With nearly 50 vehicles selling for more than $16 million, the inaugural Bonhams auction at the Mercedes-Benz Museum goes down as a rousing success.
“Today’s sale demonstrated the fantastic diversity and engineering excellence available from the Mercedes-Benz classic motor car range,” said Malcolm Barber, Bonhams co-chairman. “We’re delighted to have placed a marker in the history books, as the first ever auction to be held in the new Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, and Bonhams’ largest Mercedes-Benz sale ever – achieving almost €12 million.”
“We conceived this auction with our friends and partners at Mercedes-Benz, and I’m thrilled with the result,” added James Knight, chief of Bonhams’ motoring division. “We were delighted that the push-through of cars allowed clients to view the classics on offer throughout the sale and created such a visual spectacle for all to enjoy.”
“We were delighted to welcome Bonhams to our home here at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart,” said Michael Bock, head of Mercedes-Benz Classic. “The auction was a great success and attracted a lot of exposure for the Mercedes-Benz brand. We are working with Bonhams to ensure even greater quality can be offered in the future. This partnership can definitely grow.”
When the sale was announced in February, Bonhams and Mercedes-Benz Classic said they had established a “strategic partnership,” with Bock noting, “We regard classic vehicles as a key heritage for society, and valuing authentic plays an important role in this.”
Talks between the automaker and the auction house about a marque-specific sale at the museum apparently got very serious after Bonhams set a world auction record last year when it sold the ex-Fangio 1954 Mercedes W196 Grand Prix racing car for $30.18 million at its Goodwood sale.
When they worked at Christie’s, Knight and Bonhams co-chairman Robert Brooks had staged an all-Mercedes sale as part of the automaker’s centennial celebration. When he was at Sothebys, Barber pioneered a Rolls-Royce and Bentley auction. The team also did an annual all-Ferrari auction and in 2000 launched an annual sale at Aston Martin.
Among the highlights of the Bonhams/Mercedes sale were:
- A 1901 Benz Ideal 7hp twin-cylinder “Contra-Motor” Vis-a-vis sold for more than $641,852, more than four-times its pre-auction estimate;
- As the final car to cross the block, a 1934 Mercedes 500 K special roadster with unique coachwork brought $4.226 million, with the proceeds going to the Swedish Cancer Society and the Swedish Alzheimer’s Foundation charities;
- A 1936 Mercedes 540 K Cabriolet A sold for $3,052,715 million;
- A 1955 300 SL “gullwing” coupe sold for $1.878,594;
- A 1958 300 SL roadster went for $1,252,396
- The ex-Mike Hakkinen 2005 AMG-Mercedes C-Class DTM touring car racer brought $626,198;
- A 1976 Unimog 406 Doppelkabine 4×4 utility vehicle, sold for $112,715;
- A 600 Pullman formerly owned by the Chinese government and used by Gen. Chen Li, a military leader during the Communist revolution and close associate of Chairman Mao, sold for $234,824.
Prices include sales commission.