British royalty assembled for Bonhams’ Goodwood auction

The Bentley is a massive motorcar that could cruise at 100 mph | Bonhams photos
The Bentley is a massive motorcar that could cruise at 100 mph | Bonhams photos

The 1931 Bentley 8-Litre Sedanca de Ville is a palace among motorcars, a royal barge powered by a massive 488-cubic-inch inline-6 that could transport its pampered occupants at more than 100 mph despite its heavy formal coachwork.

The Bentley, the sole remaining example of six Sedanca-bodied limousines built that year, will roll majestically across the auction block June 30 during Bonhams’ collector car and automobilia auction held at Goodwood House during the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed in England.

Opulent accommodations in the Bentley Sedanca
Opulent backseat accommodations in the Bentley Sedanca

Eighty-five vintage British, German and Italian vehicles –- plus a Ford Mustang,  a Chevrolet Corvette and a Pontiac GTO –- will be auctioned during the sale, along with a horde of automotive collector items that include mascots, models, toys, picnic hampers, radiator shells, signs and artwork.

The Bentley 8-Litre, with coachwork by H J Mulliner and originally owned by Lord Brougham & Vaux, is richly furnished like a drawing room at the Lord’s estate, with luxurious wood and leather fittings and such appointments as a cocktail cabinet, vanity unit and fold-away occasional seats.

Despite all that, the 8-Litre was the fastest Bentley model built until the 1950s, and was known for traveling over 100 mph in nearly complete silence.

The limo passed through a number of owners, was restored by a U.S. owner in the 1980s, and was fastidiously maintained by a longtime British enthusiast until 2005, when it was sold to its current owner, Bonhams says in its catalog description. Joining a number of other special Bentleys and Rolls-Royce motorcars at the auction, it is valued at £750,000 to £900,000 ($960,000 to $1,200,000).

The Rolls was owned by an Indian 'king of kings'
The Rolls was owned by an Indian ‘king of kings’

Another piece of royalty from an earlier era is the 1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer that was originally owned by His Highness the Maharana (meaning king of kings in Hindi) Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur of Udaipur, India.

After leaving His Highness’s ownership, the Rolls from Rajputana, as it became known, was widely traveled among owners in Pakistan, South Africa and the U.K. It was totally restored to its original Hooper-body configuration four years ago, according to Bonhams, and is said to run as smoothly as it did more than a century ago. The Rolls is valued at £300,000 to £400,000 ($382,000 to $510,000).

Vintage sports cars will be prominently featured at the auction, led by a historic Aston Martin Db MKIII that was a prototype of the production model to first wear Aston’s signature grille.

The '57 Aston prototype was raced at Monte Carlo
The ’57 Aston prototype was raced at Monte Carlo

Notably, the 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 Mark II, Prototype MKIII DP193 was raced by World War II Spitfire pilot and legendary motoring broadcaster Raymond Baxter in the 1958 Monte Carlo Rally, winning the Speed Section in the Monte Carlo harbor.

The unique prototype has been in single ownership for the past 30 years and offered in what Bonhams calls “entirely unspoiled” original condition. It is valued at £300,000 to £500,000 ($382,000 to $637,000).

For information about Bonham’s Goodwood sale, visit the auction website.

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