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October 4, 2017

You Could Now Own a 100-Year-Old Race Car

By Will Grice

For racing fans and car enthusiasts alike, the Peugeot L45 is one of the most iconic cars of all time. Having competed in everything from the Indianapolis 500 to the Vanderbilt Cup, the L45 is a car that was truly ahead of its time. Now Bonhams is offering you the chance to own a piece of automobile history by auctioning the car off as part of its Bothwell Collection series.

Built in 1913, the 4.5 liter L45 was a response to the on-track rivalry developing between the major car manufacturers of the early 20th century. Many of the designs seen on the racetrack at the time were large, unwieldy machines that focused on raw power rather than innovative design. However Peugeot developed the L45 with aerodynamics in mind, marrying their groundbreaking twin overhead-cam engine with a lightweight body and low center of gravity.

The L45 and its big brother, the L76 (the L stands for lion and the number denotes the car’s displacement), competed in races around the world, with the machine winning two Champ Car AAA drives (1916 and 1919), three Indianopolis 500 races (1913, 1916 and 1919), two US Grand Prix (1915 and 1916) and two Vanderbilt Cups (1915 and 1916). In short, Peugeot’s L45 is one of the world’s most decorated race cars.

To celebrate such a wonderful car, Bonhams have turned to Lindley and Ann Bothwell’s collection of early motorcars. During the 50s and 60s the Bothwells were known around the world for having one of the largest collections of cars on earth. Housed at their ranch property just over the hills from Hollywood, the Bothwell Collection focused on pre-war competition cars, with the L45 being one of the rarest cars in their possession.

The car that is being auctioned off by Bonhams is widely regarded as the finest lasting example of the L45, as you can see in how pristine the car is. Rupert Banner, Bonhams VP of Motoring says, “It is one of the most original and pure racing cars of this era we have ever had the pleasure of offering.”

The L45 will be one of 50 cars to be auctioned off as part of Bonhams Bothwell series. For more information on the car itself, or to register for the auction please visit

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