The pavilion is up, the cars are being polished, the all-important auctioneer’s hammer primed and ready for its latest visit to Goodwood. Yes, it’s the Bonhams Revival sale at Goodwood on Saturday 17th September. And it promises to be an absolute cracker of a collector-car sale. So what should you have your eyes on? Here are 10 picks from the extensive catalogue which have floated our boat – cars old and newish, expensive and cheapish, fast and slowish, well known and never-before-seen…
Ten stunning cars to buy at Bonhams' Revival sale
1931 Bentley 4½-Litre Vanden Plas Le Mans-style replica
What more evocative star of this year’s Goodwood Revival auction could you have than a vintage supercharged Bentley from the 1930s? It’s a million-pound car, reckons Bonhams, and doesn’t it look the part. The huge shiny radiator surround, stick-out supercharger, giant headlights, strapped-down bonnet, aero screens and a turned metal dash jam-packed with dials and switches – it’s all there, exuding derring-do from every pore.
Like so many Bentleys of this period, it’s been rebodied several times. It started life with a Wylder saloon body on one of the final batch of 11 “long” 4½ chassis to be made in the Cricklewood, North London, factory.
It was reborn in its current form with exacting attention to detail by Malcolm Bishop in the 1990s. Its inspiration? The original 4½-Litre car, nicknamed Old Mother Gun, and its exploits at Le Mans in the 1920s.
1938 SS100 Jaguar 3½-litre roadster
SS Cars Ltd’s first high-performance model in the 1930s was the SS100 “Jaguar”, the name bestowed on the sporting roadster by SS Cars chief William Lyons because he thought it sounded exciting. After the war “SS” (originally the Swallow Sidecar & Coachbuilding Company) was a no-no and from then on the cars were all Jaguars, and the rest is history.
So what was this first Jaguar? The SS100 was the ultimate version of a line of cars that began with the SS1 in 1931. To boost its sporting ability, it gained a shorter chassis, Weslake overhead valve twin-carb 3½-litre six and superlative sporting looks courtesy of William Lyons.
In the ‘30s, few British cars were as dashing looking and speedy as this. Its 125PS (93kW) made it a 100mph car. Today in 3½-litre form it is quite a rarity, for just 116 were ever made.
1989 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante 'Prince of Wales'
Why the princely reference? No, this is not the Prince of Wales’s car – but it could be. When Charles went to Aston for his new wheels in the 1980s he specified a Volante with the Vantage engine but not the Vantage body. Too aggressive apparently.
The result was this potent but beautifully restrained and classy looking convertible. The look was a hit with more than just royalty. In two years until 1989, Aston made 26 cars to this “Prince of Wales” specification.
This one has the five-speed manual transmission and since conversion at Newport Pagnell in 1995 is left-hand drive. When back at the Aston works it was also repainted British Racing Green and the interior retrimmed in tan leather. The bill for £47,000 is in the file with the car. Stored since 2011, the mileage is said to be 14,500.
2009 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722 S
How do you follow a sensation like the McLaren F1? With a series-production 200mph super-sportscar made in partnership with Mercedes (Woking’s then F1 partner) as a homage to the 300SLR of the 1950s, that’s how.
Gordon Murray and Ron Dennis teamed up to get the carbon fibre car designed and built, and Mercedes sent over a monster engine for it: an AMG 5.5-litre supercharged V8 producing 625PS (467kW) which was enough to take the two-seater from 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 207mph.
Just over 2,100 SLRs of all types were made between 2003-2009 with the last of them badged 722 in tribute to one very special 300SLR: the car number 722 that Stirling Moss and co-driver Denis Jenkinson famously drove to victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia. Only 150 of the 722 S (S for roadster) variants were made. With just 50 miles on the clock, this one must be virtually as-new.
1967 Porsche 911 Targa
What makes this 911 Targa so special? As chassis number 017, there is a good chance this was the first Targa ever delivered to a customer.
Porsche had come up with the idea of a semi-convertible body style for the then-new 911 in 1965, giving it the name Targa in honour of the firm’s success in the Targa Florio road race. Since then, targa with a small t has become a generic for this style of fresh-air motoring and of course remains part of the 911 range to this day.
As one of the very earliest cars, this Targa comes with the soft plastic rear window that collectors love (the screen later became glass) and sits on the 911’s original, short wheelbase. Befitting such a significant car, it’s fresh from a four-year specialist restoration by marque experts.
2008 Proteus 3.4-litre C-type replica
Replicas of the Jaguar D-Type are relatively common, but not so much its predecessor, Jaguar’s first Le Mans winner, the C-Type. The C might lack the D’s iconic aeronautically-inspired bodywork, but it is still a beautifully flowing shape.
The lines have been perfectly rendered in this replica made in 2008 by acknowledged masters Proteus. The body is all in aluminium and reflects the personal specification chosen by its commissioning owner, replete with aero screens, green livery and carpets. Under the bonnet is of course Jaguar’s 3.4-litre XK six-cylinder engine. All in all, surely a superb machine with which to take on an event like the Flying Scotsman Rally – which in fact it did, in 2010.
Not convinced and still want that D-Type? Bonhams has one of those in the auction as well, another Proteus machine and with the same guide price as this C-Type.
2019 Atalanta Revival ‘Bluebird’
Atalanta was set up in Middlesex in 1936 with key people who jumped ship from Frazer Nash and Aston Martin. Their brief? To hand-build bespoke sports cars with an emphasis on advanced design and engineering. On the road, or at Brooklands, the cars proved their worth with their all-independent suspension and relative light weight. They were fast, beautiful and very expensive, each one tailor-made for each customer. Of whom there were just…22.
To that prewar total of 22 you can add three more “continuation” cars, new-builds based on original Atalanta designs and engineering but with updated running gear and all the work of a revived Atalanta company. Called the Atalanta Revival, the first car arrived in 2017 after seven years of development and what was said to be millions spent on design, tooling and testing.
This is one of the three, a 2.5-litre four-cylinder two-seat sports car of classical design and, like the cars built in period, largely bespoke. It is said that 90 per cent of its components were designed and engineered in-house, including the hand-beaten aluminium panels over an ash frame. And why Bluebird? Because this is the only one painted Bluebird blue to mark the 50th anniversary of Donald Campbell's death.
1965 MG EX234 prototype
For the avid MG collector, surely a must-have model. It’s the one and only prototype of the car BMC developed as a potential replacement for both the MGB and the Midget. It was felt the MGB in particular needed an injection of dynamism, so work began on a new version with the independent rear suspension the B was always meant to have.
The corporate parts bin was raided for a new rear axle, Hydrolastic suspension, rack and pinion steering, disc brakes on all four wheels and the 1,275cc A-Series engine, to Cooper S tune, and gearbox.
And the design? That was farmed out to Pininfarina. The result is attractive enough – hints of MGB with a suggestion of Fiat 124 Sport and the Alfa Spider’s Kamm tail. It was more spacious than the MG with apparently far better chassis dynamics, but it never made it past the prototype stage – dated they may have been, but the Midget and MGB continued to sell well. Later, when British Leyland decided it did need a new sports car, it was Triumph, with the TR7, that got the nod.
The EX234 has had three owners from new, is said to be in working order, comes with a V5C and, as you might expect, is well documented in the annals of MG history.
1981 Vauxhall Chevette HSR
Go-faster Vauxhalls are rarely as sought-after as this homologation special Chevette. It is one of only 18 known survivors of the 33 HSRs built in period by Bill Blydenstein's Dealer Team Vauxhall (DTV) whose “Droop Snoot” competition Chevettes made 1981 DTV’s most successful year.
The HSR took over from the far more numerous HS and improved things considerably with its better located rear axle and flared wheelarches to clear wider wheels/tyres. Carried over to the little rear-drive hatch were a 135PS (101kW) 16-valve version of the Magnum’s 2.3-litre “slant four” engine, a Getrag close ratio ‘box, uprated brakes and suspension and lip spoilers on the body. True to form, the cars were silver with tartan seat inserts – all very ‘70s!
The car in the Goodwood sale has a known ownership history and has had a ton of work done in recent years, including a top-end engine rebuild with high-compression pistons, ported cylinder head, Weber carbs, and a suspension rebuild along with a respray. Bonhams says it’s as much fun to drive now as it was then.
1972 Fiat 500L
A collection of cars from one of Britain’s most colourful entrepreneurs, Peter de Savary, is being sold in the Bonhams auction at the Goodwood Revival this year. The shipping magnate turned luxury hotelier is disposing of cars that include a Corvette, Mercedes SLS, Citroen DS21 convertible, E-type Jaguar and this – a gem of a baby Fiat.
Story goes that de Savary bought it from the Italian family that ran one of his favourite restaurants in London. It’s an L (the luxury version) with sunroof and carpets, and looks good in dark blue with red interior. It was restored ages ago and last had an MoT in 2019. There’s probably still a packet of spaghetti in the boot!
Images courtesy of Bonhams.
The official Goodwood Revival Collection
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