$30,000 2010 HOLDEN COMMODORE SS-V VE II
WA | 30,000Kms
JUST Cars 30/06/2012
At Bonhams’ Goodwood Festival of Speed auction on June 29, a number of records were set, but the most impressive was undoubtedly the ex-Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin 'blower' Bentley racer that set a new record for a Bentley at auction of £5 million.
The Bentley, a 1929 single-seat, supercharged 4 ½ litre model, was part of the small, but select collection of esteemed watchmaker, George Daniels. Famous in the UK for his skills as a watchmaker, and for the small number of bespoke timepieces he created, Daniels purchased the Bentley in the mid-1960s.
First run by Sir Henry 'Tim' Birkin (one of the famous ‘Bentley Boys’) in 1929, the supercharged single-seater had a brief, but busy competition history. Originally running with a fabric body, the car was trialed with a couple of different bodywork configurations and superchargers during its racing career, with the now definitive red single-seater aluminium bodywork fitted in 1930. Before it was effectively retired from competition late in 1932, the highlight of the Birkin Bentley’s racing career was a 137mph lap – the Outer Circuit Lap Record - set at Brooklands in 1931.
After Birkin died from septicaemia in 1933, the Bentley remained with his former backer, the Hon. Dorothy Paget, unused, until 1939, until Bentley enthusiast Peter Robertson-Rodger blew-up the engine of his ex-Birkin French GP 'Blower' Bentley at Donington Park, and he managed to charm her into selling him the track car, to use its engine in the sister Birkin car. Then came World War II. The number one 'Blower' engine was then returned to the single-seater, which Robertson-Rodger decided to convert into a two-seat roadster.
'Rusty' Russ-Turner owned and used the car, still as a two-seater roadster, following World War II, but after suffering a fatal heart attack at Silverstone while racing the car, it was acquired by George Daniels, who both protected and preserved it ever since.
Mr Daniels recalled how he came to buy the car: "Jack Sears telephoned and told me the Birkin Single-Seater was for sale and he thought it would suit me. I told Jack I couldn't afford his price but made him an offer, and eventually he came back to me to say that Rusty's widow Audrey had told him she wanted me to have the car and I've been racing it ever since..."
The Bentley was offered with road equipment including wings, an extensive history file including correspondence, road-registration documents and large format photo album.
The Daniels Collection comprised another 1929 4 ½ litre Bentley, a 1907 Daimler ‘Roi-des-Belges’ tourer, 1908 Itala GP car, 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C-2300, 1954 Bentley R-Type Continental, 1974 Jaguar E-Type, a pair of Sunbeam motorcycles and associated motormobilia, but the supercharged Bentley was rightly regarded as the jewel in the crown of the collection.
This opinion was reflected in the Bentley’s final hammer price of £5,042,000. This not only set a new record price for a Bentley at auction, but also made it the most expensive British-built car ever sold at auction.
Doug Nye, Bonhams historian, said: "It is wonderful to see this iconic car's true value recognised by the world market.
"The Birkin single-seater Bentley was, in effect, the Concorde of its time, the fastest car around the high Brooklands bankings. It was driven by a great British hero in Sir Henry Birkin and was the most glamorous racing car of the era."
Million dollar prices were also achieved by the Alfa Romeo 8C (£2,689,500) and 1908 Itala (£1,737,500) from the George Daniels Collection, while a 1910 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Double Pullman almost pipped the Bentley for top seller from this auction, when it sold for a very impressive £4,705,000.
Robert Brooks, Chairman of Bonhams, said: "We always believed that the Goodwood Festival of Speed was the perfect place to sell two of Britain's most iconic cars.
"Bonhams has sponsored this event from its inception 20 years ago. These results again prove the value of provenance and rarity, offered for sale in the best possible surroundings."
For full results and further details from Bonhams’ Goodwood Festival of Speed auction, go to www.bonhams.com
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