Barn-find Bug busts estimate

| 27 Sep 2011

A Bugatti Type 57 that had been in the same hands for 50 years, and which had been off the road for the past three decades, wowed bidders when it doubled its pre-sale estimate at Bonhams’ Fairfield County Concours d’Elegance sale over 17-18 September.

The 1938 Type 57 Ventoux Coupé sold for a whopping $337,000 at the annual Connecticut auction, after more than a dozen international phone bidders went up against several potential buyers on the saleroom floor.

The car had been expected to make $150-200,000 and eventually sold to a local, Westport-based enthusiast who attended the auction.

Interest in the car was fuelled by the sale house’s efforts to get the Bugatti running, said Bonhams auctioneer Rupert Banner: “From start to finish this was an interesting assignment. Over the past few weeks the Bugatti was recommissioned by Bonhams, was then shown on the concours field, and was actually driven across the block.”

Banner added: “The car was well chosen when purchased nearly 50 years ago, and its price is a tribute to the choice of a passionate engineer.”

But the money taken for the Art Deco beauty wasn’t enough to make it the sale’s top result: that accolade went to a 1967 Aston Martin DB6 Vantage, which topped out at $348,000.

Also impressive was the $49,140 taken for a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 170V Cabriolet A, some five times over its pre-sale prediction.

Other standouts included a 1969 Ferrari 365GT 2+2, which went under the hammer for $104,130, and a 1959 Abarth 750SS ‘Double Bubble’ Coupé that sold for $94,185 to a bidder in the tent, along with a 1964 Mercedes-Benz 600 (one of 487 Pullman models made, below) that made $58,500 and a remarkable, two-owner 1899 Locomobile Style 2 Stanhope that was knocked down for $49,140.

A pair of Jaguar barn-finds sold well, too: a 33,000-miles-from-new
1958  XK150 (below) and a 1963  E-type Roadster from the
same British collection made $50,310 and $49,140.

The results helped boost sale takings to $2.1m, with 75% of the 62 lots finding new homes.

See Bonhams’ Fairfield County Concours d’Elegance sale for more.