As one of the auction industry’s longest serving specialists in the collectors motor car sector, James is both well known and very well regarded for his wide-ranging knowledge, experience and capability across every aspect involving motor vehicles ranging in date from the 19th century, throughout the 20th and now into the 21st. 

After beginning his working career with Christie’s in 1982 he joined the auction house’s motoring department in 1984. Five years later he and the core of that department founded Brooks Auctioneers which proved so successful that in 2000 they acquired Bonhams and expanded under that older-established name.


Having held the most senior management position in the Bonhams Motoring Department for over 20 years, James has now created his Collectors Car Consultancy to share his many years of automotive market experience with collectors and institutions, while continuing to act as a key consultant to Bonhams.


When he began his career with Christie’s in 1982 legend has it that he was offered the job largely thanks to his golf handicap which appealed to the then Christie’s MD’s ambition to beat Sotheby’s in the annual match between the rival auction houses.  After James joined the motoring department in 1984 its principal Robert Brooks became a life-long mentor and friend.  After leaving Christie’s together they founded Brooks - the specialist collectors’ car auction house - and after acquiring Bonhams and merging the two businesses under that older-established name, their enterprise became Europe’s leading collectors car auction house.  During this period James Knight progressed from saleroom porter to becoming Bonhams Group Motoring Chairman and executive Board Director of Bonhams 1793 Limited.

Finding new homes for cherished motor cars and fulfilling their vendors’ aspirations has become James Knight’s passion and speciality. He has brought to market numerous exceptional motor cars, many of which achieved record prices. During his career James has also masterminded the sale of numerous collections including such renowned names as: Rosso Bianco, Bernd Holthusen (Lagonda), Den Hartogh (Ford and Lincoln) and the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust dispersal.

Below we present just a few examples of the many truly significant cars which James has handled, promoted, presented and has sold to the market in recent years:

'2 VEV' - the Essex Racing Stable 1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato
'2 VEV' - the Essex Racing Stable 1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato

The legendary Jim Clark drifting 2 VEV at Goodwood

'2 VEV' - the Essex Racing Stable 1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato
'2 VEV' - the Essex Racing Stable 1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018

The ex-Earl Howe 1937 Bugatti T57S Atalante
The ex-Earl Howe 1937 Bugatti T57S Atalante

Paris 2009

'2 VEV' - the Essex Racing Stable 1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato
'2 VEV' - the Essex Racing Stable 1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato

The legendary Jim Clark drifting 2 VEV at Goodwood


1982: Joins Christie’s

1984: Transfers to Motoring Department

1987: Co-organises the sale of the Bugatti Type 41 Royale at the Royal Albert Hall


1989: Co-establishes Robert Brooks (Auctioneers) Ltd

1993: Brooks becomes a founding partner with Lord March at the inaugural Goodwood Festival of Speed

1998: Co-organises the Brooks Sale at the inaugural Goodwood Revival Meeting


2000: Brooks acquires Bonhams. Knight joins Senior Management Team

2000: Knight pioneers the annual Aston Martin factory auction

2018: Knight helps guide the sale of Bonhams to Epiris Private Equity

Bonhams Zoute Sale 2.jpg

James is and has been a trusted adviser to numerous motor manufacturers, related trusts, private collections and public museums. These include but are not limited to: Aston Martin Lagonda, Bentley Motors, the FIA Historic committee, the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, the Louwman Museum, and the Shanghai Auto Museum. His combination of experience, counsel, market knowledge and negotiating capability is unparalleled.

Widely regarded as one of the best auctioneers in the business, he is a past nominee 'Auctioneer of the Year' for the British Antiques and Collectors Association. He admits to owning a 1954 Austin-Healey 100 and “…more bicycles than strictly necessary”. If you don’t bump into him at an old car event, he might be suffering a near death experience climbing Alpe d’Huez on his Sarto Seta road bike.