A number of veteran machines took plaudits usually reserved for modern classics on 3 November, as several examples soared above their pre-sale estimates at the Bonhams’ London to Brighton Run car auction.
The undoubted star of the sale was a 1903 Panhard et Levassor Model B 10hp Four-Cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau, which got away for £326,667 – the highest figure of the sale. First restored in the 1950s, it had been with the vendor since 2001.
While in the vendor’s care, the car benefitted from a full engine rebuild in 2004/2005 around a new crankshaft, with a transmission rebuild following in 2008 courtesy of NP Veteran Engineering Ltd. The Panhard et Levassor last took part in the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run in 2012, and was described as being ‘ready to be enjoyed’.
Also catching the eye of a number of bidders was a 1902 Westfield Model G 13 hp Twin-Cylinder Four-Seat Rear-Entrance Tonneau, which flew past its £220,000 pre-sale upper estimate to an impressive £287,100.
The Model G was a rare survivor from the short-lived American manufacturer Westfield, and was fully restored to show-winning condition in the 1990s.
As well as picking up countless concours victories – including at the Regent Street and Chopard events – the car has been rallied extensively, covering more than 3000 miles during the vendor’s stewardship.
Unlike some veterans, which can be a challenge to drive, the Westfield combines simple controls with a top speed of almost 50mph.
A 1903 Darracq Model H 12hp Twin-Cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau also surpassed expectations, eventually selling for £203,100 and eclipsing its £120,000-160,000 pre-sale estimate.
The regular London to Brighton entrant had been with the vendor for 18 years. It’s restoration – which included building a replica engine and four-seat body – was completed during their first year of ownership.
In addition to the London to Brighton Run, the Darracq also completed the re-enactment of the 1000-Mile Trial in 2000, plus re-enactments of the Paris to Vienna Race, The Gordon Bennett Rally and the 100th anniversary race from Paris to Bordeaux.