A final last-minute bid.
When lot 320 was called out, reverent silence fell upon the tent of Bonhams the auctioneers. The vehicle drew so much attention prior to the auction that Robert Brooks, automobile fan and member of the Bonhams’ Board of Management, took charge of the auction hammer. Even John Lennon’s Ferrari which fell under the hammer beforehand was no match for the Mercedes-Benz W 196 R Silver Arrow, the original winning car driven by Juan Manuel Fangio from 1954. Sorry, John! As – not only – the world of experts expected a record sale, bidding began at 3.5 million pounds (around 4.05 million euros) and increased in steps of 500,000 pounds. Bidding reached double figures very quickly and when a new (telephone) bidder joined in at 15 million pounds, a murmur spread through the tent. Until then two other telephone bidders had been having a neck-and-neck race.
At the 16-million-pounds mark there was a longer pause; auctioneer Brooks called “last chance” and a new bidder joined in at 16.5 million pounds.