March 09, 2018

Racing into motoring's record books

STILL in perfect working order today, and fetching E2m-plus at auction in Paris. (Bonhams Auctions)

David Ellis

IT came fifth in France's famed Le Mans 24Hr endurance motor-race, so it's probably little wonder that when it went to auction this month this spritely racer sold for a whopping E2,012,500,  or around AU$2.8m.

But what is of some wonder, is that it was not last year's Le Mans in which this Aston Martin Ulster placed fifth, nor the year before that, nor even the year before that… its big 5th placing was an amazing 82 years ago in 1935.

Yet when it went to auction in Paris in still perfect working order this month, four bidders quickly pushed the final price of the historic race-car past the experts' estimations of E1.8m, to that E2m-plus.

 ONCE wheels for a pop idol: this grand 1947 Cadillac convertible was a star of Bonhams auction of classic and antique vehicles in Paris this month. (Bonhams Auctions)

The Aston Martin – that had sold new in London for 750 British Pounds (AU$1,220) back in 1935 – was one of 132 classic and historic vehicles that went to auction under the hammer of prestigious British auction house Bonhams in Paris on February 9.

They ranged from a 1900 Benz single cylinder 4.5hp 'motorwagen' that fetched E212,750 (AU$296,000,) to E41,400 or AU$57,400 for a 1947 Cadillac convertible once owned by French pop idol Claude Francois, whose hit "Comme d'habitude" became a Frank Sinatra record-breaker when Ol' Blue Eyes re-titled and belted it out as "My Way."

And a rare 1957 Bentley S1 Continental of which only 31 were ever built, sold for E1,070,100 or just under AU$1.5m, while a half-century old 1966 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL 'Gullwing' Coupe also sold for a touch over E1m… with the Aston Martin, making up three vehicles to pass the magic-million price-point on the day.

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