Supercharged 1931 Bugatti roadster from professor’s estate at Bonhams

Amelia Island auction features 12 cars from ‘fastidious’ physicist’s personal collection

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The Bugatti Type 55 roadster is a rare supercharged example : Bonhams photos

A dozen cars from the estate of a Boston University physics professor with an eye for exceptional design and engineering will be offered by Bonhams during its Amelia Island, Florida, collector car auction on March 5. 

Led by a rare supercharged 1931 Bugatti Type 55 roadster, the Dean S. Edmonds Jr. cars present a diverse selection from “a passionate and fastidious collector of premier automobiles,” Bonhams says in a news release.

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Three of the top cars in the Edmond collection

The Type 55 with Jean Bugatti-designed factory coachwork was sold new to the future Baron Rothschild.  It was acquired by Edmonds in 1985 at auction, setting a world record price for a Bugatti at $440,000.  The roadster was shown by Edmonds at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it won best of class.  It also competed in the Mille Miglia of Italy.  The pre-auction estimated value is $6.5 million to $9.5 million.

The Edmonds collection at Bonhams also includes a 1925 Bugatti Type 44 cabriolet that was once part of the Bill Harrah Collection in Reno, Nevada.

Another legendary pre-war sports car owned by Edmonds is a 1931 Invicta 4½-Liter S-Type Low Chassis Tourer, a rakish convertible renowned for speed and comfort, with Vanden Plas coachwork.  It also was a best-in-class winner at Pebble Beach.  The Invicta has an estimated value of $880,000 to $1 million.

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1931 Invicta 4½-Liter S-Type Low Chassis Tourer

The 1961 Aston Martin DB4 Series 4 GT in the collection is one of only seven surviving factory-specified left-hand-drive coupes with the special GT performance engine, and a great example of the “gentleman’s express” Astons.  Bonhams’ estimated value is $900,000 to $1.1 million.

Four Jaguars at Bonhams are included in the Edmonds group, including a fine 1967 Jaguar XKE 4.2-liter roadster that the professor ordered new from the factory, had shipped to New Jersey, and then drove home to Massachusetts. The E-type remained with him for more than 50 years, and has been driven just over 7,200 miles.

The other three Jaguars are a 1953 Mark VII sedan also acquired when new, a 1952 XK120 roadster and a 1948 Mark IV drophead coupe. 

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1961 Aston Martin DB4 Series 4 GT

Other cars from Edmonds’ estate are a 1982 DeLorean DMC12 gullwing coupe, a custom 1967 VW bus converted to electric power, a 1980 Rolls-Royce Corniche convertible and a 1929/1998 Peterson “Barclay Blower Bentley” replica.

For more information about Bonhams’ Amelia Island sale, held during the week leading up to the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, visit the auction 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.

1 COMMENT

  1. These belonged to a college professor?! Who paid $440k for one in ’85?! How much does this gig pay, anyway?
    No wonder a degree is so *#@! costly.

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