Bonhams | Famous Rolls-Royce “more like the throne room at Versailles than a car” for sale at Bond Street Sale

A unique Rolls-Royce Phantom I, estimated at £500,000-700,000

A unique Rolls-Royce Phantom I built in 1926 for the American businessman Clarence Gasque as a gift for his wife Maude, is one of the star lots at Bonhams Bond Street Sale in London on 4 December. It is estimated at £500,000-700,000.


Maude Gasque, a Woolworth’s heiress, had a passion for French 18th century history and design and her husband, who was the Finance Director of Woolworth’s UK operation, wanted the car’s interior to have a French theme. (He also stipulated that it should be grander and more lavish than the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost made for his Woolworth colleague Surefire Snow). Setting no limit on the budget, he left the details to the Wolverhampton based coachbuilders, Charles Clark and Sons. Clark’s owner, John Barnett, had the inspired idea of using a Marie Antoinette sedan chair he had come across at the Victoria and Albert Museum as a model. The result was a spectacular confection more resembling the throne room at Versailles than the inside of a car. On delivery, the Rolls-Royce cost £6,500, of which £4,500 had been spent on the interior – (£500 was enough in 1926 to buy a house).

Craftsmen from the famous carpet makers, Aubusson, in France, spent nine months working on a tapestry for the rear seats at a cost of £500. In keeping with a car that would come to be known as The Phantom of Love, naked cherubs featured prominently in the exotic interior, appearing in painted scenes on the ceiling and as lighting supports at the rear corners. Additional lighting was concealed behind the ceiling’s carved and gilded cornice. A bow-fronted drinks cabinet, reminiscent of an antique commode or chiffonier, was mounted on the internal division, concealing fold-down, inward-facing occasional seats – also upholstered in tapestry – in cupboards at either side. Surmounting this elaborate division was a small French ormulu clock and two French porcelain vases containing gilded metal and enamel flowers. In honour of the Gasque family’s French origins, Barnett devised a faux coat of arms at his client’s request, which was applied to the rear doors.


The bow-fronted drinks below a cherubic scene painted on the ceiling
Sadly, Clarence died in 1928 and in 1937 Maude – who lived until 1959 and spent the rest of life promoting vegetarianism – put The Phantom of Love into storage. She sold it in 1952 to the well-known Rolls-Royce car collector Stanley Sears, and it subsequently passed through the hands of enthusiasts in Japan and the USA before returning to the UK and its most recent owner.
Bonhams Senior Motor Car Specialist Rob Hubbard said, “Extensively illustrated and described in numerous books and magazine articles about the Rolls-Royce marque, The Phantom of Love is, arguably, the most famous surviving Rolls-Royce after ‘AX 201’, the factory owned 1907 Silver Ghost. Unique and well documented, it is of the highest quality and without question one of the very finest examples of art and craftsmanship applied to an automobile. The Phantom of Love would grace any important private collection or make a wonderful exhibit for a museum display.”


9211085-5-1The most famous of all ‘James Bond’ Aston Martins, a 1964 Aston Martin DB5, will be offered at Bonhams Bond Street Sale, taking place on 6 December. 
The motor car was originally owned by Johnnie Walker heir and celebrated motor-racing figure, Rob Walker. Walker’s elite status in motor racing history began when he founded the most successful privateer team in Formula 1 history, the Rob Walker Racing Team, whose landmark achievements include the first-ever F1 Grand Prix wins for Cooper and Lotus. A highlight lot from the Gordon Willey Collection, the DB5 is offered at an estimate of £400,000-450,000.

Further sale highlights include a 1937 Lagonda 4½-Litre LG45 Rapide Tourer. In 1937, The Autocar magazine said of the model: “A short run on one of the first of the 4½-Litre Lagonda models left a vivid impression not only of brilliant acceleration and sheer performance, but of a car delightfully silent and easy running in a way that can be achieved to the fullest extent only by a big-engined machine working well inside its limits.”

The late owner, Barclay Dodd, first encountered the Lagonda Rapide in 1937 while he was working for Aston Martin. So impressed by the factory demonstrator’s performance, he recommended the Rapide to his father, who duly replaced his Bentley 4½-Litre with this incredible Lagonda. One of just 25 built, it has remained in the same family ever since, now offered some 70 years later at an estimate of £500,000-700,000.
Tim Schofield, Bonhams UK Motoring Director, said: “The Bond Street Sale features 30 exciting and rare collectors’ motor cars. These range from heroes of the pre-war era, legends of the 1950s and 1960s, to the modern sports cars of today.”

Further highlights include a 1929 Bentley 4½-Litre, estimated at £400,000-500,000, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GT, estimated at £1,000,000-1,200,000, and a 1962 AC Cobra Roadster, estimated at £250,000-350,000.

The sale will also feature the rare inclusion of a number plate. Vehicle registration number ‘R6’, which was originally issued in 1903 and has been held in single-family ownership since the 1950s, will be offered with an estimate of £150,000-180,000.
For further information on Bonhams motoring department visit:


main_3The personal Rolex wristwatch of Donald Healey (1898-1988), founder of the Healey marque and manufacturer of the much loved Austin-Healey motor cars, will be offered at Bonhams Bond Street Motor Car Sale, taking place 6 December 2015. 
The watch, a 9ct gold Rolex Striped Prince, inscribed on the reverse ‘Donald Healey, Perranporth’, has been passed down through the generations, and is now offered directly from the grandson of Donald Healey. It is offered with an estimate of £8,000-12,000.
Donald Healey was born in Perranporth, Cornwall. From an early age he had a passion for engineering, gaining an apprenticeship with Sopwith Aviation, that lead him to fly as a Royal Flying Corps pilot in the First World War. In the early 1920s, he started racing cars with considerable success, initially in the London-Land’s End Trial, the Land’s End-John O’Groats Rally, and subsequently through the 1930s in international events such as the Alpine Trials (winning seven Glacier Cups). “Donald was justly proud of such rallying success,” said his grandson, Peter Healey. “The Rolex was a reward to himself.”
Before founding his own company, Donald worked for British motoring brand, Triumph. It was here that he honed his skills, and masterminded the development of the Triumph Gloria, and designed the beautiful straight-eight, supercharged Triumph Dolomite, which he then drove in the Alpine Trial of 1936.
In 1945, Donald founded his own company, which initially created Healey cars. In the 1950s and 1960s, he developed Austin-Healeys, and in the 1970s, the Jensen-Healey. His Rolex watch has remained with the Healey family throughout, and it is now offered for the first time since Donald acquired it.
“The Bonhams Bond Street Motor Car Sale presents a fantastic selection of motor cars, including two of the most important Austin-Healeys ever offered. We’re delighted to announce the inclusion of Donald Healey’s personal Rolex to this exciting sale.” said James Knight, Bonhams Group Motoring Director. “To offer the Rolex Striped Prince, worn by the great man himself, plus his much loved everyday car – the 1953 Austin-Healey 100/’100S’ Coupe, and the 1959 Works Rally 3000 ‘SMO 746’ – is simply extraordinary.”
“By paying homage to the art deco style of the 1920s and 1930s, Rolex Prince watches became an instant hit,” said Jonathan Darracott, Bonhams UK Head of Watches. “Only a small number of the latterly developed ‘Striped’ Prince watches, also known as the ‘Tiger Stripe’, were produced, making this model extremely rare. It’s unsurprising Healey chose to reward himself with such a timepiece, as these particular wristwatches were an excellent, but refined, statement of one’s success.”
Bonhams Bond Street Sale takes place on Sunday 6 December at 101 New Bond Street. For further information, visit Bonhams.

Michael Schumacher Benetton-Ford to be offered at Bonhams Bond Street Sale

Nel 1992 Michael Schumacher conquistò il suo primo podio, in quello che sarebbe diventato l’ultimo Gran Premio del Messico di sempre. L’auto che ce lo ha portato, la Benetton-Ford B191B One Racing F1, sarà all’asta di Bonhams a Bond Street con una stima di £ 240,000-300,000.

Il podio del Messico è stato conseguito quando Michael era all’ottava gara della sua nascente carriera e ha segnato l’inizio della sua carriera leggendaria. La vettura oggi è esattamente la stessa di questa gara storica. Solitamente queste monoposto non arrivano ai collezionisti in condizioni di essere utilizzate, al contrario, quella in questione è in piena efficienza e pronta per emozionare il suo nuovo proprietario.

Questa F1 non ha solo tenuto a battesimo un campione come Schumacher ma è anche quella che ha accompagnato il brasiliano Nelson Piquet attraverso il suo ultimo Gran Premio sulla bellissima pista di Adelaide nella stagione 1991. Questa magnifica auto da corsa è stata protagonista di una carriera fantastica ed ora, più di due decenni dopo il suo debutto, può rendere orgoglioso ogni collezionista.

L’asta Bonhams di Bond Street si svolge presso la sede Bonhams di Londra il 30 novembre 2014.

By Andrea Foffi e Manuel Galvez – –

In 1992 Michael Schumacher raced to his first ever podium finish, taking third place in what was to become the last ever Mexican Grand Prix*. The car that took him there, the Benetton-Ford B191B Formula One Racing Single-Seater, is to be offered as part of Bonhams Bond Street Sale with a pre-Sale auction estimate of £240,000-300,000.

Schumacher’s Mexican place was only the eighth race of his fledgling career, and heralded the start of many podium appearances for the seven-time Formula One World Champion. Qualifying third fastest of the 30 entries, he tore round to score his first ever Formula One ‘podium’ finish, with third place. The car today is liveried in the same specification to this historic race. He then followed up that performance in the Benetton-Ford by qualifying fifth fastest in it for the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos, and again finishing third for the second top-three finish of his now legendary Formula 1 career. The car was then retired from active service.

Unusually for many historic Grand Prix single-seaters, this car is in full working order and thus enables the new owner the opportunity to drive, or race, the same car that Schumacher raced. The magnificent Benetton-Ford provided landmark performances in the career of not just Schumacher, but three great drivers who campaigned it in the early 1990s.

“Chassis 6 is highly respected as the Benetton that took Schumacher to his first podium position. But, that’s not where the story ends, for this was also the car that took three-time Formula One World Champion driver, Brazil’s Nelson Piquet, through his last Grand Prix on the beautiful Adelaide street and parkland circuit in the 1991 season,” said James Knight, Bonhams International Head of Motoring.

“For his Benetton debut, chassis 6 then went on to take present-day Formula One TV commentator and highly-respected pundit Martin Brundle to eighth in the South Africa Grand Prix of 1992. This car really has enjoyed a fantastic career, and now more than two decades after it’s debut, it can make an exciting addition to any enthusiasts motoring collection.”

Bonhams Bond Street Sale takes place at Bonhams London headquarters on 30th November 2014. With only 35 entry slots available and several motor cars already consigned, the annual event is set to be another exciting auction from Bonhams record breaking motoring department.

By Andrea Foffi e Manuel Galvez – –