Red 5 meets Old Mother Gun at this year’s Festival of Speed sale by Bonhams on 5th July in what promises to be an unmissable motorsport moment.
Five million‑pound megacars to buy at the Bonhams FOS sale
Both cars are race winners, record breakers, icons of motorsport and adored by legions of fans. The Bentley known as Old Mother Gun took Capt. Woolf Barnato to a famous Le Mans victory in 1928; 64 years later the Williams-Renault FW14B known as Red 5 swept Nigel Mansell to his first Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship. And either – or both! – could be yours to take home from FOS.
We have covered both cars on GRR already – see more about the Bentley and the Williams here – but they are just two of the automotive treasures crossing the Bonhams block at FOS. So what other treats lie in store?
This year’s lot list makes impressive reading, with something for everyone when the auction gets under way with a wealth of automobilia at 11:00am on Friday, 5th July. Famous racing cars, rare prototypes, classic GTs, sumptuous saloons, works rally cars and even an airship-engined supercar from the early 1900s – all will be inside the Bonhams marquee looking for a new home.
You can check out the catalogue here, but in the meantime, here’s our selection of five cars that rank among the most valuable in the auction, with five more coming soon for those who prefer their purchases with a nought or two less…
1934 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300, £4-5m
Alfa’s first eight-cylinder touring car – a virtual race car for the road with 100mph performance – has long been among the crème de la crème of collectors’ cars, and the long-chassis model with a replica Touring body for sale at FOS is a beauty.
Its magnificent supercharged twin-overhead cam straight eight – the power behind the 8C’s four consecutive victories at Le Mans in 1931-34 – has been enlarged to 2.6-litres for even more power. Another mod on this car is an accelerator pedal moved to the right of the brake. Here’s one car where pressing the wrong pedal could have very expensive results… Bonhams says this car is “on the button and ready to enjoy”.
2013 McLaren P1 XP05 £1.3-1.5 million
Not just any P1, but one of the 14 Experimental Prototypes (XPs) that McLaren built prior to the 903bhp petrol-electric hypercar going into limited production – and thankfully one that wasn’t crash tested.
This was in fact the car that grabbed motoring headlines at the P1’s unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show in 2013, and then later that year featured at the New York Auto Show. P1 production was limited to 375 cars and all sold out quickly. XP05 is said to be as near-new as you can get, having been refurbished by McLaren and covered only 339 miles.
1966 Ford GT40, £850-1,250,000
This car is the result of a 10-year worldwide search for original GT40 parts, all collected and then assembled in New Zealand into a latterday, but authentic, GT40. The owner had had replicas before and wanted the real thing, so decided to assemble his own.
The build centred on old chassis parts, with a GT40 chassis number from 1966, and other original parts plus new-old stock and a few reproduction components made using Ford/Lola blueprints. The body is thought to have come from the GT40 that raced at Le Mans in 1966, driven by Denny Hulme and Frank Gardner, which is said to be the world’s oldest surviving production GT40 body.
The 289 engine likewise is an original GT40 unit refreshed to full historic race specification, while the gearbox was one used in period at Le Mans. Even the steering wheel is from a GT40. The car, finished in 2017, is said to be eligible for all period-appropriate historic races.
1928 Bentley 6.5-litre-Litre Standard Six, £800-1,200,000
If Bentley Old Mother Gun is too racy, you could always celebrate Bentley’s centenary year with this classy machine. It’s one of only six Standard Saloons known to survive, built at a time when Bentley Motors had been trading for just nine years but was already the dominant force at Le Mans.
With its seven-seat saloon coachwork by Gurney Nutting, this version of the “Silent Six” is no racing car but a rival for the Rolls-Royce Phantom of the time. Originally bought by the Bird family (of Bird’s custard fame), it has been in the same ownership since 1966 and is said to be outstandingly original as well as incredibly rare.
1907 Métallurgique-Maybach Zeppelin, £800-1,000,000
Good news for all those looking to spend around a mill on an airship-engined three-seater: there’s one in the Bonhams sale at FOS. And it’s no less a monster than the famous “La Met”, the ex-Douglas Fitzpatrick car, stalwart of VSCC races and rallies over decades and among the fastest, longest lived and certainly most well-known aero-engined cars of the Edwardian era.
It began life with a mere 10.0-litre engine and 99mph top speed but, in the quest for speed, was transplanted with a 21.0-litre six-cylinder, as designed by Maybach for Zeppelin airships. Its vast engine is the earliest surviving, fully functioning Maybach-Zeppelin engine – and with 195bhp just as capable of 120mph and 0-60mph in 11.7 seconds as it was then.
The car has been in films (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), featured in endless magazine articles and been a regular Goodwood sight since 1996, most recently on the Hillclimb in 2015. Incredibly it has had just five owners in 109 years.
Bonhams calls it “part of the global treasury of meaningful motor cars” – as well as, apparently, “driving just like a modern car”. And, yes, you guessed: it does come with a current MOT!
Images courtesy of Bonhams.
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