Treat yourself to the former King of Greece’s BMW 507
Bonhams is looking to crown its next collectors’ car auction with the sale of two examples of true automotive royalty, one a BMW and the other an Aston Martin – and both formerly owned by European kings.
A 1959 BMW 507, first owned by King Constantine II of Greece, and a 1955 Aston Martin DB2/4 ordered new by King Baudouin of Belgium make up the regal duo at the Bonhams Zoute sale in Belgium on 11th October, an auction that also includes what was the world’s fastest (and surely the sexiest) police car in the 1970s – can you guess what?
King Constantine joined a very select club when he chose to drive one of the 252 507s that BMW made. Much rarer than its big rival the Mercedes SL, the 507 was among the most sought-after and expensive convertibles of the 1950s, beloved by celebrities like Ursula Andress, Elvis Presley and the Aga Khan. But the V8 roadster was also a real driver’s car – one fit for a world champion like John Surtees whose own 507 was sold by Bonhams at Goodwood in 2018 – for an amazing £3.8 million.
King Constantine’s car is not expected to top that – Bonhams has put a presale estimate of €1.9-2.3m on it. Thirty four years after its royal first owner, the car was discovered in Greece and subjected to a six-figure restoration by 507 experts in Bavaria, since when it has run in the Mille Miglia and other events including the 507’s 60th anniversary celebrations in 2005.
King Baudouin of Belgium’s choice of wheels in 1955 was an Aston, the DB2/4 “family” model with 2+2 seats and plenty of luggage space under what today would be called a hatchback. The 3.0-litre straight-six powered sports saloon would still do 125mph. The royal Aston was restored in the early 2000s to the regal original spec of Royal Crimson coachwork and beige Connolly leather. Its estimate in the sale is €250-300,000
Other highlights of the sale in the Belgian seaside town include a brace of Ferrari 250s: a 1963 GT Lusso Berlinetta (€1.6-1.8m) and a 1961 GTE, the marque’s first four-seater. It’s Ferrari Classiche certified, has a continuous and known history from new and comes with a presale estimate of €400-500,000.
Another ‘50s classic in the sale is a British Le Mans 24 Hours participant from the 1960 race: an AC Bristol. The 1957 car managed 14 hours of racing before its engine gave up, not something likely to happen today after a careful restoration. Bonhams hopes it will make between €400-500,000.
And that police car we mentioned? It’s a 1976 Porsche 911 Carrera of the Belgian gendarmerie, complete with blue flashing lights and police graphics. The 2.7 mechanical fuel injection (MFI) model was enhanced for emergency-service use and Bonhams says that until 1983 it ranked as the fastest-ever police car. When the Belgian cops had finished with it, the car was dry-stored in a barn for 30 years and it now awaits restoration, though mechanically it is said to be in good order still. How cool would it be to drive a 911 police car? It will cost you though: around €170-250,000 says Bonhams.