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Mixed fortunes at Bonhams’ last Oxford sale

Some very interesting results at Bonhams' final Oxford sale


On the last visit to its Oxford sale rooms (actually slightly north of Kidlington, next to the hilariously named ‘London Oxford’ airport) before they close, Bonhams had a slightly bumpy ride on auction day. Some interesting cars were on offer and auctioneer Rob Hubbard raised decent prices, but there were a couple of graveyards where several consecutive lots failed to reach their reserves. Several post-sale deals the following day, however, boosted the sale rate to a respectable 72 per cent, the result of 47 lots sold out of the 64 cars and one Lamborghini tractor offered.

After a bumper selection of motorcycles, as this summer sale is timed to coincide with the VMCC’s annual Banbury Run, both the ‘star cars’ sold. The six-cylinder 1910 Hotchkiss 20/30hp, one of two Type X6s remaining, had been rebodied as a Roi-des-Belges tourer in the mid-’90s, and sold for £91,900. The 1934 Talbot AV105 had in the early ’90s been restored as an Alpine racer replica, and fetched £130,300, around a tenth of the price of the real one that Bonhams sold at its New Bond St, London headquarters last November. Similarly, a very good Jaguar SS100 replica that had been built several decades ago, in aluminium and using the correct engine, fetched £51,750, at least £200k cheaper than the real thing. Another creation, a 1921 Oldsmobile Model 37 that had been rebuilt as a speedster looked a snip at £25,875 compared with its £150,000 build cost.

The most imposing lot was a 1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost long-wheelbase that had been bodied as a shooting-brake with camera platforms and later converted into a motor caravan. Like a crumbling old stately pile, it represented a huge project and failed to sell at a top bid of £68,000, but the 1929 20/25 ‘Woodie’ once used by Alfred Moss to tow his son’s Cooper to his first races was here and, in a similarly dilapidated state, sold for £23,000.

A real BMW 2002 rally car with M12 twin-cam motor took the right £119,100, a restored Jensen Interceptor III did quite well to get £43,700. The very rotten 1964 Mini Cooper S sold for £39,100, well over twice its top estimate – but it was a 1071 and almost completely original, having been laid up in 1976. Of the six Belsizes left, Bonhams had two of them, the 1914 van selling for £28,750.

And the Lamborghini? The charming 1960 twin-cylinder diesel 2241R sold in a post-auction deal for £8050.

Words and pictures: Paul Hardiman

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