July 23, 2024

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Five to Watch at Bonhams’ Gstaad Sale

Image: Courtesy of Bonhams

It has been 14 years since Bonhams last held an auction in Gstaad, Switzerland, but the famous auction house is poised to make a triumphant return. This Sunday, July 3, Bonhams will set up shop at the Gstaad Palace Hotel and send a carefully curated selection of cars across the auction block.

Modern supercars and classic sports cars from across the world are well represented in this auction, but perhaps most intriguing are the unusual lots with ties to Switzerland. Included are two cars built by Swiss manufacturer Monteverdi, as well as some rare vehicles finished with unusual Swiss-built coachwork.

The Gstaad Sale may be Bonhams’ first since 2008, but it is shaping up to be quite a special and eclectic auction.

Here are five lots to watch.

Image: Courtesy of Bonhams

Lot 141 – 2010 Lamborghini Reventón Roadster

A large part of the appeal of super and hypercars is their exclusivity. Buyers will pay up to secure a car that few others have. The Lamborghini Reventón Roadster is one of the most exclusive hypercars produced in the new Millennium.

Just 15 were built — cars like this one don’t come up for sale often. This Swiss-delivered example has been cared for by two owners from new and has only travelled 2,410 kilometers in 12 years. The Reventón was most recently serviced in 2019.

The last and only Reventón Roadster to sell in the past five years was this very car. Bonhams sold it back in 2019 at the Bonmont sale, also in Switzerland, for CHF 1,955,000 (or $1,968,501). Since purchasing the car, the consignor has added just 10 kilometers.

It may have been just a few years ago, but the market, and world, has shifted significantly since then. Back then, we had already witnessed a couple years of softening prices and many experts expected that to continue. Three years and a pandemic later, the market is hot, hot, hot. But will that translate to an ultra-exclusive modern hypercar that has been expensive since its inception? We’ll have to wait and see.

Image: Courtesy of Bonhams

Lot 118 – 1956 Alfa Romeo 1900C Super Sprint Barchetta

The 1900 was Alfa’s first new model since resuming production after World War II. Initially intended for volume production, the 1900 attracted attention thanks to the performance of its twin-overhead-camshaft four-cylinder engine. That lead to high-performance variations like the 1900C Sprint and later the Super Sprint, most with either a coupe body by Touring or a cabriolet by Pinin Farina.

The Barchetta offered by Bonhams was finished with a bespoke body by Carrosserie Ghia, Aigle — the Swiss offshoot of the Italian design house. It is thought that about ten Alfa Romeo’s were bodied by Ghia, Aigle. The design of this example was inspired by Riva speedboats — the first owner, a Swiss businessman, had quite a passion for the iconic boats. As such, it has no doors, no trunk and a windshield similar to that of a boat.

Bonhams says the car presents in excellent shape with paint and an interior that is potentially original. The engine and shocks were recently rebuilt meaning this custom Alfa is likely ready for the road.

A car from one of the automotive world’s most revered and storied brands combined with a bespoke Swiss-designed body that is being sold in Switzerland, the stars might have aligned perfectly for consignor of this Alfa.

Image: Courtesy of Bonhams

Lot 132 – 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta

The 365 GTB/4 Daytona is the perfect example of what makes Ferrari so special. It has an elegant, svelte styling while still exuding the feel of power and performance. It is not surprising then that it is a staple in the collector car community.

Despite its popularity, Daytona coupes were not immune to the softening price trend prior to 2020. In late 2017, the average price for a coupe was about $800k. Jump ahead to December 2020 and that number was under $650k and continued falling through a tumultuous 2020 and 2021.

On the bright side, Daytona prices have flattened out and even started to rebound a bit. The car being sold by Bonhams is finished in the classic red over tan leather — though the original paint color was Marrone Metallizzato. Delivered new in Italy, the car was imported to Switzerland in the 1990s and has remained with the consigner since being purchased in 1998. It has had a recent brake service and was fitted with new rear tires. A Massini Report and tool kit accompany the sale.

This nice example finished in the popular red over tan color scheme will provide a further glimpse at the health of the Daytona market as we approach Monterey. There will certainly be multiple examples for sale on the peninsula. Will prices rebound to the levels seen in 2017?

Image: Courtesy of Bonhams

Lot 131 – 1951 Bentley Mark VI Coupe

Another car with Swiss ties being offered by Bonhams in Gstaad is the 1951 Bentely Mark VI coupe with coachwork by Graber.

The four-seat coupe is one of three built by Graber of Wichtrach, Switzerland on the Bentley Mk VI chassis. Today, just two examples remain. As with all Mk VI Bentleys, the coupe is powered by an inline six-cylinder engine breathing through twin SU carburetors, mated to a four-speed manual transmission. Though more commonly seen in pre-war cars, this right-hand-drive Bentley is a bit of a throwback with right-hand shifting.

The consignor has owned the Bentley for fourteen years and has restored it in that time. Work has included an engine overhaul, restoration of the bodywork, retrimming the leather interior and refinishing the woodwork.

Bentley’s R-type Continental coupes of the same period often sell for around $1m, making this Graber coupe seem like quite a bargain. Being sold in Switzerland with Swiss bodywork, Gstaad seems like the perfect venue for this oddball. And it dovetails nicely as Graber is a featured class at the 2022 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, possibly bringing some additional attention to cars from the design house.

Image: Courtesy of Bonhams

Lot 149 — Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe

Porsche’s 993 generation 911 is a favorite among Porsche loyalists of all ages. It was the last of the air-cooled 911s and to some, it was the final iteration to contain the essence of the original 911. Few 993 911s are more coveted that the Turbo, like the one Bonhams is offering without reserve in Gstaad.

Originally delivered new in Saudi Arabia, this 911 Turbo was specified with many Exclusive Department options. They include the purple-hued exterior paint, the Light Rootwood interior, leather trimmed instrument binnacle and sun visors, and custom shift knob. The unique example has covered 26,151 kilometers.

The Bonhams catalog states the car has been stored for some time and will need maintenance before being returned to the road. That might explain the pre-auction estimate of CHF 70k to 90k (about $74k to $95k).

Should this no-reserve Turbo sell in that range or perhaps below, it would be a great deal for the buyer even with the expense of making it road-ready. The average 993 Turbo price was near $170k at the beginning of this year and has only increased. It is currently closer to $190k.

This Turbo could end up being a solid choice for Porschephiles out there, as long as they don’t mind purple.

Learn more about the Gstaad Sale and view the available lots here.