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.”


  • Bonhams single-owner Frederiksen Collection Sale features 13 outstanding classic Rolls-Royce motor cars
  • The sale on 26 September will be the first time Bonhams conducts an auction in Denmark. The location for this historic auction will be a picturesque 16th-century manor house Lyngsbækgaard, set in the Mols Bjerge national park near Aarhus, Denmark, that belongs to the owner of the collection, Henrik Frederiksen
It’s a rare treat to own a Rolls-Royce, and quite a feat to own more than one. Henrik Frederiksen is the proud owner of an incredible thirteen Rolls-Royce motor cars, each to be offered at Bonhams single-owner Frederiksen Collection Sale, taking place 26 September. 

Highlight of the series is the 1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50 Silver Ghost Skiff, estimate 7,200,000-9,200,000 DKK (£675,000-875,000). At over one hundred years old, the 40/50 H.P. Silver Ghost chassis is regarded by many as the model that earned Rolls-Royce the sobriquet “the best car in the world”. Incredibly well travelled, it has been enjoyed by previous owners residing in France, Brussels, Cairo, London and California. Today, 54PB presents beautifully with lovely patina and a high degree of originality.

Also offered is an outstanding 1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Open Tourer – estimate 2,000,000-2,600,000 DKK (£175,000-250,000). The Phantom was once owned by famous Suffragette, Katharine McCormick. An American philanthropist, Mrs. McCormick is renowned for single-handedly financing the development of the birth control pill.
Reputedly the last model that Henry Royce designed himself, the Phantom II was announced in September 1929 with deliveries commencing immediately. Unlike its predecessor, which inherited its underpinnings from the preceding 40/50HP Silver Ghost model, the Phantom II employed an entirely new chassis laid out along the lines of that of the smaller 20HP Rolls-Royce. Built in two wheelbase lengths, this new low-slung frame enabled coachbuilders to design a sleeker, more modern body for the car.
Rolls-Royce motor cars offered in Bonhams sale include:
  • The ex-Robert Barrymore, 1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50 Silver Ghost Skiff – estimate 7,200,000-9,200,000 DKK (£675,000-875,000)
  • The ex-Richard Solove,1910 Rolls-Royce 40/50 Silver Ghost ‘Balloon Car’ – estimate 4,600,000-6,200,000 DKK (£425,000-575,000)
  • The ex-Peta Fisher – Blue Train challenging,1933 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Owen Sedanca Coupe – estimate 5,600,000-7,200,000 DKK (£510,000-660,000)
  • 1912 Rolls-Royce 40/50 Silver Ghost Cabriolet – estimate 4,200,000-5,600,000 DKK (£390,000-520,000)
  • The ex-Maharaja of Patiala and Richard J. Solove 1913 Rolls-Royce 40/50 Silver Ghost Tourer – estimate 4,200,000-5,600,000 DKK (£390,000-500,000)
  • The ex-Hedy Lamarr and Fritz Mandl,1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Drophead Coupe – Estimate 4,000,000-5,200,000 DKK (£370,000-490,000)
  • Ex-John Fasal,1911 Rolls-Royce 40/50 ‘Roi-Des-Belges’ – estimate 3,500,000-5,000,000 DKK (£320,000-470,000)
  • The unique Pietro Frua,1973 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI Cabriolet – estimate 2,000,000-2,600,000 DKK (£180,000-240,000)
  • 1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Playboy Roadster – estimate 2,000,000-2,600,000 DKK (£185,000-235,000)
  • The ex-Katharine Dexter McCormick, 1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Open Tourer – estimate 2,000,000-2,600,000 DKK (£175,000-250,000)
  • 1934 Rolls-Royce 20/25 Owen Sedanca Coupe – estimate 1,000,000-1,300,000 DKK (£90,000-125,000)
  • 1927 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Town Car – estimate 950,000-1,250,000 DKK (£85,000-115,000)
  • The ex-McElroy,1927 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Tourer – estimate 700,000- 900,000 DKK (£60,000-85,000)
The Frederiksen Collection sale will take place at Lyngsbækgaard Manor, in Mols Bjerge National Park, Denmark, on Saturday 26 September 2015.
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Bonhams announce exceptional motor car Auction for historic single-owner sale

Bonhams is delighted to announce the single-owner sale, the Frederiksen Collection. Based in Denmark, the collection consists of 48 rare and iconic motor cars, all offered at an auction taking place at the home of owner, Danish gentleman, Mr. Henrik Frederiksen.

The sale features predominantly pre-war motor cars, built by some of the worlds most exclusive manufacturers, including Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Mercedes-Benz, Lagonda and Maybach.

“Mr. Frederiksen has spent several decades building this outstanding collection, so it’s a great privilege for Bonhams to have the opportunity to offer these incredibly rare and meticulously maintained motor cars,” said Jakob Greisen, head of Bonhams US Motoring Department. “It’s certainly one of Europe’s most important motoring collections, with several of these outstanding vehicles having received internationally recognized awards at Pebble Beach and Villa d’Este.”

Housed on the grounds of Lyngsbækgaard, a 16th century manor house built for Danish Royalty, the collection offers access to a personal museum of motor cars from pivotal points in early motoring history.  “I think cars are a kind of art,” said Mr. Frederiksen. “I think they’re beautiful. I’ve always bought with the heart and not with the brain, I go with what I like, so no ‘one’ is my favourite.

“Also, I’ve never sold a car before, so this is a first for me. I’ve used the ex-J.D. Rockefeller Bentley and the Cadillac the most, so I’ll be sad to see them go. I’ve been in the motoring world for a long time now, but it’s time for that door to close and a new one to open. I like the way Bonhams do things, so it was easy to make that choice.”

The Collection:

“Rarely does one see a single-owner collection that showcases such a broad variety of important brands, and yet still keeps to such a clear, historic theme where manufacturers pursue motoring perfection. It’s truly remarkable,” said Bonhams co-chairman, Malcolm Barber.

Spanning the best of British, European and American motoring, the collection features some 13 Rolls-Royce, three Mercedes-Benz, three Cadillac’s and two Bentleys, in addition to offerings from Lagonda, Duesenberg, Jaguar, Horch, Chrysler, Renault, Citroën, Isotta Fraschini, Ahrens-Fox, Lincoln, Stutz, Packard, Auburn, Pierce Arrow and Alvis. 

From a 1905 Woods Electric Queen Victoria Brougham, to a 1974 Citroën DS 23 Pallas, the collection provides a fascinating look at the evolution of motoring, including vehicles of considerable rarity, such as Pebble Beach Concours winner, the 1939 Lagonda LG6 Rapide Drophead.

The Frederiksen Collection sale will take place at Lyngsbækgaard Manor, in Mols Bjerge national park, Denmark, on Saturday 26 September 2015.

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Bonhams over the alpine peaks: 1929 Brough Superior SS100 986cc Alpine Gran Sport

Pensata per le mitiche vette Alpine, la Brough Superior SS100 986cc Alpine Gran Sport del ’29 si prepara a battere un nuovo record: il primato di vendita all’asta di Bonhams a Bond Street il 30 novembre prossimo. Stimata a £ 270,000-320,000, la Grand Sport è una delle due moto protagoniste della prossima asta.

La Alpine Trial era una gara di durata, sarebbe meglio dire di resistenza, organizzata a partire dal 1910. Si svolgeva tra le vette di Austria, Slovenia, Croazia e toccava il famigerato Passo dello Stelvio. Metteva a dura prova piloti e motori, a due e quattro ruote. George Brough, fondatore del marchio, ha preso parte alla prova del 1925 su una SS100, vincendo sei trofei. Il design della Brough Superior Alpine Gran Sport ha preso ispirazione dai successi del suo fondatore. La moto è stata messa sul mercato nel 1925 per la stagione 1926 con un rapporto di compressione più basso (più adatto per il turismo) e un paio di borse per gli attrezzi di serie. Perfetto allestimento per “tuonare” attraverso le Alpi.

Ben Walker, direttore del dipartimento per le moto ha detto: “La Brough Superior è un marchio leggendario nel mondo delle due ruote conosciuto da tutti come la Rolls-Royce delle moto, soprannome ben guadagnato per l’altissima qualità e l’eccellenza tecnica dei suoi modelli. Un primato ancora evidente a quasi 100 anni dalla fondazione. In 21 anni di produzione, dal 1919 al 1940 sono stati prodotti più di tremila motocicli ed un terzo sono ancora esistenti, a dimostrazione della grande passione con cui questi esemplari sono stati pensati e costruiti.

Eccesso di velocità anche in vendita: Vincent 998cc Serie C Black Shadow, 1950. Con una velocità massima di 125 miglia all’ora, la Black Shadow era la più veloce moto di serie del suo tempo. E’ questa performance senza pari che l’ha resa un’icona degli anni 1950 e uno dei più ambiti esemplari di oggi. Nel mezzo secolo trascorso da quando è cessata la sua produzione, la stima di questa iconica moto è solo aumentata come ad esempio quella offerta da Bonhams pari a £ 70,000-90,000.

Questa coppia di moto leggendarie sarà in mostra da Bonhams in anteprima presso il 101 di New Bond Street il 30 e 31 ottobre prossimi e prenderanno parte anche al 30° anniversario del Museo Nazionale del Motociclo Sabato 1 Novembre . La vendita si svolge a Londra presso la sede Bonhams di Bond Street il 30 novembre 2014.

Designed with the legendary peaks of the Alpine Trial in mind, a 1929 Brough Superior 986cc SS100 Alpine Grand Sports is gearing up for Bonhams 30th November Bond Street Sale. Estimated at £270,000-320,000, the Alpine Grand Sports is one of two exciting motorcycles set to feature in the upcoming auction. The Brough’s namesake, the Alpine Trial, was a famously grueling reliability run started in 1910. Taking in vast mountain peaks, chilling temperatures, and the twists and turns of Austria, Croatia, Slovenia and the infamous Stelvio Pass, it was a great test of endurance and skill – and not just for four-wheels alone.

George Brough – founder of the motorcycle marque – undertook the Trial in 1925 on an SS100, resulting in the award of six cups, including one for ‘Best Performance’. The design of the Brough Superior Alpine Grand Sports took inspiration from its founder’s achievement, and was introduced to the market in 1925 for the 1926 season with a lower compression ratio (making it suitable for touring), a small fly-screen and a pair of tool boxes as standard – perfect for thundering through the Alps.

Ben Walker, Director for Bonhams Motorcycle Department said: “Brough Superior is a legendary marque in the motorcycle world. Coined the ‘Rolls-Royce’ of motorcycles, their distinguished status is well earned, with Brough products of the highest quality and engineering excellence, admired by all and highly sought-after – almost 100 years after the Haydn Road Works first opened their doors.

“The most charismatic of the marque’s stable is unquestionably the SS100 and we are delighted  to be offering the model in its ultimate guise, a Vintage example in Alpine Grand Sports specification, boasting matching registration, frame and engine numbers – designed to honour the legendary Alpine Trial – the most arduous motoring test of its time.” Also speeding into the sale, the 1950 Vincent 998cc Series C Black Shadow.

With a top speed of 125mph, the incredibly swift Black Shadow was faster than any vehicle of the time. It’s this peerless performance that made it an icon of the 1950s and one of the most desirable of all machines today. In the half-century since production ceased the esteem in which this iconic motorcycle is held has only increased, fuelling the demand among discerning collectors for fine examples of the marque, such as that offered at Bonhams sale, which retains matching registration, frame and engine numbers, carrying an estimate of £70,000-90,000.

The duo of legendary motorcycles will be on display at Bonhams London to Brighton Run sale preview held at 101 New Bond Street this week (30th – 31st October), and will also take part in the National Motorcycle Museum’s 30th Anniversary celebrations this Saturday, 1st November.Bonhams Bond Street Sale takes place at Bonhams London headquarters on 30th November 2014.