Historic but decrepit, Aston Martin scores at Bonhams auction

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The Aston Martin was left out in a garden for decades before being stolen and later recovered by police | Bonhams photos
The Aston Martin was left out in a garden for decades before being stolen and later recovered by police | Bonhams photos

Despite a history of neglect, theft and abandonment, a shabby 1949 Aston Martin DB team car that raced at Le Mans sold Friday at the Bonhams Festival of Speed Sale in England for an impressive £679,100 ($928,941 at the current exchange rate; price includes buyer’s premium).

The Aston race coupe, serial number UMC 65, had been left in a garden for decades before it was stolen in 2002, according to Bonhams. It was recovered by police a decade later and finally returned to its rightful owners, who consigned it to the collector car auction held during the Goodwood vintage-car celebration in West Sussex.

The Bentley painted by Peter Blake was sold for charity
The Bentley painted by Peter Blake was sold for charity

“This ex-works Le Mans Aston Martin is the ultimate ‘barn find’,” James Knight, Bonhams International group motoring director, said in a news release. “Despite its neglected condition, connoisseurs of truly historic racing cars regard it as a truly historic time machine.

“It’s wonderfully original patina, reminiscent of the days when it raced at both Le Mans and in the Spa 24-Hours, explain this special appeal. We are delighted that after such a troubled past, the car has achieved such a wonderful price for the family.”

Bonhams has not yet released full results from Goodwood, although the auction company did point out some other highlights of the sale (all include buyer fees):

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A pop-art Bentley Continental GT painted by renowned artist Peter Blake, and donated by Bentley to the Care2Save Charitable Trust, sold for £250,000 ($342,000).

A 1981 BMW M1 coupe went for £303,900 ($415,700).

A 1938 Jaguar SS-100 3½-Liter roadster soared past its high estimate to achieve £337,500 ($461,666).

A 1972 Ferrari Dino 246 GT Berlinetta sold for £281,500 ($385,000).

A 1996 Porsche 993 911 RS Clubsport coupe also sold for £281,500 ($385,000).

(The British pound to U.S. dollar exchange rate reflects the devaluation of the pound Friday resulting from voter approval of splitting with the European Union.)

Bonhams next collector car auction takes place August 19 at the Quail Lodge in Carmel, California, during Pebble Beach Concours week. For more information, visit the Bonhams website.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.