Leading the charge is a 1906 Rolls-Royce Light 20hp Tourer, one of only two survivors of the 17 built when the company was in its infancy and the sixth oldest Rolls-Royce remaining today. Following World War II, the car was bought by Rolls-Royce aficionado Stanley Sears, joining his prestigious collection of veteran motorcars. When the collection was dispersed in 1983, the car passed to Thomas Love who already owned the world’s oldest Rolls Royce (later sold by Bonhams for a record £3.5m in 2007). As such an unusual and historically significant motorcar, it is little wonder that this fully-restored model has attracted a pre-sale estimate of £400,000-600,000.
A second car from the late Thomas Love’s collection is also being offered as part of the sale. The 1913 Rolls Royce 40/50hp Open Drive Limousine, which he actively campaigned in the Veteran Car Club, is expected to reach between £180,000-250,000. Automobilia from the same collection, including lamps, horns and spares put by ‘just in case’ will also be offered in the sale.
Meanwhile, four cars from the collection of the late Ivor Silverstone are expected to attract great interest. The cars comprise The ex-Frances Rolls – 1934 Bentley 3½-Litre Special Two-Seater Drophead Coupé by Vanden Plas (estimated between £110,000-140,000), a 1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Vanden Plas Style Tourer (estimated between £80,000-100,000), a 1950 Jaguar XK120 Roadster (estimated between £40,000-50,000) and a 1954 Bentley R-Type Abbott Coupé (estimated between £40,000-50,000).
A 1935 Fiat 508S Balilla – the No 2 Black Diamond Team Car – will introduce some Italian spirit to the sale. One of three team cars with a distinctive black livery, it was campaigned by London racer Stanley Tett at the famous Brooklands circuit. The car also entered the North-West London Motor Club’s Team Trial in 1936 and that June fought off stiff competition to win the challenging Blackpool Rally, despite having a diminutive 995cc engine. The rarest of all Fiats, the car – now finished in blue livery – has been in a private museum collection in the North of England for 35 years and off the road for quarter of a century. Highly prized amongst the Fiat fraternity, particularly in its Italian homeland, the car is estimated to reach between £45,000-55,000.
Other highlights include a 1936 Lagonda LG45 S1 Drophead Coupé (£80,000-100,000), The ex-1938 RAC Rally and Autocar Road Test Car – a 1938 Jenson ‘S-Type’ 3½ -Litre Dual Cowl Tourer (£60,000-80,000) and a 1969 Aston Martin DB6 Saloon (£60,000-70,000). They will be joined by a 1935 Riley 9hp Imp Two-Seater (£50,000-70,000), a 1906 Talbot 20hp Two-Seater (£45,000-55,000), a rare 1914 Hispano-Suiza 1.8 Litre Type 24 Two-Seater Roadster and a 1906 CGV 20hp open drive Landaulette (£30,000-35,000).
James Knight, Group Head of Bonhams Motoring Department said, “Our annual December Olympia Sale is renowned for offering a wide ranging selection of motor cars and I am pleased to say this year appears to be no exception. Many of them have been part of long-term collections, so are fresh to market, and I anticipate much interest. One must not forget the wonderful automobilia that complements the car sale; this year this includes artwork by Terence Cuneo – whose ‘Wellington Bombers on the Assembly Line’ is estimated between £25,000-35,000 – and pieces by Frederick Gordon Crosby, as well as a Ferrari archive, Lalique car mascots and much more.”