The word ‘legend’ is rather overused – particularly in the classic car world.
But in this case, the moniker is more than justified.
Bonhams’ Legends of the Road Sale on Friday (19 February) gathers together an exclusive group of exceptional motor cars created by some of the greatest automotive marques.
Bonhams’ flagship saleroom in New Bond Street will host the live and online sale, featuring renowned auctioneer James Knight at the rostrum, with remote bidding via bonhams.com or the new Bonhams app.
Here are the five key motoring masterpieces going under the hammer:
1937 Bugatti Type 57S
In pole position is one of the world’s most valuable - and one of the fastest - pre-war motor cars, a 1937 Bugatti Type 57S, owned by the likes of Sir Malcolm Campbell, of the ‘Bluebird’ world land speed records fame.
One of only 20 surviving ‘Surbaisse’ variants, this is the last unrestored 57S, presented in exceptionally original condition, having been ‘hidden’ in the workshop of its late owner for the past 50 years, and offered for the first time ever at auction.
Its bespoke coachwork built to the specification of first owner, shipping magnate Robert Ropner, was built on a special lightweight chassis previously used on one of three works ‘tank’ sports cars which contested Grand Prix in 1936 and set high speed records.
Estimate £5 – £7 million, offered at no reserve.
1960 Aston Martin DB4GT
Considered the marque's finest post-war road car, the ‘Gentleman’s Express’ DB4GT was the ultimate Gran Turismo of its time with a 150mph plus top speed and a 0-60mph time of 6.1 seconds.
The DB4GT enjoyed much track success and the car offered has a motorsport link, first owned by Syd Green, founder of the Gilby Engineering Grand Prix racing team. Its late keeper purchased the coupé in 1966, testing its Grand Tourer abilities on numerous European road trips before embarking on a restoration project in 1983.
Like the Bugatti, the Aston has been off the road for several decades and is now offered as a part restoration with nearly all its original parts including the original push-button radio.
Estimate £1.4 million – £1.8 million
1965 Ferrari 275 GTS
Similarly treasured by a single family since 1977, this rare jewel is one of only 19 right-hand drive examples of the 200 luxury 275 GTS variants produced during Ferrari’s ‘golden age’.
Styled by Carrozzeria Pininfarina, the GTS is powered by a 260bhp 3.3-litre V12 engine and was the first road-going Ferrari to employ an independent rear suspension, resulting in the unique Ferrari racing car sensation, while the interior offered leather and wood veneer luxury.
The GTS is offered from a renowned UK-based private collection in ‘Sera’ blue with black leather interior and a private registration number ‘II HLO’ and the all-important Ferrari Classiche Certification.
Estimate £700,000 – 900,000
1934 Frazer Nash TT Replica
Only 85 examples of this sporting Frazer Nash were built and the TT Replica is a true ‘bucket list’ car for any vintage sports car enthusiast.
Named after the short-lived British firm’s success in the Northern Ireland Tourist Trophy in 1931 and 1932, the TT was aimed at the ‘sporting motorist’, especially the privateer racing or rally driver, and delivered outstanding performance, due to its unusual chain-drive axle which allowed rapid clutchless gear changes, quick steering (one turn lock to lock) and powerful 1.5-litre engine.
This period-correct car was tested by its first owner in high speed and reliability trials and then in Vintage Sports-Car Club Races by its late keeper who kept the car for more than 50 years.
1955 Jaguar XK140 3.8-litre Roadster
The fifth legend in the sale is a quintessential classic British sports car. The XK 120 caused a sensation when unveiled with its stunning feline form and revolutionary 3.4-litre engine with a top speed of 120mph, making it the fastest production car of its time.
The XK140 was evolutionary, enhancing the Jaguar’s refinement, interior space and performance with an uprated engine, matched by improved brakes. This example is one of only 74 right-hand drive roadsters, powered by a 3.8-litre competition engine formerly used by legendary Jaguar saloon racer Albert Betts (along with the original unit) and is offered from long-term family ownership of more than 50 years.
Estimate £180,000 – £260,000. For more information, see bonhams.com