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2006 Bonhams Gstaad Auction
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Click here to open the slideshowIntroduction
Bonham’s The Ferrari Sale in Gstaad, Switzerland has been a set fixture just before the Holiday season for many years now. Little has changed in that time, but with the 2006 edition entered a new chapter. We already picked up on discussions about opening up the auction for other exotic marques last year and when the catalogue was published we discovered how serious these were; the sale was now open to Ferraris and Maseratis. Another major change has been the departure of Simon Kidston, who was the face of the auction for many, many years. The task of filling his boots was given to Matthieu Lamoure, who previously served as Kidston’s right-hand man. Amidst all these changes, the idyllic location and date did not change, so as winter slowly fell over Europe we traveled to the jet-set town of Gstaad and fortunately the weather behaved for once. Our impressions are captured in the following report and 70-shot slideshow. Please note that the prices listed in the report and slideshow are the hammer price and do not include buyer’s premium or taxes. At the time of the auction 1 Swiss Franc was worth $0.82 US or €0.63.

Automobilia
As usual the auction kicked off with ‘automobilia’, this year ranging from scale models of Riva motor yachts to a 250 GTE based bar/sofa. The latter was built from an original car, which was probably chopped to serve as a base for a GTO or TR replica. The unusual duo sold for a total of CHF 20,000. More impressive were the beautiful 1:12 scale models of a variety of Ferrari racing cars including a 312 PB and 312 F1. All of them sold for between CHF 1,500 and 2,800. Another top seller was the 1923 Targa Florio constructors cup won by Alfa Romeo, which found a new owner for CHF 13,000. There were also several spare parts included like a CHF 14,500 set of six Weber carbs for a 250 GTO or a 250 LM or a CHF 12,500 Ferrari 250 GT TdF toolbox.

Ferraris
The strength of the Ferrari Sale has never been in numbers or high prices, but rather a nicely varied line-up for almost every budget. A walk through the Palace Hotel basement parking lot felt almost like a Ferrari history lesson with a 1952 212 Export as the earliest example and a 2004 575 GTC as the most recent. As always, the most difficult task Mr Lamoure and his team faced was to find seven-figure headline machines as these usually change hands privately. With the beautiful Vignale bodied 212 Export and the 750 Monza, they achieved this, but bids on neither managed to reach the reserve set. The highest priced car to change hands was the ex-GPC Giesse Squadra Corse 575 GTC, which was extensively raced in 2004 and 2005. It was offered here after a fresh restoration and found a new owner for the appropriate sum of CHF 575,000. For the not so fortunate there was a nice collection of 1960s and 1970s Ferrari road cars on offer including a one-owner 246 GTS Dino and a silver 250 GT Lusso. Most of them sold in the range of their low estimates.

Maseratis
Offered for the first time, the Maseratis immediately eclipsed the Ferraris in the Gstaad sale. This was due in part to the inclusion of several exceptionally rare racing cars from the 1960s. They formed the last in a long line of Maserati racing cars and had been part of the Rosso Bianco collection for a very long time. Although none were particularly successful, their rarity sparked a lot of attention. The most impressive was the 151/1 Coupe, constructed for the 1962 24 Hours of Le Mans race. Its dramatic lines and brutish V8 engine appealed to the crowd gathered in the Palace Hotel and it changed hands for a staggering CHF 1,850,000; well north of the high estimate. Another top seller was the Tipo 65 ‘Birdcage’, which is the very last Maserati racing car of the classic era. A combination of the tubular spaceframe chassis and the 151 engine, it was built at the last minute for the 1965 Le Mans race. It found a new owner for CHF 840,000. Hopefully the new owners will bring these cars out more regularly, although they might need some work to get them ready for racing again. As with the Ferraris, the high-profile Maseratis were backed up by a nice selection of more affordable examples. A beautiful Allemano bodied A6G 2000 in particular grabbed our attention. Even though it came with its engine removed, the small coupe sold for well over the high estimate at CHF 202,000.

Conclusion
In last year’s report we expressed the fear that allowing other marques in might cause The Ferrari Sale to lose its appeal, but this certainly was not the case as the Maseratis actually stole the show. However, it might be difficult to copy the impressive offering in the years to come. It was promising to see that a large number of the lots found a new owner now that the fall of the dollar has not made Europe a particular attractive place to buy vintage cars.

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Report by Wouter Melissen and images by Wouter Melissen and Pieter Melissen for Ultimatecarpage.com. Full auction results courtesy of Marcel Massini