Petrolheads will converge on Monaco at the end of the month for this year’s Formula One race – but it’s this coming weekend that those who hanker after the “golden era” of motor racing will have inked in their diaries in order not to miss the evocative, biennial Grand Prix de Monaco Historique.
First staged in 1997, the “Historic” sees classic cars dating from the early 1900s until the late 1970s take to the track in three days (from May 11 to 13) of practice sessions, parade laps and competitive racing that will include appearances by star drivers from the past and showcase some of the most exotic competition cars of the last century.
The glamorous, high-octane atmosphere draws a captive audience, many of whom Bonhams will attract with its long-established Les Grand Marques du Monde a Monaco auction of high-end collectors’ cars, taking place on day one of the event.
The highlight of the sale will be a 1953, ex-works Ferrari 625 Targa Florio Vignale that was raced “in period” by legendary drivers such as Mike Hawthorn, Umberto Maglioli and Luis Milan and has, more recently, performed in “recreation” events including the Mille Miglia and the Monaco Historic. It is tipped to realise up to €6.5m, and will be sold alongside a Jaguar XK140 with ultra-rare Michelotti bodywork that was discovered in need of restoration in a Belgian barn. One of no more than three such cars known to have been made, it will be sold in aid of a Ghent animal rescue charity.
Also on offer will be two significant lots relating to the late F1 star “Superswede” Ronnie Peterson, who crashed during the first lap of the Italian Grand Prix in 1978 and died at the too young age of 33. The first is the 1969 Tecno-Novamotor single-seater in which he launched his stellar career by winning the Formula Three Grand Prix at Monaco in 1969. Consigned to the sale by Peterson’s daughter Nina, the car is estimated at €80,000-€120,000.
Also on offer will be a one-off recreation of a gold Heuer chronograph that Jack Heuer presented to Peterson in 1972. The original watch was sold at auction by Peterson’s family in May 2016 for SFr225,000 (about £165,000), a record for a Heuer, and is now on show in the Tag Heuer museum in Switzerland. The recreation is estimated to sell for €20,000-€30,000 and features a copy of the engraving applied to the 1972 piece that reads “Success. Ronnie Peterson from Jack W Heuer”.
Other notable lots include the late Ayrton Senna’s 1993 Monaco GP-winning McLaren and the 1984 Toleman-Hart in which he contested his first Monaco race in 1984, plus a €1m Bentley eight-litre tourer from 1931 and a similarly valuable 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster. Motor enthusiasts will certainly want to take pole position for this sale.