SUPERCARS AND STAR CARS
AT BONHAMS MONACO SALE 2022
- Rare Porsche 959 delivered new to royalty
- US-spec Jaguar E-Type from Le Mans film set, said to be gifted by Steve McQueen
- Recreation of the Batmobile from the 1960s Batman television series
A rare Porsche 959 supercar; an iconic Mercedes-Benz 300 SL and a Jaguar E-Type sprinkled with McQueen stardust are just a few of Bonhams’ trump cards when the auction house stages the 30th anniversary edition of its prestigious Monaco Sale: Les Grandes Marques à Monaco on Friday (13 May) during the weekend of the 13th Monaco Historic Grand Prix.
More than 40 collectors’ cars will be offered in this keenly anticipated auction at the Fairmont Monte Carlo, from pre-war Bugattis and Formula One racers to classic convertibles and contemporary supercars, perfect for displaying in Casino Square or cruising along the Corniche.
Leading the Bonhams’ car catwalk is the 1988 Porsche 959, the fastest street-legal production car of its day. With its Le Mans-derived 493bhp 2.5-litre engine, it could reach a top speed of more than 314kmh (195mph). Off-road, the 959 won the gruelling Paris-Dakar Rally in 1986. This more refined Komfort-spec example, offering limousine-level luxury, was delivered new to Middle Eastern royalty, and has covered only 26,000 kms in 34 years. The 959 has an estimate of €1,400,000 – €1,600,000.
A supercar from another era – which would have been a familiar sight in Monaco in arguably the principality’s golden age – is a 1959 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster, estimate €950,000 – €1,200,000. Derived from the famous racing 300SL which dominated 1950s motorsport, winning the Mille Miglia, Le Mans 24 Hours and the Carrera Pan-Americana, the Roadster was one of the fastest convertibles of its time, with a top speed of 219kmh (130mph), and was beloved of the era’s ‘jet set’.
First delivered new to the US and latterly owned by UK and European collectors, this example has recently been recommissioned, including new paintwork in period metallic blue, but retains its original matching numbers engine.
Another motorsport marvel crossing the block in Monaco is truly historic – the first Formula 1 car constructed by its driver to take a Formula 1 chequered flag – that driver being three-times world champion, Jack Brabham, and the car the 1962 Brabham 1 1/2-litre Brabham-Climax BT3 Formula 1 Racing Single Seater (estimate €450,000 – €650,000 – no reserve).
Following his two world championship Formula 1 successes – in 1959, when he also won the Monaco Grand Prix, and 1960 – Australian Sir Jack Brabham returned to his engineering roots to form Motor Racing Developments, in partnership with his talented compatriot Ron Tauranac.
In 1962, the BT3 – the third Tauranac-designed prototype – became the first Formula 1 car to carry the Brabham name. A double F1 race winner with its namesake at the wheel, it was also the first car constructed by its driver to take a Formula 1 chequered flag. The BT3 was the forerunner of the 1966 incarnation in which Sir Jack added his third World Championship title – becoming the first and (still) only driver to win the Formula 1 world championship in a car of his own make.
Other highlights include:
1970 US-spec Jaguar E-Type Series II 4.2 litre Roadster delivered new to the SOLAR Movie Productions set of Le Mans, estimate €250,000 – 350,000, No Reserve. The E-Type is offered direct from the movie’s on-set Swiss chef Fredy Zurbrügg who, according to the 2017 book Our Le Mans, was given the E-Type by the film’s leading actor Steve McQueen.
Zurbrügg, who had a friendly relationship with McQueen on set, creating a special dish – the ‘Steve Steak’ – in his honour, said that the actor asked him to choose from the famous petrolhead’s personal fleet in Le Mans. Zurbrügg selected the E-Type, even though the young chef could not drive at that time.
Having subsequently secured his licence in October 1970, Zurbrügg drove the sportscar back to Switzerland where he has kept it for the past 52 years. The US-spec E-Type is offered in totally original condition, having been used sparingly to cover fewer than 46,000 miles.
Ex-Hugh Hefner 1954 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Deluxe Roadster, estimate €300,000 – 400,000. An ultra-rare, American-inspired, Anglo-Italian sports car, which made its mark in sports car racing in the USA. One of 142 produced, this more expensive Bolide Deluxe model was delivered new to Playboy magazine founder, Hugh Hefner – reportedly, a gift from founder Wacky Arnolt who was friends with Hefner.
1966 Batmobile Recreation Original design by George Barris, estimate €100,00 – 150,000. This faithful recreation of the original Batmobile, as featured in the 1960s television series, is based on a 1959 Lincoln chassis – much like the original cars. Its hand-built body is finished in the classic livery of black with the red highlight lines and Batman symbols on the doors. The open cockpit is decorated with round windshields, a Batphone mounted to the dash and custom steering wheel.
With the backdrop of the 13th Monaco Historic Grand Prix, the Bonhams sale also recognises the principality’s motorsport heritage, offering a 1927 Bugatti Type 35B, estimate €2,000,000 – €3,000,000, a rare example of the car that won the first ever Monaco Grand Prix, as well as a 1929 Bugatti Type 37, estimate €800,000 – 1,000,000 ; a 1962 Brabham 1 1/2-litre Brabham-Climax BT3 Formula 1 Racing Single Seater (estimate €450,000 – €650,000 – no reserve), the first Formula 1 car constructed by its driver, Sir Jack Brabham, to take a Formula 1 chequered flag.
More modern fare includes the ex-Alessandro Zanardi 1999 Williams-Supertec Renault FW21 Formula 1 Racing Single-Seater (€100,000 – €150,000) and the ex-Gerhard Berger 1989 Ferrari Testarossa Coupé, (€140,000 – €150,000).
The Bonhams Monaco Sale, Les Grandes Marques à Monaco, will be staged in the principality as a live auctionon 13 May at 17.00 CEST at the Fairmont Monte-Carlo overlooking the famous hairpin bend of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit, which will host the Monaco Historic Grand Prix over the same weekend.
The Fairmont Hotel, Monte Carlo, Monaco
13 May starting at 14:30 CEST
*The sale preview will be staged at the Fairmont Hotel on Thursday 12 May 10.30 to 18.00 CEST and on Friday 13 May from 09.30 to 17.00 CEST.