At Bonhams, Bentleys beckon to British buyers

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1927 Bentley 3-Litre Speed tourer | Bonhams photos
1927 Bentley 3-Litre Speed tourer | Bonhams photos
1927 Bentley 3-Litre Speed tourer | Bonhams photos

With three British-built Bentleys among the top seven sales, Bonhams classic car auction at the RAF Museum in England posted $3.55 million in sales.

Leading the sale in terms of price paid was a 1956 Bentley S-Series Continental sports saloon with coachwork by H.J. Mulliner. The car sold for $426,282 (prices include buyer’s premium).

1956 Bentley S1 Continental goes for $426,282 at Bonhams
1956 Bentley S1 Continental goes for $426,282 at Bonhams

However, the star of the auction was a bright-red, Vanden Plas-bodied 1927 Bentley 3-Litre Speed tourer that sold for $379,197, far beyond its high pre-auction estimate of $252,000.

Unveiled at the 1919 Olympia Motor Exhibition, the W.O. Bentley’s 3-Litre became legendary for its success in racing. Bentley produced 1,600 examples of the car.

Yet another Bentley, a red-and-black 1947 MKVI 4 1/4-litre saloon with coachwork by Freestone & Webb sold for $106,108.

“We are delighted with the results achieved at Hendon, particularly as the top prices achieved were for outstanding vintage Bentleys — a marque for which we hold the record price at auction,” said Tim Schofield, head of Bonhams motor car department.

“We pride ourselves on being the only UK-managed international auction house, so to be able to deliver a result like this for another great British brand is deeply satisfying.”

Other top-dollar sales at the auction included $332,113 for a for a 1966 Aston Martin DB6 Vantage, $153,192 each for a 1989 Porsche 911 Turbo SE “flat nose” convertible and a 2008 Ferrari 612 Sessanta coupe, and $141,892 for a 1987 Lamborghini LM022, the so-called Rambo Lambo 4×4.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.