Sennasational! F1 cars top Bonhams Monaco auction

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Ayrton Senna won at Monaco, and his car won again Friday | Bonhams auction photos

Ayrton Senna’s legacy was felt, and very strongly in Monaco on Friday when two cars he’d driven — his first and last in races on the Monte Carlo street circuit –  topped all sales at Bonhams’ Les Grandes Marques du Monde a Monaco auction, held during the Monaco Historic racing weekend.

Overall, the auction post total sales of €13.6 million (nearly $16.27 million) on the sale of 52 lots, 10 of those lots comprising automobilia.

In the hands of a master

Topping the auction was the Ford Cosworth-powered 1993 McLaren MP4/8A that Senna drove to his sixth and final Monaco race victory. The car, fully functional with matching-number chassis, engine and gearbox from that Monaco victory, sold for slightly more than $5 million (prices reported include buyer’s fee).

Not long after the McLaren was hammered sold, bidding took place on the first car Senna drove at Monaco, a 1984 Toleman-Hart TG184. The car sparked the rivalry between Senna and his future teammate Alain Prost and bidding was intense and didn’t end until the racer with an estimated value of 

€750,000 to €1 million sold for more than $1.92 million.

Barn-found Michelotti coupe

While the bidding on the Toleman was heated, the most furious (Bonhams’ words) battle was over a 1955 Jaguar XK140 SE Michelotti coupe found just a month ago in a barn in rural Belgium. The car, powered by a C-type engine and previously owned by the president of the French Jaguar Drivers Club, was a true project in need of restoration and was expected to sell for €20,000 to €50,000, proceeds from the sale benefiting an animal welfare charity in Ghent, Belgium.

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But the bidding was indeed furious and the car sold for a whopping €365,500 ($425,447).

Among other highlights were the sale of a Formula 3 Tecno racer formerly driven by Ronnie Peterson that sold for €92,000 ($110,000) and a TAG Heuer re-edition of a watch presented to Peterson in 1972 by Jack Heuer. The reproduction version sold for €97,750 (nearly $117,000), with that money going to the Ronnie Peterson Memorial Foundation which supports young racing drivers in Peterson’s native Sweden.

Top 10 sales, Bonhams Monaco auction 2018

  1. 1993 McLaren-Cosworth Ford MP4/8A F1 racer, $5,009,296
  2. 1984 Toleman-Hart TG184 F1 racer, $1,921,374
  3. 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster, $1,454,754
  4. 1931 Bentley 8-litre Tourer, $885,105
  5. 1993 Bugatti EB110 GT coupe, $720,515
  6. 1973 Porsche 911 2.7 Carrera RS (touring, sunroof), $686,205
  7. 1953 Alfa Romeo 1900 Corto Gara Stradale coupe, $494,067
  8. 1939 Horch 853A sportcabriolet, $466,619
  9. 1955 Jaguar XK140 SE Michelotti coupe, $425,447
  10. 1974 Ferrari 365 GT4 Berlinetta boxer, $397,998

(Prices include buyer’s fees.)

Bonhams next collector car auction is The Aston Martin Sale, scheduled for June 2 in England, followed the next day by its Greenwich Concours d’Elegance auction in Connecticut.

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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.

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