Bonhams says cars rolling from auction block to Brighton rally

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1904 Renault is top-seller at Bonhams' London to Brighton auction | Bonhams photos
1904 Renault is top-seller at Bonhams' London to Brighton auction | Bonhams photos
1904 Renault is top-seller at Bonhams’ London to Brighton auction | Bonhams photos

Bonhams’ 13th annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run auction generated $1.5 million in sales Friday. Ninety percent of the lots sold, topped by a 1904 Renault Model U, Type 14/20HP, four-cylinder swing-seat tonneau going to a European bidder for £272,540 ($340,429).

Prices reported for the sale, held at Bonhams New Bond Street facility, include buyer’s premium.

“Historic, long-term ownership, London to Brighton eligible veteran motor cars were predominant,” Malcolm Barber, Bonhams co-chairman, said in a news release. “We look forward to seeing several of the cars sold here this evening starting at Hyde Park on Sunday morning under (their) new ownership.”

Bonhams is the title sponsor of the annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, staged each November on the anniversary of the first “Emancipation Run,” held to celebrate the passage of the Locomotives on the Highway Act. The legislation raised the speed limit on British roads from 4 mph to 14 mph and abolished the need for vehicles to be precedes by a man carrying a red flag.

The Royal Automobile Club launched the renewal of the run in 1930. The event is open to three- and four-wheeled motor vehicles produced before 1905.

The top-selling Renault at the Bonhams auction was one of only four such cars produced and was owned by the same French family from the 1920s until it was purchased in the 1980s by a member of the UK’s Veteran Car Club.

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Vehicles start the London to Brighton drive based on their age. Therefore, starting fourth Sunday will be a 1897 Daimler 4HP with twin-cylinder Rougemont Wagonette that sold at the auction Friday for £236,700 ($295,661).

New owner plans to run 1904 Aster in the rally Sunday
New owner plans to run 1904 Aster in the rally Sunday

Other featured sales included a 1904 Aster 16/20HP, four-cylinder, four-seat rear-entrance tonneau for £210,940 ($264,683). Extensively rallied, it was sold with its 1904 Yorkshire registration records and the new owner plans to put it on the road Sunday in the 2016 London to Brighton run.

A 1901 Decauville 8 1/2HP, twin-cylinder, four-seat rear-entrance tonneau sold for £149,340 ($186,540), and a 1903 Renault Type N-C 10HP, two-cylinder Wagonette brought £124,700 ($155,762).

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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.