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Austin-Healey race car sets the pace at Revival auction

Published 14 August 2017

One of the most original works Big Healeys is heading to auction next month. The Peter Riley/Tony Ambrose 1961 Acropolis Rally Class Winner 3000 MkI Works car will be sold by Bonhams auctions at its Goodwood Revival Sale on 9 September.

The ex-Rauno Aaltonen car is one of the five-strong squad prepared by the BMC Competitions' Department. It began its career with a class win at one of the rallying’s most challenging events, The Acropolis Rally.

Spurred on by the successes of ‘XJB 87’ and the Healey team in general, Riley and Ambrose tackled the Alpine Rally later that year and proved competitive against the race favourites – the Mercedes-Benz 300SLS.

That is until disaster struck at the Stelvio pass and the car spun over the edge of the notorious mountain road and hurtled downwards before coming to a stop in a bank of snow. Both drivers escaped without serious injury and the car was recovered, repaired, and sold to emerging Finnish rally star Rauno Aaltonen.

Lagonda LG 45

In 1965, a young rally enthusiast named Caj Hasselgren saw the vehicle advertised for sale, and, after a test-drive with Aaltonen in which they reached 220km/h (137mph) on the motorway, fell head over heels with it.

Fifty-one years later, Hasselgren has decided to sell the car after having spent nearly 20 years restoring it to its former glory. It is expected to fetch between £250,000 and £325,000.

Another works rally car going under the hammer is a 1935 Lagonda LG 45 Monte Carlo. The first Lagonda design to be overseen by W.O. Bentley, it was among the fastest road cars of its generation, said to be capable of 100mph.

Two specially modified LG45 Tourers were entered in to the 1936 Monte Carlo Rally, ‘DPE 121’ being one of them although it skidded off the road and had to be withdrawn.

The car has been well looked after and has taken part in classic motoring events all over the world, including the Le Mans Classic and The Flying Scotsman. It is estimated to fetch £250,000-£300,000.

The auction will also include the 'Gentleman Jack' collection - an eight-car collection put together by racer Jack Sears. For more information the Revival sale, visit Bonhams.com.

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