Barn-finds fly at biggest-ever Beaulieu sale

| 12 Sep 2011

The seemingly never-ending barn-find fever helped push the takings for Bonhams’ largest-ever Beaulieu sale to a massive £2.49m, during the mammoth Beaulieu International Autojumble over the second weekend of September.

A complete, but in need of restoration, 1937 Bugatti Type 57 (estimate £40-50,000) and a 1966 Wolseley Hornet MkII Heinz Convertible (£2-3000) both smashed their estimates to sell for a whopping £165,500 and £13,800 respectively at the 10 September sale.The Bugatti garnered so much interest that Bonhams had to juggle six absentee bids, along with 10 potential buyers on the phone and 12 bidders in the room.

Also boosting the sale total was the interest on yet another barn-find: the derelict (but complete) remains of a one-family-owned 1913 Isotta Fraschini that had been expected to sell for £20-30,000, but crossed the block for £78,500.

Another rare – but decidedly more obscure – car commanding huge attention was a 1926 OM Type 665S Tourer that had been entered with the same guide price as the Bugatti, but which romped home at a spectacular £106,000, after a duel between Swiss and Italian phone bidders.

The sale’s 135-strong lot list boasted the contents of three private collections, including 13 Veteran and Edwardian cars from the Meldonfoot stash.

Largely a tribute to the pioneering efforts of Henry Ford, the group included a 1910 Ford Model T that sold for £26,000, while a star result was the £62,000 paid for a 1904 Cadillac Model B.

Standouts from the 10-strong Willow collection included the Heinz Wolsleley (one of 57 Heinz promotional cars) and a c1960 Triumph TR3A that made £10,580, in spite of its ripe-for-restoration condition and lowly £4500-5500 guide price.

Even more in need of restoration was a 1955 Jaguar XK140 Coupé that had been expected to go under the hammer for around £6-9000, but which found a new owner for £14,950.

The Robert Harley run of nine lots featured two unusual performance Bentleys: his well-known 1932 Bentley 4¼-litre Special Competition and a 1997 Bentley Turbo RT Mulliner Sports Saloon.

The Special made a healthy £78,500 against a £55-65,000 estimate and the Mulliner – one of 17 left-hand drives out of the 55 built – made £23,750 against its £17-20,000 guide.

The interest in pre-war cars extended to a 1925 Bentley 3 Litre Shooting Brake that had been in the same hands for the last 50 years and which bust its £100,000 top estimate by a massive £24,000.

All in, 124 cars crossed the block, which equates to a mighty 93% sale rate. See: Bonhams Beaulieu sale for more.