The Bothwell Collection is on sale. Bonhams will be auctioneering around 50 pre-war race cars and some horse-drawn streetcars on Saturday, November 11th in Los Angeles, California.
Collector Lindley and his wife Anne Bothwell made their fortune growing oranges in California. They were avid classic car collectors and were, in fact, classic car pioneers. They were already collecting cars before WW2, at a time that most people thought that old cars were just junk. In the mid-fifties, the Bothwell Collection was the largest private collection in the USA. Lindley Bothwell owned several remarkable vintage race cars and raced them already in the 1940’s, thus giving a boost to vintage motor racing in America.
Born in 1901, Lindley Bothwell passed away in 1986, 84 years old. His wife Ann then took it upon herself to preserve her late husband’s collection. She became the darling of the Southern-California classic car community, classic car enthusiasts would give an arm and a leg to be able to see some of the cars that were stored in several barns on the Bothwell Ranch.
A year ago Anne Bothwell died at the age of 97, and now the collection, or at least a large part of it, is to be sold. Bonhams will do an auction, we expect the catalog to be published soon. So far we know that there will be 50 cars on sale, among others the 1913 Indianapolis Peugeot, 1908 Prinz Heinrich Benz, and 1908 Mercedes Simplex. These three cars were on prominent display at Bonhams’ Quail Lodge auction last week.
The 1913 Peugeot 4.5-Litre L45 is regarded by many as the father of all racing engines, and this specific car ran in the 1916 Indianapolis 500. Decades later, Bothwell took the Peugeot back to Indianapolis and beat Dario Resta’s 85mph lap record at over 103mph.
The Prinz Heinrich Benz from 1908 is named after the Prinz Heinrich Tour, a famous German race that was named after Prince Heinrich of Prussia. After winning that race, Benz produced a limited series of factory racers and named them after the tour. Or after the prince, whichever you prefer.
The 1908 Mercedes Simplex 60hp is said to have been originally owned by William K. Vanderbilt. This landmark Mercedes design would set the model for high-performance cars for years to come.
Other cars in the collection are from marques like Austro-Daimler, Buick, Cadillac, Ford, Hudson, National, Packard, and Pope-Hartford, among others. Lindley Bothwell was also a fan of horse-drawn streetcars and even installed a track of more than a mile on his orange farm to entertain guests. Five of his streetcars, all originally from the streets of Los Angeles, will also be auctioned.
The auction will take place on Saturday, November 11th at the Bothwell Ranch in Woodland Hills, just north of Los Angeles, California.