Ex-Senna Racers Bring Big Bucks at Bonhams’ Monaco Auction

Monaco GP-Winning 1993 McLaren-Ford MP4/8A fetches $4,987,889

No pre-sale estimate was given for the 1993 McLaren-Ford MP4/8A that crossed the block at Bonhams’ annual Monaco sale this year, leaving many to wonder just what a fair price for the ex-Ayrton Senna Formula 1 car might be. We now have an answer, the very advanced racecar fetching $4,987,889 as the auctioneer’s gavel fell. Interest was obviously even higher than other ex-Senna machines, this particular MP4/8A (chassis #6) being the very one that Senna piloted to his final Monaco Grand Prix victory in ’93. The very next year, Senna would succumb to his fatal injuries at Imola during the ill-fated 1994 Italian Grand Prix.

If you couldn’t afford the actual car, a very nice painting of the same was sold for a mere $21,864, with all proceeds going to the Senna Institute. Meanwhile, another ex-Senna racer—the 1984 Toleman-Hart TG184 that Senna drove to an impressive second-place finish in his first Monaco Grand Prix, a rain-soaked affair, sold for well over its high pre-sale estimate of $1,200,000 to settle at $1,913,162. The new owner will almost certainly think the price paid was fair, this being the car that many believe thrust Senna into the limelight.

One of the more surprising sales was that of the 1955 Jaguar XK140, rebodied by Michelotti in the late 1950s after suffering extensive accident damage. One of three XK140s to be remade by the coachbuilder, this car is unique to the others and brought a winning bid of $423,628—more than seven times the pre-sale estimate offered by Bonhams.

Other notables include a 1993 Bugatti EB110 GT which brought a slightly disappointing $717,436—perhaps the result of minor accident damage early in the car’s life combined with slightly higher mileage—roughly 16,000 km at the time of sale. That’s not even broken in for most cars, including the Bugatti, but top dollar results are driven by ultra-low mileage examples. Two Porsche 911 RS models—one, a ’73 2.7 RS Touring and the other a ’92 RS in vibrant Rubystone Red paint sold for $683,272 and $273,309, respectively. The prices represent the slight softening of 911 values, excepting the most exclusive or lowest-mileage examples. The Porsche market is still hot, but buyers are spending with their brains, not their hearts. This means top results are reserved for top examples.

Photos courtesy of Bonhams.

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