Ground-breaking Bonhams sales to celebrate WilliamsF1’s 28-year history

Bonhams has been appointed by one of the world’s leading Formula One teams, WilliamsF1, to hold a sale at its factory headquarters in Grove, Oxfordshire, on 14 December 2005.

A  hand-picked selection of more than 20 of the WilliamsF1’s Reserve Collection of Formula One cars and memorabilia, spanning the company’s entire 28-year history, will be sold.

WilliamsF1’s HQ in Oxfordshire is home to one of the world’s foremost private collections of Formula One cars, tracing the seminal moments in the team’s history over a quarter of a century. Exhibited in a purpose-built interactive museum opened in 2002, the Williams Grand Prix Collection is a commitment to preserve and  maintain a detailed account of the company’s illustrious past.

The company’s inventory has grown relentlessly, with every season of competition adding a number of chassis which have been retained by the company. Over the past two years, plans have been developed to consolidate the museum displays, and it is the WilliamsF1 Reserve Collection which is now to be  offered for sale by Bonhams.

Star lots to be offered will include the Williams Honda FW10B in which Nigel Mansell won his inaugural Grand Prix at Brands Hatch in 1985, Mansell’s FW14B in which he won six Grands Prix en route to his World Championship title in 1992, Damon Hill’s FW18 from his World Championship season in 1996 as well as cars with Grand Prix winning history in the hands of drivers such as Riccardo Patrese, Alain Prost, Jacques Villeneuve, Juan Pablo  Montoya and Ralf Schumacher.

WilliamsF1’s Team Principal, Frank Williams, said: “I am delighted our long-standing policy of retaining our race cars allows us to both maintain a world-class museum collection and release some race cars with impeccable  provenance from our Reserve collection to private collectors. In addition to the 20 race cars, there are some interesting additional items such as Renault Clio Williams chassis no 0001 and around one hundred other items which I hope will make the sale of great interest.”

Sir Frank Williams’ entry into Formula One began modestly with a lone private-owner car in 1969, and after eight seasons of solid endeavour, he founded Williams Grand Prix Engineering in 1977. His inspired leadership then combined with the technical expertise and similarly relentless commitment of Technical Director, Patrick  Head, to see the Williams team become the best in the world within just three years. The team achieved its first Grand Prix victory in 1979 – with Clay Regazzoni driving a Williams FW07 at Silverstone – and its first World Championship title in 1980 – with Australian star driver, Alan Jones.

Since this time, Williams has won no fewer than 16 Formula One World titles – nine Formula One Constructors’ World Championships plus seven Formula One Drivers’ World Championship crowns. The team first made its  mark in the period1977-80 using Cosworth engine power and with this original Cosworth partnership being renewed next season, the great British team is looking to add to its already immensely impressive record of 113 Grands Prix victories.

This auction by such a leading current Formula One team offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for enthusiasts, collectors and would-be competitors in historic Formula One series alike to buy a piece of the remarkable WilliamsF1 story.

Along with the complete cars and rolling chassis to be offered from the Reserve Collection, the Sale will include some 100 plus lots of factory parts and associated memorabilia from the team’s own archives ranging from the damaged wishbone from Damon Hill’s clash with Michael Schumacher in the 1994  Australian Grand Prix to the race suit in which Jacques Villeneuve claimed the 1997 World Championship in Jerez.

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