Bonhams adds Senna’s Toleman-Hart to Monaco docket

Senna's first Monaco car heading back there for auction | Bonhams photos

The weather was miserable at Monaco on the day of the Grand Prix race in 1984, so miserable that it was generally agreed that the two-hour time limit would come before the full 76 laps had been completed.

Despite the conditions, a newcomer driving a Toleman-Hart was chasing down race-leader Alain Prost’s powerful McLaren, cutting the gap to the French star by 3 seconds per lap.

And then, suddenly, race director and former driver Jacky Ickx had seen enough and ordered the red and checkered flags to wave together after only 31 laps. Prost won, but observers figure he only would have held that position for perhaps another couple of laps had the race continued.

“I think we are watching the arrival of Ayron Senna as a truly outstanding talent in Grand Prix racing,” driver-turned-broadcaster James Hunt said.

Hunt was correct, and Bonhams has announced that the 1984 Toleman-Hart TG184 that Senna drove in his first Monaco Grand Prix will be offered for sale at the auction company’s Monaco auction scheduled for May 11 at Vila La Vigie.

Overhead view

The Toleman-Hart TG184 was designed by Rory Byrne and Pat Symonds and had just been unveiled at the recent French Grand Prix. The podium finish at Monaco was the first for both Senna and the car, and they would be back on the podium that season in England and Portugal.

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“The Senna-Prost joust of the late 1980s and early 1990s was one of the greatest sporting rivalries of all time, with two great champions providing F1 fans with some of the most eye-popping and spectacular racing ever witnessed,” Mark Osborne, global head of motorsport for Bonhams, said in the company’s news release.

The cockpit where Senna drove

“The spark that ignited this fierce competition can be traced back… to the 1984 edition of the Monaco Grand Prix, and the politically charged decision to throw out the red flag when it was clear that the young Brazilian was about to ruffle some feathers.

“We are delighted to present the very car — the 1984 Toleman-Hart TG184 — that triggered this great rivalry, and which provided the opening chapter for Ayrton Senna’s remarkable and record-breaking story at the Monaco Grand Prix.”

Bonhams previously announced that the McLaren MP4/8A that Senna drove to victory in Monaco in 1993 would be on the docket for the upcoming auction.

“At the Bonhams Monaco Sale on 11 May, two successful bidders will be able to take home these legendary racing cars, tangible memories of one of the most exciting periods in F1 history,” the company said in its most recent news release.

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, 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.


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