The imposing 1903 Darracq 24hp Model JJ Rear-Entrance Tonneau has top the sale at the Bonhams annual London to Brighton Run Sale. It sold for £599,640, against a pre-sale estimate of £550,000-650,000.
The car was manufactured by Alexandre Darracq who was born in Bordeaux in 1855 and made a fortune in the bicycle industry’s boom years of the late 19th Century and like many of his contemporaries subsequently turned his attention to powered transport. Darracq’s new venture was financed by the sale of his Gladiator bicycle business to Dunlop, though he continued to make bicycle components in his new factory at Suresnes, Seine.
The Darracq was an ex-1903 Paris-Madrid Tour and current Regent Street Motor Show Concours champion. Restored in mid-1990s, it is one of only two known ever made.
The oldest car of the sale was the elegant 1894-5 Peugeot 2½hp Twin-Cylinder Two-Seater, which is believed to have taken part in the Paris-Rouen Race. It achieved £356,500, and its new owner is considering flying in to London to drive his new motor car to Brighton for the first time. The 1901 Schaudel 10hp Four-Seater Rear-Entrance Tonneau was offered with entry in to the Run on Sunday and sold for £120,750. It will be driven to Brighton by its new owners.
One of only two thought to exist, the c.1902 Liberia-Dupont 12hp Twin-Cylinder Two/Four-Seater Detachable Tonneau performed well, selling for £115,000 while the 1904 Star 7hp Twin-Cylinder Two-Seater realized £87,400.
The auction proved as popular as ever this year, with an impressive 94% of lots sold (12 out of 13 motor cars) and a total of £1,750,778 achieved.
“Today’s results show that the appetite for the earliest motor cars remains as strong as ever. Our specialist team are nearly all owners and drivers of veteran machines, and we enjoy sharing this particular interest with like-minded bidders from across the world. We are delighted with today’s sale, and look forward to seeing some of the cars making their way to Madeira Drive on Sunday,” said Tim Schofield, Head of Bonhams UK Motoring Department.