2020 Bonhams Quail Auction (Highlights Preview)

The top cars at the Bonhams Quail Sale 2020 are a 1934 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Cabriolet Décapotable and a 1959 Porsche 718 RSK Spyder.

1934 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Cabriolet Décapotable
© Bonhams

Bonhams is bucking the trend of top modern supercars at Monterey 2020 online replacement auctions by leading the Quail Motorcar Auction with two true classic cars. The 1934 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Cabriolet Décapotable with coachwork by Joseph Figoni, presale estimate $6,500,000 to $7,500,000, is by far the most expensive car on offer at any of the Monterey Week 2020 replacement auctions. The race-winning 1959 Porsche 718 RSK Spyder, estimate $2,800,000 to $3,200,000, is also a true racing classic. Further top cars on offer include large prewar Mercedes-Benz cars, classic Aston Martins, as well as modern supercars from Bugatti and Lamborghini.

Bonhams Quail Lodge 2020 Sale

With much of the Monterey Motor Week 2020 canceled, Bonhams announced plans to stage a live online auction as its 23rd Quail Lodge sale. Although potential buyers will be able to inspect cars in person with advance appointments, the actual sale scheduled for 14 August 2020 will be behind closed doors with only telephone, online, and advance commission bidding allowed.

The virtual but live sale will take place at Bonhams’ Los Angeles office rather than the more traditional Quail Lodge in Carmel on Monterey Peninsula. The number of cars offered will probably be fewer than in recent years:

In 2019, Bonhams earned $32 million with a sell-through rate of 76% of the 217 cars on offer. In 2018, Bonhams earned $37.7 million with a sell-through rate of 82% with 110 of 135 lots sold.

At the 2017 Quail Lodge auction, Bonhams earned $56,430,000 with a sell-through rate of 80% of the 105 cars on offer. The top result was a marque-record $15,620,000 for a 1995 McLaren F1 sports car.

Million-Dollar Cars at Bonhams Quail Auction 2020

Bonhams is offering the following 12 cars at the Quail Auction 2020 with presale estimates exceeding a million dollar:

YearCarEstimate ($)
1934Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Cabriolet Decapotable by Figoni6,500,000 – 7,500,000
1959Porsche 718 RSK2,800,000 – 3,200,000
2018Bugatti Chiron2,500,000 – 2,800,000
2017Lamborghini Centenario Coupe2,000,000 – 2,300,000
1936Mercedes-Benz 500 K Offener Tourenwagen2,000,000 – 2,500,000
2014Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse “Meo Costantini”1,800,000 – 2,100,000
1955Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing Coupe1,200,000 – 1,350,000
1935Aston Martin Ulster by Bertelli1,200,000 – 1,400,000
1929Mercedes-Benz Model 630 K Town Car by Castagna1,000,000 – 1,400,000
1926Mercedes-Benz 24/100/140 Sports Phaeton by Erdmann & Rossi1,000,000 – 1,400,000
1966Aston Martin DB6 Vantage Shooting Break1,000,000 – 1,200,000
1956Mercedes-Benz 300 SC Roadster900,000 – 1,100,000

1934 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Cabriolet Décapotable

1934 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Cabriolet Décapotable
© Bonhams

The most expensive car on offer at the Bonhams Quail 2020 auction, and all the Monterey Week 2020 auctions, is the 1934 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Cabriolet Décapotable with coachwork by Joseph Figoni with a presale estimate of $6,500,000 to $7,500,000. A similar Alfa Romeo received an unsuccessful highest bid of $8.7 million at the Bonhams Scottsdale 2020 auction.

With its reputation as a world-beater on the race track in the early 1930s – particularly in the Le Mans 24 hours, in the hands of celebrated drivers such as Nuvolari – the Vittorio Jano-engineered 8C, Alfa Romeo’s first 8-cyclinder model, known as the 100mph car, was one of the era’s most coveted sportscars, and indeed remains one of the most collectible today.

The 8C cabriolet décapotable offered by Bonhams is from the last year of production. One of only seven road cars featuring bodywork by renowned coachbuilders Figoni of Paris, many regards this example as the most authentic and arguably most handsome of the five cabriolets penned by the French carrosserie. It retained the trademark stylish Figoni lines with low profile windshield, original striking two-tone red paintwork, and matching numbers driveline (chassis and engine).

The bespoke bodywork was commissioned from Figoni for the then eye-watering sum of 21,750 Francs, by its first owner Raoul Calvayrac, heir to the Dos Estrellas mine in Mexico, the world’s leading producer of gold in the early 20th Century.

The Alfa was subject to a sympathetic and respectful restoration in 2005, keeping its ‘crackle’ finish dashboard and original chassis and engine plates, suitably aged over time, which wowed the judges at the prestigious Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in 2018, awarding it the ‘Best in Class’ accolade.

1959 Porsche 718 RSK Spyder

1959 Porsche 718 RSK Spyder at Bonhams Quail Lodge 2020
1959 Porsche 718 RSK Spyder – © Bonhams

The second most expensive car announced for the Bonhams Quail Lodge 2020 sale is a 1959 Porsche 718 RSK Spyder, estimate $2,800,000 to $3,200,000. At least three 718 RSK Spyders sold for between $2.9 and $3.7 million at auctions in recent years.

An evolutionary successor to the legendary 550A Spyder, the purpose-built 718 RSK featured more power, enhanced bodywork, superior braking, and improved suspension. Only 34 were built which makes the example very rare indeed. The Porsche on offer at Quail Lodge – chassis no. 718-031 – was ordered new by noted New Jersey motorsport enthusiast, Bernie Vihl, and extensively campaigned by legendary driver Bob Holbert at numerous SCCA and international events, including the 1959 Bahamas Speed Week where it was a multiple first-place winner. The 718 RSK has been in the same ownership since 1974.

Classic Mercedes-Benz Cars at Bonhams Quail Sale 2020

Five classic Mercedes-Benz cars with estimates above a million dollar are on offer at Bonhams Quail Sale 2020.

The most interesting of these is the rare and elegant 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500k Offener Tourenwagen (US$2,000,000-2,500,000), one of only 16 Sporting Tourenwagens built on the 500K chassis and the pinnacle of 1930s motoring. Bonhams previously sold this car at Scottdale 2014 for $1,430,00 — following a refurbishing it was placed second in class as Pebble Beach 2015.

Two earlier large Mercedes-Benz cars are also on offer – the 1929 Mercedes-Benz Model 630 K Town Car with coachwork by Castagna and the 1926 Mercedes-Benz 24(/100/140 Sports Phaeton with coachwork by Erdmann and Rossi. Both cars were produced for the American market.

Mercedes-Benz 300 SLs are once again being offered frequently at classic car auctions with million-dollar bids and results again common, although prices are clearly lower than a few years ago. The 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing Coupe on offer is an early production model that achieved awards at shows in recent years.

The 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 Sc Roadster, of which only 53 were made and which originally cost significantly more than the Gullwing, is a rare car in very good condition but the million-dollar mark is often just too far for these cars. Two sold for over a million dollar each but that was back in 2015.

Aston Martins at Bonhams Quail Sale 2020

1935 Aston Martin Ulster
© Bonhams

Two important Aston Martin cars from the Estate of David L. Van Schaick, are on offer at the Bonhams sale with estimates exceeding a million dollar. Historically, the more interesting car is the iconic 1935 Aston Martin Ulster (estimate: $1,200,000-1,400,000), which was the Works Demonstrator and featured in a report for The Light Car magazine, tested at Brooklands in 1935, the verdict was summarized as Replica of Tourist Trophy Car Shows Great Paces. Road Holding and Cornering Par Excellence”. It currently wears a 2/4 seater body fitted in the 1950s but the original two-seater Ulster bodywork, damaged when a journalist crashed the demonstration car, is included in the sale.

The second is a 1966 Aston Martin DB6 Vantage Shooting Brake (estimate: $1,000,000-1,200,000), this is an extremely important and special Aston Martin, one of only six built, it was purchased by Mr. Van Schaick in 1976 and is being offered publicly for the first time.

Modern Supercars at Bonhams Quail Sale 2020

The Bonhams Quail Sale 2020 also includes three modern multimillion-dollar cars, which is fortunate as these are the only cars that seemed to perform at this price level at online auctions thus far. All three are from the Volkswagen Group of manufacturers:

The 2018 Bugatti Chiron is the only US-specification car finished in full green carbon but more noteworthy is probably the over $400,000 worth of options. It has only 400 miles on the clock.

The 2014 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse is only US-specification of the three “Meo Costantini” special editions car built. It has only 400 miles on the clock.

The 2017 Lamborghini Centenario Coupe is one of only 20 built. It has only 700 miles on the clock. A highest bid of $2.35 million for a Centenario was rejected at Mecum Monterey 2018.

Monterey Motoring Week 2020

Most of the traditional Monterey Motoring Week events scheduled for mid-August 2020 were canceled. Gooding canceled the Pebble Beach 2020 Auction and replaced it with Geared, its first online-only auction ever. Bonhams Quail Lodge 2020 will be a live auction but behind closed doors (telephone, online, and commission bidding) while RM Sotheby’s plans a Shift/Monterey online-only auction.

Monterey 2020 Results

Monterey 2020 Previews

Monterey 2020 Announcements

Major Online Classic Car Auctions in 2020

Some of the major classic car online-only sales by major auctioneers in 2020 include: