Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The ultimate automotive auction?
The world-famous Zach Collection of vintage and veteran Rolls-Royce and Bentley vehicles is to be sold at auction. A total of 24 Rolls-Royces and 3 Bentleys are available, plus up to 50 pieces of antique furniture. You'd best be well-heeled, though: the minimum bid is five million Euros (about US $7.07 million)! Several of the vehicles in the collection will undoubtedly fetch more than that.
The 'crown jewel' of the collection, the world-famous “Star of India”, is a 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II 40/50 HP Continental “All-Weather Convertible”, a one-of-a-kind vehicle custom-made for the Maharajah of Rajkot. It's expected to fetch as much as ten million Euros (over US $14 million), which, if realized, will make it the most expensive car in the world.
It's far from alone in this magnificent collection. Here are several more highlights, in order of their date of manufacture. First is another unique vehicle, a 1920 Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP Silver Ghost Coupé de Ville, originally custom-made for Jean Hennessy and later owned by the Baron de Rothschild.
Then there's this 1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Continental Cabrio, originally purchased by Don Carlos de Salamanca of Spain. It's been fully restored to its 'Roaring Twenties' decor, including the pink leather seats!
This is a 1926 Rolls-Royce Phantom I limousine.
And here are two photographs of its companion, a 1926 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Open Tourer. Finished in brightly polished aluminum, it was sent to India and purchased by the Maharajah of Nanpara.
The next vehicle is a 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Cabriolet Hunting Car. It started life as a standard open touring car, with body by Hooper, a London coachbuilder who also built vehicles for the British Royal Family. Its owner, the Maharajah of Rewa, didn't like the original body, and had Park Ward build a new one in limousine form: but this, too, didn't satisfy him. At last, sometime during the 1930's, he had an Indian firm transform the vehicle into a hunting car, complete with secure fastenings to hold four heavy rifles for hunting tigers. Needless to say, the top was removed to provide a clear field of fire (although if I'd been the chauffeur, I'd have been ducking like mad while His Highness was potting away at the local pussycats!).
This 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith was one of less than 500 built before World War II put an end to civilian car production for the duration.
Finally, here's a 1953 Bentley Type R Cabriolet.
Mouth-watering vehicles for those who appreciate classics of a bygone era. If all vehicles realize the required minimum bid of five million Euros, and some go for more, as expected, Mr. Zach will be positively rolling in the moolah by the end of September!