Classics up for sale

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 May, 2012, 12:00am


George Daniels was one of the greatest of watchmakers. Famous for creating the co-axial escapement in Omega's best timepieces, the Briton proved that 'a mechanical watch can perform as well as an electronic one', according to his obituary in Britain's The Daily Telegraph last October.

Daniels was also devoted to cars. When he died, aged 85, he left an outstanding collection of classics, which will be auctioned by Bonhams at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in southern England on June 29. 'The seven motor cars and two motorcycles are expected to realise in excess of ?8 million [HK$100 million],' says James Knight, Bonhams' group head of motoring.

Hong Kong collectors of classic cars and watches are expected to show interest in the Daniels Collection. 'We will operate online bidding and traditional methods,' Knight says. 'Bidders will need to be registered in advance for online bidding.'

The jewel in the collection's crown, Knight says, is 'Bentley Boy' Henry 'Tim' Birkin's 1929-32 Bentley 4.5-litre supercharged single-seater that set the Brooklands outer circuit lap record at more than 219km/h in 1931.

Enthusiastic bidding is also expected for another Birkin car, the 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 Long Chassis Touring Spider that raced in the 1932 Le Mans race and was owned by Mussolini's heir, Marshal Italo Balbo, who is reputed to have delivered rousing political speeches while sitting on its bonnet.

The collection's other highlights include a 1908 Itala 100hp Grand Prix Car, a 1954 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback by H.J. Mulliner, and the Maharaja of Bhavnagar's 1929 4.5-litre Bentley Tourer by Vanden Plas.

Also on sale is a 1907 Daimler 45hp Roi-de-Belges Tourer, which Daniels said he would keep if he was allowed only one.