Bonhams sells beautiful Bugatti 35B for £1.7m in Monaco
Who said Bugattis, Ferraris and Porsches were two a penny in the millionaires’ playground of Monaco? Not Bonhams, which has just sold a trio of cars from those marques for rather more than that. This is more a case of three for five million.
This was Monaco in May and a return for Bonhams after a four-year gap to its annual collector car sale in the principality. Motorsport heritage, glamour and big prices made it the place to be if you love cars – and had the wherewithal to indulge. And if you didn’t, there was always the Monaco Historic Grand Prix going on in the background.
This year marked the 30th anniversary of the sale when special cars and lots of noughts were expected – and duly delivered. So what were the three cars that got the Monégasque to reach for their bank cards (sorry, bitcoin)?
The €2 million star of the show was the Bugatti, a 1927 35B, not a grand prix winner in period itself but a dead ringer for the 35B that did win a GP – appropriately the first Monaco Grand Prix in 1929.
The Bug’s big claim to fame was that it was an original, matching numbers car with known history, particularly the last 47 years when
Scroll forward 40 years and going to a new home in return for €1,495,000 was a lovely Ferrari 275 GTS, its Pininfarina coachwork resplendent and doubtless its 3.3-litre Colombo V12 in fine voice (it should be; the car came with restoration invoices totalling a quarter of a million).
This is another car with a strong Monaco connection: it was once on the books of a 1960s French sports and racing car dealership run by… Jean-Pierre Beltoise. Who won the Monaco Grand Prix in 1972, driving a BRM in what would turn out to be the British team’s final GP win.
For the third of the heavy hitters you have to scroll forward another 20 years and head for Stuttgart where in the 1980s a turbocharged all-wheel-drive Group B-type car was conceived and brought to market as the Porsche 959. It was a technological tour de force to rival anything Porsche had ever done.
The 1988 bright red example in the sale was a Komfort model delivered new to Middle Eastern royalty. The car’s claim to fame? Just 26,000km in 35 years, low for a machine known for its all-seasons usability. One of just 292 built, it sold for €1,437,500.
There were many other highlights in the sale but for us one stands out, not for being the most valuable or glamorous but just for being an irreplaceable slice of motorsport heritage.
The car? A 1962 Formula 1 Brabham-Climax BT3, the first Formula 1 car to carry the Brabham name and the first car constructed by its driver, three-time Formula 1 world champion, Jack Brabham, to take a Formula 1 chequered flag. Thanks heavens someone out there had €385,250 going spare to give it a new home.
Overall the sale netted €13 million. Here are some other notable results:
1997 Porsche 911 GT2, €1,046,500
1929 Bugatti Type 37 €862,500
1956 AC Ace Bristol roadster, €460,000
1999 ex-Alessandro Zanardi Formula 1 Williams-Renault FW21, €362,250
1961 Aston Martin DB4 Series III, €356,500
1989 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante ‘X-Pack’, €310,500
2009 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Series, €301,875
Next stop for Bonhams’ collector cars auctions? The sale at the Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard, here at Goodwood on 24th June.