In its fourth consecutive year, Bonhams returned with a small sale at the Zoute Grand Prix, a major event in the luxury coastal town Knokke in Belgium. Accompanied by a world-class-level Concours d’Elegance and a GT Tour, the Bonhams sale earned its place in the equation. With 11 lots out of 30 being Porsches, the Stuttgart brand showed its seemingly everlasting popular dominance on the market, especially since all found new homes with solid pricing.
The star of the sale, the 1955 Porsche 356 “Pre-A” 1600 speedster, was also the highest lot sold at €586,500 (US $655,989), including commission. This car was recently perfectly restored, and before you say, “hang on... a Pre-A doesn’t exist with a 1600 engine; they are all 1500’s...” Well, just a small handful of the last Pre-A’s did receive the first 1600 engines, making this one of the rarest Pre-A’s out there. Combined with fully documented history, and having spent its entire life in Belgium, makes this still a very high price compared to a “normal” speedster. A solid sell, indeed!
The second highest sale didn’t even compare. Naturally achieved by another Porsche, barely driven limited production model 2016 Porsche 911 R Type 991 Coupe, was presented at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. With owners still waiting or just about getting their Porsche delivered, this one headed straight for the auction block. With 991 cars built and a sales price of nearly €200,000 (US $223,696), it was already astonishing to get an estimate of €250,000-€350,000 (US $279,620-$391,468). Yet, everybody in the fully packed room was blown away when the gavel came down on a grand total of €483,000 (US $540,226)!
One of my personal favorites was a very rare 1963 APAL-Porsche 1600 GT coupe. There’s a good chance you might have never heard of APAL, since it’s a small Belgian brand where fiberglass sports cars are made on VW bug chassis. The rarest version was Porsche-powered, of which only 30 were constructed. Being offered from its second owner in original condition, this car looks and sits just right. At an affordable price of €63,250 (US $70,744), it is a rare find and fun car.
Another car that most people might have just walked past was the 1987 Porsche 928 “Prototype” Club Sport coupe. On the outside it just looks like any other normal 928, but this is one of five prototypes built that were given to Porsche’s Group C factory drivers as company cars: Bob Wollek, Hans-Joachim Stuck, Jochen Mass, Derek Bell and Jacky Ickx. This was Derek Bell’s car, and one of three that should still be around. With nearly 200 kg dead weight shed, a tuned engine and a manual gearbox makes this now the most expensive 928, sold for €253,000 (US $282,975), compared to a 928 GTS that Bonhams sold earlier in the year for €118,000 (US $131,981).
In the end, only two lots failed to meet their reserve. A 2003 Ferrari 575M Maranello coupe with a manual gearbox and a lot estimate of €180,000 (US $201,326) seems a realistic price, but perhaps a bit surprising considering Ferrari tends to be a brand that does well on the market. The final car, which also was the most expensive estimate of the entire sale, failed to meet its reserve. The 1966 Lamborghini 350 GT coupe (€600,000-€800,000; US $671,088-$894,784) remains a gorgeous car, but also an expensive one to restore and maintain. This one clearly showed it needed some work, which is probably the reason it failed to find a new home.
Up next for Bonhams is its London to Brighton Run Sale, Veteran Motorcars and Related Automobilia auction on Nov. 4 in London.
Photos courtesy of Dirk de Jager.