Actress’s car tops Bonhams Beaulieu auction

Credit: Original article published by Classic Cars Journal.

Actress Jean Simmons’ 1949 Bristol 420 drophead coupe was the top seller at Bonhams MPH auction at Beaulieu, England, where the pale green convertible sold for $221,126.

The car had been a gift to the actress from co-star and future husband, Stewart Granger. Theirs were among only 24 such cars produced by Bristol. Although used extensively in promoting their film, Adam and Evelyn, the car had been driven only 32,000 miles. 

Two other cars on the docket sold for more than $200,000 — a 1948 Delahaye Type 135M drophead went for $211,956 and a 1966 Aston Martin DB6 brought $202,439.

Bonhams said the auction posted a 90 percent sell-through rate for the more than 120 cars on offer and total sales of nearly £2.5 million ($3.458 million).

In a different sort of celebrity provenance, a 1996 Subaru Impreza Turbo 2000 — the standard version, not the rally-prepped racer — owned by the late Colin McRae’s family sold for $15,572.

The auction was held as part of the International Autojumble (swap meet) at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu. In addition to the cars, the auction docket included 400 lots of automobilia.

“We were delighted to take MPH on tour to Beaulieu, where Bonhams has staged an auction for many years,” said Rob Hubbert, head of the MPH auctions, which usually are held at Bicester Heritage. “The weekend attracted some 30,000 visitors resulting in a busy salesroom, leading to our high sell-through rate; proving the appetite for live sales and events among motor car collectors and enthusiasts remains.”

Top-10 sales, Bonhams MPH Beaulieu Sale, 2021

  1. 1959 Bristol 402 drophead, $221,126
  2. 1948 Delahaye Type 135M drophead, $211,956
  3. 1966 Aston Martin DB6, $202,439
  4. 1970 Aston Martin DB6 Mk2, $196,210
  5. 1905 Lorraine-Dietrich CR2 sports racer, $191,539
  6. 2012 Rolls-Royce Ghost, $133,921
  7. 1953 Jaguar XK120 SE, $124,578
  8. 1964 Alvis TE21 convertible, $119,906
  9. 1934 Bentley 3 1/2-Liter drophead, $112,120
  10. 1965 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 roadster, $84,090

(Prices include buyer’s fee.)

The next MPH sale by Bonhams is scheduled for December 11 at Bicester Heritage.

Even before then, Bonhams motorcar division will be busy with auctions September 18 at the Goodwood Revival, October 1 at the Audrain Concours d’Elegance & Motor Week, October 10 at the Zoute Grand Prix, November 5 at its New Bond Street headquarters in London, and December 4, also at the London location.