Ten awesome race cars for sale in Bonhams’ Revival auction

12th September 2022
Bob Murray

For the world’s most authentic historic racing festival, a super line-up of historic competition machines all itching to find a new owner. Whether you hanker for a sports racer, tin-top saloon or single-seater, chances are you’ll find it among the cars Bonhams is preparing for its annual Goodwood Revival sale on Saturday 17th September.

We have already looked at our top 10 road cars in the sale, here now is our pick of the competition cars.


1952 Aston Martin DB3


This Aston DB3, with its signature yellow “portcullis” grille, is back in West Sussex 70 years after scoring a famous victory here. As one of three works cars entered for the inaugural Goodwood 9 Hours at the Motor Circuit in 1952, this car, chassis Number Five, was driven to victory by Peter Collins and Pat Griffiths. It was the DB3’s sole big win.

We have already taken a close look at this car on the GRR website, but what we didn’t know then was its likely price. Now we do, and it’s a hefty one around the £3million mark.

But look at it: more muscular then beautiful but definitely full of competitive intent. As seen here it’s just as it looked in 1952 when, headlights blazing, it crossed the finish line at midnight ahead of Ferraris and Jaguars in Goodwood’s first big endurance race.

The Aston also raced at Sebring (second in the 12 Hours), Le Mans and the Mille Miglia, but it was Goodwood that provided the scene of its greatest triumph – one it has continued to celebrate by competing in the Goodwood Revival’s latter-day endurance race, the Freddie March Memorial Trophy.


1922 ‘Strasbourg’ Sunbeam Grand Prix


Sunbeam was Britain’s most successful vintage-era grand prix team and this is one of four cars that, exactly 100 years ago, were custom-built to compete in the 1922 Grand Prix de l'ACF race at Strasbourg, precursor to what we know today as the French Grand Prix.

The slimline 'torpedo'-bodied pure-bred racing machine was designed by Ernest Henry, formerly of Peugeot and Ballot, and was known for its performance and handling. The regs for the race favoured the French with a 2.0-litre capacity limit, but Sunbeam responded with a high-revving engine with twin overhead cams and four valves per cylinder.

The car in the sale is thought to have been the hard-used test car but it was pressed into service when one of the three works racers caught fire before the start. The driver was Henry Segrave, soon to be the dashing motor racing hero of the 1920s and world land and water speed record holder.

Sunbeam didn’t win the French GP that year – Fiat dominated – but did go back the following year when it was successful. Today Bonhams says this 100-year-old racing relic is one of the best-presented vintage-period competition cars it has ever sold.


1964 Porsche 904 GTS


When Porsche rediscovered sports car racing after its flirtation with F1 in the early ‘60s, it was with the pretty mid-engined 904. Inspired by Colin Chapman’s Lotus Elite, it used a lightweight fibreglass body whose pleasing shape was penned by Ferry Porsche's eldest son, 'Butzi' (he also did the 911).

The 904 wasn’t just a pretty face. It took the first two podium places in the Targa Florio in 1964, had a multitude of class wins and even came home second in 1965 in the Monte Carlo Rally.

This car is the 62nd of 100 road cars built to homologate the racecars. Its first French owner hillclimbed it a month after it was delivered, while the second owner was equally enthusiastic, competing in it in successfully in club rallies and hillclimbs throughout the mid ‘60s.

It was restored in the late 1970s and its four-cylinder engine replaced by the flat-six from the 911 (like later production 904s). Since then, it has been on display in the Marcel Petitjean collection in France. It hasn’t been driven since 1993 but word is it shouldn’t take much to get it back up and running again, on road, or track, where it deserves to be.


1959 Cooper Monaco-Climax Type 49


Guildford-based Jaguar dealer and racer John Coombs ordered two new Cooper Monacos for his race team in 1959: one with a 2.5-litre Maserati engine for that year’s Le Mans winner, Roy Salvadori, and one with a 2.0-litre Coventry Climax engine for future triple world drivers’ champion, Jack Brabham. Proving there’s nothing like a bit of intra-team rivalry, the drivers spurred each other on. The two cars were the most successful Monacos of that 1959 British racing season.

The car in the sale is Brabham’s, and like so many other competition machines in this year’s Bonhams sale, it is absolutely no stranger to Goodwood. It was first raced here by Jack Brabham and his team-mate, a young Kiwi called Bruce McLaren, in the 1959 RAC Tourist Trophy. Despite the stellar driver pairing, suspension trouble put it out on that occasion.

In more recent times it has become a firm favourite with everyone at Goodwood, competing at Members’ Meeting, Speedweek and several times at the Revival including an outing in 2016 when members of the Brabham family drove it as part of a Jack Brabham tribute.

The car is in the Coombs colours of off white with blue flashes and comes with plenty of racing patina. It is said to be ready to race, with FIA docs and a Hoole-built 2.0-litre Coventry Climax engine with 190PS (142kW) that has only had three outings since it was completed in 2018.


1955 Lotus-Bristol MkX


Another Goodwood returnee, and a memorable one. The gloriously aerodynamic Frank Costin-designed shape hasn’t been seen here since 1955. The car had been ordered by the driver Peter Scott-Russell who competed in it at Goodwood giving cars like the Jaguar C-type a hard time.

Costin’s highly effective and distinctive shape was inherited from the Lotus MkVIII but over a stretched chassis and with a few additions such as the bonnet bulge to clear the new engine. The MkVIII relied on a little MG 1.5-litre mill while the big news about the MkX was the six-cylinder BMW-based Bristol engine. Colin Chapman came up with the car in response to customers who said they wanted a Lotus with a larger engine. Other changes included disc brakes all round – the first Lotus to have them.

Only four Bristol-powered MkXs were made so it’s a rarity. It will need work to go back on track, says Bonhams, but it is road registered and ready for gentle touring. Now that would be interesting…


1960 Lola-Ford Mk 2 Formula Junior


World champions like Jim Clark and John Surtees honed their racing skills in Formula Junior, a class of racing for front-engined miniature grand prix cars that delivered thrills aplenty – and still does. In Formula Junior as in F1, the early ‘60s saw a shift to rear-engined cars but today in historic racing it is the old-school front-engined open-wheel single-seaters that people still love to see in events like the Goodwood Revival’s Chichester Cup, among the best-supported, most popular and, for the drivers, most enjoyable historic racing going.

And this lovely little Lola has been right at the front of the field. It’s an exemplar of the type, great to drive, lovely to look at and extremely competitive. Former owner Andrew Hibberd had notable success with it, winning in FJ races at several historic events including the Revival in 2016.

In period, the Lola Mk2 with its Ford 105E-derived 997cc overhead-valve four-cylinder engine was also the class of the field, known as the best handling of all the Formula Juniors – until the arrival of the rear-engined Lotus 18 anyway. It was Lola’s first single-seater, its sophisticated spaceframe design the work of brilliant engineer and Lola founder Eric Broadley.

The ex-Hibberd car in the Bonhams auction started its racing career in Australia, but it is at circuits like Goodwood today that this little jewel of a racecar from a bygone age is as its very best.


2015 Sahara Force India VJM08 F1


Come to Goodwood, go home with a Formula 1 car. Why not? The idea should appeal particularly to Sergio Perez fans for this is his car. Up for grabs is the Sahara Force India F1 car “Checo” drove in 13 of the 19 grands prix in 2015.

Force India may be no more but what the Mexican driver – winner of this year’s Monaco Grand Prix – achieved in the VJM08 will surely stand the test of time. Perez, who drove for Force India in various guises for five years before joining Red Bull, achieved 12 points-scoring finishes in this car, including a podium finish in the Russian Grand Prix at Sochi, helping Force India to its best fifth place finish in the constructors’ championship. The result was all the more impressive because it was essentially the 2014 car updated with a new nose cone.

Seven years on it is said to be in showroom condition but not drivable: like many retired F1 cars there is no engine or transmission. There is also no reserve price on it, so you never know what it might go for. And Checo is currently third in the drivers’ championship.


1963 Pandora-BMC sports racer


It’s tempting to watch the racing at Goodwood and think: I could do that! Three race fans in 1961 retired to a local pub and thought exactly that. They didn’t have a car so they decided to build one, from scratch, and 61 years later, this is it.

The car came together largely at weekends in a lock-up garage in Selsey, West Sussex, owned by a woman called Pandora – hence the name. Conceived to contest a new 1,100cc race series, its first test run was down Selsey High Street. Shake-down tests at the circuit followed and then its first race: the 1964 Goodwood Whitsun Trophy. The race was won by Roy Salvadori, but amazingly the Pandora, driven by Ray Jackson, came third.

Inevitably the car is a real “bitsa”. The engine is an Austin 1,098cc competition unit, the gearbox casing came from a VW Transporter, and the driver’s seat was fashioned from an aluminium Shell Oils sign (light weight, you see). The styling was said to be inspired by the Sharknose Ferrari of the time.

The surprise was this one-off worked so well, and is still a good looking machine, particularly now after what is said to be a no-expense-spared restoration, combining the original specs with some modern safety modifications.


1964 Morris Mini Cooper S


The giant-killing antics of Cooper Ss in historic racing at Goodwood are the stuff of legend, and now here’s an opportunity for someone to join the packed grids with what Bonhams describes as a box-fresh Cooper S prepared by Cooper S maestros at Swiftune.

This is a very familiar Mini at Goodwood because it was formerly owned and driven at Revival by the chef James Martin; he was 11th in 2015 with co-driver Jason Plato. The current owner bought it in 2018 and has since raced it at Donnington, in the Silverstone Classic and the all-Mini race at Goodwood in 2019.

With no track use since the most recent restoration was completed a year ago, the Mini comes with everything needed to get back out there in the forefront of historic Mini racing.


1955 Standard Ten 1.5


The stately Standard is not an obvious circuit racing candidate but it’s amazing what a top car preparer can achieve with ordinary ingredients. In 2004 Chris Sanders, with help from the late Barry “Whizzo” Williams, discovered the Standard’s hidden depths when it was entered in that year’s St. Mary’s Trophy at Revival.

Chris had built the car and he shared the driving with Whizzo in the two-race event. The Standard proved to be quick. In race one, Whizzo started at the back of the grid and, living up to his name, whizzed through the field to fifth before the engine overheated. In race two the Standard qualified third on the grid and was battling for the lead (against Andy Wallace in a Jaguar!) when once again it succumbed to overheating.

Today, the Standard has been re-commissioned after 18 years' inactivity and had its overheating problems sorted with a rebuild that has incorporated new pistons, bearings, oil pump, and oil radiator. Now it is all set to fight another day – a bargain entry to St. Mary’s Trophy glory?

  • Bonhams

  • Revival

  • Revival 2022

  • Aston Martin

  • Lotus

  • Porsche

  • Lola

  • Pandora

  • Mini

  • Standard

  • Force India

  • Sunbeam

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