Bonhams joined Autoworld this weekend to break the COVID curse

This weekend, Bonhams arrived at the Belgian car museum, with over 60 classics sports cars and other artefacts. Is this the future of auctions?

2w ago

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The Coronavirus rewrites the rules of the game everywhere, car events are no exception. This year saw the cancellation of every major car event since March, and this bears consequences on the auction world as well.

None of the events could find a hold on the pandemic, but museums managed to reopen for the summer deconfinement. They proved to be the new epicentre of the automotive, as all the major museums reopened with special exhibitions.

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Museums have the advantage of vast open spaces that allow a better control of visitor density, partly with mandatory directions. But most importantly to allow a longer period for interested visitors to see the exhibitions, compared to crowded car shows. Autoworld already held two temporary exhibitions, with a set of breathtaking super and hypercars followed by two dozen classic Porsches.

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This weekend, the auction house Bonhams arrived at Autoworld, occupying the main gallery of the first floor.  Their auction features over 60 classic and sports cars, motorcycles and other artefacts.

Bonhams is one of the key players in the Auction world, and their auction during the week of the Retromobile in the heart of Paris was a car show on its own right.

The Autoworld Auction’s fleet also has quite a few highlights, encompassing several epochs and categories from pre-war luxury Mercedes to modern-day gran tourismos.

Below I will give my favourites, but you can check out the entire lot at the page of Bonhams dedicated to the auction.

The trio of modern gran-turismos

A 2001 BMW Z8 Roadster, a 2017 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT/C Edition 50 and a 2011 Porsche 911 Type 997 Speedster.

Each is special in its own way, but all three of them are fast, elegant, quite rare and hence expensive.

The black 1956 Facel Vega FV2 Coupé

There were actually two Facel Vegas, each estimated well over 100.000 euros.

These cars have quite a presence, and I particularly liked the black one with red interior.

The 1938 Peugeot 402 Légère 'Darl'mat' Roadster

This is a beautiful pre-war classic, a pinnacle of Art Deco with a chassis design by Portout.

Jaguar XK SS 3.8-litre re-creation

This car is the first of 15 XK SS re-creations built by Lynx. The XK SS was the road-legal sports car based on the D-Type, brought down by the factory fire in February 1957.

The car started life as number 3 short nose D Type built by LYNX in 1977. The car was then converted by LYNX into a LYNX XKSS in the 80s. Being the first Lynx XKSS made, it is the Lynx XKSS prototype.

In addition to the XK SS, there was a large number of impressive Jaguars, most of them were E Type models.

The 1968 Mazda Cosmo Sport Series 2 Coupé

It is the 100th anniversary year of Mazda, and it is refreshing to see a Cosmo among the lots.

The 1979 Peugeot 504 2.0-Litre Coupé with Coachwork by Pininfarina

The 1928 Mercedes-Benz Model 630k Sports Tourer

Affordable by only the wealthiest, the 630K was produced in strictly limited numbers, only 150 being completed between 1926 and May 1929.

In Germany these would have been bodied by the likes of Erdmann & Rossi, Reuter, Papler, Zschau, and Balzer tailored to the needs and taste of the customer. This specimen was however fitted with factory coachwork by Sindelfingen.

The 1958 Peerless GT Sports Saloon

If the brand does not ring the bell, don’t despair, Peerless made only 325 cars. One of only 70 made in left-hand drive configuration, this ultra-rare Peerless GT has a race-prepared Triumph TR3 engine producing 100bhp.

By the way, there was a 1974 Jensen Interceptor Series III Sports Saloon to reinforce the ultra are short-lived British exotics.

What I love about Belgian car culture is the geographical balance. There is no dominance of a single (German) nation at Belgian car events.

British legends, small Fiats, sporty Alfa Romeos or racy Ferraris are equally present as well as a few Porsches and affordable rarities like the NSU.

All participating cars and motorcycles will be on display on the first floor of the museum during the weekend of 5 and 6 September accessible to visitors. The hybrid auction sale will take place on Sunday at 14.00.

As a sneak preview, a dozen Audi was already lined up by the entrance to foreshadow the next spotlight exhibition commemorating 40 years of Audi Quattro.

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