Despite taking place across the channel, the Bonhams sale Les Grandes Marques au Grand Palais in Paris on 9th February will witness the sale of some of Britain's finest motor cars. More than 30 vehicles from 7 of the most celebrated British marques will be offered, including Aston Martin, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Jaguar and Austin-Healey.
Magnificent Aston Martin Ulster
The top lot of the sale is the magnificent 1935 Aston Martin Ulster two-seat sports (1,600,000-1,800,000) which was a works entry in Le Mans 24 Hours of 1935 where it finished 5th in its class. Based on the Mk II chassis, the Ulster was the apotheosis of the pre-war sporting Aston Martin and was originally made available to amateur racers for just £750. One of only 31 Ulsters built, 'CML 719' list of race outings reads like a racetrack hall of fame: Spa Francorchamps, Brooklands, Donington, Silverstone, Goodwood, Monterey and the Mille Miglia have all witnessed the robust elegance of what is widely considered to be the marque's finest pre-war car. Eligible for the most important historic motorsports events, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire a sports car of this calibre.
If you'd rather experience effortless cruising than electrifying hairpin bends, then the 1957 Bentley S1 Continental Drophead Coupé (1,000,000-1,500,000) may be just right. At the time of release, it was described as 'offering a degree of comfort and performance beyond even the imagination of the world's motorists.' One of just 31 left-hand drive drophead coupés made, this example was delivered new to the shipping magnate and Bentley Connoisseur George A. Embiricos and has had just 2 further owners, one of whom kept the car for over 30 years. It is presented in immaculate condition with genuine owners manual and extensive documentation; the vendor advises that this is a truly luxurious grand tourer and a delight to drive.
The dawn of one of Britain's finest sporting marques
Originally displayed at the 1928 London Motor Show at Olympia, the 1928 Aston Martin 1½ Litre Standard Sports Model (600,000-800,000) is the third oldest Bertelli-era Aston Martin known to be running. Finished to a unique specification, 'TS10' was sold directly from the show stand to the Maharajah of Patiala and directly exported to India. Little is known of the car's time there, and when it was discovered by the current vendor in pieces, restoration seemed insurmountable. However, in 2006 Andy Bell of Ecurie Bertelli Ltd (the world renowned authority on pre-war Aston Martins) achieved the impossible and in just under three years restored this unique car to a magnificent standard. Representing the dawn of one of Britain's finest sporting marques, this vehicle would surely take pride of place in any collection.
Quintessential British luxury
From Rolls-Royce, Bonhams offers both a series II and series III Silver Cloud Drophead Cabriolet. The 1962 Series II (335,000-395,000) is restored to a superb concours standard. First owned by American TV royalty and Television Academy Hall of Fame member, Bill Todman (The Price is Right, What's My Line), the car passed to his son on his death the only other owner making this a genuine two private-owner example. It is not just the celebrated Mulliner coachwork that sets this car apart, but also the quintessentially luxurious interior, boasting picnic tables, split front blue leather seats and matching carpets throughout. The 1965 Series III (380,000-420,000) was delivered new to Mme la Comtesse Lucrece de Stephanos; the original correspondence between Mme la Comtesse and Rolls-Royce accompanies the car, including a letter of complaint stating that it was delivered without an ashtray! The car was favourably received at the Concorso d'Eleganza at Villa d'Este, one of the world's most prestigious motoring events.
A trio of E-Types
One cannot talk of British cars without mentioning the Jaguar E-Type, and Bonhams is proud to offer three exemplary examples. The 1961 Jaguar E Type 3.8-Litre Roadster (180,000-230,000) is a 'flat floor' model, considered by enthusiasts (other than those above 6ft 2) to be the most desirable version. It caused a sensation when it first appeared on the market, due to its now iconic design and its 150mph top speed. A recent overhaul of the body, interior, hood and mechanicals has resulted in a beautiful example of a classic model, presented with matching numbers and in a rare and eye-catching opalescent blue-silver colour combination. The 1965 Series I 4.2-Litre Roadster (145,00-175,000) is in similarly fantastic condition, and also sports matching numbers. It is presented fresh from a 'rotisserie' restoration including a full interior retrim.
After the elevation of the GT class to Manufacturer's Championship status in 1963, Jaguar were prompted to develop a very small batch of lightweight cars to take on Ferrari. Despite 100 cars being the minimum required by the FIA, coachwork modification enabled Jaguar to claim its lightweights as standard (but altered...) E-Types. Today, copies of these ultra-rare variants such as this 1962 3.8-Litre
Semi-Lightweight Competition Coupé Hardtop (250,000-350,000) are highly sought after as eligible for many events worldwide. Built by Classic Restoration Services, this example was completed in 2016 and is immaculately presented to FIA specification with period correct magnesium peg-drive wheels. Having featured in the March edition of Dutch Octane magazine, this Semi-Lightweight is a mouth-watering prospect for its next owner.
A pair of Austin-Healeys
Arguably one of the most beautiful and enjoyable sports cars of the 1950s, this 1955 Austin-Healey 100M 'Le Mans' Roadster (200,000-250,000) is a genuine factory-built version and one of two Austin-Healeys being offered. Completed on 8th September 1955, it was finished in the same black and red combination it sports today. Capable of just shy of 120mph, this motor car is eligible for the Mille Miglia and is a serious potential concours winner. The second Austin-Healey left the factory just a year later in 1956 and factory fitted with the same Le Mans tuning kit including its beautifully finished hardtop. A 2012 Mille Miglia entrant and indeed finisher, this example retains its colour scheme of Old English White with red trim and is accompanied by its British Motor Industry Heritage Trust Cerificate, confirming its full matching numbers and its origins as a genuine factory-built 100M 'Le Mans' car (180,000-240,000).