2020 Bonhams MPH Year Review

2020 – what a year…In our first full year since our launch in June 2019, we have continued successfully consigning and selling modern, popular and historic motor cars from our Bicester Heritage base.

Despite the challenges faced along with the rest of the world during the COVID pandemic, the market has been exceptionally resilient with some cars selling well against estimates and high sell through rates.

Rising to the challenging and changing restrictions, we have continued to stage our popular drive-through auctions, while pioneering the Bonhams ‘live and online’ sales, livestreamed via Bonhams.com.

Fast Facts:

•           Total lots consigned in 2020: 595

•           Total lots sold in 2020: 372

•           Sale Total in 2020: £7,501,464



We began the year with our March 2020 auction, with 94 lots consigned from 61 vendors. We commenced the auction set up in hangar 113 at Bicester Heritage during the frenzy of the first signs that the world was entering what was described as a global pandemic.

Determined for the sale to happen, we continued to position, clean and check cars over throughout the week. However, with the escalating situation and impending lockdown, the sale simply could not go ahead as a traditional auction and so, reacting quickly, we decided to offer the lots under a new ‘sealed bid’ system.

Top Performing Lots:

  • Lot 25: 1977 Ford RS2000 – having benefitted from a complete nut and bolt restoration, and all in all an incredibly appealing Fast Ford, this RS2000 achieved a great price at £40,500.
  • Lot 45: 1988 Ferrari 412 GT- a very rare manual gearbox example and one of only 20 made. Sporting highly unusual black with black trim and the perfect entry level Ferrari. Sold for £35,625
  • Lot 36: 1983 Mercedes-Benz 500SL Sports – this 500SL was offered with many factory extras and a hard top, making it a perfect prospective purchase for the coming summer months. £24,750.



Onto the May auction where, with a reduced team, we came together with the New Bond Street Motor Car department and the Motorcycle department to stage our first ‘Live and Online’ Sale. Bicester Heritage were supportive in allowing an outdoors viewing to comply with the lockdown regulations. All lots were displayed in the spring sunshine on site at Bicester Heritage, and documents were available to view on the veranda outside the office. The Bonhams MPH online platform was utilised to drive a digital form of consignment. We sold 75 per cent of the 118 lots, with the final sale total achieving £1,627,100.

We made use of the Bonhams Oxford saleroom to run a Live Stream auction, so that buyers could watch and enjoy the camaraderie of a ‘proper’ auction.

Top performing lots:

  • Lot 91: 1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 – with believed-genuine c.87,838 miles on the clock and matching engine/chassis numbers requiring restoration following many years of garage storage, this Aston was again a very popular lot, and sold above estimate at £90,000.
  • Lot 35: 1949 MG TC – this lovely TC was well known in MG circles and had only covered 700 miles in the last decade, making it extremely popular with MG enthusiasts. Sold for £22,500.



The July auction, only two months later, was staged back in hangar 113, once again as a ‘Live and Online’ auction. Once more, three motoring departments worked together to create a 141-lot auction, which was live-streamed from our Oxford sale room, with the cars on view by appointment at Bicester Heritage. The final sale total was an encouraging £2,242,630 – made all the more so as our head of department, Rob, had emergency surgery to have his appendix removed. Although advised to take two weeks out, he felt that eight hours would suffice!

Top performing lots:

  • Lot 126: 1993 Porsche 911 Turbo 3.6-Litre 964 Coupé – vendor-owned for 19 years and with a comprehensive service history, this lovely, low-mileage Porsche was offered with main dealer invoices, original book pack as well as its original sale brochure. Sold for above estimate at £164,250.
  • Lot 47: 1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II 40/50HP Saloon – boasting rakish Mulliner bodywork and being one of the most significant of pre-war Rolls models, this lovely example had plenty of period correspondence in the history file, making for a fantastic addition to any buyer’s collection. Sold for above estimate at £84,375.



Lockdown had lifted slightly during our consignment period for the September Auction, and we managed to bring in 114 lots in just eight weeks. We had a very busy viewing period and were able to stage a fully COVID -live drive through auction, as a part of the Drive-In Weekender, staged by Brand Events at Bicester Heritage. It was uplifting to be amongst fellow motoring enthusiasts for the first time since early March, and to see so much positivity during a time of worry for so many. We achieved a sell through rate of 67 per cent and a sale total of £1,246,475 which was a promising result in a slightly downturned market.

Top performing lots:

  • Lot 73 - 2018 McLaren 570S Spider: From the deceased estate of Joy Rainey, a much-respected hillclimb competitor, and barely run in with an odometer reading of 4,650 miles, this McLaren was extremely well priced and sold for above estimate at £95,625.
  • Lot 49: 1962 Jaguar E-Type Series I 3.8-Litre Coupé – an early example with excellent bodywork and an interesting history file, this Jaguar had received a thorough restoration and sold for above estimate at £76,500.
  • Lot 12: 1931 Leyland Lioness Six FE – One of five built, three known to still exist and this sole example running. Need we say more? This lovely example was restored by David Berry and it appeared at 30 Royal tournaments and won its class for three consecutive years. Sold for above estimate £34,875
  • Lot 8: 1965 Alvis TE21 Saloon – one of a collection of nine from a well-known deceased collector, this Alvis boasted an excellent history file and the car had been visibly well cared for, making it a great, honest gentleman’s express. Sold for above estimate at £25,315.



For the December sale, we were again back into tier two in Oxfordshire, and took the decision to hold a ‘Live and Online’ auction, as per May and July.  We managed to consign an impressive 126 lots and worked with the motorcycle team to fill the hangar with our MPH lots, plus 250 motorcycles and 150 lots of automobilia from The Winter Sale. Our MPH auction achieved a 70 per cent sell-through rate, and a sale total of £1,506,218. Considering Brexit being just days away, and the ongoing pandemic, we were once again very encouraged by the results.

Top Performing Lots:

  • Lot 374: 1957 AC Aceca Coupé – from a collection of 5 cars in the sale from an esteemed collector, Les Thomas, This AC was only one of one hundred and fifty one built with the 2.0-Litre AC engine, and had belonged in the same family ownership for some 40 years. Sold for above estimate at £94,500.
  • 362: 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville – in present ownership for almost 30 years, this Cadillac had been very clearly well cared for. Delivered with all optional extras, this example was restored in 1992 and the original engine and gearbox rebuilt. Sold for above estimate £39,375.
  • Lot 377: 1989 Chevrolet Silverado 'Havoc' Monster Truck - the first Monster Truck to be sold at UK Auction, and one of only four Monster Trucks in the UK. Sold for £28,125.


29 January Valuation Day by Appointment Only

Bicester Heritage, OX26 5HA
29 Jan 2021