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Trio of special pre-war cars at Bonhams Quail Lodge Sale

San Francisco – Bonhams is world-renowned for its diversity of offerings and this year’s Quail Lodge Auction during the Pebble Beach Car Week will be no different. With a stellar line-up of automobiles spanning more than a century, there are three sporting cars that demand particular attention. While each is very distinct and special in its own right, each was also built specifically for elevated comfort and speed. As pre-war sports cars of the luxury segment, they represent the absolute best of early motoring.

1904 Mercedes

photo - Bonhams

First is a truly rare Brass Era gem, a 1904 Mercedes-Simplex 28-32HP 5-Seat Rear Entrance Tonneau. When new, this German motorcar cost the equivalent of three contemporary Packards or eight Cadillacs yet found no shortage of willing buyers. Beautiful, comfortable and fast, it’s capable of speeds of over 65mph and has frequently and successfully competed in the London to Brighton run. Today, it is just one of six pre-1905 Mercedes of this model in existence and because of this rarity combined with all its many virtues represents an incredibly scarce opportunity. To put the rarity of this opportunity in context, it has been a full decade since the last one changed hands publicly, and that was only at the passing of its owner. Simply put, it’s one of the finest and most desirable automobiles ever created.

1930 Duesenberg

photo - Bonhams

From the United States is one of the most legendary cars in history – a 1930 Duesenberg Model J Town Cabrioletwith coachwork by Murphy. With matching chassis, engine and coachwork, this car – from a brand driven by Gilded Age royalty and Hollywood elite – is exemplary. First ordered by the mother of Doris Duke, the car’s history is known from new and authentic in every regard. Elegant in appearance, not to mention luxurious, underneath the hood lies a race-bred, Indianapolis Speedway-tested engine and running gear. Make no mistake, for all its beauty and trappings of comfort, this Duesenberg is a performance car.

1938 TAlbot

photo - Bonhams

Representing the famous marriage of two automotive powerhouses is a 1938 Talbot T23 4-Liter Cabriolet with coachwork by Figoni et Falaschi. The rakish French sports racer was that year’s Earl’s Court Motorshow car and was purchased on sight by an American banker. Presented in its original livery, the car is believed to be just one of two built of its kind, adding rarity to its dossier of attributes. Having been in long-term ownership in Texas, the Talbot’s appearance at Quail Lodge will be the first time it’s been seen publicly in decades, and the proceeds of its sale will be donated to the Simeone Foundation Museum.

For information on these and the other 112 cars to be offered by Bonhams, including how to register to bid in person or remotely, please visit The Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction takes place Friday, August 19th in Carmel, California.


The Quail

The spacious and easily accessible Quail Lodge & Golf Club is located in sunny Carmel Valley, California. Please note that entry to Bonhams’ preview and auction does not require a ticket to The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering. More information about the auction can be found at



Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. Today, the auction house offers more sales than any of its rivals. The main salesrooms are in London, New York and Hong Kong. Sales are also held in the UK in Knightsbridge and Edinburgh; in the US, in San Francisco and Los Angeles; in Europe, in Paris and Stuttgart; and in Sydney, Australia. Bonhams also has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of forthcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit

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