Gooding & Company’s first collector car auction outside the United States will present a “masterpiece collection” of 16 exceptional British, French and Italian sports, racing and luxury cars during its April 1 sale at historic Somerset House in London.
All of the cars at the auction, which has been dubbed “Passion of a Lifetime,” are from a single and unidentified collector and include significant pre-war and post-war models from Bentley, Bugatti, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce, Lancia and Vauxhall.
“These stunning cars hail from one of the world’s most-revered private collections and represent the culmination of decades of research, dedication, and a meticulous commitment to bring together the most-coveted and valuable examples of European sports and racing automobiles of the 20th century,” according to Gooding’s announcement of the London docket.
The highest valued car of the collection is a 1934 Bugatti Type 59 Sports that was raced in the 1934-35 grand prix season by René Dreyfus, winning the Belgium Grand Prix at Spa. It was then developed by the factory for sports car events, dominating its rivals during the 1937 season while driven by some of the greatest drivers of the era.
The car, serial number 57248, was retired from racing after that and, painted black by the factory, sold in 1938 to King Leopold III of Belgium, earning it the nickname of the King Leopold Bugatti. Gooding estimates its value “in excess of £10 million ($13 million).”
“With royal provenance and exceptional, unrestored condition, 57248 is widely regarded as the most significant and original competition Bugatti,” Gooding said in its news release.
Two other rare and coveted Bugattis will be offered, a beautifully restored 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante, valued in excess of £7 million ($9.1 million), and a 1928 Bugatti Type 35C Grand Prix racer, valued in excess of £3 million ($3.9 million).
Gooding has posted a video showing the three Bugattis in action.
From Aston Martin comes a stunning 1961 DB4 GT with coachwork by Zagato of Milan, Italy, and considered to be one of the most beautiful sports cars of the era. Just 19 DB4 GT Zagatos were built, and this is the only one finished in Peony Red, said Gooding, which estimates its value as between £7 million and £9 million ($9.1 million to $11.77 million).
Other Aston Martins in the collection are a 1955 DB3S competition car valued at £3 million to £4 million ($3.9 million to $5.23 million) and a 1935 Ulster originally owned by Prince Bira and Chula of Siam, fully restored with just one subsequent owner and valued at £1.6 million to £2.2 million ($2 million to $2.88 million).
A postwar classic 1952 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback, at one time the most-expensive car in the world as well as the fastest full four-seater, has an estimated value of £1.5 million to £2 million ($1.96 million to $2.6 million), while a 1939 Bentley 4¼ Liter Vanvooren Cabriolet is valued at £450,000 to £600,000 ($588,000 to $784,000) and a 1927 Bentley 3 Liter Speed Model Sports Tourer, the first car produced by W.O. Bentley, is valued at £350,000 to £450,000 ($458,000 to $588,000).
A pair of terrific Lamborghinis are on the docket, a special-order 1971 Miura P400 SV Speciale valued at £1.6 million to £2 million ($2 million to $2.6 million) and a rare 1965 350 GT valued at £400,000 to £550,000 ($523,000 to $719,000).
The single Rolls-Royce being offered is an early one with a long name, a 1919 40/50 HP Silver Ghost Alpine Eagle Tourer, chassis 24LW, with an estimated value of £1 million to £1.4 million ($1.31 million to $1.83 million).
Lancia, one of the most-innovative Italian brands, is represented by a much-sought-after sports car, a 1955 Aurelia B24S Spider America valued at £700,000 to £900,000 ($915,000 to $1.176 million); a Zagato-bodied 1959 Flaminia 2500 Sport in fine original condition, valued at £400,000 to £500,000 ($523,000 to $654,000); and a 1924 Lancia Lambda 3rd Series Torpédo, a technologically advanced car considered to be Vincenzo Lancia’s greatest masterpiece, valued at £320,000 to £400,000 ($418,000 to $523,000).
An impressive 1924 Vauxhall 30-98 OE-Type with sporty Wensum coachwork and considered to be one of the finest surviving examples of the legendary British brand, is the final entry in the collection. The Vauxhall is valued at £800,000 to £1.2 million ($1.05 million to $1.6 million).
For more information about Gooding’s London sale, and to see photos and details for all the cars, visit the auction website.