Auctions

Sir Terence Conran’s Bugatti pedal cars to be auctioned

by Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
5 December 2022 2 min read
Sir Terence Conran’s Bugatti pedal cars to be auctioned
Photos: Bonhams

Sixteen Bugatti pedal cars owned by the late Sir Terence Conran are heading to auction. The designer hung them on the walls of his home in Berkshire, a former prep school he bought in 1971, seven years after opening the first Habitat shop in Chelsea.

Conran died in September 2020, aged 88, and his family have decided to put the contents of Barton Court up for sale with Bonhams.

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“He liked the fact that it was a big house with big rooms and he filled it up with everything,” his widow Vicki told Bonhams. “They [the pedal cars] came from an old boy in France who lived in a château somewhere and had collected them. He didn’t want to break them up, but anyone he approached would say, ‘I’ll have one or two’. Nobody said they’d have them all until Terence took the lot. The old boy was thrilled.”

The ’old boy’ was a former director of Ford who was downsizing. In 2016, he told the Telegraph he bought 30 pedal cars and mounted them on a wall that ran the length of his house. Eight years earlier, an interview with the Daily Mail, he said: “I’ve hung them like a collection of moths – their shapes are a constant inspiration.”

Although the former owner was reluctant to break up the collection, the Bugatti pedal cars are being sold individually, with pre-auction estimates ranging from £500 to £3000.

A tandem Model 28 comes with the highest estimate of £2000 to £3000. It features wooden running boards, disc wheels, solid rubber tyres, spare wheel, adjustable padded bucket seats, four-spoke steering wheel and bulb horn. Like the majority of pedal cars in the collection, it’s finished in Bugatti blue.

Terence Conran Bugatti pedal car

There are a couple of exceptions. A red and black Type 57 with a ’39 BUG 57’ number plate enjoyed pride of place in front of a fireplace. It’s expected to fetch between £1800 and £2400.

It’s not just pedal cars. A Bugatti Type 52 Bebe built in 1980 features an electric motor mounted within the boat tail and is expected to sell for between £6000 and £8000. There’s even a glazed pottery model of a blue sports car reputedly made by Conran, Sir Eduardo Paolozzi and Francis Bacon during a weekend at Barton Court.

The Sir Terence Conran collection will go under the hammer at the Bonhams New Bond Street sale on 14 December 2022.

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