Bonhams kicks up its second classic car auction

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Bonhams, the Britain-based global auction company known for its fine art and other sales, staged its first event as part of the Arizona classic car auction week in 2012, but sold only 40 vehicles at an event that generated less than $6 million in sales.

Undaunted, Bonhams returned to Arizona Auction Week in 2013, brought a well-populated catalog — including more than 30 vehicles from the collection of the Oldenburg (horse-breeding) family — and reported the sale of 92 vehicles for nearly $13 million.

“It was a tremendous auction, and everything worked beyond our expectations,” said James Knight, motoring director for the Bonhams Group. “The auction total and sale statistics were exemplary, and we serviced one of the largest audiences at one of our U.S. auctions. We achieved prices at this auction that created new benchmark figures and offered advice to our clients that proved to be wholly founded.”

The high-dollar sale of the one-day event at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa was $1,312,500 for a 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet A.

An Oldenburg car — a 1972 Lamborghini Miura SV — brought $1.215 million.

A 1930 Bugatti Type 46 Faux Cabriolet sold for $951,000. A 1968 Ferrari 330GTX Spider went for $912,500. A 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gullwing” wearing stunning Strawberry Red Metallic paint, sold for $896,000. A 1967 Ferrari 365 GTC Speciale, specially built for Leopoldo Pirelli of the tire-making company, brought $885,000.

Those six vehicles accounted for nearly half of the total auction sales figure.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall is a Phoenix-based freelance writer. You can reach him at