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NZ restored car may fetch euro 700,000

July 4, 2006

NZ restored car may fetch euro 700,000 at auction this weekend

A New Zealand-restored 1922 Sunbeam racing car may fetch up to euro700,000 at Christie’s auction in Paris this weekend.

Auto Restorations in Christchurch restored the Sunbeam for British owner Tom Wheatcroft in the 1990s.

The Sunbeam Motor Car Company successfully raced its Sunbeams in the Tourist Trophy races and won the 1912 Coupe de l'Auto event, added a first in the 1923 French Grand Prix, set numerous world records and held the world land speed record on five occasions.

One of the cars was shipped to New Zealand in about 1926 where it too was raced on the beaches here by Matthew Wills and Bill Hamilton.

In the early 1990s two Sunbeams were restored side by side by the Auto Restorations of Christchurch. The cars were stripped and the as near-correct components were placed on each chassis.

Car Number 7, which is being auctioned in Paris on Sunday (NZ time) was given what may be called a straightforward restoration.

Since returning to Britain, the Sunbeam last year competed at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, returned to the Isle of Man and was driven at the Monterey Historic races in the USA, as well as receiving a prize at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

A Christie’s spokeswoman said racing cars from this period rarely appear on the market.

``An opportunity therefore exists to acquire a competition car that not only has a sound history, but has been restored to fine condition, and was made by Sunbeam; Britain's leading motor racing car builder of the day.’’

Tom Wheatcroft, owner of the Donington circuit with its superb Grand Prix museum, commissioned Auto Restorations in Christchurch to build a matched pair of the 1922 cars.

Also up for auction this weekend is a 1935 Jaguar Special Two Seater Sports car which was also restored by Auto Restorations in Christchurch for a client who lives in Spain but who has a collection of cars in England. The Jaguar is estimated to reach up to euro100,000.


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