2021 RM Sotheby’s London Sale (Jaguar C-Type and Blower Bentley Announced)

A 1952 Jaguar C-Type and the first 1930 “Blower” Bentley 4½-Litre Supercharged Tourer are early highlights announced for the RM Sotheby’s London classic car auction in November 2021.

1952 Jaguar C-Type on sale in the RM Sotheby's London 2021 classic car auction
Tim Scott ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

RM Sotheby’s announced two important British motorcars as the early lead cars for its London 2021 classic car auction, in association with the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, on 5 November 2021 in central London. The 1952 Jaguar C-Type (Estimate: £4,000,000 – £4,500,000) has significance in-period racing history in the USA while the 1930 Bentley 4½-Litre Supercharged Tourer (Estimate: £3,800,000 – £4,200,000) was the first Blower Bentley produced. Further interesting British cars on offer include a 1959 Aston Martin DB4 Series I and a one-off 1931 Rolls-Royce 20/25 ‘Dreadnought Special’.

1952 Jaguar C-Type at RM Sotheby’s London 2021 Sale

1952 Jaguar C-Type rpfiel on sale in the RM Sotheby's London 2021 classic car auction
Tim Scott ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The early lead car announced for the 15th London sale of RM Sotheby’s is a 1952 Jaguar C-Type (Estimate: £4,000,000 – £4,500,000 / $5,500,000 – $6,000,000) with its original bodywork and engine despite extensive racing history.

The 1952 Jaguar C-Type left the company’s Browns Lane works in Coventry, England, on 7 October 1952 and was immediately dispatched to its first, Florida-based owner, Commander John “Jack” Rutherford, finished in cream with a green suede interior. As its ‘014’ chassis number suggests, it was the fourteenth example of the 53 cars produced, fitted with the corresponding engine number E-1014-8, and body no. K-1014, and it is significant that this important car retains its numbers-matching engine and is notable for its high levels of originality.

Rutherford was to compete in the car extensively between 1952 and 1960, and the car’s performance in his hands at the NASCAR speed week at Daytona Beach, is notable for a timed run at 134.07mph. With its second owner, the car raced in several SCCA races between 1961 and 1962 and achieved notable results including several 1st in class performances as well as participating in the 1962 Road America 500 Miles. 

The third US-based owner retained the car for 24 years and eventually sold the car to a German collector who undertook a complete and detailed restoration in 1988, when the car was repainted in classic British Racing Green. With a thoroughly known and documented history, this important competition Jaguar is eligible for almost all historic motoring events.

Only three Jaguar C-Types were sold at auction since 2013: two sold for around $5 million while a Works Lightweight achieved $13,200,000 at RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2015 to set the model record (and marque record at the time of sale).

1930 Bentley 4½-Litre Supercharged Tourer

1930 Bentley 4½-Litre Supercharged Tourer on sale in the RM Sotheby's London 2021 classic car auction
Tim Scott ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The 1930 Bentley 4½-Litre Supercharged Tourer, (Estimate: £3,800,000 – £4,200,000 / $5,200,000 – $5,700,000) on offer at RM Sotheby’s London 2021 was the first of the 50 Blower Bentleys produced.

The ‘Blower’ Bentleys were developed in the quest for more power and performance from the marque’s definitive four-cylinder engine, and the Supercharged cars will forever be associated with Bentley’s pre-war racing efforts and great drivers such as Sir Henry (Tim) Birkin. The cars featured a new supercharger designed by Amherst Villiers, which when added to the 4½-litre engine, hiked the power from 100bhp to 175bhp. 50 such cars were commissioned, and the car offered for sale in London is no less than the very first ‘Blower’ completed at the factory in 1930, chassis SM3903.

The Bentley was displayed at the 1929 London Motor Show and it was retained by Bentley Motors for some time afterward, serving as company demonstrator until late in 1931 before being sold via London’s Jack Barclay dealership. The car’s history is extremely well documented and is supported by a comprehensive report by the leading Bentley, expert Clare Hay. Chassis SM3903’s undisputed status as the very first of the famed Blower Bentleys completed seals the car’s place in automotive history and certainly makes it one of the most significant Bentleys in existence.

Classic Bentleys often struggle at auction but a Blower is always special and the first one ever produced even more so. The presale estimate hints at model record territory. The Bentley marque record is $7,867,000 paid in 2012 at the Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed sale for the 1929 Bentley “Birkin Blower” — a single-seater racer raced by Sir Henry Tim Birkin that held the Brooklands Outer Circuit record at 137 mph.

Further British Cars Announced for RM Sotheby’s London Sale 2021

1931 Rolls-Royce 20/25 'Dreadnought Special' on sale in the RM Sotheby's London 2021 classic car auction
Tom Gidden ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Further early British consignments for the RM Sotheby’s London sale include a 1959 Aston Martin DB4 Series I (Estimate: £325,000 – £375,000) and a one-off 1931 Rolls-Royce 20/25 ‘Dreadnought Special’, a high-performance and expertly engineered pre-war special, featuring a highly tuned supercharged Bentley 4½-litre engine in a Rolls Royce 20/25 chassis, and boasting unique sports bodywork. (Estimate: £150,000 – £200,000).

RM Sotheby’s London Auction 2021

The RM Sotheby’s London Auction is held on 5 November 2021 in partnership with the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run in central London in association with The Royal Automobile Club. In contrast to the auctions of previous sponsor Bonhams, the RM Sotheby’s car auction is not restricted to veteran cars old enough to participate in the actual run.

With its unique atmosphere and camaraderie, the RM Sotheby’s Veteran Car Run from London to Brighton commemorates the Emancipation Run of 14 November 1896, which celebrated the Locomotives on the Highway Act. The Act raised the speed limit for ‘light locomotives’ from 4 to 14 mph and abolished the need for these vehicles to be preceded by a man on foot waving a red flag.

The first commemoration of the Emancipation Run was held in 1897 with a drive to Sheen House in Richmond Park. Then, in 1927, the inaugural re-enactment followed the original Brighton route and has taken place every November since, apart from the war years and 1947 when petrol was rationed. The Royal Automobile Club has managed the Run with the support of the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain since 1930.