Winning Bids

  • Shaun Tolson

 

$2.9 million

In his youth, Dick Skipworth ardently supported the Edinburgh-based racing team Ecurie Ecosse, which claimed back-to-back victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1956 and 1957. More than three decades after those victories, Skipworth acquired an Ecurie Ecosse replica car and began racing it. His zeal was stoked again seven years later, when he purchased the team’s 1960 Commer TS3 three-car transporter, which led him to eventually acquire eight authentic Ecurie Ecosse vehicles. In December, Bonhams auctioned off that entire collection, which commanded £8.8 million (about $14.4 million). The transporter sold for £1,793,500 (about $2.9 million).

Numerous unconfirmed stories are attached to the vehicle following its life as part of the Scottish racing team, including a claim that it was used to haul beer barrels and animal feed. According to another  rumor, when the vehicle was in its most derelict condition it was offered for sale for £15 (and still went unsold). What historians do know is that the specialist truck and bus coachbuilding firm Walter Alexander and Co. began work on the transporter in 1959 and intended it to be as visually captivating as the rest of the team’s racing vehicles.

The carrier was complete in time for the start of the 1960 racing season, and it provided Ecurie Ecosse with both a stylish way to transport its racing vehicles and a dedicated space to work on them. After acquiring it in the early 1990s, Skipworth began the arduous process of returning the transporter to its former glory. When he was done, not only did the vehicle shine as it once did, but it also included new sleeping quarters for the crew.

Photo by Jim Fets
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