Bonhams’ €13.6m Monaco sale saw a pair of significant race-winning Ayrton Senna Formula 1 cars head under the hammer – including the 1993 McLaren-Cosworth Ford MP4/8A.
Bonhams’ glamorous 2018 Monaco auction took place at the beginning of the Monaco Historic Grand Prix weekend on 11 May, and ended with sales totalling €13.6million. Without doubt the 1993 McLaren-Cosworth Ford MP4/8A stole the show, and as the very car driven to victory in Monte Carlo by Ayrton Senna, attracted a huge amount of interest. It sold for €4,197,500.
What makes it so special?
The 1993 season didn’t turn out brilliantly for either McLaren or Ayrton Senna, who eventually took second place in the championship behind the increasingly dominant Williams-Renault FW15C of Alain Prost. It was however to be Senna’s final season behind the wheel of a McLaren, and it gave fans some legendary and highly-memorable races.
Although the MP4/8A was extremely advanced – featuring fully active suspension traction control and a semi-automatic transmission – it was hampered by a less-than-ideal customer Ford V8 engine. Honda, McLaren’s Previous engine partner, had pulled out of the sport, while the more powerful V10 Renault engine was reserved for Williams.
Despite the serious power deficiency, Senna managed to win five of 1993’s Championship races, including his sixth and final Monaco victory. Chassis 6 was also raced at the Canadian, French, British, German, Belgian and Italian Grand Prix. It wasn’t the car in which Senna won at the legendary European GP at Donington however.
This wasn’t the only Senna car offered in the sale. Bonhams also sold the 1984 Toleman-Hart TG184 for well over estimate at €1,610,000. This was Senna’s first F1 car, and the machine in which he first took battle to Alain Prost at Monaco in 1984.
The surprise of the auction has to go to the 1955 Jaguar XK120 SE Michelotti Coupe, which sold for €365,500 against a €20,000-€50,000 estimate. Offered in ‘barn find’ condition, it is the only one of its kind. Unearthed in a rural part of Belgium just a month ago, proceeds from the sale of the project went to an animal welfare charity in Ghent.
The ex-Ronnie Peterson Formula 3 Tecno made €92,000. Peterson raced the Tecno in the Formula 3 Supporting Race in the 1969 Monaco Grand Prix – the race that catapulted the unknown Scandinavian driver into the higher echelons of motor racing. This was followed by the sale of a unique TAG Heuer re-edition of the watch presented to the ‘SuperSwede’ by Jack Heuer in 1972. This actually exceeded the price paid for the car, with all of the €97,750 going towards the Ronnie Peterson Memorial Foundation, a charity that supports emerging young racing drivers in Ronnie’s native Sweden.
Philip Kantor, Bonhams European Head of Motoring, commented: ‘This sale has been an absolute triumph. We achieved astonishing prices across the board and found new owners for some of the most historically important cars to come to public auction in Monaco in recent memory.’
‘A Monaco sale is always a unique experience, but this has truly exceeded expectations – impressive results were achieved in the breathtaking setting of Villa La Vigie, arguably the most beautiful location of any auction across the globe.’