European sale season got off to an impressive start yesterday, 8 February, at Le Grand Palais in Paris. The marathon sale lasted more than 7 hours, and achieved a total of 14,930,317 with 77% of lots sold.
An auction world record was achieved when the 1926 Bentley 3-Litre Red Label Speed Model Tourer sold to a bidder on the telephone for 701,500, a record for the model at auction.
Vintage and veteran cars were the top performers throughout the sale, with both the ex-Earl Howe, Pierre Levegh 1935 Bugatti 57T and the 1904 Fiat Type 24/32 rear-entrance tonneau achieving 713,000. The Fiat 24/32 was offered from the collection of the late Jan Bruijn, a stalwart of the European veteran motoring scene.
A highlight of the sale was the 19 lot collection of the late European collector, Jacques Vander Stappen. The entire collection found buyers, and many sold for well above their pre-sale estimates. The top lot was the beautiful and rare 1907 Minerva Type K 40HP Limousine/torpedo convertible, which achieved 603,750 against an estimate of 350,000450,000, followed by a second example from the Belgian marque, a 1934 Minerva Type AL 40 CV coupé sport which sold for 391,000.
More modern classics performed similarly strongly across the board, with the 1974 Lamborghini Countach LP400 Periscopo achieving 638,250 and the 1958 Jaguar XK 150 S 3.4-Litre Roadster which realised 219,050.
Further highlights included the 1928 Type 40 Grand Sport which realised 529,000, exceeding its pre-sale estimate of 300,000-400,000, and the 1954 Aston Martin DB 2/4 3 litres cabriolet which sold to a buyer in the room for 391,000. The beautiful 1936 Alta 2-Litre Sports also found a new home, selling to a bidder in the room for 345,550.
Philip Kantor, European Head of Motor Cars, commented: This was an exciting start to our European auction season, and the range of lots offered reflect the diversity of Bonhams expertise. Single owner collections performed well throughout the sale, demonstrating the strong links that Bonhams has forged throughout the classic and collectors car world. A total of well over 14,000,000 is a fantastic start to the year, and we look forward to building on our success throughout 2018.