Speed centers around the spectacular 400-year-old great home of the the Earl and Countess of March in Chichester, West Sussex. The four-day event features races up rugged hills and on paved tracks and concours competitions that pit mint-condition classic cars against one another to win cash prizes. And many fans will attend a marquee auction by Bonnhams, which is a highlight on the world car collecting circuit. If you are a player in the blue-chip automotive market—or aspire to be—the Goodwood auctions are a mandatory stop.
Bonhams will offer 289 cars this year. The most expensive lots will be a 1957 Porsche 356A Carrera Speedster (900,000–1,000,000 pounds, or $1.16 million to $1.29 million); a 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (850,000–950,000 pounds); and a 1931 Bentley 8-Liter Sedanca De Ville (750,000–900,000 pounds). All told, the auction will have 11 Ferraris on offer, which have long been
the premier brand at high-end auctions, plus 19 lots of vehicles made in 1985 or later. Those so-called modern classics are harbingers of the next wave of car-collector tastes.
Last year the auction house took in 7,630,475 pounds (about $9.86 million) in
total sales over the weekend. If all goes well, the total this year will be even higher. In the meantime, here are some of the most special cars going on sale.
1988 Ferrari F40 Berlinetta
Lot: 264 Price Estimate: Undisclosed, but more than €350,000 ($398,342) was spent to restore the car. Notes: This car has been getting a lot of hype because of its owner: David Gilmour, who played guitar for Pink Floyd, collected his car directly from Ferrari HQ in Maranello after a Modena performance of Pink Floyd's Momentary Lapse of Reason tour in 1988. He then drove the car back to the U.K. with bandmate Nick Mason. The twin-turbo V8 can go faster than 200 mph and had 478 bhp with an additional 200 hp available in a booster kit. It has body-contoured seats, stripped-back trim and sliding Plexiglass windows all in “immaculate” condition, according to the Bonhams catalogue.
1978 Porsche 911 Type 930 Turbo Coupé
Lot: 282 Price Estimate: 60,000–80,000 pounds Notes: This car was originally owned by Peter Sellers, the actor who played Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther series. According to Bonhams, this Porsche is one of the last cars he owned before dying in 1980. The car has the same paintwork as when delivered new to Sellers and “drives beautifully,” Bonhams declares. This is the first occasion that the car has come to market since 1987, making this a rare opportunity to acquire a well-documented example of the 911 Turbo from this era.
1995 Mercedes-Benz SL 72 AMG
Lot: 255 Price Estimate: 70,000–100,000 pounds Notes: When this was introduced in 1995, it was the most powerful car the company had produced, with a 525 bhp V12 engine and a top speed of 185 mph. Zero to 60 mph was 4.8 seconds. Plus, it had crazy futuristic (for the time) safety features, such as a spring-loaded roll bar. Only 35 of these were built, and 25 of those went to the Sultan of Brunei. This one, which has a full leather black interior, 18-inch wheels, sport exhaust, and a panoramic glass roof, has had only three owners since its debut.
1990 De Tomaso Pantera GT5-S Coupe
Lot: 238 Price Estimate: 140,000–180,000 pounds Notes: Here’s a surprise: This crazy-looking coupe has a V8 Ford engine, since De Tomaso was partnering with Ford Motor Company at the time it was made. The 330 bhp engine is said to have hit 60 mph in a bit more than five seconds. Top speed was 160 mph. This one has never seen a racetrack “or been treated harshly,” Bonhams notes, and “has only been driven some 600 kilometers in the last six years.” All told, there are only 8,700 miles on it, and it was owned by the same man for 20 years.
1985 Bentley Convertible Continental
Lot: 217 Price Estimate: 90,000–120,000 pounds Notes: Elton John was the original owner of this blazing red droptop; he used it in the music video of his 1985 hit, Nikita. John changed the registration plate to read "B20 ELT" when he got the car new, which is how it remains to this day. This two-door, rear-wheel-drive stunner is one of 421 built and has little more than 40,000 total miles on it. Top speed in this car exceeds 120 mph.
1980 Lagonda Series 2 Saloon
Lot: 285 Price Estimate: 50,000–70,000 pounds Notes: The V8 is unique indeed for Aston Martin’s specialty brand, Lagonda. This one has been redone with lots of dead-stock parts from its single-family owner and maintained by Aston Martin Works, so its “razor’s edge” body is in pristine condition. The pop-up headlights, angular nose, four-door-sedan style, and gaping grille at the front are all incredibly rare. Plus, it had a top speed of 143 mph and would hit 60 mph in fewer than nine seconds.
1936 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300
Lot: 211 Price Estimate: 220,000–300,000 pounds Notes: This is known as a "twin-supercharged special" racer restored in the 1970s and raced competitively—and successfully—in the years since. The name refers to the straight-six cylinder style of the engine. Most of this type came with a 76 bhp engine and a top speed exceeding 80 mph; this one still runs excellently, according to Bonhams' notes.
2010 Porsche 911 Type 997 GT2 RS Coupé
Lot: 254 Price Estimate: 290,000–340,000 pounds Notes: Mostly a racer, but it’s street-legal too, with a modified 612-horsepower flat-six engine and a top speed of 187 mph. So this is a very rare, very powerful special Porsche, with a red-black leather interior, ceramic brakes, and 19-inch rims to boot. Its magic comes from its weight, which is much lighter than the 911 Turbo. Its zero-60 mph time was recorded as 3.3 seconds.
1923 Bugatti Type 23 Brescia Modifié Torpedo
Lot: 249 Price Estimate: 550,000–650,000 pounds Notes: This is an example of a well-maintained, very rare Bugatti owned by a single family for a long stretch of time. It was initially one of 200 made but is now one of only 19 surviving. At a time when few cars could cruise at 50 mph, this could easily do 70 mph. This Type 23 was restored in 2010; it is in such excellent condition and mechanically sound that it won the Pebble Beach Chairman’s award in 2011.