GRR

Eight awesome driver’s cars for sale at SpeedWeek

05th October 2020
Bob Murray

Driver-first, collector-second – it’s an ethos that could have been born at Goodwood. Cars are meant to be driven after all. And few collector cars have been driven as much as these eight machines, to be sold by Bonhams at the Goodwood SpeedWeek presented by Mastercard auction on Saturday 17th October.

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Each of the eight cars – and three in particular – has been selected over the past 20 years with a particular event or driving experience in mind, in keeping with the owner’s passion for using classic tourers as they were intended to be used. The owner of the Swiss-registered collection has used his fleet to compete in, wait for it… 200 historic driving events and long distance rallies.

Hero of the group is a British car with a reputation for being as indestructible a vintage tourer as you can get: a 1931 Invicta 4.5-litre S-Type. It’s thought 68 of the 75-or-so “low chassis” S-Types built are known to survive and most are in fine fettle today, as is the car in the sale – despite what by any standards has been a hectic life.

Its competition history began in period as a works car that raced in the Ards TT and at Brooklands, with some very well known drivers behind its wheel. There’s even a Hollywood connection, with 1950s screen heart throb Tyrone Power owning it at one stage. Since then it’s hardly had a day off…

The irrepressible Invicta has competed in the Mille Miglia (2002, 2003, 2004); Ralllye des Alpes (2002-2006); Gran Premio Nuvolari (2003); Rallye Sanremo Rally (2003-2007) among other events that together total about 70. Its last outing was in the Invicta Tour in July 2019.

Bonhams says a massive history file with the car shows that on each outing it amply demonstrated the speed – in period the car was billed as the “100mph Invicta” – and comfort for which the model is known. It also details all the specialists who have looked after it, including its restoration in 2011.

Only 1,000 or so Invictas of all types were made before the firm went bust in 1936, all powered by a redoubtable six-cylinder engine made by Henry Meadows. Good performance went hand in hand with exceptional handling for the time thanks a low centre of gravity achieved by the underslung chassis. Today, Bonhams says the Invicta’s star is rising on the back of its sheer usability as a vintage tourer. That is something the owner has surely proved. This star of Bonhams’ “From the Alps to Goodwood” collection is expected to make between £1-1.2 million.

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If anything the 1926 Bentley from the same single-owner collection has been used even more; Bonhams says it has rarely seen a vintage Bentley that has been so extensively campaigned. The 6.5/8.0-litre Le Mans tourer has taken on many of the world’s toughest events, including the 2007 Paris-Peking Rally where it didn’t just survive the 13,000km epic but won its class and a Gold Medal.

The owner has also enjoyed the 110mph Bentley in the 8,500 km Carrera Sudamericana, the Vintage Bentley Tour of South Africa, the New Zealand Vintage Tour, the Liège-Rome Rally, Grand Prix de Tunis, Gran Premio Nuvolari, Rallye des Alpes and the Mille Miglia USA.

Fully kitted out for endurance rallying, it has been fitted with tool cases on the running boards, a secondary water radiator and fans, custom made seats, desert air filters and a 140-litre fuel tank. All set for its next epic challenge, the Bentley is expected to make between £600-800,000.

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Also prepared for historic rallying, and with no shortage of driving events under its belt, is another Bentley from the same collection: an R-Type Continental. In 1953 when it was new it was the world’s fastest and most expensive four-seat tourer, one of only 208 ever made; today it is a Bentley icon of style and luxury. As such it makes for a pretty stylish and refined way of tackling events like the Liège-Rome Rally – which it has participated in four times – the Rallye des Alpes and the Eifel Classic.

It is even fitted with air conditioning and power steering (which only operates when in first and reverse gears), to ensure even the toughest long-distance drive doesn’t raise a sweat. It does though come at quite a price: Bonhams expects it to make around a million.

The other five cars in the “From the Alps to Goodwood” collection were also chosen by the owner for their driving ability rather than just their collectability.

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1959 Jaguar XK150 3.4 roadster, £80-100,000

Delivered new to the USA but resident of Switzerland since 1987, this example of the Jag sportscar with the (disc) brakes to match its stirring performance was restored by XK Engineering 30 years ago and since then been prepared for historic rallying with reinforced suspension and under-body protection.

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1964 Alfa Romeo 2600 Spider, £80-100,000

A classic Alfa with six-cylinder power and elegant Touring body work that’s just the ticket for touring all year round: it comes with a rare detachable hardtop.

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1961 Jaguar MkII 3.8, £40-60,000

A body-off restoration in 2010 by JD Classics came with a bill for £123,528. For that money you’d expect the classic sports saloon to come with power steering, heated windows and central locking – which it does, among a list of updates to make the Jag as useable as possible.

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1936 Railton Eight, £30-50,000

“Powerful and luxurious” says Bonhams of this rare drophead coupe with stylish Carbodies bodywork from the Cobham-based company started by Neil Macklin (the chap who started Invicta). It’s powered by a straight-eight 4.2-litre Hudson motor – and has the 0-60 time to prove it.

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1987 Cadillac Allante, £10-15,000

The eighth car in the group proves that every driver (and collector) has a secret guilty pleasure. The Pininfarina-bodied Cadillac may not be remembered as a great car but the owner obviously has a soft spot for it – and ultimately that’s all that matters. Driving first, collecting second remember…

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The “From the Alps to Goodwood” collection is one of three single-owner collections to be sold in the Bonhams auction at SpeedWeek, along with a big range of other classic and modern machines.

Highlights include a rare 1969 Ferrari 365 GTC, a 1967 Ferrari 330 GTS, a Ferrari F40, Aston Martin DB4, DB5 and DB6 models, the 1926 Olympia Motor Show Hispano-Suiza H6B coupe, and, bringing things right up to date, a 2005 Mercedes SLR McLaren and one of only seven Ruf CTR3 coupes built to Clubsport spec. All in all there will be 100 cars looking to go to new homes,

The cars are able to be viewed at Goodwood. Bonhams is hosting viewing days inside the Earl’s Court building at the Motor Circuit on Tuesday 13th and Wednesday 14th October. Viewing opportunities on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday are limited to participants in Goodwood SpeedWeek. Contact ukcars@bonhams.com to register to bid or to arrange a viewing.

The sale itself will be a live auction but, like the rest of Goodwood SpeedWeek, be taking place behind closed doors apart from a limited number of buyers allowed in by appointment. The sale will be live streamed to a worldwide audience of bidders, via the Bonhams and Goodwood websites, enabling telephone, online and by commission bids.

You can see the full sale catalogue here: : https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/26117/

Images courtesy of Bonhams.

  • Bonhams

  • Invicta

  • Jaguar

  • Alfa Romeo

  • Bentley

  • Ferrari

  • Railton

  • Cadillac

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