Bonhams will represent the collection of one of America’s preeminent collectors and conservators of vintage automobiles — Lindley and Ann Bothwell. The Bothwell Collection will be auctioned on Saturday, November 11, 2017 at the Bothwell Ranch in Woodland Hills, California.
Known for his passion for early motorcars, Lindley Bothwell, together with his wife Ann, was a charter member of the Horseless Carriage Club of America and, by the mid-1950s, the owner of one of the largest private collections of automobiles in the country. The Bothwell Collection is housed at their ranch property amid orange groves just over the hills from Hollywood.
Malcolm Barber, Bonhams Chairman, said, “Lindley and Ann Bothwell need little introduction. Their contribution to historic motoring is renowned, their cars are legendary and, most important, their enthusiasm all encompassing. This is truly a monumental collection and we are extremely flattered to represent it at auction. The phrase ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ is very appropriate.”
Of the 50 automobiles to be auctioned, perhaps best known are the 1913 Indianapolis Peugeot, 1908 Prinz Heinrich Benz and 1908 Mercedes Simplex.
The 1913 Peugeot 4.5-Liter L45 is not only regarded by many as the father of all racing engines, but this specific car ran in the 1916 Indianapolis 500. Decades later when Bothwell took the Peugeot back to Indianapolis to compete in the Veteran Class, he beat Dario Resta’s 85mph lap record at over 103mph — a record that had stood for 30 years. Tremendously historic and full of provenance, the significance of this race car cannot be overstated, particularly when one considers that it was this engine that inspired Miller, Offenhauser and a host of others. It’s one of the most original and pure racing cars of this era Bonhams has ever offered.
In 1908, the Prinz Heinrich Tour, a famous 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 10 created and of fewer surviving, Bothwell’s rare 1908 Benz 105hp Prinz Heinrich was campaigned in period and then used by Bothwell and friends in historic racing events in the naissance of the hobby.
The 1908 Mercedes Simplex 60hp, said to have been originally owned by William K. Vanderbilt, a prominent racing enthusiast and driver who himself set several speed records in earlier Mercedes cars, is another star of the Bothwell Collection. This landmark Mercedes design would set the model for high performance cars for years to come.
Among the other dozens of automobiles in the collection are examples from Austro-Daimler, Buick, Cadillac, Ford, Hudson, National, Packard, and Pope-Hartford, among others.
Bothwell was also a fan of horse-drawn streetcars and even installed over a mile of track on his property to entertain guests while keeping the streetcars in working condition. Five of these restored icons, originally from the city of Los Angeles, will be included in the sale.
And then there will be the vast collection of spares and automobilia amassed by Bothwell over a lifetime of collecting.
Rupert Banner, Bonhams VP of Motoring, added, “We are incredibly excited to offer these fascinating automobiles for sale, particularly the early racers. The sale of the sole surviving L45 Grand Prix Peugeot will be a generational opportunity to acquire a landmark car in the history of the development of racing in America and Europe.”
For more information, visit Bonhams.com/Bothwell.