Speed machines come under the hammer

The wheel of fortunes come full circle in bustling Dubai this October.


Allan Jacob

Published: Sat 28 Aug 2010, 12:38 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 11:14 AM

Sporting classic lines from the soulful seventies and heady eighties, three mean machines, two from the BMW stable and one from Ferrari go under the gavel in a marquee show for motor art, a first for the region from auction house Bonhams.

The event promises to hit the high road to nostalgia with BMW M1, BMW 3.0 CSL Batmobile and Ferrari Daytona models in what are billed as ‘investments of passion’. The BMW models hail from the company’s own collection and are icons of a bygone era. This is the only time cars from BMW collection will be up for auction. Both the sleek BMW M1 from 1980 and the serious Batmobile, a 1972 model, are expected to fetch between $165,000 and $215,000 during the auction at the Royal Mirage hotel on October 11.

Ferrari’s Daytona model can leave you gasping with a top speed of 270km per hour. Sporting coachwork by Panther Westwinds and design by Luigi Chinetti Jr, it is expected to go for a jaw-dropping $300,000-$400,000. Only 450 BMW M1 cars were rolled out from 1978-’81; the 3.0 CSL Batmobile ‘supercar’ took the exclusivity tag to a new level rolling out just 167, while 1,273 Daytonas were manufactured by Ferrari during their heyday.

“We accept the market in the UAE is a relatively fledgling one, but one that will certainly grow,” says James Knight, International Managing Director of Bonhams’ motoring department. Car enthusiasts don’t just buy them as an investment, it’s a hobby. He says there’s an emotional link from the heart.

“All buyers I meet have an emotional attachment to the product — they like cars. All of them like the way they look; they sound, they smell and the sensations they give when driving.”

True, horse power can goad you to push the machines to the limit and have a blast. “If you feel passionate about something, you’ll learn about the subject. That creates experience and knowledge,” breaking forth on the subject of classics in motion.

“The best investments are usually a by-product of a passionate collector. We’re very happy to advise anyone, but please like the subject matter....!”

But does passion work during a recession? “No matter what the economic situation, an important (or prime) example will always attract interest. Our selling statistics are presently very healthy — good prices and good selling percentages.” Knight is upbeat about the UAE’s growing interest in motoring heritage. “There are more collectors’ cars in the region than is generally known, residing in private car parks-garages. The market will grow in tandem with the infrastructure,” he feels. In the UAE, the Sharjah Old Cars Club and Museums houses over 120 vintage beauties and the Dubai Classic Cars roadshow is an annual feature.

More rallies and events will see more owners’ clubs come out of the shells, Knight says. For the October sale, local interest has been good with 10 to 12 entries expected to make the cut.

Bonhams’ last auction in 2008 here netted a cool $13million. Watches and art works will also go under the hammer at this year’s sale. But there’s nothing to beat the three for the road, so what if you can’t buy them. Sometimes it pays to simply stop and watch.


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