A 1913 Peugeot 4.5-Liter L45 Grand Prix Racer sold for a new marque record $7,260,000 as the top result at the Bonhams The Bothwell Collection sale.
New marque records were set for Peugeot and Benz when Bonhams sold two pre-First World War racing cars from the Bothwell Collection in California, USA. A 1913 Peugeot 4.5-Liter L45 Grand Prix Racer sold for a sensational $7,260,000, as the most-expensive Peugeot ever while a 1908 Benz 75/105 HP Prinz Heinrich Raceabout sold for $1,870,000, as the most-expensive Benz ever. A 1908 Mercedes Simplex 65HP Two Seater Raceabout sold for a strong $1,072,500, as the third million-dollar result at the Bonhams Bothwell Collection sale.
The Bonhams Bothwell Collection Auction 2017
The Bonhams Bothwell Collection Auction was held on November 11, 2017, at the Bothwell Ranch in Woodland Hills, California (just north of Los Angeles), USA.
The Bothwell Collection was one of the world’s most important assemblies of pre-Great War racing automobiles, an incredible assortment of Brass Era touring cars, horse-drawn street cars, and one of the best collections of early model trains in the world.
The auction achieved $13.7 million with a 100% sell-through rate. The 50 cars collectively sold for three times lower estimate while a narrow-gauge Baldwin engine sold for $187,500 – eight times lower estimate.
Million Dollar Cars at the Bonhams Bothwell Collection Sale
Three cars sold for more than a million dollar at the Bonhams Bothwell Collection sale including the most-expensive Peugeot and the most-expensive Benz ever:
1913 Peugeot 4.5-Liter L45 Grand Prix Racer
A new marque record was set when a 1913 Peugeot 4.5-Liter L45 Grand Prix Racer sold for $7,260,000 as the top result at the Bonhams The Bothwell Sale near Los Angeles, USA. The presale estimate was a more modest $3,000,000 to $5,000,000. It is one of only two Charlatan Peugeots still in existence and the only one with Grand Prix history.
The 1913 Peugeot 4.5-Liter L45 is often considered the father of all racing engines and inspired legendary car builders including Ettore Bugatti and Harry Miller. These Peugeots, in a variety of engine configurations, were sensational successful in car races in both Europe and the USA during the period.
The car sold from the Bothwell Collection was the Peugeot spare car for the ACF 1914 Lyon Grand Prix held just weeks before the outbreak of the First World War and often considered the most exciting car race of the era. Shipped to America, this Peugeot finished third at the 1916 Indianapolis 500 driven by Ralph Mulford and again raced at Indy in 1919 by Art Klein.
Its most remarkable achievement was probably when Bothwell took the Peugeot back to Indianapolis in 1949 to compete in the Veteran Class. He set a lap record at over 103mph – a record that had stood for 30 years!
The 1913 Peugeot 4.5-Liter L45 Grand Prix Racer still has its original no 1 chassis and no 1 engine, although it uses a replacement for racing. It is said to be still good for 100 mph and competed in the hill climb at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2003 and 2011.
1908 Benz Prinz Heinrich Raceabout
A Benz marque record was set when a 1908 Benz 75/105 HP Prinz Heinrich Raceabout sold for $1,870,000 at the Bonhams Boswell Collection classic car sale.
In 1908, the Prinz Heinrich Tour, a famous around 2,000 km German race named after Prince Heinrich of Prussia – an ardent fan of the nascent sport of motor racing, was won by a Benz. In commemoration of this, Benz produced a limited series of factory racers and called them Prinz Heinrich models.
One of just 10 ever created and of fewer surviving, Bothwell’s extremely rare 1908 Benz 105hp Prinz Heinrich was campaigned in period by Barney Oldfield. Bothwell acquired the Benz in the 1930s and had the four-seater coachwork replaced by the two-seater configuration it still uses. (The original bodywork was unfortunately destroyed in a barn fire.)
The car was restored in 2005 to its white Blitzen Benz appearance with Firestone Tire script similar to that used by Barney Oldfield.
1908 Mercedes Simplex
A 1908 Mercedes Simplex 65HP Two Seater Raceabout sold for a strong $1,072,500 as the third million-dollar result at the Bonhams Bothwell Collection sale.
The 1908 Mercedes Simplex 60hp chassis was delivered to the USA in 1908 with coachwork probably fitted locally. The Two Seater Raceabout coachwork has been on the car since at least the 1930s when Bothwell acquired the vehicle. The Benz possibly originally belonged to William K. Vanderbilt, a prominent racing enthusiast and driver who himself set several speed records in earlier Mercedes cars.
As with other Bothwell cars, this Mercedes was frequently used and raced. It is well maintained but not all parts are original.
Bonhams final two car auctions are the Bond Street Sale and London Olympia sales in December but the next sensational result is more likely at the Scottsdale sale in January 2018 for which the Le Mans class-winning works 1958 Porsche 550A has already been announced.