The collection of one of America’s preeminent collectors and conservators of vintage automobiles, that of Lindley and Ann Bothwell, will be sold at auction by Bonhams on November 11 at the Bothwells’ Southern California ranch in Woodland Hills, just north of L.A.
Lindley Bothwell and his wife Ann were charter members of the Horseless Carriage Club of America and, by the mid-1950s, had amassed one of the largest private collections of automobiles in the country. Housed at their ranch property amid manicured orange groves just over the hills from Hollywood, the Bothwell Collection is without equal.
Of the 50 automobiles to be auctioned, perhaps best known are the 1913 Indianapolis Peugeot (above, photo courtesy of Bonhams), the 1908 Prinz Heinrich Benz and the 1908 Mercedes Simplex — all three of which were on prominent display at Bonhams’ Quail Lodge auction during the recent Monterey Classic Car Week.
The 1913 Peugeot 4.5-Liter L45 not only has its power plant regarded by many as the father of all racing engines, but this specific car also ran in the 1916 Indianapolis 500. The significance of this racecar cannot be overstated, particularly considering that it was its four-valve-per-cylinder, double-overhead-camshaft design that inspired Harry Miller, Fred Offenhauser and a host of other engine designers.
In 1908, the Prinz Heinrich Tour, a famous German race named after Prince Heinrich of Prussia — an ardent fan of the nascent sport of motor racing — was won by a Benz. In commemoration of this, Benz produced a limited series of factory racers and called them Prinz Heinrich models. One of just 10 ever created, and of even fewer still surviving, Bothwell’s extremely rare 1908 Benz 105hp Prinz Heinrich is the genuine article and was campaigned in period prior to be used by Bothwell and friends in early historic racing events.
The 1908 Mercedes Simplex 60hp, said to have been originally owned by William K. Vanderbilt, a prominent racing enthusiast and driver who himself set several speed records in earlier Mercedes cars, is another star of the Bothwell Collection. This landmark Mercedes design would set the model for high performance cars for years to come.
Among the dozens of other fascinating automobiles in the collection are examples from Austro-Daimler, Buick, Cadillac, Ford, Hudson, National, Packard and Pope-Hartford.
Bothwell was also a fan of horse-drawn streetcars and even installed more than a mile of track on his property to entertain guests while keeping the streetcars in working condition. Five of these restored icons, originally from the city of Los Angeles, will be included in the sale.
Finally, there will be the vast collection of spares and automobilia amassed by Bothwell over a lifetime of collecting.
“Lindley and Ann Bothwell need little introduction,” said Malcolm Barber, Bonhams Chairman. “Their contribution to historic motoring is renowned, their cars are legendary and, most important, their enthusiasm all-encompassing. This is truly a monumental collection and we are extremely flattered to represent it at auction. The phrase ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ is very appropriate.”
Added Rupert Banner, Bonhams VP of Motoring: “We are incredibly excited to offer these fascinating automobiles for sale, particularly the early racers. The sale of the sole surviving L45 Grand Prix Peugeot will be a generational opportunity to acquire a landmark car in the history of the development of racing in America and Europe.”
The Bothwell Collection will be auctioned on site, at the Bothwell Ranch in Woodland Hills, California (just north of Los Angeles), on Saturday, November 11. Further information will be posted in the coming weeks at www.Bonhams.com/Bothwell