Led by a pair of Aston Martin DB5 cabriolets, Bonhams enjoyed a record-setting Grand Palais Paris auction Thursday during the annual Retromobile classic car festival.
The $2,165,047 paid for a 1965 DB5 convertible was reported as a world record price for such a car selling at auction. A similar model from 1962 brought $1,390,879 and was the second most-expensive car purchased at the auction. (All prices include buyer’s fees.)
Bonhams said the sales total, which it has yet to announce, was the most ever for a Bonhams motor car auction in continental Europe and that buyers came from the Middle East, Far East, North and South America, and Australasia as well as Europe.
“The Bonhams motoring group has witnessed a tremendous start to 2015,” James Knight, Bonhams Group Motoring director, said in a news release after the conclusion of the sale.
“Our USA division conducted record-breaking auctions at Las Vegas (motorcycles) and Scottsdale (cars), now the European team have delivered their best ever Paris sale.
“The market is in good health,” he added, “and we look forward to the March Sales at Amelia Island in Florida, the Goodwood Members’ Meeting sale in the UK and the annual Mercedes-Benz sale in Stuttgart, Germany.”
The sales-leading DB5 was one of 39 built with left-hand drive and was sold new in Colorado to the son of the Boettcher fortune (hardware, sugar, cement and railroading).
The ’62 version was one of only 21 with left-hand drive, was sold new in France and was consigned to the auction by an owner who had the car since 1980.
Also of particular interest was a 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport raced by Boris Ivanowski, an exiled Russian Imperial guardsman and one of his country’s most famous racers. The Alfa sold for more than $1.35 million.
The fourth-most-expensive car selling at the auction was a 1966 Shelby AC Cobra 289, original sold in England and formerly owned by Amschel Rothschild of the banking family. The consignor bought the car in 1978 and had it converted from right- to left-hand drive by Brian Angliss’s Autokraft team before taking it home to Denmark.
Among other vehicles of note:
A London to Brighton-eligible 1904 Panhard-Levassor sold for $852,897; the shell of Jacque Gerin’s 1922 Gerin Aerodyne saloon prototype, discovered three years ago after a 15-year search, sold for $209,944; a DAP go-kart raced by Ayrton Senna went for $65,607; and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle signed by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI sold for $52,486, those funds benefiting charity.
Top-10 prices, Bonhams Paris sale:
1965 Aston Martin DB5 cabriolet (Lot 345), $2,165,047
1962 Aston Martin DB4 cabriolet (Lot 375), $1,390,879
1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport (Lot 381), $1,351,514
1966 Shelby AC Cobra 289 MK II (Lot 349), $1,069,402
1930 Isotta Fraschini 8A SS cabriolet (Lot 373), $1,062,841
1960 Maserati 3500 GT Spyder (Lot 340), $905,383
1904 Panhard & Levassor 35HP Sport quatre cylindres deux places (Lot 377), $852,897
1990 Ferrari F40 (Lot 363), $836,654
1970 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spider Bachelli et Villa (Lot 330), $741,364
1958 Ferrari 250 GT coupe (Lot 371), $629,832
All prices include buyer’s premium.