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Geared for the Automotive Life

Pilot’s AC Sportscar is Top Lot at Bonhams’ Scottsdale Sale

A 1958 AC Ace Roadster, first owned by a USAF pilot who brought it from France to the USA, was the top lot at Bonhams in Scottsdale, soaring above its top estimate of $375,000 to a final sale price $516,500. 

The auction, which concluded on January 27, had an impressive sell-through rate of 96% and a final total of $11.3m.

Offered from a prominent US-based collection of show winners, the impeccably restored Ace, which had retained its original aluminum bodywork and matching numbers engine, had itself won many trophies at major Concours d’Elegance.

In its slipstream was a very special barn find Mercedes-Benz, likely one of the last unrestored 300S Roadsters, of which only 141 were produced. This largely original motorcar had spent many decades of its later life off the road and was offered as a restoration project. It sold for $472,500.

Image: Bonhams

Nine of the top ten-selling collector motorcars at the Bonhams sale had crossed the Atlantic, representing the greatest European and British automotive names.

Two particularly strong performers were more contemporary classics: a 1997 Porsche 911 ‘Type 993’ Turbo S Coupé, which had covered just 14,000 miles since new, achieved $467,000, far exceeding its top estimate.

The other, an even lower mileage 1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary, which had driven fewer than 11,000kms, also accelerated past its estimate, achieving $445,000.

Alongside them, a 1949 Buick Roadmaster Convertible used in the 1988 multi-award-winning road drama motion picture “Rain Man” was offered direct from the ownership of Dustin Hoffman. The best supporting car of the Bonhams Scottsdale Auction sold for $335,000 to a telephone bidder, setting a new world record for a Roadmaster convertible, following spirited bidding against rivals online and in the Arizona saleroom.

“We are so pleased to have started the year on such a high note, with a near perfect sell-through rate and strong prizes realized across the board,” said Jakob Greisen, Bonhams Vice President and Head of U.S. Motoring.  “Bidders attended from all over the world, both in person, over phone, or online via the Bonhams app.”

The eleventh edition of the Bonhams auction presented 90 collectors’ automobiles, spanning all eras. 

Other highlights of the sale include:

A 1962 Aston Martin DB4 Series II Sports Saloon, Coachwork by Touring, sold for above estimate for $381,750. This left-hand drive example, with original, matching numbers engine, was delivered new to Los Angeles socialite William Winans and remained in California for more than 40 years.

A 1961 Porsche 356B 1600 Super T5 Cabriolet, sold for $226,240. A highly collectible matching-numbers example of the classic 356 Cabriolet in the desirable Reutter T5 body style, also been subject of a Concours d’Elegance winning restoration.

A 1995 Ferrari F355 Spider, sold for $224,000. With its odometer reading less than 900 miles from new, this 6-speed manual F355 Spider must be among the lowest mileage examples left of the Pininfarina-designed convertible.

Bonhams Motoring’s next sale takes place in Paris on February 3, at the Grand Palais Ephémère set against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower.

See the complete Scottsdale results here.