You always think that you know what to expect from the Goodwood Festival of Speed. A plethora of Formula 1 stars, new cars being debuted and the noise (oh, the noise) of thundering horsepower screaming up the famous driveway. But Lord March and his team were there to delight and surprise in what was the 25th hosting of the annual show. Here is Borro Blog’s Goodwood Festival of Speed 2017 review.
Goodwood Festival of Speed 2017’s Honouree
And again, Goodwood displayed another stunning sculpture in front of the house, albeit this year, for the first time, it celebrated the life and career of an individual rather than a marque, despite it being Ferrari’s 70th year. No, we were treated to the 5 career stages of the enigmatic and mostly controversial Bernie Ecclestone. Despite his diminutive stature, Bernie always commands a huge presence wherever he goes, and walking into the relatively quiet Bonhams marquee, that was definitely needed.
Recapping Goodwood Festival of Speed 2017’s Auction
The auction houses haven’t really set the world alight in 2017, and nowhere was this more evident than here at Goodwood. Despite a healthy catalogue, the content was lacking in real pizzazz. With no proper “star car” to headline the sale, the silence in the room could only be put down to the lack of numbers present. Possibly buoyed by the prices that historic Porsches have been attracting of late, the headline car was a very pretty, but unremarkable 1957 356 Carrera Speedster. One of only 3 right hand drive cars built, the little Porsche lacked matching numbers and had been subject of a full restoration which included other, non-original, enhancements just a few years ago. Sitting there, it almost looked too new, and yet the bidding soared to £820,000 when the car was hammered. Some £80,000 less than its lower estimate. A true testament to people liking originality in their cars these days.
This seemed to be the theme of the sale. Whether estimates were set a little on the high side to attract more cars, who knows, but what was apparent was the room wasn’t buying that. Literally. Did this then mean there were bargains to be had? Well, in some ways, yes. If you can call £300,000 a bargain, which was what the 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MKIII prototype made. Despite its ‘DP’ (Design Project) title, an entry in the 1958 Monte Carlo Rally driven by Raymond Baxter, and current ownership for 33 years, the baby blue Aston really deserved a much higher price in my opinion. As did the similarly-hued 1957 Porsche 356A Rally Car with no less than 4 Carrera Panamerica events under its belt. Just £44,000 would have bought you that little gem.
Many commented that the RHD 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona looked good value at £480,000 (lower estimate of £500,000), but the fact remained that it had received a colour change in its life (From Argento Silver to the predictable Rosso Corsa) and didn’t have any word of a Ferrari Classiche certificate to help authenticate it. Maybe not that much of a bargain then.
There was the predictable array of “new-era” classics too with 2 Porsche 964-Type 911 Turbos, a 996-era car and a Ferrari Testarossa. I will stand by what I always say that these cars are still too new to be auction house stock, and will sell much better from a dealer’s showroom. Unfortunately, by their insistence of having them in their catalogues, all the auction houses have achieved is depressing the market for these cars through no-sales, or low hammer bids.
However, fear not, as this was, refreshingly, an auction for true enthusiasts, and there was certainly enthusiastic bidding between our aforementioned celebrity and a determined lady who took the price of a lovely Series 1 Jaguar E-Type Roadster to £230,000. This original RHD example became the Property of a Lady for sure.
Although significantly more expensive, the simply beautifully elegant 1914 Rolls Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer once owned by Indian Royalty deserved every one of the £490,000 it made. Great provenance and history will always outweigh shiny paint in my mind, and despite a restoration, this car oozed with tales of the Maharana of Udaipur, its illustrious first keeper.
All in all, the weather of the weekend was a real reflection of the sale. A bit overcast and dull, but with sunny spells in between. What is very evident however is that buyers are much more aware of values than ever before, and no-one is going to pay Grade A money for a Grade C car.
Not even Bernie.