Concours d’Elegance Suisse / Bonhams Bonmont Auction
Volume 46 Issue 14
Jul 3, 2021
Marc Sonnery reviews the Concours d'Elegance Suisse and Bonhams auction Ferraris
It was quite a week for Geneva, Switzerland, with the historic, highest possible level diplomatic meeting on Wednesday the 16th; the Biden-Putin summit completely taking over the lakeside city. The Bonhams auction as well as the Concours d’Elegance Suisse took place on Sunday the 20th.
CONCOURS D’ELEGANCE SUISSE
A fifteen-minute drive away the Château de Coppet once gain played host to the Concours d’Elegance Suisse, the most important concours in Switzerland.
After being cancelled outright in 2020 the event was back thanks to the determination of its founder Mathias Doutreleau and his faithful sponsors.
The format had to be less ambitious this year due to the sanitary restrictions still in place even though with COVID numbers improving, restrictions are now less severe; three months ago nothing at all would have been possible.
Thus, by necessity, the attendees had been limited to 300 guests and tickets quickly sold out. There was to be no judging or gala dinner.
No less than 83 cars from 1923 to 1985 were signed up in just ten days when the format was officialised.
Like so many around the world, participants were just happy to be there, many of them not having had a chance to drive their cars for far too long.
The day began with a 70 km touring rally on the enjoyable twisty roads above Lake Geneva with stunning views of the 73 km long crescent-shaped lake and the Alps across it.
Participants then arrived at the usual event site, the Château de Coppet just 100 meters from the lakeshore. All enjoyed a picnic in the Château’s park amidst some spectacular cars.
The oldest Ferraris were a 275 GTS, a 365 GTC and a plexi-nose 365 GTB/4 accompanied by a few more recent models.
Without a jury there was no winner or loser, while the atmosphere emanated a strong sense of conviviality and a shared passion.
Among the non-Maranellian competitors, it is worth noting a Bugatti Type 57 SC Atalante; a majestic Maybach SW38; a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost bodied by Brewster; a Bentley 3-Liter Supersport “100 mph“; a delightful Chapron coupé on a Delahaye 135 M; a Bristol 405 DHC bodied by Abbott of Farnham; a Fiat 600 coupé bodied by Viotti; a Citroën DS 21 Le Léman; and a future classic, one of the very rare Citroën CX GTI “Mandarine”.
Doutreleau and his team did well to organise this despite all the obstacles, a relatively small event due to constraints, but a rebirth nevertheless for one of the major Concours in Europe, a celebration of the classic automobile and also of the human spirit prevailing over Covidian adversity.
We can look forward to the full-fledged version of the event next year, very much so.
BONHAMS BONMONT AUCTION
Back to its June date after being delayed to September last year due to COVID, the Bonhams auction takes place in a stunningly beautiful setting, that of the Bonmont Golf & Country Club, 20 minutes northeast of Geneva.
Anchored around a little chateau, the vast expanses of golf greens gently slope right up against the Jura mountain foothills behind. At the front, they face Lake Geneva in the distance and give a stunning view of the Alps and Mont Blanc, the roof of Europe beyond. As grand a view as you could wish.
This was a proper live auction and quite successful with 90% of lots sold, demonstrating bidder's eagerness in a post-lockdown spring.
As usual, the team of Philip Kantor, with Geneva office head Livie Gallone Moeller, assembled a very fine selection of cars registered in Switzerland, Europe and the Middle East since the Geneva area has been a secondary residence of choice for many wealthy owners from that part of the world.
Likewise, bidders came from a dozen countries, including Americans and Russians but no Presidents!
This year instead of having cars spread around the chateau and on an upper lawn, all offerings were consolidated in a large tent near the grounds entrance due to the sudden weather changes the area is known for.
250 GTE 2+2 SERIES III, S/N 4123 GT (1963). This car was the 8th of 300 250 GTE Series III built. Originally in Amaranto metallizzato with beige Connolly leather. It left the factory on January 8, 1963, and was delivered to a dealer in Genoa. The first owner was a Mr. Santovetti from nearby Rapallo. It spent its first decade in Italy after which it received a resale-red livery and was sold to the US where it was bought by Henry Thornton who would keep it seven years. He then sold it in 1989 to Werner Funke of Santa Fe, New Mexico. It went back to the old world in 1992, where it was restored in Switzerland receiving a metallic gray livery. It was then offered successively by Swiss dealers Graber in 1993 and Schurter two years later. The vendor then bought it in 2008 from Dutch dealer Gallery Aaldering. A Massini report came with the car which had its books, an incomplete toolkit and jack. It showed 74,637 km, presented well but needed some cosmetic attention and a service. Lot 126. Sold for CHF 250,700 ($273,293) including premium.
250 GT BERLINETTA LUSSO, S/N 5187 GT (1963). Delivered new to Hollywood Sport Cars in ivory with black in the Los Angeles area. In the early seventies it got repainted red and retrimmed in beige. In 1976 it was bought by a lady in California. In 1983 it was offered by Steve Tillack for the then “enormous” sum of $33,000, different times. It was thereafter exported to Germany in the nineties where it would spend the next couple of decades. It then went through a slew of German dealers, obscure and well known, such as Mario Bernardi, was eventually sold in 1996 to Gelsenkirchen, Germany, and repainted in silver, retrimmed to red...only to be sold to Switzerland and redone again in the mid-2000s in the current colors of brown metallic with dark beige interior. It was certified by Classiche in 2009. Last shown at the Concours d’Elegance Suisse in 2018. It still has its original engine and is the 154th of 350 Lussos built. Lot 127. Sold post-sale for CHF 1.34million ($1.46 million) including premium.
550 MARANELLO, VIN ZFFZR49B000106549 (1996). Stunningly gorgeous in its fly yellow with black leather livery, this 550 was delivered new by Ferrari France in 1997 via its Monaco dealer. Sold to a sportscar connoisseur and sugarcane magnate Jean Claude Mimran who in 1981 rescued a certain car company based in Sant’Agata Bolognese not far from Maranello: Lamborghini! With a proper stick shift Maranellos are becoming more and more appreciated as a modern-day classic, latter-day Daytona. This car has had three owners and shows 72,000 km. It comes with all its books, tools, a cover and a Tubi exhaust fitted to the car while the original exhaust is also supplied. It is titled in Switzerland. This one was a true bargain; someone must have had a glass of Champagne on the Bonmont terrace to celebrate. Lot 111. Sold for CHF 71,300 ($77,725) including premium.
SUPERAMERICA F1, VIN ZFFGT61B000144227 (2005). The 575 Superamerica really stands out in recent Ferrari history for being unique as the only production car to feature a rotating roof, so superbly simple in concept, design and execution; those fussing with the ridiculous SA Aperta roof elements will agree. The rarity of the model of which only 559 were produced has made it even more sought after and it goes without saying that it is hugely desirable as a V12 Spyder giving the purest Ferrari driving experience. Of course, those in the know will soberly tell you what it costs if the roof needs servicing...which made this one even more attractive since its roof was completely rebuilt in 2019 including the revolutionary electrochromic glass. It was sold new in 2005 by the Ferrari dealer in Lausanne. Two owners and a 2018 service. The dour battleship gray livery is a surprising choice for such a summertime car, but the tan interior offset that nicely. It was very well bought considering the prices achieved during the 2013-16 market surge. Lot 140. Sold for CHF 247,250 ($269,532) including premium.