Bonhams swept the board at its annual Veterans auction two days before the London to Brighton Run, selling all 14 lots at its art-deco New Bond St Galleries just a stone’s throw from the start line in Hyde Park.
Though Hurricane Sandy had depleted the usual number of Americans attending, European buyers closed ranks to fill the saleroom and only two four-wheelers and a de Dion Bouton tricycle failed to find buyers during the bidding, though post-sale deals were put together in the hours following, for a sale total of £1,614,100. The 1901 trike, presented without tyres, had an engine dating from 1897, though the oldest complete vehicle was the four-cylinder Buffum built in Massachusetts in 1895 that sold for £113,500.
Top of the bill was the imposing though recently rebodied and rebuilt 1904 Delaugere et Clayette Phaeton at £225,500, exceeding the Veteran rule of thumb of £25k per seat and £25k per pot, as did the two-seater 1903 Barre ‘Twin’ at £133,660. Cheapest were the charming Humberette, a single-cylinder veteran (sorry!) of many London-Brighton runs, at £55,200, and the 1900 Renault Type C 31/2hp sold post-sale for £55,000 all in. The 1902 Darraq 61/2hp rear entrance tonneau was typical of the regular Brighton runners in that it wore a modern coil and distributor, and also an electric water pump in the name of getting to Madeira Drive without stoppages. It sold for £59,740 making it the relative bargain of the sale.
The sole surviving Wilson-Pilcher 12/16hp, with fantastic one-family provenance made £203,100, while the oldest Vauxhall known to exist, a 1903 5hp made for the company’s then managing director Percy Kidner, fetched £94,460, though it was some way off being a runner.
Several of the lots were sold with confirmed entries to the 2012 London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, meaning they lined up on the start line from 7am Sunday. Following its November 14 date at Harrogate, Bonhams’ season-closer is its December 3 sale at Mercedes-Benz World, Brooklands.