Bonhams announced a 1936 Delahaye 135 S Competition Court car with Le Mans participation history for the Monaco 2021 sale in April.
A rare 1936 Delahaye 135 S Compétition Court racing car that was campaigned in period by Lucy Schell’s Écurie Bleu team is the first lead car announced for the Bonhams Monaco 2021 classic car auction scheduled for the Historic Grand Prix weekend in Monte Carlo in April 2021. Also in the sale will be the 1947 Cisitalia D46 Monoposto in which Lucy Schell’s son Harry Schell became the first American driver to start a Grand Prix race.
Bonhams Les Grandes Marques à Monaco 2021 Sale
The Bonhams ‘Les Grandes Marques à Monaco’ sale is scheduled for 23 April 2021 at the Fairmont Monte Carlo hotel during the Monaco Historic Grand Prix weekend (23 – 25 April 2021). Currently, a live auction is planned.
Bonhams had previous successes at the biannual auctions during the Monaco Historic Grand Prix weekend. The 2020 sales were canceled but in 2018 Bonhams sold the 1993 McLaren MP4 that Ayrton Senna drove to his record sixth Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix victory sold for $5 million. Senna’s first Monaco racer – a 1984 Toleman-Hart – sold for a sensational $1.9 million in the same sale.
Top Cars Announced for Bonhams Monaco 2021 Sale
Bonhams announced several top cars for the Bonhams Monaco 2021 sale. The lead car thus far is the 1936 Delahaye 135 S Compétition Court racing car but several further historic and modern automobiles are also already listed.
Bonhams Head of Sale Philip Kantor said ‘We are much looking forward to returning to Monte-Carlo for Les Grandes Marques à Monaco Sale. As ever, we will present an exciting array of cars ranging from Le Mans participants from the 30s to a Ferrari tailor-made for a member of the family. Particular note must be made of the Delahaye 135S and Simca Deho Barquette – both extremely rare and eligible for the Le Mans Classic this year, and worthy of the great racing city in which the sale takes place.’
1936 Delahaye 135 S Compétition Court
A rare 1936 Delahaye 135 S Compétition Court racing car, chassis 46810, estimate €800,000 – 1,100,000 ($950,000 — $1,300,000), will be on offer at the Bonhams Monaco 2021 sale. The car, known as ‘Buzz II’, campaigned in 1930s in Grand Prix and endurance races including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and is equipped with the matching numbers engine.
The Delahaye 135 was one of the all-time great sporting motor cars of the pre-war period. The French marque’s successes were in part due to the efforts of Irish American heiress Lucy Schell. A former racing driver, Schell became the first female motorsport team owner, with her finest hour coming at the 1938 Pau Grand Prix, when her semi-works Delahaye team trounced the seemingly unbeatable Mercedes team to take the chequered flag.
Two years earlier, Schell purchased the 135 S offered by Bonhams, which made its debut on track at the 1936 ‘Three Hours of Marseille’ endurance race 1936 as part of Écurie Bleu, her three-car semi-works team. The cars’ sky-blue paintwork, the French national color, together with the muffled ‘buzzing’ sound of their engines earned them the nickname Blue Buzz’.
This car, Blue Buzz II, competed in pre-war Grand Prix races at Donington, Pau and Commiges and endurance races such as the Belfast Tourist-Trophy before its greatest challenge, the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1939. That same year, the Delahaye was rebodied in a more aerodynamic style by the respected coachbuilders Chappes Frères.
Following two subsequent ‘face lifts’ in the intervening years, the 135 S is now offered with coachwork in the style of the Chappes Frères bodyshell, retaining its original period running gear, engine and, most importantly, the original chassis – which is a rarity for a racing car of this period. Naturally, the Delahaye is eligible for the 2021 Le Mans Classic due to take place from 1 – 4 July among a host of world-class vintage racing and concours events.
1949 Simca Deho Barquette
Also eligible for the Le Mans Classic is this 1949 Simca Deho Barquette, Coachwork by Motto, estimate €190,000-240,000, the creation of racing driver Jean Estager. He decided to transform a Simca Eight classic into a race car with a 1086cc engine prepared by Simca specialist Roger Deho and a hand-shaped aluminum body by renowned Milan-based coachbuilder Motto.
The car was sold in 1951 with its new owner wasting no time in entering it into the Le Mans 24 Hour Race. Despite being entered with number 74 and drivers Dblon-Daguet, the car failed to make the start line, but redeemed itself participating in various sporting events in the early 1950s, notably at Montlhéry in 1953.
The barchetta was rediscovered in the early 2000s as a barn find, but still retaining its original chassis and engine. Its next owner, an important Delahaye collector, embarked on a full restoration of the car, although keeping the interior of the driver’s door in its original condition as a reminder of how it was found.
1947 Cisitalia D46 Monoposto
Another important post-war competition car, a 1947 Cisitalia D46 Monoposto, estimate €150,000 – 200,000, will also cross the block in the Monaco Sale. The renowned Italian marque was established by industrialist Piero Dusio who wanted to bring back motor racing to the post-war world.
His Cisitalia fleet featured the period’s greatest drivers such as Nuvolari, Ascari, and Chiron contesting races around Europe and the wider world in these monoposto open-wheel racing cars which introduced the innovative spaceframe chassis.
This rare motor car was one of 14 examples built, of which 12 are known to survive, and is believed to be the ex-Grand Prix de Bern car, number 48, driven by Harry Schell, the first American driver to start a Grand Prix race and the son of Lucy Schell.
Early custodians included the Horschell Racing Corporation, Écurie de Paris and a succession of Australian sports car racers, before it was bought by Belgian racer Paul Swaelens who kept it for more than 40 years. Purchased by the vendor in 2003, this authentic Cisitalia has been fully restored and is eligible for a host of prestigious events worldwide.
Modern Exotics at Bonhams Monaco 2021
Several modern exotics have also been announced for the Bonhams Monaco classic car auction 2021:
A 1991 Isdera Imperator 108i, estimate €500,000 – 700,000, was the realization of a Mercedes-Benz design experiment of the late 1970s. Engineer Eberhard Schulz, who headed the original concept design team, formed Isdera to build his own supercars. The 30 examples produced over nine years remained true to the original simple concept. Super-lightweight striking gullwing coachwork on a tubular steel chassis married with outrageous power from the highly-regarded Mercedes-Benz 5-litre M119 V8 engine, resulted in unrivaled performance for its time, with a top speed of 275km/h and an acceleration from 0 to 100km/h in five seconds. The unique 1993 Isdera Commendatore 112i sold for over €1.1 at RM Sotheby’s Paris 2021.
The 1983 Ferrari 400GTI 2+2 Coupé, estimate €65,000 – 95,000, offered with no reserve in the Bonhams Monaco 2021 sale, was delivered new to Piero Lardi Ferrari, son of founder Enzo. As vice-chairman of the company, the Ferrari was produced to his own specification, the only example to feature a third seat on the rear bench.
Further highlights include a 1973 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS, estimate €300,000 – 350,000 — it is a desirable open-top targa version, in a highly-desirable color scheme. Sixty years on, the 1968 Citroën DS21 Décapotable, estimate €160,000 – 200,000, is still futuristic looking. This Citroën cabriolet features the semi-automatic transmission and was built by lauded French coachbuilder Henri Chapron.