Clark Gable’s Packard Darrin, the Rolls-Royce driven by Robert Redford in The Great Gatsby, President Woodrow Wilson’s Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, and racing legend Fitch Whitmore’s Le Mans Special were hot lots at the annual Bonhams auction.
Bonhams white tent bulged with crowds of collectors, movie buffs and the curious wanting a glimpse at the cars with notable movie connections, which went on the block at noon. The sale featured the Ted Leonard collection, who prized himself on acquiring exceptionally fine motorcars with celebrity pedigree.
The top lot of the sale was a 1934 Bugatti Type 57 Stelvio Drophead Coupe, which sold for $419,500 to a European collector.
Additional sales of note include the ex-Clark Gable 1938 Packard Eight Convertible Victoria selling for $282,000 to a private U.S. collector who beat out four bidders in the crowd, plus the 1928 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Phantom I Ascot Dual Cowl Sports Phaeton, from the 1974 motion picture The Great Gatsby, selling to a telephone bidder, against several in the room – at $238,000. President Woodrow Wilson’s 1923 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Oxford Touring Car, given to the president after he left office by supporters, went to a bidder in the room for $161,000.
“Collectors recognize that it is rare to see cars of this caliber, and history assembled in one sale, and the bidding action certainly demonstrated keen interest from around the world,” said Rupert Banner, of Bonhams Manhattan Motorcars department.
The highlight of the event was when racing legend John Fitch, aged 92, took the podium to give background information on his 1952 Fitch-Whitmore Le Mans Special, which lead a “charmed life” he said, to a standing ovation from the crowd. The car fetched $403,000.
“It was amazing to have this living legend join us at the event, and the crowd was thrilled to see him hop into his Le Mans Special – illustrating the spirit and sprite of someone far younger than his 92 years!,” said Mark Osborne, Bonhams West Coast motorcar specialist. “A one-of-a-kind event certainly, and we are proud to add the excitement of the auction to the enjoyment of the famed Greenwich Concours d’Elegance.
Bonhams offered 89 automobiles for sale, with 44 finding a new owner, reflecting a 49% sales rate. Total sales volume was $4,405,800 and the average price per car sold was $100,132.
For more information and complete results, visit www.bonhams.com.