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Quarter-million–pound Jaguar headlines 2015 Bonhams auction

24 June, 2015

Some of the finest and most sought-after cars ever produced by the likes of Ferrari, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, and Jaguar will be going up for auction at Bonhams’ Goodwood auction in England on June 26. Headlining the event will be one of the last Jaguar XK 120 models ever built. 

Expected to sell for approximately £240,000–280,000 (NZ$550,000–642,000), the XK 120 in question, commonly known as the ‘RJH 400’, holds an illustrious rallying history. In February 1954, Eric Haddon, a keen amateur rally driver, purchased the XK 120 new for a mere £1694. Over that year, the car would rack up a spectacular rallying record.

Competing in the 1954 Tulip Rally — one which The Motor magazine termed as the toughest on record — Haddon and Vivian looked to be likely victors in their class, until a broken throttle rod near the finish line saw them finish second to a Salmson.

But, as described by Bonhams’ International Motoring Director, James Knight, it was a win in the Alpine Rally which cemented the Haddon/Vivian XK 120’s slot in the record books.

“It was at the Alpine Rally that Haddon and Vivian first engraved their names into the motoring history books. The XK 120 gave a sterling performance, leaving the duo to finish as winners in the unlimited class after completing a route which had claimed the racing careers of many a great motor car and driver,” said Knight.

The famous car went on to also win the MCC Redex National event on its way to becoming one of the most sought-after examples from the British marque.

The Haddon/Vivian example is one of 14 Jaguars up for auction at the event; other highlights including an exceptionally clean 1960s Jaguar E-Type with less than 8000 miles on the clock, and an original and unrestored 1965 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 4.2-litre Coupé, estimated to sell for between £120,000–160,000.

Beyond the Jaguar contingent, various other collectable road and race cars will be present. Included in that list are a 2004 Ferrari Enzo Berlinetta, a 1990 Williams-Renault FW13B Formula 1 car, a 1961 Porsche RS61 previously campaigned by Sir Stirling Moss, and former Top Gear presenter James May’s personal red 1984 Porsche 911. 

Penny’s Pagoda – Mercedes Benz 230 SL

We scouted out a few different locations for photographing this car, but they all had one thing in common. At every stop, people could not help but come up and compliment owner Penny Webster on her stunning Horizon Blue Mercedes 230 SL.
There’s something about the ‘Pagoda’ Mercedes — so-called because the distinctive dipping curve of its roofline echoes that of the famous Eastern tiered temples — that encourages people to speak up.
Many classic cars attract a second look, but in most cases people keep their thoughts to themselves. It was striking how many people felt the need to express the warmth of their feelings about this car.
The expansive glass cockpit, the friendly, subtle lines, and its simple three-box shape seem to encourage openness among passers-by.

Motorsport Flashback – Kiwi rallying in the 1970s

Rallying arrived in New Zealand in 1973 like a tsunami. It had been only a few years since the sport was introduced here and shortly afterwards Heatway came on board as the sponsor to take rallying to a new level. The 1973 Heatway would be the longest and biggest yet, running in both islands with 120 drivers over eight days and covering some 5400 kilometres. The winner was 31-year-old Hannu Mikkola — a genuine Flying Finn who had been rallying since 1963 before putting any thoughts of a career on hold until he completed an economics degree. The likeable Finn became an instant hero to many attracted to this new motor sport thing. I was one of them.