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Amelia Island, Florida, 13 March 2015

The much-anticipated addition to the Amelia Island Car Week – whose cornerstone is the renowned Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance – was Bonhams’ inaugural motorcar auction, held Thursday, March 12th at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club. And what a resounding success it was!

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The perfectly situated venue was teeming with motoring aficionados and a lively, enthusiastic buzz. Attendees came from across America as well as Europe to bid on a superb selection of cars representing every era of motoring. Bidders, too, from another three continents participated on the telephones and via the internet contributing to impressive overall results.
All told, the first year auction achieved $13.95-million in sales with a 79% sell-through rate. Furthermore, several world auctions records were established for models from Alfa Romeo, American, BMW and Porsche.

For pre-war American cars, the day was particularly momentous. The rare, exquisitely preserved 1930 Cord Model L-29 Town Car with coachwork by Murphy attracted enormous interest and sold to a US collector for $1,760,000. The beautifully restored 1908 American Underslung Roadster was the subject of a protracted bidding battle and set a new world auction record – beating Bonhams’ previous world record – at $1,738,000. Then there was the incredible, super fast 1932 Stutz DV32 Super Bearcat that made $1,012,000. Also, the 1912 Peerless Model 60 Runabout sold for $440,000 while the 1911 EMF Model 30 Factory Racer was bought for $242,000.

European and British cars also provided some excellent results. The 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Transformable Phaeton previously owned by Marlene Dietrich sold for a healthy $742,500, and the 1925 Bentley 3-Liter Four Seat Tourer achieved $462,000. However, it was German and Italian cars that made new records for Europe. The 1981 BMW M1 Coupe realized $605,000, the 1952 Alfa Romeo 1900C Sprint Coupe sold for $415,800, and the 1980 Ferrari 512 BB made $359,700 – all of which were new world auction records for those models.

Says Rupert Banner, Bonhams Motoring Department’s VP of Business Development, “We couldn’t be more pleased with the results. The community of Fernandina Beach, particularly the mayor, city council and the folks at Micah’s Place were tremendously supportive and welcoming and it made for a very conducive and enjoyable event.” He adds, “The results point to continued strength in the market with particular emphasis on rare, original condition pre-war American marques, as well as top-tier mid to late century European sports cars.”

“Amelia Island has once again demonstrated Bonhams’ great strength in representing motorcars across a broad spectrum of genres,” said James Knight, Bonhams’ Group Motoring Director. “Whether it’s a Brass Era motorcar, pre-war classic or modern era supercar, our in-house expertise and breadth of knowledge has become key in achieving these record prices.”

Images ... Peter Singhof