Historic British Sports Cars, Including a Pair of the Earliest Production Jaguar E-Types, Announced for Gooding & Company’s London Auction
We are delighted that internationally renowned auction house, Gooding & Company, will return to the Concours of Elegance this September for the firm’s London Auction – once again presenting some of the finest vehicles to be offered for sale in the UK. The sale will take place in the Palace grounds on Friday 1st September.
We are now able to share the first set of star cars for the upcoming sale, consisting of incredibly significant, historic English sports cars: a pair of highly sought-after, early-production Jaguar E-Types, two unique Aston Martins, and an extremely rare Bentley Eight Litre. These examples are all representative of groundbreaking automotive designs, particularly the Jaguar E-Type, which is one of the few models to ever go on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City for its unparalleled innovation and influence.
“With the recent additions of two of the first ever produced Jaguar E-Types, a one-off Bertone-bodied Aston Martin DB2/4, and a desirable Bentley Eight Litre, we hope to capture the tastes and imaginations of collectors. Our September sale is gearing up to be a celebration of British automotive history at its best,” said Gooding & Company President and Founder, David Gooding. “In our third year at this royal venue, we aim to provide an opportunity to own some of the most desirable and important vehicles the UK has ever produced. In that regard, while we are still open to consignments, space is quickly diminishing to participate in this exclusive auction event.”
1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 ‘Indiana’ Spider (Estimate: £1,200,000 – £1,800,000) The Bertone-bodied Aston Martins of the early 1950s married sophisticated British engineering with Italian style and flair. At the Torino Motor Show in 1951, Stanley “Wacky” Arnolt of Chicago, Illinois struck a deal with Carrozzeria Bertone to build some custom-bodied MG TDs, and later, a limited number of Aston Martin DB2/4s. A millionaire industrialist, Mr. Arnolt was a US distributor for foreign marques like MG, Jaguar, Bentley, and Aston Martin, and also served on the Board of Directors of Carrozzeria Bertone. Production of the special-commissioned Bertone-bodied DB2/4s included three similar competition-type Spiders, two luxurious Dropped Coupes, and this one-of-a-kind Spider, dubbed the “Indiana.” The nickname presumably referenced the Indianapolis 500, as well as the US state in which Mr. Arnolt had business holdings. This one-off 1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 ‘Indiana’ Spider, chassis LML/762, was custom built as the personal car of Mr. Arnolt, and was designed by none other than Bertone’s lead stylist, Franco Scaglione – the man behind many of the period’s most famous Italian automotive designs, including the famed B.A.T. Alfa Romeos by Bertone.
Soon after its completion, the “Indiana” Spider was photographed for promotional purposes before embarking on a grand tour consisting of the most prestigious auto shows. It made its rounds beginning with the Torino and Paris shows, and then went on to the US circuit, where it was displayed in Chicago and New York. It was also exhibited at the annual Sports Cars in Review show at the Henry Ford Museum. Collector owned since the 1970s, LML/762 was shown at various Aston Martin Owners Club (AMOC) events, as well as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® in the 1970s and 1980s. It was later sold to renowned Aston Martin collector Simon Draper. The current owner of this marvelous “Indiana” Spider, a Swiss Aston Martin enthusiast, acquired the car from Mr. Draper, and has since restored it to concours-quality condition, returning the coachwork to its original metallic blue color. Since its restoration, the car has been shown with great acclaim, debuting to a Mention of Honor at the 2009 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este and two first place awards at local Swiss concours. One of the finest expressions of a coachbuilt Aston Martin, this offering represents a singular opportunity to acquire a unique, historically important, and rarely seen example of a Bertone-bodied DB2/4.
1961 Jaguar E-Type Series I 3.8-Litre Fixed Head Coupe (Estimate: £1,000,000 – £1,400,000) A masterpiece conceived by co-founder of Jaguar Cars Sir William Lyons, “Mr. Jaguar” himself, the groundbreaking E-Type was a monumental introduction to the world of motoring. Essentially a road-going version of Jaguar’s Le Mans-dominating D-Type, the E-Type was accessible to just about any level of driver, while also boasting great performance capability with a top speed of 150 mph. Mr. Lyons approved the addition of a coupe body for the E-Type, and this was chosen as the debut car for the Geneva International Motor Show in March 1961. Surely one of the most beautiful cars ever produced, the E-Type won immediate recognition as the all-out star of the Geneva show. Today, the most sought-after Jaguar E-Types are the flat-floor, welded-louver, outside-bonnet-latch cars built in early 1961. The example presented here, chassis 860001, is the very first right-hand-drive E-Type Fixed Head Coupe. A total of just four right-hand-drive Fixed Head Coupes were built with outside latches, making this an especially rare offering. Supplied by Jaguar Cars in August 1961, 860001 served as the E-Type demonstrator for Henlys Group of London, a major motor distributor and dealer on Great Portland Street. Watchfully maintained by collectors throughout the years, this important E-Type underwent a full preservation-oriented restoration in 2001 carried out by renowned marque specialists Classic Motor Cars (CMC). Gooding & Company is proud to present this rare opportunity to acquire one of the earliest E-Types extant and the first-ever production right-hand-drive example.
1961 Jaguar E-Type Series I 3.8-Litre Roadster (Estimate: £900,000 – £1,200,000) With the introduction of the Jaguar E-Type, Britain utterly dominated the road-going automotive market of Europe in the early 1960s. E-Type production for export markets commenced in March 1961, with domestic production following shortly thereafter in July 1961. The earliest production cars featured external bonnet latches and welded bonnet louvers, and the surviving examples from this period are certainly the most collectible and valuable E-Types. The 1961 Jaguar E-Type Series I 3.8-Litre Roadster on offer here, chassis 850004, is the very first production E-Type sold. Its first owner was none other than F.R.W. “Lofty” England, Jaguar’s legendary racing team manager who oversaw five Le Mans victories. Lofty allocated the earliest cars to their first owners, and picked 850004 for himself. Lofty’s E-Type was famously pictured with racing driver Graham Hill, just after he had claimed the inaugural win for the model at Oulton Park. Today, this legendary E-Type Roadster comes to auction impeccably maintained, having received an expert-level restoration by marque specialists Classic Motor Cars (CMC).
1931 Bentley Eight Litre Folding Head Coupé (Estimate: £825,000 – £1,250,000) Following four consecutive wins at Le Mans in the late 1920s, Bentley introduced the captivating Eight Litre model at the Olympia Motor Show in 1930. Designed as a fast, powerful chassis capable of carrying heavy closed coachwork with sports car-level performance, the Eight Litre was the fastest production vehicle in the world of its time, capable of reaching 103 mph. Indeed, the Eight Litre was all-encompassing as an automobile, packed with all of the important characteristics a great vehicle ought to possess: performance, reliability, charisma, comfort, strength, and a splendid sporting capability on the road. Powered by a massive inline six-cylinder engine, the Eight Litre featured all of the latest technology, including four valves per cylinder, dual ignition, and an Electron alloy crankcase. This 1931 Bentley Eight Litre Folding Head Coupé, chassis YX5123, was the 98th Eight Litre produced of the 100 cars built in total. This example was one of the desirable “short chassis” variants, and originally came supplied in light grey over black. Attractively bodied by H.J. Mulliner, the car features a disappearing hood and full tonneau cover over its rear compartment, as custom-built for its first owner. YX5123 was sold to the family of the current owner 45 years ago and boasts a continuous history as documented by Bentley authority Clare Hay. Today, it comes to market from long-term single family ownership with largely original upholstery and matching-numbers engine, gearbox, and axles. The Eight Litre joins the London Auction as part of a private collection which also includes a 1937 Alvis Tourer (Estimate: £275,000 – £350,000), a 1936 Bentley 3 1/2 Litre (Estimate: £150,000 – £200,000), and a 1934 Bentley 3 1/2 Litre (Estimate: £90,000 – £130,000).
1922 Aston Martin 1.5 Litre ‘Strasbourg’ (Estimate: £400,000 – £600,000) In 1914, inspired by the famous Aston Hill Climb, wealthy English sportsman Lionel Martin created Aston Martin in partnership with esteemed engineer Robert Bamford. The early years of Aston Martin heavily focused on motor sports, leading to great success and acclaim for the pioneering duo. Between 1914 and 1925, a total of just 50 cars were produced by the first iteration of Aston Martin before the company was eventually re-established as Aston Martin Motors Ltd. in 1925. These early cars, such as the 1922 Aston Martin 1.5 Litre ‘Strasbourg’ presented here, remain as historic reminders of the initial years of one of the automotive world’s most important marques. Chassis 1914 was built as a prototype and was never registered as a road-going vehicle. It participated in a number of hill climbs, including at Aston Clinton, as well as in several significant track outings. It led Aston Martin’s international racing debut at the 1922 French Grand Prix, held at Strasbourg on Saturday, 15 July 1922, where it was driven by Clive Gallop. The car bore no. 8 for the racing event, which remains painted on the radiator grille to this day, as the Strasbourg never raced again. It started in fifth position on the grid and completed 30 out of 60 laps before retiring, placing 9th overall. The Strasbourg was exhibited at the famous National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, where it remained on static display from 1973 to 2019. From this time forth, the Strasbourg’s engine was oil filled for static display and storage. Since then, this incredibly historic Aston Martin has remained in a dedicated car storage facility in Guernsey. It comes to market from a remarkable 70-plus years of single family ownership, and is undoubtedly one of the most significant early Aston Martin cars still in existence.
Additional English offerings at Gooding & Company’s London Auction include a historic 1924 Alvis ‘200 Mile’ Works Racing Car (Estimate: £175,000 – £225,000) and 1927 Bentley 3 Litre Speed Model Sports Tourer (Estimate: £225,000 – £300,000, Without Reserve) featuring coachwork by Vanden Plas. A very limited number of spots are still available for consignments to the upcoming auction, interested individuals must contact a Gooding & Company specialist today to promptly coordinate ahead of the rapidly approaching sale.
London Auction Date: Friday, 1 September
Location: Hampton Court Palace, UK
Viewing Days: Thursday-Friday, 31 August – 1 September
Concours of Elegance Ticketing Information: https://concoursofelegance.co.uk/tickets/
Bidder Registration: www.goodingco.com/register
Live Auction Broadcast: www.goodingco.com