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Here's How Bonhams' Goodwood Revival Sale Set 11 (But Sort of 13) World Records

Bonhams' Goodwood Revival sale concluded this weekend. While the two stars of the show - the 1973 Porsche RSR Works car and the 1943 Spitfire both failed to find homes - were there any positives to take?
Bonhams Goodwood Revival Sale 2023 | Source: Goodwood
Bonhams Goodwood Revival Sale 2023 | Source: Goodwood

These are our 5 takeaways from the Bonhams sale this weekend:

1 - The gulf remains between buyers and sellers

The key theme coming out of the results from the biggest classic car auctions of the year in Monterey last month was the delta between buyers and sellers. Guess what, that's still the story from Bonhams' Goodwood Revival sale.

Analysing all of the 103 cars that were offered on the day, saw the delta between the mid-point of the estimate (e.g. a £100,000 - £150,000 estimate, would have a mid-point of £125,000) to the sales price (inc. commission where the car sold), saw that the sales price was 18% below the estimate mid-point on average, and 17% below it in the median case.

For fullness, Monterey saw prices 18% below on average too but only 12% below in the median case.

Essentially, both auctions point to a similar story of a near 15% delta between buyers and sellers.

2 - Sell-through rate was actually respectable given the level of no reserve

Of the 103 cars that came to auction 67 sold, 36 remained unsold at the point of us compiling this analysis.

That gives Bonhams a sell-through rate of 65%. On the surface that's poor, it's below Monterey (69%), and it's below the average sell-through rate we've seen this year. But we need to dig deeper.

The sell-through rate is often flattered by no reserve cars - we've seen that a lot recently with NR becoming more and more commonplace. In Monterey, when stripping out no reserve cars the sell-through rate was 57%.

Bonhams had 13 cars with no reserve in the auction, if you take those cars out the picture and just look at the sell-through rate of cars that had a reserve the figure stood at 60%, 3 percentage points above Monterey.

It's actually not a bad result at all.

3 - 11 (and sort of 13) world records were set

This is an impressive stat. Of the 67 cars that Bonhams sold at Revival, 16% of those went for world record prices.

Here are the 11 world records:

  1. 1934 MG Q-Type Monoposto - Sold: £161,000 (Previous Record: £67,500)

  2. 1948 Land Rover Series I 80" SWB - Sold: £109,250 (Previous Record: £51,799)

  3. 1952 AEC Routemaster - Sold: £82,800 (Previous Record: £32,480)

  4. 1952 Minerva Land Rover Blindé Parachute Reconnaissance Vehicle - Sold: £25,300 (Previous Record: £14,901)

  5. 1961 Ford Thames Replica Lotus Cars Ltd Van - Sold: £29,900 (Previous Record: £23,063)

  6. 1961 MG Midget by Brabham - Sold: £18,400 (Previous Record: £9,945)

  7. 1961 Porsche 429 Tractor - Sold: £63,250 (Previous Record: £37,673)

  8. 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Touring - Sold: £703,800 (Previous Record: £622,357)

  9. 1986 Aston Martin Virage Coupe Prototype - Sold: £287,500 (Previous Record: £175,625)

  10. 1989 Lancia Delta HF Integrale 8V - Sold: £41,400 (Previous Record: £30,750)

  11. 1998 Bentley Continental T Wide Body - Sold: £89,700 (Previous Record: £89,064)

And they had cars that didn't sell on the day but even at the high bid they got to (exc. commission) they still could have scored 2 more world records:

  1. 1961 Austin-Healey 3000 BN7 - High Bid: £70,000 (Previous Record: £67,757)

  2. 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.0 RSR Martini Racing Works Team - High Bid: £3,000,000 (Previous Record: £1,653,035)

4 - Aston's were Astonishingly cheap

See what we did there...

Of all the results, there were two standout weak points.

Firstly, a 1957 Aston Martin Vantage. The regular six-cylinder DBS adopted the Vantage name for 1972 and 1973 - only 70 were made - and this is one of them.

Bonhams were after £70,000 - £100,000, it sold (inc. commission) for £34,500. 51% below below its lower estimate.

We've seen 9 sell previously and this is the lowest price for one since 2011. And that car was in worse condition than this....

Second, a 1962 DB4 Series IV with 20,000 miles since its restoration and presenting in reasonable shape. Estimate of £325,000 - £385,000. In the room, it reached a measly high bid before passing of £170,000!

Bonhams have agreed a deal after the auction with the car now showing as sold on their site. As is the norm with these post-sale deals, the final price isn't published.

5 - Listen to TCV

Two days before the auction we flagged up Bonhams' 2007 SLR McLaren Roadster as a potential steal.

This car wasn't UK registered and had 175,000 kms on the clock. The estimate sat at £120,000 - £160,000.

Well either the opinion of TCV is carrying some serious clout or people spotted it too and agreed with our assessment - it's probably the latter but we're working on the former - because when it sold it flew.

The hammer fell well past the top of the estimate. Including commission, the SLR sold for £408,250 - that's 155% above the top of its estimate.

That makes it the second most expensive SLR Roadster to ever sell (excluding 722 Roadsters).

And don't forget that's before the buyer (depending on their location has to pay the additional duties on top). Damn.

We'll keep flagging these potential steals as they occur. What's likely to happen is each time we flag these up they'll go for strong prices. In that case, I can feel a paid community coming on and getting access to these potential steals before anyone else does. We can actually earn some monies from all this research for you guys.

Before we do any of that, it'd mean a lot if you sign up to our fortnightly newsletter to receive exclusive insights before anyone else.

Note: all data is based on prices as at Monday 11th September.

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