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Exceeding expectations - Report: Bonhams, Silverstone, 24 July

  • Big Sam at the Bonhams sale - 0
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Bonhams' auction held during the Silverstone Classic was marked by high profile sales that smashed their reserves...

The legendary Datsun 240Z Modsports racer Big Sam – as exclusively track-tested by Mark Hales for Octane last month (issue 86) sold for £78,500 at Bonhams’ auction at the Silverstone Classic on July 24. Predictions before the sale were that the car, campaigned by its creator Spike Anderson’s Samuri Motor Co in 1975 and ’76 and subsequently rebuilt several times since, would either struggle to reach its reserve of around £37,000, against a wide estimate of £40-60,000, or hit a high number and the latter turned out to be true.

After a bidding battle in the room, it was hammered down to a phone buyer at £70,000, the rest being made up of Bonham’s buyer’s premium of 15% on the first £30,000 of the hammer price, and 10% on the rest, with VAT payable on the premium.

Earlier in the sale, auctioneer Sholto Gilbertson had presided over bidding up to a strong £45,000 on the Honda RA106 Formula 1 Land Speed Record-holding Formula 1 car, which set the bar for the flying mile at almost 247mph for both the flying kilometre and mile at Bonneville in 2006 – even more remarkable when you consider that Honda had ordered the removal of its engine and steering wheel before the sale. Against predictions of £10,000-20,000, the total price including premium came to £51,000. 

High sale was a superb Aston Martin DBR2 recreation for £140,100, while a very nice 1963 Fiat Abarth 850TC replica sold to a delighted trader for £10,580, more than £3000 under its bottom estimate. A tidy ’85 ‘WR’ series Audi quattro was £6900, though a Bentley T1 offered at no reserve was let go for just £4370, £1955 less than had been paid for it at Bonhams’ sale of Rolls-Royces and Bentleys at Rockingham Castle only five weeks before. In all, 23 cars sold of 31 offered, for a 74% sale rate.

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