Events

The best cars (and one bike) to watch at Bonhams Zoute auction

by John Mayhead
1 October 2021 5 min read

This article originally appeared on Hagerty.co.uk.

Het Zoute, the very small but very exclusive enclave within the northwest Belgian town of Knokke-Heist, once a year plays host to a very special car show, the Zoute Grand Prix. Intentionally high end, the event mixes art expositions, concours of elegance and a variety of classic and sports car tours. It also includes an auction hosted by Bonhams.

The Zoute Sale catalogue is always a treat, with an eclectic mix of very high quality modern and historic cars rarely found elsewhere. European cars feature heavily, and the sale sometimes attracts quirky vehicles that wouldn’t be quite at home in the more prestigious Rétromobile Paris auctions in February.

This year is no different, with a fascinating mix of very special cars and motorcycles, and a few that just wouldn’t seem right elsewhere. Here are our picks of the 2021 Bonhams Zoute sale, scheduled for 10 October.

Photo: Bonhams

1991 BMW Z1 Roadster
Estimate: €90,000 – €120,000 ($100,000 – $140,000)

With a top estimate that is way over the Hagerty Price Guide’s Condition #1 (Concours) value, this BMW Z1 has to be very special… and it is. There are just 16 kilometers (10 miles) on the odometer, and the first owner didn’t even register the car. He simply kept it in the entrance to his office. Undoubtedly collectable, the car’s extreme low-mileage may also cause the new owner a few headaches, as it may be liable for VAT as a technically “new” car. That could tack on around 20 percent to the final price.

Photo: Bonhams

1992 Honda Z50K Monkey Bike ‘Baja Africa’
Estimate: €17,000 – €20,000 ($20,000 – $23,000)

The Honda Z50 had an astonishing 50-year production run and today demand for the more collectable versions is extraordinary. Back in April, Bonhams auctioned a group of six at their Monaco sale with one, a 2004 ‘Freddy Spencer’ edition, selling for €10,350 (about $20,000). At Zoute, another four are crossing the block, including the holy grail of Monkey Bikes, the ‘Baja Africa’. Available as an optional-extra and only in Japan, the Africa Kit was inspired by Honda’s Africa Twin, the Paris-Dakar winner in 1987, and its high price meant that very few were sold in period. Will this ultra-rare bike reach its target? Easy to store, simple to display and lots of fun, with values increasing all the time, it seems likely.

Photo: Bonhams

1989 Ferrari F40 Berlinetta
Estimate: €1,000,000 – €1,500,000 ($1,200,000 – $1,700,000)

The average value for a Ferrari F40 in Hagerty Price Guide is nearly three times what it was 10 years ago, but demand for Ferrari’s 40th anniversary present to itself seems to have reached fever pitch in the last few months. And this F40 is very special. Showing just 1790 km (1112 miles) from new, it is also a “non-cat, non-adjust,” one-owner model with air conditioning as well as winding windows, and is presented in very original condition. True, it’s been dry-stored since 1992, but as far as blank canvasses go, this is a great example.

Photo: Bonhams

1974 Citroën SM
Estimate: €70,000 – €100,000 ($81,000 – $120,000)

In both Hagerty’s US and UK Price Guides, Citroën SM values have followed the same trajectory – relatively flat in recent years, then rising quickly in the past 12 months. The mean price is up 14.9 percent in the US and a huge 20.1 percent in the UK. This one’s top estimate is in excess of our #1 value but for very good reason. It was the personal vehicle of the car’s designer, Robert Opron, who put the first 74,000 miles on the clock. Whether Opron’s name will be enough to compensate for the rather higher mileage remains to be seen.

Photo: Bonhams

1991 Alfa Romeo SZ Coupe
Estimate: €60,000 – €90,000 ($69,000 – $100,000)

Bonhams’ rather wide estimate range for this car displays the uncertainty in which the ES30 SZ is viewed. This is undoubtedly a very special example, presented in pristine condition with just 1300 km (808 miles). But the design – again by Robert Opron – is very, very bold. Some love it; others really don’t. Stories of sketchy factory build quality don’t help, either. That said, the top estimate is still under our Hagerty Price Guide #1 value, so it is priced to sell.

Photo: Bonhams

1959 ‘Pre-Series’ Lancia Flaminia Sport Zagato
Estimate: €500,000 – €700,000 ($580,000 – $810,000)

On paper, this car has absolutely everything going for it. It’s a Zagato-bodied Lancia with a double-bubble roof, it’s one of the ultra-rare ‘pre-series’ Flaminias, and it came with a host of competition parts from the factory. In recent years it has had all the right people look after it, from Omicron to Jim Stokes. It has been well-used on rallies and tours, and is a shoo-in for all sorts of high-quality events. It’s even a fantastic colour. But… top quality Lancias, even the really special ones, have tended to struggle at auction in recent years, as we recently wrote. Hopefully the advantages of this car will outweigh buyers’ reticence.

1951 Land Rover Series I ‘Reborn’
Estimate: €110,000 – €150,000 ($130,000 – $170,000)

Jaguar Land Rover totally revitalised the classic Land Rover market when it launched the Heritage operations back in 2015. Land Rover’s first target was its earliest model: the Series I. Original vehicles were stripped back and painstakingly rebuilt to very high quality by the factory, and just 25 were made. Prices apparently varied depending on the client’s requirements, but the estimate for this example, finished in 2019, can’t be far off what was paid. Seemingly undriven, and presented in concours condition, it could be a long-term collector’s dream, or a green-lane enthusiast’s nightmare.

Photo: Bonhams

1966 Citroën 2CV Sahara
Estimate: €70,000 – €90,000 ($81,000 – $100,000)

Until recently, the prospect of a Citroën 2CV this expensive could have been regarded as fanciful, but values of the most rare varieties, especially the twin-engined 4×4 Sahara, have risen strongly in recent years. Then, two weeks ago, French auction house Aguttes sold unregistered examples, each for over €100,000 and one for an astonishing €141,960. This one, with matching numbers, could sell very well.

Photo: Bonhams

1955 Jaguar XK140 Coupe by Ghia
Estimate: €200,000 – €300,000 ($230,000 – $350,000)

The vehicles belonging to collectors of prototypes dot the lawns at the great concours of the world. Could this car, in need of total restoration and with an interesting history that includes track time in the 1970s, one day join them? It’s possible, but there are a few caveats. Just four XK140 chassis were given to Carrozzeria Ghia to body, with this one reaching the Paris Salon in 1956. But in 1959, following an accident, the nose was ‘modernised’, reportedly also by Ghia. Then, in the late 1960s, the owner dropped in a 3.8-Litre XK engine. The estimate seems strong, but back in 2015 RM Sotheby’s sold a 1952 Jaguar XK120 by Ghia for a shade over $2M. Even without the original engine, and bearing in mind this car will never be as beautiful as the original ‘Supersonic’ XK120, this would undoubtedly be a very special car if returned to original specification.

1994 Bugatti EB110 Super Sport
Estimate: €2,000,000 – €2,500,000 ($2,300,000 – $2,900,000)

The first owner of this Bugatti EB110 Super Sport obviously did not consider a 0-100 km/h time of 3.14 seconds to be quite fast enough and specified that the factory extract a little more power from the engine. The result is reportedly one of the most powerful ever examples of the model. The EB110 is another one of those cars that the market still doesn’t know how to value. This estimate is over the Hagerty Price Guide top value for the model ($2.3M), so this bar may be set too high. That said, the recent record sale of a Jaguar XJ220 at the Bonhams Goodwood Revival auction showed that these early 1990s hypercars may be coming back into vogue.

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