Bonhams annual Festival of Speed Sale saw spectacular figures, with the ex-Works Racing Aston Martin Ulster Team Car, LM19, sold for £2,913,500, one of the highest amounts ever achieved for a pre-war British sports car and smashing the existing record (held by Bonhams) for a pre-War Aston Martin.
A pre-war ‘Works’ racing car of excellent provenance, the Ulster was built to compete at the highest level of endurance racing, with appearances at Le Mans, the Ards TT, the Mille Miglia, the RAC TT, and with the additional cherry on the cake being the 1936 French Grand Prix outing, driven by none other than the brilliant Dick Seaman.
James Knight, Bonhams Group Motoring Director and auctioneer on the day, said: “We’ve had another phenomenal sale at Goodwood, with excellent figures achieved across the board as we offered some highly sought after, truly top tier collectors’ motor cars.”
Top lot, the Aston Martin Ulster, saw a protracted three-way bidding battle between customers in the room and on the telephones, finally winning out to a European bidder. James Knight added, “It’s one of the highest figures ever achieved for a pre-war British sports cars, truly emphasizing the tremendous stature of the Aston Martin marque.”
Elsewhere, a 1961 Porsche RS-61 Spyder offered by none other than ‘Mr Motor Racing’ himself, Sir Stirling Moss, sold for £1,905,500. One of the greatest racing drivers of all time, Sir Stirling was without doubt the standard-setting racing driver of his era, and is a multiple winner of World Championship Grand Prix and Sports Car races during his glittering frontline career. Sir Stirling described the Porsche RS60/61 series as having been “Just super cars – beautifully balanced and simply tailor-made for such races as the mighty Targa Florio around 440 miles of Sicilian mountain roads. That was one morning when I woke up and really could say to myself, ‘For today’s race you have got the ideal car’.”
Continuing the Porsche theme, owned for more than 30 years by ‘father of pop art’ Richard Hamilton, a 1973 Porsche 911S 2.4-litre Coupé sold for £393,500. Hamilton thought that the car’s shapely curves were a ‘perfect’ design, so he purchased it new in 1973, and kept it for three decades.
The fabulous Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR Roadster sold for an incredible £1,513,500. Unveiled in 1998, at the time the CLK most expensive production car ever built, a figure only recently exceeded by the Ferrari FXX. The model offered at Bonhams sale had a mere eight kilometres on the odometer, and was the very first example ever built.
Also in the sale, a 1984 Porsche 911 3.2-litre Carrera Coupé, belonging to former Top Gear presenter James May, sold for £51,750, and ex-Rolling Stone Bill Wyman’s 1966 Mercedes-Benz 250 S sold for £20,700, whilst his striking 1971 Citroën Maserati SM sold for almost double estimate at £61,980.
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