‘No Reserve’ Castle-found Merc 300SL fetches more than £1m euros at Spa

Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

29 of the 63 cars in the Bonhams catalogue at the Spa Classic and another 23 out of 161 offered by Historics at Ascot Racecourse were bravely auctioned entirely ‘Without Reserve’ and achieved 100% sale rates for their vendors within 73% sold sales in Belgium and Berkshire.

For a No Reserve 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL being sold for a more than 980,000 euros under the hammer, costing the buyer 1,127,000 euros (£968,183 with premium), is unprecedented in Euroland. While a pro-dusty 1967 Aston Martin DB6 Mk1 auto, inactive since last taxed in 1982, and a barn-found 1972 BMW 3.0CSL Lightweight project were also hammered away for £145,200 and £52,800 by Historics at Ascot Racecourse without their vendors having the comforts of any reserves!

Among the dozen Swiss Castle sourced NR classics dispersed at Spa, eight of which had been previously repainted in the owner’s preferred M-B Blue Metallic, a 1969 Maserati Ghibli SS 4.9 Coupe fetched 174,800 euros (£150,167) and a 1980 V8 Volante Aston 172,500 euros (£148,191). No Reserve Rolls-Royces sold from the same cache were an ex HJM 1933 40/50hp Phantom II Limo now Roadster for 111,505 euros (£95,830) and a Swedish Phaeton-bodied 1921 40/50hp Silver Ghost for 70,150 euros (£60,264).

A No Reserve 1972 Series 3 V12 manual E Type Jag Roadster persuaded a bidder to part with 64,400 euros (£55,324) and another to pay 32,200 euros (£27,682) for a 1970 Series 2 4.2 manual 2+2 FHC.  A Spa and Silverstone Classic eligible 1966 Mini Cooper Mk1 in 1275S FIA-papered left to right converted spec was also not protected by a Reserve, but achieved a 32,200 euros (£27,662) result.

Within the Ascot Racecourse Atrium meanwhile, a winning punter bet £8800 on a No Reserve 1970 MG 1275 Midget on wires with hardtop and another took on a health-interrupted 1961 BMW Isetta 300 resto-puzzle with spares for £7590. A restored 1969 Vauxhall Viva HB 90 Deluxe with bonnet louvres on Rostyles was auctioned Without Reserve for£6710 and an only 11,736 mileage from new in 1967, though repainted Viva SL cost a fourth owner £4840. An only 13 years old 260bhp UK-spec Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII GSR of 2004 vintage with super-active centre diff and yaw control also changed hands without any safety net for £12,100. A total of 49 such ‘No Reservers’ in one weekend might signpost cash-in-while-you-can times ahead on both sides of the EEC Channel.

Less Astons sold in annual sale, but £9.45m was still spent in one afternoon

Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

There was no shortage of international enthusiasm for 007’S favourite marque during the 18th Bonhams sale for Astons at AM Works in Newport Pagnell, where a 1970 DB6 Mk2 Vantage Volante requiring re-commissioning sold for £700,000 and, after 45 years of vendor ownership, an actually only fair in close-up 1964 DB5 also in need of light re-commissioning at least, if not a more extensive revival beneath a 2016 respray, fetched £561,500.

Among the 62% of Astons that did sell for £5.85m was one of only three V8 Sportsman Estate Cars, a former Monaco resident with fitted humidor that had been acquired in Paris and had returned to its Buckinghamshire to sell for the required £337,500.  A 1961 DB4 Series 3 with 4.2 upgrade achieved £399,100 and a 1970 DB6 Mk2 Vantage £382,300, while contestants in the seats and in the standing room saleroom took a long time to determine £387,900 ownership of an ‘X-Packed’ 1989 7-Litre V8 Vantage Volante.

A much modified, but race-ready 1960 DB4 4.5 Lightweight, which would not be easy to sell in the outside world, fared really well in front of a target audience of committed Aston aficionados and AMOC members, inspiring a three-way exchange between those who had made the journey and those who were playing by telephone before finally selling for £236,700. The key holders of more recent Astons also changed here, a 1997 Vantage V600 Coupe going for £253,500 and a 2000 Vantage Le Mans for £309,500.

There were also new project managers for all the barn finds and tlc cases in a sold out vote of confidence in their future. Particularly derelict was a crumbling DB2/4. Formerly owned by a Yorkshire Viscount followed by a Soho Nightclub, since when it had fallen on very hard times having been abandoned to the elements for four decades, the 1957 Mk2 was very bravely hoovered up for £54,625!  A 1979 AM Lagonda Razor-Edged Sports-Saloon from the pen of William Towns was reckoned to be the very first production example, but in close-up had deteriorated beneath the gold paint since an AM rebuild 31 years ago and was over-ripe for the next one. Auctioned at No Reserve and ‘sold strictly as viewed’, the still futuristic-looking wedge was taken on for £28,750.

Marque and 007 registrations continue to pull at this one-stop shop annual, too, with ‘V8 VAN’ on retention fetching £4750. While the actual Nassau Bahamas licence plate ‘56526’ - as fitted to the left-hand drive DB5 won by Daniel Craig in a poker game and appearing in several scenes during the 2006 ‘Casino Royale’ movie, but strictly for display – clearly appealed to one Bond Aston memorabilia fan who parted with £4250. A range of Sean Connery and Daniel Craig autographed, glazed and framed wall candy was all snapped up, led by a signed monochrome photo of Connery as Bond with the DB5 at the Furka Pass sold for £1875.


A 1964 ZF 5-speed box for a DB5 changed oily hands for £5250 and somebody with £813 obviously really needed an original DB6 horn push with chipped Bakerlite surround and a steering wheel centre boss with ‘DB’ logo for a DBS found £625. A Lake & Elliot Millennium hydraulic jack for the DB5/6 and DBS in worn and distressed box had been estimated at £600-800, but lifted a cool £3500!

But then, simultaneously in neighbouring Northamptonshire under the Silverstone Auctions hammer, a Ferrari issue Daytona 365GTB/4 tool roll also made an astonishing £12,000 (record money for a tool kit?) before 72% of cars sold during a £3.6m afternoon beside the F1 circuit.

Two contestants exercised much brinkmanship competing for a numerically rare 1993 Porsche 911 964 Turbo S Leichtbau lefty in the The Wing saleroom, the winner bidding £495,000, £20,000 more than the lower estimate, breaking the half a million pound barrier by paying a gasp-inducing £556,875. The 964 was once the poor relation of the 911 family, although the £180k+ sought for a 1992 911 964 Carrera RS Lightweight in rhd was not forthcoming on this occasion.

Despite the increasing uncertainty of the times on both sides of the EU Channel and the North Atlantic, a 1989 911 Speedster in right-hand drive raised a top estimate £164,250, a 1961 356B Cabrio overtook an up to £120k forecast to sell for £123,750 and a 1991 944 Turbo Cabrio £39,375, again £9000 over the guide price. While more than estimate money was available for a 1988 911 3.2 Carrera Sport Coupe acquired for £42,188 and for a 2009 Boxster RS60 for £30,938.

An export market 1955 XK140 SE was responsible for a phone war which saw the estimate band demolished and the winner pay £121,500 to applause. Another bidding battle was waged over a UK supplied 1973 BMW 3.0 CSL in right-hand drive which pushed the price paid up to £83,813, almost double the lower estimate suggested. Whilst former BTC Champ John Cleland’s 1971 DB6 Mk2 Vantage that occupied pole position in the saleroom sold for £348,750, mid-estimate money.

Although 16 Astons did not sell at the Newport Pagnell auction this year and 21 of the vendor reserves were too high for potential buyers at Silverstone, nearly £9.5m had nonetheless been bet on classics futures at the two head-to-head sales on the same Saturday afternoon with not a politician in sight.

Percentage sold rates highest at ‘Drive-Throughs’, while top car prices soften

Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

During the first four months trading, the highest sale rates in the UK have been when auction cars were driven past the rostrum.  An average of 94% of classics have sold at SWVA’s early season Drive-Throughs at Poole, while a market leading 513 cars have so far motored through the ACA hall at King’s Lynn, where there were buyers for 394 or 77% of them.

From the typically large numbers of enthusiasts attending those auctions where most classics are driven across the block and there is certainly a ‘moving show’ element to their day out, it would seem that many punters do value the reassurance of being able to see for themselves engines started up, gears engaged and cars for sale processing past the rostrum under their own power (or not!).

Although there is now a very large Green cloud on every horizon and, after smoking anywhere near a pub has been very nearly extinguished and diesel cars have been killed off, the dreaded ‘Ealth and Safety’ brigade will surely stamp out such primitive practices as driving exhausting and potentially toe-crushing motor vehicles through well populated salerooms.

Only driving cars up to the rostrum and then turning their engines off before pushing them out of the hall will dramatically reduce consumers’ intake of leaded gas. Installing much more effective extractor-fans and the employment of even more hi-viz jacketed marshals can only keep the clean air obsessive local authority clip boards at bay for a while. For the abolition of Drive Throughs may be around the corner after next.

In any case, the sale rates at March auctions, where cars were static-displayed, were 82% at Brightwells in Leominster, 80% at Brooklands under the Historics gavel and 78% at the Bonhams Goodwood Members Meet and at the Silverstone Auctions Race Retro sale in February.

Analysing the stats from those auction houses whose ‘live’ hammer prices are confirmed by published and therefore transparent results, the most classics went under the hammer during April, when 893 classics were catalogued, nearly as many as had been offered in March and February added together. But the 65% sale rate for the 581 cars declared sold was 10% less than it had been in March and 20% less than at the January auctions. While the £11,371 average price of a classic car at auction in April was considerably less than the £37,927 and £28,250 averages paid per car during the March and February sales.

Whilst a handful of high value automobiles went for millions of euros during Retromobile week in Paris in February, and millions more dollars were bet on the futures of investor grade stock at Scottsdale in Arizona in January and at Amelia in Florida in March, the highest auction prices so far this buying season in the UK have been sub-£600k in March.

For heading the first four months prices have been the £596,250 raised for the East Anglian Air Ambulance by the H&H sale at Duxford of the late Richard Allen’s 1964 Ferrari 330 GT Nembo Retro-Converted Spider and the £551,667 paid at Bonhams Goodwood for a replicated 1961 Aston Martin DP214 GT Competition Coupe. Very high value factory-correct ‘originals’, it seems, are not currently being dispersed in UK auctions where pay-outs will be in devalued Sterling.

According to Historic Automobile Group International, whose HAGI Top Index fell by 0.76% during April and by 3.33% this year to date, the monitored prices of higher value collector vehicles have continued to correct globally however. Indeed, four out of five of their international market tracking Indices declined last month. Only the HAGI MBCI that charts Classic Merc prices ended up in positive territory with a 1.86% hike for the month and 4.62% growth for the first four months.

By contrast, the Ferrari charting HAGI F recorded a loss of 1.83% in April with Ferrari prices down by nearly 2% for the year to date, whereas the HAGI P for Porsches corrected by another 0.99% last month contributing to a fall in achieved Porsche prices of 3.85% since January. What happens next is as uncertain as being the Head of the FBI or the size of Premier-Elect May’s majority.

Declining stats reversed at SWVA where 92% of classics were hammered

Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

After the two most recent sale rates had fallen to only 46% in Surrey and 54% in Herefordshire, UK auction market makers can engage Top Gear again and relax until the next slide dents consumer confidence. For only 6 lots failed to find buyers at the latest SWVA Drive Through in Dorset, where 92% of vendors’ classics changed hands for a premium-inclusive £700,162.

One of the high fliers to take off just outside Poole on a Friday morning before lunch was an extraordinarily diligently restored 1949 Triumph 2000 Roadster, which was last auctioned in Southampton in 1965 when it had cost £20 before being later taken on as a restoration project in 1999 for £1600. Eighteen years later, and likely to be in comparable condition, the famously Jim Bergerac endorsed model finally fetched £11,820 more than the £19,500 top estimate to sell for £31,320 with premium.

A 1970 Jaguar E Type S2 4.2 Fixed Head with patina and Eagle Racing upgrades, including a 5-speed box and wide-rimmed wires, also out-performed the £37,000-39,000 forecast to achieve £67,500 – and a former 1948 Bentley MkVI Saloon, employed as the donor for an ali-bodied Special that had been stored since completion in 1993, went for £41,040, £16,040 more than the guide price. Whilst a Rennes registered in 1971 Citroen SM Maserati had come to the UK via three French residencies and a spell on Guernsey to make £43,360, again, £14,360 above the pre-sale estimate.

Even with paint stripped off for a respray that the keeper had never got round to doing, a genuine factory big-valve Sprint version of the 1972 Lotus Elan with rare factory hardtop that had been parked up for 27 years made £28,890, £3890 more than forecast. Whereas a far from standard 1960 MGA 1622 Roadster with MGB 1850 race motor and 5-speed box, a veteran of 50 Historic Rallies from the Pirelli Classic to the Monte Carlo Challenge,  was driven past the rostrum to cost the next enthusiastic owner £19,980, £2000 over the guide.

And finally, a 1958 Austin A35 Pick-Up - the 75th of the 475 produced that qualified for Purchase Tax and, as a result, were over-priced which resulted in half of them being shipped overseas - had been in receipt of a £25k restoration in 2001 and picked up £22,680 in 2017. All the prices quoted were high for the various models, whilst the 92% sale rate achieved by South West Vehicle Auctions was the highest logged on the UK auction circuit in recent weeks.

Series 3 Jaguar E-type Fetches £81k

The ultimately successful buyer of a UK supplied 1973 Jaguar E Type Series 3 V12 Roadster with manual shift only just managed to register to bid in time, entering the Sandown Park saleroom well after bidding for the car had started. But it was worth the rush as the claimed still to be very original Big Cat with 50,000 mileage from new, one of 7990 mainly exported S3 Open Tops made in Coventry, was secured with a close to top estimate bid of £74,000, costing the winning contestant £81,400 including Barons premium.

Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

A well-presented 1976 Rolls-Royce Corniche Convertible also sold at the Surrey Racecourse for a near to guide price £35,750 with premium and a below estimate £28,050 bought a vast and obscenely finned 1961 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible.  Another lefty to find a friend in Brexit Britain was a 1957 Chevrolet Task Force Pick-Up that had only been driven 700 miles since a US restoration and which raised £26,400, top estimate money.  Whilst six out of seven Triumph TRs found new homes to go to, led by an £18,700 TR6 with wings and boot renewed during recent refurbishment and a cosmetically imperfect 1967 TR3A IRS that had been in receipt of a chassis transplant, for which a below guide £18,000 was accepted.

By the end of the Saturday afternoon session, and after some provisional bids had been converted into results, 43 of the 91 cars auctioned had changed keepers in what was only a 47% sold sale, but which nonetheless grossed a healthy £496,485 including premium with an average of £11,546 spent per classic.

The going had been only slightly less sticky at Leominster earlier in the week, when 100 ‘Modern Classics’ were driven past the Brightwells rostrum and 46 had to return home unsold during what was a 54% sold £220,727 Thursday afternoon when an average of £4087 was spent per car.

There were no big prices however, while the results were headed by well-engineered but unexciting Mercs led by a 1982 280SL R107 with hardtop fetching £13,420, albeit just over the lower estimate with premium. The top-priced BMW was a pre-facelift 2002 vintage M3 E46 Cabrio packing a 440bhp 3.2 Six sold for £9350 and a much stored 1992 Peugeot 205 CTi 1.9 with only 3105 miles on the odo made £10,780. A 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX with stock 2.5 turbocharged flat-four good for 227bhp was caught for £7700.

These lower sale rates reflect auction over-load with too many cars chasing much the same number of auction goers and on-line watchers as the economy takes a breather during the distraction of a premature General Election which can only increase uncertainty.

March and April Round-up

67% of auctioned classics currently sell for an average of £12,001 - compared to last month when 74.5% sold and the average price was £37,935

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

Percentage sold stats are the most accurate weather check for the collector vehicle market. For an independently monitored sale rate reflects whether vendors’ reserves are being met or rejected by consumers. If a car sells, one must presume that a buyer thinks the price paid is right for the condition - whereas, if one fails to sell, then punters present or on-line reckon a particular lot is simply too expensive for them. 

Of the 8 auctions attended in April, sale rates ranged between 73% sold by CCA 1 and 2 April at the NEC and the same percentage by ACA 8 April in King’s Lynn, via 70% at Brightwells Bicester 5 April to 67% by Charterhouse 12 April at Shepton Mallet (although no confirmed prices have been published by Coys for their Westminster sale later that evening) to a less bullish 54% sold Brightwells Modern Classics sale 20 April in Leominster and a bearish 47% Barons sale rate 22 April at Sandown Park.

Final sets of post-sale inclusive prices confirmed by the auction firms reveal that 508 of the 758 classics sold at the April sales monitored and an average of 67% cars auctioned are currently selling. Whilst with £6.1m spent, an average of £12,001 is being currently spent on classics at auction in an economy which would appear to be slowing down.

Whereas during last month, the percentages sold ranged from the 82% achieved by Brightwells Leominster 8 March and 80% apiece at Bonhams Goodwood 19 March and Historics Brooklands 4 March, via 71% in the Richard Edmonds Allington tent 4 April and 67% at H&H Duxford 29 March to 57% at DVCA Athelhampton House 2 March.   

Although less cars sold and less were auctioned during the March sales, when 389 of the 522 classics offered sold, the 74.5% sale rate was higher and so was the £14.76m with premium spent. For the overall total was greatly boosted by the £5.6m Bonhams Goodwood sale total and the £2.6m spent at the Historics Brooklands sale, figures which resulted in the average price paid for a collector car in the UK auctions monitored by me rise to £37,935 per classic.

And finally, regardless of whether they can be driven without potentially costly recommissioning, perceived to be classics with documented and therefore authenticated low mileage and genuinely few owners continue to out-perform cars from the same year at auction.

One of the lowest mileage lots to cross the block lately was a one lady owner Mercedes-Benz SL500, which was purchased from Norman of Mayfair in 1996 as a birthday present and driven just 80 miles before being garaged Knightsbridge by the sole lady owner who mislaid the keys and never drove it again. With just 81 miles on the odometer, the R129 with electro-hydraulic hood and detachable hardtop was hammered at £48,000 by Coys during their latest Westminster sale to an internet bidder, who must therefore have paid £54,300 with the graduated range of buyer’s premium charged by the auctioneers for a classic that was reportedly still “as-new”!

ACA Drive-Through

US Honda fan was outbid on 1991 CRX V-Tec sold by ACA for £19,425 and several Germans drove to King’s Lynn to land a 78 year old AC for £73,500

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

In the metal, a Honda CRX V-Tec at the latest ACA Drive-Through did not look like it was born in 1991, since when it had been driven most of its 15,374 mileage by only one owner before being dry-stored from 2012. With only a cracked supplying dealer front number plate to fix, but with 13 reassuring service stamps in the book, the apparently fit 26 year old had been guided at £8000-10,000 and was much viewed during another well attended Saturday afternoon shopping session in King’s Lynn.

With unusually still no internet bidding possible at ACA sales, potential owners had to make the journey to North Norfolk in person or compete for ownership on ye olde dog and bone, which one enthusiastic Honda enthusiast did from theStates. Although he was soon left behind by contestants in the ring, where auctioneer Jim’s gavel fell at £18,500, costing the winner £19,425 including 5% premium.

Unable to bid on-line therefore, but making the most of extremely favourable exchange rates, several car loads of Germans had driven huge distances to this sale with the intention of landing a seriously racey looking supercharged AC 16/80 Special that had been completed in 2015 using a 1939 AC 16/80 chassis with rebuilt original engine and gearbox.

Again, the 18,000-22,000 pre-sale estimate was swiftly overtaken by reserve-topping offers from EU players both in the sale-hall and on half a dozen phones until the ancient Brit was eventually hammered for £73,500 with premium. Even before all the roasted hog had been consumed and any post-sales done, 202 or 73% of the 276 catalogued cars had changed hands in Brexitland for a cool £1.76m, an average of £8696 per classic.

Earlier in the week, Brightwells held their debut sale inside a tent inside a WW2 hangar on the Bicester Heritage site just off the M40 in what the Herefordshire firm perceived was an open point on the collector vehicle auction map. A total of 60 vehicles were auctioned, less than four times the number of cars consigned in East Anglia, and 20 of them were pre-war cars, statistically much harder to shift on or off the classic high street, though there were buyers at Bicester for 17 of them, an 85% sale rate.

The top priced oldtimer, which also headed the afternoon’s results, was a ground-up revived 1923 Vauxhall OD 23/60 Kington Tourer for up to six Vintage Nostalgics sold for £71,500, mid-estimate money. A once elegant 1927 Delage DIS sporting Colonial Tourer coachwork by Phizakerley of Sydney shot well beyond estimate to finish up at £49,500 and a French Grand Routier Hotchkiss 686 Monte Carlo Decouvrable from 1939 that had sunned itself in Portugal for several decades raised a mid-estimate £44,000.

A 1927 Sunbeam 25hp Tourer that had served as a taxi and then been further demoted to breakdown truck duties during hostilities before being rescued and reinstated to original form in the late 1960s bagged an East Anglian collector prepared to invest a way over estimate £44,900. The future of a ‘barn-fresh’ Wolseley Hornet Special with bodywork crafted in the Eustace Watkins workshops in 1933 meanwhile was hotly contested in 2017 until determined for an estimate-cracking £14,850.   

Before the auction book had been finally closed (until opened again 24 June during the Flywheel Festival) , a total of 42 or 70% of entries had been sold ‘live’ under the hammer or converted from provisionally logged bids shortly afterwards to bidders paying invoices in devalued Sterling from as far away as Canada, Dubai and Singapore. Although buyers invested a 10% premium-inclusive total of £953,315 in old motor car stock in Oxfordshire (only just over half what they were about to do over the weekend at ACA in Norfolk), the average price paid at this, Brightwells first Bicester sale amounted to a much more M40 corridor sized £22,698 per classic.

BMW record buster, final Healey 3000 and 2CV twinny star at NEC sale

Statistically rare Motorsport 286bhp M635 CSi manual driven 15,300 miles by two owners from new in 1985 - one of an unprecedented 25 BMWs consigned by CCA for their two-day sale in Birmingham - had been guided at £40,000-50,000, but fetched a record £100,100 with premium.

Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

A 1985 BMW 635 E24 CSI auto with 28 MOT certificates meanwhile also went for more than double the £14,000 lower estimate, selling for £31,900, as did a 1989 635 CSI Highline auto with a forecast £8,000-10,000 on the screen, which sold for £19,250 during the two day auction at the Practical Classics and Classic Car mags backed exhibition at the NEC.

One of the last Austin-Healey 3000 Mk3 BJ8s to leave the BMC production line in 1967, when it was first registered to the Donald Healey Motor Co, had been freshly restored and motored strongly to achieve a £96,800 result in Brum, where buyers spent £2.45m including 10% premium (CCA’s highest sale total yet) on 145 access-able classics, 73% of the 198 that packed the CCA show stand.

Among headliner valuations, a just over top estimate £68,200 was needed to bag a Sahara-traversing 1965 Citroen 2CV Sahara with twin 425cc twins driving all four wheels. Up to £60,000 had been suggested for a right-hand drive 1973 Porsche 911 2.4E Targa with £22k’s worth of Tuthill bills on file that realised an air-cool £95,150 – while a forecast £49,500 was forthcoming for a right-winged 1990 Porsche 928 GT manual with less than 26,000 mileage. A one family owned 2009 Ford Focus RS with just 45 miles of depreciation in seven years beat the auctioneers’ top estimate figure by £5000 to sell for £40,920.

Such was the magnetic force of a £20,000-25,000 1960 190SL Merc left hooker for restoration that 24 telephone bidders contested the position of project manager, a post that was only filled when Jonathan Humbert’s very active gavel fell at £67,000 and the winner paid £73,700 with premium.

The mortal remains of a brace of E Type Jags were also much picked over by fans of the Garage Found who had come to the NEC show to salivate over such challenges. No dreamer however was prepared to match the £38,000-44,000 being sought for a very early 1962 S1 3.8 RHD FHC without chassis plate, but with Heritage Certificate confirmed number. Although even with the triple negatives of being an auto, a 2+2 and a lefty, a said to be (mostly) complete and rust-scabby 1968 Series 1½ 4.2 Coupe did still collect £13,750 with premium from one brave investor.

Among technically interesting rare breeds to come to auction market at the show, a 797 miles since 1992 Panther Solo S2 Coupe with Sierra Cosworth motor and four-wheel drive, one of only around 25 built, sold for £18,700 and £14,300 was accepted for the believed to be 1988 Cirrus prototype of only three of the Gold Motor Company’s space-framed GTs with 200bhp Rover V8 and Ferguson 4WD.

More contemporary ‘Modern Classics’ also changed registered keepers here. A 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX-STI with high rise rear spoiler and calipers in gold, driven only 12,000 speed camera dodging miles by one ‘self restrained private owner’ apparently, raised the necessary £15,500. A 2000 vintage Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI Tommi Makinen Edition with 66k on the trip meanwhile had been only Traffic Lights GP raced in Japan until 2015 before selling on a Saturday afternoon in Birmingham for £13,970. And finally, Ferrari 1 teamster Kimi Raikkonen’s first single seater, a Formula Renault run by Haywood Racing in the winter of 1999, was auctioned again, this time selling for a more than top estimate £29,700.

Although most of the latest HAGI Indices, which monitor transactions of all kinds, recorded falls by the end of March trading with their Ferrari, Porsche and Top Car Prices Indices therefore all being in negative territory for the first quarter of 2017, there were still buyers for three quarters of all classics auctioned at the CCA PC CC Resto Show sale, where some mega-prices were paid and a record gross was achieved for the house and fixture.

On the new car side of the forecourt meanwhile, the SMMT have also logged their largest stat for a single month’s yet with new car sales in the UK up by 8.5% in March, when Jaguar Land Rover sold 31,767 vehicles, one every 30 seconds, and JLR sales were up by 26% on those achieved in March 2016 pre-Brexit!

Re-bodied Ferrari sells for £594k to benefit East Anglian Air Ambulance

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

Having started life as a standard 1964 Ferrari 330GT, a 2+2 in right-hand drive was re-bodied in the Modena workshops of Giorgio Neri (the ‘Ne’ of the former Nembo) as a Nembo Spyder and was sold by H&H in their latest auction at Duxford for a deservedly applauded £530,000 under the hammer to benefit East Anglian Air Ambulance. The Ferrari had been generously consigned for sale at ‘No Reserve’ to raise funds for his local Air Ambulance service by the late Richard Allen, former Chairman of the Ferrari OC.

Reckoned to have been worth somewhere between £500k and £1m before the auction, the final Nembo Spider, more of a unique ‘Continuation’ edition that had been restrospectively created, but the only RHD example and the only one with 4-litre V12 powered one, was therefore valued in public at £596,250 with 12.5% premium. Although this one-off beauty does not have – nor never will be issued with – the official stamp of factory approval, Ferrari Classiche Certification, which has become value-enhancing in the dispersal market and may well become essential for a Ferrari to sell at all in any politician-induced downwave in the unpredictable future.

A headlining Ferrari quartet performed well in the cavernous Imperial War Museum at the former WW2 airfield beside the M11 in Cambridgeshire. For a 1958 250GT Pininfarina Fixed Head donor that had also been retrospectively re-bodied in aluminium as an utterly convincing California Spyder LWB with the preferred enclosed-headlamps (in period, underpinned by the same Tipo 508D chassis as the 250GT PF Coupe donor) was hammered away by house founder Simon Hope for £505,000, which was accepted by the Lancashire vendor and his family in the seats who had been hoping for more. For the £568,250 with premium paid by the next keeper was less than the £600,000-800,000 pre-sale estimate and the likely net return even more so of course.

Another nicely shot big-screen video-introduced 1965 330GT - one of the 453 of the rather understated, but V12-powered 2+2s that offer a Prancing Horse ride for a more reasonable sum that an only 2-seater Ferrari – was provisionally bid to £175,000, again £25,000 below forecast. Although this ‘live’ high bid was speedily accepted by the auctioneers and the same vendor as the Californian Evocazione afterwards, and ‘184 YUD’ duly appeared among published gross prices on the Warrington firm’s website having changed hands for £196,875 with premium.

And then a formerly David Beckham owned 2001 Ferrari 360Spyder with the F1 marketed electrohydraulic manual transmission (that means ‘paddleshift’ in place of ye olde gear-lever, which is likely to be less troublesome in the real world down the road) came to market at Duxford. With only 7800 miles of recorded play on the clock, and in celeb-shades matching Nero with full Sabbia leather, yet another Beckham-mobile was provisionally bid to £80,000, but also converted into a £90,000 on-line published result, comfortably within the guide price band for all concerned.

By the end of the 5 hour 25 minute sale, 31 classics were sold ‘under the hammer’, including all 6 ‘No Reserve’ Armstrong Siddeleys, and 26% of the 117 cars offered had been hammered to a for the most part well attended room plus telephone contestants and worldwide-web players participating on up to four time consuming internet-platforms. By the time the giant hangar was emptied  however, the Northern firm’s back-office team successfully converted another 47 of the ‘provisionals’ into changes of ownership and the sale stats rose therefore to 78 sold, a 67% sale rate, and the sale total to more than £4.5m.

And after nearly paperless H&H sales at Donington, that are geared to the ‘Pop and Emerging Classics’ market, many consumers who made often long and costly journeys to Duxford (most of whom are not yet ready to fully embrace a digital future on i-phones and tablets) told me that they welcomed the retention of a traditional printed catalogue (plus the lighter and handy pocket-sized catalogue-lettes) at this ‘Selected Status’ fixture. Long may such comfort blankets from the old world be available to those members of the dinosaur club who still prefer their newspapers and magazines to be in print!

1957 Jag Mk1 3.4 with Monte history made nearly £190k at Goodwood

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

The Goodwood Members Meeting sale saw a number of milestone auction prices paid led by a JD Classics restored 1957 Jaguar Mk1 3.4 Saloon that was driven on the Monte Carlo and Tulip Rallies in period, much viewed by Goodwood punters (snapped above), and which Bonhams sold for £189,660 , nearly £90,000 more than the top estimate.

An Alan Mann Racing BTC and ETC campaigned 1968 Escort Mk1 Twin Cam with works Ford registration ‘XOO 347F’ and a Richardson, rather than Cosworth FVA under its gold painted bonnet broke the £200k barrier to sell for £203,100. Whilst an Impreza 22B-STi displayed by Subaru on their 1997 Tokyo Motor Show stand, the first prototype for their 1988 WRC Type 22B with only 51k on the odo, topped the £200k barrier to make a record-setting £113,500 (plus additional import duties and VAT on everything if it were to become resident within the tax guzzling EU).

From the same deceased ownership as the Mk1 Jag headliner, a similarly JDC prepped Lola T70 Mk1 Spyder, originally raced round the Goodwood track outside the auction tent by David Hobbs in 1965 and subsequently twice a retrospective event winner at the Sussex circuit, also raised a racey £270,300. Captain Malcolm Campbell, who went on to become ‘the Fastest Man on Earth’ and was knighted for his speedy exploits, drove a 1913 Talbot 15hp with very pointy tail in the sale to a win at Brooklands in 1922. Ninety-five years later, the sole surviving Talbot Works Team car (seen below) fetched a very modern £169,500 including premium.

Mary Berry, late of the once Beeb screened Bake Off, was one of several celebs who visited the Bonhams tent to check out the 83 goodies, 78% of which sold for £5.59m. Although by far the longest lot on the menu was a stretched Cadillac presented to first owner, one Donald J Trump, at the 1988 Limo & Chauffeur Show in Atlantic City. Auctioned at ‘No Reserve’ and only expected to raise circa £10,000, the Hen Partymobile finally sold to a telephone contestant playing in Florida for a very Presidential £54,625!

But then £41,400 was handed over for the 1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche HJMPW Coupe that had been consigned by former Top Gear Musketeer and now Amazonian Motorist Show co-host James May. An Alvis TD21 auto with Drophead Coachwork by Park Ward was delivered to Brooklands of Bond Street in 1961 for first owner Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader, the WW2 fighter ace whose bronze statue graces the Goodwood Flying Club lawn. Restored in the mid-noughties, ’27 CLF’ was landed by the next keeper for £91,100.

A previously 2500 hours ground-up rebuilt Bentley 3-Litre Red Label in the sale was almost certainly cosmetically much sharper than it would have been when brand new in 1924. Topped by Vanden Plas style body replicated by Hastings & Hardy with Alan Geator interior trim, the incredibly well detailed Speed Model Tourer was valued by the next owner at £281,500, within the guide band with premium. While XK Restorations of Eastbourne only completed their restoration of a rarer in right-hand drive 1962 Jaguar E Type 3.8 ‘Flat-Floored’ Roadster in January. A successful bidder at Goodwood in March thought a brand new E Type with zero patination was worth £180,700, mid-estimate money.

By contrast, a matching numbers 1962 S1 3.8 Coupe with the newly introduced sunken foot-wells that catered for taller occupants had been stored for the last seventeen years. Even though extensively micro-blistered and ripe for a full restoration, the RHD FHC did magnetise many potential project managers throughout viewing and was taken on for £92,220, more than the top estimate. Whilst a one family owned, 2020 miles from new in circa 1956 Jaguar MkVIIM had been specified with auto-shift for the convenience of the first owner’s wife, who was only newly qualified to drive. Far from pretty in close-up, though with running engine, the dry-stored ‘time warp’ went to a new home for £21,850.

The catalogue cover featured 1961 Aston Martin DP214 at Goodwood wasone of the three known re-creations, that had employed DB4/618/R as a donor and was claimed to be an accurate re-enactment of the only remaining and genuine DP 214, chassis 0194. Although prominently displayed in the auction tent at Goodwood, an offer was made to the auctioneers for the ‘3729 UM’ registered ‘Development Project’ and this was accepted by the vendor just before the sale. The Spa, Donington, Silverstone, Brands, Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring retro-raced DP214 Rep was declared sold therefore and appears on the published results for a premium-inclusive £551,665.

Porsche 911 GT1 road car makes £4.65m during 86% sold £91m weekend

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

Although a Jaguar XK SS ran out of live bids at an insufficient $11.9m (£9.76m) on the Gooding scoreboard, a 1998 Porsche 911 GT1, one of 20 of the more Strassen-friendly versions of the factory Le Mans race car, did cross the block at Amelia Island to clock up a $5.67m (£4.65m) result.  The high octane moment when Atlantic hopping UK auctioneer Charlie Ross hammered the 911 record breaker away was captured for you by snapper Jensen Sutta, my thanks to him.

A 1937 Bugatti Type 57S, one of only three to sport Vanvooren of Paris Cabrio coachwork and offered for public sale for the first time in its 80 year history, sold at RM Sotheby’s $70.77m (58.03m) bonanza meanwhile for $7.7m (£6.31m) to top the Amelia prices this year. The Big Three auctions saw 275 mainly high end investor-automobiles change portfolios for $111.18m (£91.17m) and an overall sale rate of 86% achieved.

The 5694-mile from new in 1995 Ferrari F50 originally delivered to heavyweight Champ boxer Mike Tyson punched above its pre-sale estimate to deliver a socking $2.64m (£2.16m). RM Sotheby’s also claimed two new world record auction prices for a 1929 Stutz Model M Supercharged Coupe, one of only three Blown Stutzes on the planet that had been estimated at $1-1.2m and which sold for $1.71m (£1.4m), and a two registered owner 1956 Bentley S1 Continental Drophead, guided at $700,000-900,000, also shattered the previous auction stat for the model with a $1.68m (£1.38m) milestone valuation.

One of the most intense bidding battles of this market reassuring weekend in President Trump’s favourite State though was the contest for the keys of a 1956 Maserati A6G/54 Frua S3 Coupe, for which $1.6-2.2m had been suggested, but which was finally hammered away for $2.37m (£1.94m). A 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 3.0 also eclipsed its $900,000-1.1m hunch to storm into the record books with a $1.375m performance (£1,127,500 in our, as yet, only partially devalued Sterling).

The latest $2.39m (£1.96m) price in the public arena for a Gooding consigned 2015 McLaren P1 was fairly spectacular, too, as was the $1.54m (£1.26m) paid for the fourth Aston Martin DB2 built in 1949 for the personal use of AM owner David Brown. Driven in period by works driver Lance Macklin in the 1950 Targa Florio and in receipt of full restoration by AM Works, LML/49/4 was most recently concours-shown at Windsor Castle in 2016. The very first of just 37 DB5 Short-Chassis Volante Astons also fetched a noteworthy $1.7m (£1.4m) during two days of selling at RM Sotheby’s, where $70.77m (£58.03m) worth of cars sold, the highest sales total in the 19 years of Amelia Island auction history.

And then at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club, a 1955 Ferrari Europa GT in aluminium, one of only two to be so bodied by Pinin Farina, was driven past the Bonhams rostrum and purchased by a European collector for $2.23m (£1.83m in our money and my thanks for the Peter Singhof image recording the moment).

Other eyebrow raisers at Bonhams included a 1911Pierce-Arrow Model 48 S1 Roadster that epitomises the Brass Era and which sold for $550,000 (£451,000), while a 1961 Jaguar E Type S1 Roadster, one of the earliest known examples with the external bonnet-release handles, made a most impressively feline $326,700 (£267,894) after some spirited bidding by Coventry cat lovers. A still trendy looking Countach 500S Quattrovalvole from 1986 meanwhile was snapped up by an American Lamborghini enthusiast for a bullish $335,500 (£275,110) and $324,500 (£266,090) was forthcoming for Whacky Arnolt’s Bertone-sculptured in 1954 Arnolt-Bristol Prototype Roadster.

Some new record valuations at auction were claimed here, too, with a 1904 Knox 16/18hp Tudor Tourer for 5 passengers selling for $292,600 (£197,379), a 1987 BMW M6 Coupe for $104,500 (£85,690) and a 1953 Sunbeam Talbot Alpine Roadster by Thrupp & Maberly for $88,000 (£72,160).

New Group Motoring Director, the New York based Brit Rupert Banner, one of the auctioneers at this, Bonhams’ third annual Amelia Island sale, summarised their day’s trading in Florida in the current climate: “The offering of premium automobiles across a broad spectrum premium automobiles was strong and the results were very positive. What we saw was increased interest and movement in the middle of the market, and we feel that this is a healthy indicator for our industry and for enthusiasts worldwide.”

The 87% sell-through rate at the Fernandina Club – where a dinky-sized 1959 Berkeley SE 492 Sports from Bedfordshire was the least expensive bauble on the Island when picked up for $16,500 (£13,350) - certainly looked mighty healthy from an even more uncertain side off the Atlantic pond, where absolutely anything could happen next!

970S makes £55k and £143k is invested in E Type S1 project at Brooklands

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

Sensitively revived 1965 Morris Mini Cooper 970S - statistically the rarest of BMC’s official S versions of which only 963 were manufactured - fetched a heady £55,000 with premium in the Historics auction tent at the Brooklands Museum, where Saturday afternoon shoppers spent £2.6m on 78% of the 128 classics in the catalogue. An early Jaguar E Type 3.8 Roadster with matching numbers from 1962 meanwhile, only the second year of production, that ran and drove, but was nonetheless a resto project, was taken on for a way over forecast £143,000.

Another Coventry cat that also performed well at this sale was a 1954 XK120SE Roadster, repatriated from the US in 2011 for body-off restoration and conversion from left to right-hand drive, which went for £126,500, £41,500 more than top estimate. A restored to original spec MkIV 3½-Litre Saloon that had been first registered to Jaguar Cars in 1948 and used by Deputy Chairman Arthur Whittaker was bought by his three grand-daughters for £68,200.

Some of the more noteworthy valuations for mainstream assets included the £57,200 paid for a 1969 280SL Merc lefty with auto-shift that had migrated from New York in 2013 and had been guided at £33,000-38,000, and the £46,750 result of a fastidiously accurate 1963 Ford Lotus Cortina Mk1 2 that had been re-shelled during the 1990s and for which up to £42,000 had been forecast. More than £11,000 over the pre-sale estimate, a potent £39,325 with premium, was also required to own a genuine right-hand drive Triumph TR2 from 1954, the year that similar ‘Long Door’ TR2s finished 28th on the Mille Miglia and 5th in class in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Model eligibility for Premier Cru retrospectives like these continues to boost auction performance.

The most surprising result of the afternoon though was the £92,400 paid for the 1997 Jordan F1 Type 197 without Peugeot V10 or transmission that had been pre-sale estimated at £20,000-25,000. Not some shopping mall display dummy this, but claimed to be the actual 197/03 chassis (with B&H less politically incorrect Snake-adorned paintjob rather than mobile fag packet livery) that wasdriven by Giancarlo Fisichella to second place in Belgium and third in Canada.  The 78% sale rate, also the average achieved by Historics throughout their 2016 sales calendar incidentally, was higher than it was at their season opener at the pre-WW2 circuit one year ago.

Simultaneously, just outside Chippenham in muddier Wiltshire where the Richard Edmonds auction tent had been pitched, 71% of the 95 collector vehicles, 72 of them cars, changed hands for another £477,255 with premium. Among the 51 sellers, a left to right-hand drive converted 1959 Jaguar XK150 3.4 Coupe for cosmetic improvement found £48,950 and £22,000 was available for an XJS V12 Convertible first owned by Lady Sarah Ferguson in 1988 that had been TWE restored in 1988.

A dormant 1934 Riley Nine Kestrel with a new crankshaft in a box on the back seat and £7000-10,000 pre-sale estimate was keenly contested until gavel fall at £14,800, costing the winner £16,280 with premium. While by far the oldest automobile on offer was claimed to have been first steamed up in Milwaukee early in 1901 and had been returned to the spec it had been in 116 years ago during the late Noughties. Apparently L2B eligible, and reportedly capable of transporting two warmly dressed travellers to Brighton under its own steam, the Milwaukee Steamer raised £35,750 from the next caretaker.

Arriving by 4x4 (and that included my Swindon-made CRV) was helpful for drama-free arrival and departure from the auction field, although a well shod Landcruiser workhorse was standing by with tow rope to rescue townies with tyres and transmissions unsuited to the countryside in the tail end of winter

Ferrari Dino exceeds guide price by £140k to sell for £440k

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

Over £1m more was spent on classic cars during the three Silverstone Auctions sales at this year’s Race Retro than in 2016. The £5.7m invested in the futures of 99 auction vehicles was a new high for the Midland auction house at the Stoneleigh Park annual in Warwickshire, where there were buyers for 78% of road cars and 26 owner-drivers were prepared to pay just over £1m for competition cars.

A long bidding battle between a contestant in the saleroom and another competing elsewhere for the keys of a right-hand drive 1974 Ferrari Dino 246GT – a right-hand driver with factory-ordered and executed flared-arches and Campagnolo wheels, which had come to market for the time in 22 years -  was eventually resolved in favour of the phone-bidder. The £429,875 with premium paid by the winner however was nearly £140,000 more than the lower estimate!

From the same delighted private vendor source, another right-hand drive Ferrari F355 Berlinetta that had only been driven 7017 miles from new in 1998 had come to market to find £136,125, again £50,000 more than had been forecast.  And it was certainly another good day’s racing for Prancing Horses with a 2005 575M right hooker making £146,250 and another right is right 512TR from 1992 fetching £128,250.

A pair of low mileage Italian left hookers seduced new masters (or maybe mistresses?), a 3300k 2005 575M costing a successful bidder £146,250 and an only 2500k since 1990 348TB £93,375, the same money landing a 1989 328GTS that had been previously enjoyed for 23,000m. Whilst one of only ten 550 Maranello 2000 World Speed Record celebrants in right-hand drive and with 33,800 English miles under-wheel was successfully shifted afterwards for £178,000, just shy of the guide.

Among locally reared Jaguars to change keepers, a matching numbers 1960 XK150 3.8 SE Drophead excited determined bidding until sold for £132,750, more than double the lower estimate figure. All twelve Porsches offered were snapped up, a 1980 911 930 Turbo headlining for £109,125, and eight ‘Fast Ford’ road car changes of ownership were led by an ex-Jensen Button 2010 GT 40 at £264,375, while an only 1800m from new in 2010 Ford Focus RS in shocking Electric Green achieved an even more shocking £41,063.

But then my old 1965 Ford Lotus Cortina Mk1, which cost me considerably less than £10,000 in the late 1980s, fetched £45,000 this time around and £39,375 was forthcoming for a 24m865m 1995 Escort RS Cosworth. A 1987 Sierra Cosworth RS swopped owners, the last for 28 years, for £33,750, while a 1988 Escort RS Turbo S2 with 17,048 mileage cost the next guardian £27,000. £19,688 was required to own a 1987 Capri 280 Brooklands with Turbo Technics conversion and £16,313 a 23,000m 1990 Fiesta RS Turbo.

Another high flier was a 1994 Lancia Delta Integrale Evo 2 lefty that had flown in from Japan in 2014 and, with 13,540k indicated, was much viewed until sold on a Saturday afternoon at the once Royal Showground venue for £53,100, within estimate band money.

And in the preceding Friday session for Competition Cars - statistically by far the stickiest sector of the old car market – a bullish 68% of the race and rally car stock were towed away on or inside new trailers. Taking the chequered flag was the only surviving 1961 Emeryson F1 Single Seater with Coventry Climax FPF and Hewland Mk6 in the tail, which was bravely piloted in period by Mike Spence, Jack Fairman, John Campbell-Jones and Tony Settember. Having been retrospectively campaigned in later life for an extraordinary 16 consecutive seasons by the equally intrepid vendor from Goodwood to Monaco, Emeryson chassis 1004 realised a truly Grand Prix of £174,380 in the Race Retro sale. I am old enough to have actually been spectating at Oulton, Silverstone and Aintree to see it in action! Memories were certainly made of this.

Original Beetle sells for more than French snails in Paris sales

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

Rare spit rear screen Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle, a mainly one owner and unmolested ‘original’ driven only 77,000 kilometres from new in 1952, flew past a trio of Citroen 2CVs to sell for 58,240 euros (equating to £49,594 including RM Sotheby’s premium) during the three Paris sales, which were not just all about mega-million investment automobiles.

For 118,266 personnes were sufficiently enthusiastic about old motors to pore over more than 500 voitures on display within the 65,000 square metres of Salon Retromobile. For this was where an only 40 kilometres from new 1990 2CV Charleston, a one Citroen dealer owned escargot that had been spared the reality de la route and tucked away for a sunny Friday day in Paris Expo was hammered by Artcurial for 52,200 euros (£44,370 in our now less valuable currency and digitally captured below).

But then the preceding lot, a 2CV Dolly Edition of 1990 vintage from the same Citroen dealership principal with a mere 30k on the odo, had just sold for 41,760 euros (£35,496). While much earlier in the 8 hour marathon drive-past that grossed 34m euros, a 1956 2CV AZ ‘Rallye’ with renewed floorpan and a skid-plate beneath the engine from restoration for historic rallying, which it had never been subjected to, had sold for 31,320 euros (£26,622).

Back in the international isolation of Brexitland however, such heady valuations for very French 2CVs were not being matched. For during Sunday Trading in Somerset within an unglamorous unit on the Royal Bath & West Showground at Shepton Mallet, a 1977 2CV with many panels repaired or replaced, and a new set of seat covers and matching door cards, was sold by Charterhouse for £6600, and a 1985 2CV 6 Charleston with previously galvanised chassis transplant was hammered away to a new Snail Keeper for an even more modest £1210.

Such huge variations highlight the widening differences between two very different cultures and economies on dividing sides of the once Norman, but still English Channel.  It remains to be seen whether much French will be spoken in British auction tents this summer. For to tempt Gallic palates, one of only 100 surviving twin engined, four-wheel drive 1965 Citroen 2CV Saharas comes to auction market at the upcoming Practical Classics Classic Car and Restoration Show at the NEC in Brum. Auctioneers.  Classic Car Auctions estimate that their 4WD 2CV consignment, which has actually crossed the Sahara twice apparently and been the subject of a full body-off resto in the UK in 2012, will cost a Citroen fanatic an air-cooled £60,000-65,000 when it crosses the CCA auction block 1st and 2nd April. Although nothing is certain in this world, of course, or the next.

74% of classics auctioned in Paris sell for £61.1m

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

An extensively exhibited 1966 Ferrari Dino206P Prototype crossed the Artcurial auction block at Retromobile to sell for an auction week topping 4.29m euros (£3.65m with premium) chased by a Farina and Sommer raced 1948 166 Sports-Racer which made 2.89m euros (£2.46m). Both Ferraris were hammered away Without Reserve.

Other big money prices during the £26.67m 72% sold marathon session, which took 8 hours and was watched by 3000 personnes in the sale hall plus 15,237 more viewers on the ‘live’ internet-cast, were a 1972 Lamborghini Miura SV Bull valued by a new Toreador at 2.33m euros (£1.98m in devalued Sterling), a still shapely 1935 Bugatti 57 Atalante Decouvrable dispersed from the Herve and Martine Ogliastro Collection for 2.23m euros (£1.93m), and a two owners since 1987 Porsche 959 Komfort investment with 26,000k on the odo changed portfolos for 1.2m euros (£935k).

The Paris sales again kicked off with a £21.74m evening in the RM Sotheby’s packed, but up-market tent pitched beside Place Vauban with the Tour Eifel twinkling outside, where 78% of the more contemporary rolling assets found new shareholders. Although first place in the GP was taken by a forever racey Alfa Romeo Tipo B P3 of 1934 vintage which scraped over the lower estimate line to sell for 3.92m euros (£3.32m), pursued by a genuine Ferrari-opened 1973 Ferrari 365GTB/4 Daytona Spider captured for 2.16m euros (£1.83m).

Another Porsche 959 performed well at auction with a 1988 Sport making 1.96m euros with premium (£1.67m) and a reassuringly Ferrrari Classiche certified 1965 Ferrari 275GTB in refreshingly original Pino Verde realised 1.93m euros (£1.64m). The 1.344m euros (£1.14m!) performance of a 1995 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabrio was awesome and a 1962 Ferrari 250GT S2 Cabrio also overtook its estimate band to sell for 1.23m euros (£1.05m).

The 901,600 euros (£766,360) invested in the present, let alone the future of a 1994 Porsche 911 Turbo S 3.6 was another milestone valuation and a higher than guide price 750,400 euros (£637,840) was forthcoming for a 2012 Aston Martin V12 Zagato, ‘Number Zero’ no less. While the going rate in Paris this year for a production 1969 Ferrari 365GTB/4 Daytona was 705,600 euros (£599,760), the only known pre-911 1964 Prototype Porsche 901 Cabriolet that had never been offered for public sale before made 649,600 euros (£552,160).

True Brits meanwhile led the Bonhams £12.7m results in the truly historic Grand Palais, under whose vast glazed steelwork the first Motor Show was held in 1901.  Among 99 changes of ownership, a 1935 Le Mans raced Aston Martin Ulster sold for 2.02m euros (£1.71m) and a still stunning 1957 Bentley S1 Continental Convertible by Park Ward cleared the magic 1m euros barrier at 1.07m euros (£900,075). One of 640 factory-built ‘Le Mans’ specified Austin-Healey 100Ms, a 1956 left-hand drive BN2 with rare hardtop and a 2012 Mille Miglia Retrospective finisher, raised 189,750 euros (£161,288).

A 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing changed nests for 1.02m euros (£864,168), a 1939-built Maybach SW-38 Spezial Cabrio that survived WW2 fetched 627,750 euros (£571,838) and a 1923 Bugatti T27 Brescia Torpedo 506,000 euros (£430,100). AStradale version of the 1977 Lancia Stratos achieved 373,750 euros (£317,688) and a 1983 Renault 5 Turbo Group Bthat finished 6th on the 1986 Tour de Corse rallied to a 195,500 euros (£165,750) result.

Many even more mega prices were paid for high value stock on top car dealers stands at Retromobile itself, so the Parisian vibes from both the auction and retail sectors of the classic car market are still positive enough not to make the professionally negative BBC News. For the moment at least, old automobiles might therefore be able to continue motoring onwards in a nostalgic haze without a red flag in sight. Although hot exhaust gases are no longer cool with the climate change lobby and both the Mayors of Paris and London have been politically empowered by their electorates to change the future by at least taxing and ultimately banning such old world practices as ours.

Ferraris sold out at the first ACA Drive-Through of the year

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

There were buyers for all three Ferraris consigned by ACA for their King’s Lynn season opener, during which the 1981 London Motor Fair displayed 308GTBi pictured, one of only 42 in RHD, sold for £50,400 including 5% premium.

The 456M GTA, also in RHD, that had been owned by the extremely acquisitive Sultan of Brunei from 1996to 2006, cruised past the rostrum to make £53,550, again more than top estimate money. Whilst on a January Saturday afternoon in Norfolk, when £1.85m was spent on non-essential classics, a 308GTB with 86,433 mileage from new in 1980 that had been in receipt of a photo-recorded restoration also cost a new keeper £71,400, within the guide price band.

For although most of the Historic Automobile Group International indices that chart the classic car market experienced a statistically lacklustre start to 2017, the HAGI P Index for Porsches falling 2.15% and their MBCI monitoring Classic Merc prices declining by 1.47%, by contrast the HAGI F Index tracking Ferrari transactions recorded a gain in prices actually paid for Ferraris of 1.57% in January.

Their number crunchers reckon that this latest golden spike in Ferrari fortunes was achieved through a number of high end Ferraris - and, significantly, rarer models from Maranello - changing hands for higher prices. For instance, there were five Ferraris in the ‘Overall Top Ten’ at last month’s seven sales during Arizona auctions week, led by the 1952 340 America Competizione Spider sold by Bonhams for $6.38m (£5.17m).

Six more Ferraris occupied the RM Sotheby’s leader-board with a 1969 365GTS Spider selling for $3.60m (£2.92m), a 1995 F50 Coupe $3.14m (£2.54m) , a 1961 Superamerica Coupe $3.08m (£2.49m), a 2003 Enzo $2.70m (£2.18m), a 1967 330 GTS Spider $2.48m (£2.00m) and a 1966 275GTB/2 Coupe $2.12m (£1.72).

For whereas the S&P Global 1200 put on 2.47% growth during January alone, most Ferrari types with production numbers in the 100s or more continue, report HAGI, to experience price pressure and low turnover. Currency volatility has also had a major impact on the classic car market during the past year, they say. For if calculated in US dollars, 2016 growth in the benchmark HAGI Top Index would actually have been closer to zero and yet stronger in Euro terms. While buying classics priced in US dollars or euros now certainly costs Brits abroad much more following the Brexit vote result, although thanks to the exchange rates imbalance selling British owned classics both in the US and on the Continental mainland can net more Sterling for a UK vendor.

Nonetheless, Ferrari Prancing Horses certainly enjoyed a good gallop last season, the HAGI F Index having risen by 2.95% in December alone, resulting in growth of 6.37% year on year. Lest we forget, it was during last year’s Paris Retromobile sales that Artcurial sold a 1957 335 S for 32.08m euros (£25.7m), a record classic car auction price for 2016 and an overall record for any car ever sold at auction in Europe.

In the same February sale in 2015, the Parisian firm hammered away a sleepy 1961 250 GT California SWB Spyder for more than 16.29m euros (£11.80m). Although during this far more uncertain year, any rise in global interest rates could impact negatively on the overall market for classics and drive investor-collectors into cashing in their assets and scrambling for the fire sale exits.

99% Of Cars Sell At SWVA Drive-Through

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

99% of lots sell at a packed SWVA Drive-Through and the next day another large crowd spend £1.84m on 192 more classics at ACA

Both of the first two UK auctions of the new season, where most classics are started up and can be seen being driven past the rostrum, indicate continued health in demand for collector vehicles.

For there were new owners for 70 out of the 71 cars consigned by SWVA for their first Friday morning classics sale of the year just outside Poole and then ACA also successfully shifted 81% of the 237 classics in their catalogues, which sold out to another huge Saturday crowd on the outskirts of King’s Lynn. In two consecutive days shopping at geographically opposite ends of England, £2.28m had been poured into classic stock and an average of £8704 had been spent per car, £6225 at the Dorset sale and £9607 in Norfolk.

In the West country, the virtually sell-out prices were headed by a 1984 restored and still well presented Austin Mini Cooper 1275S with SW05 cam,  logged at 82bhp on Tom Airey’s rolling road in September, which achieved £47,250 including 8% buyer’s premium, £24,250 more than the lower estimate! While right behind the S was a Ford AVO OC confirmed as genuine and the 413th made in 1972 Ford Escort RS1600 Mk1 with 1700cc BDA which also overtook its £35,000-38,000 guide price band to sell for £42,500.

Even resto projects pulled brave blokes, an Irish registered 1949 Bentley MkVI ‘No Reserver’ with working semaphors and valves radio pottered through the hall to fetch £22,032 and a dilapidated Canadian-spec 1968 Series 1.5 E Type Jag 4.2 2+2 FHC left hooker, but a manual with numbers still matching, made £15,120.

Even pre-WW2 classics, which can be less easy to rehome in an increasingly Modern Classics market, found new Buddies with £18,360 available for a quaint Austin 7 with Swallow Saloon coachwork of 1930 vintage, the 17th oldest Mk1 of the 30 known to the Swallow Register, and £11,340 was available for a 1934 A7 Brum Factory Saloon, both selling for more than their pre-sale estimates.

And there were buyers, too, for both American Classics from the immediate post-war period, a previously revived 1940 Packard 120 Eight in right-hand drive and Weddings White fetching £ 19,710, more than expected, and a Hershey-sourced 1947 Plymouth Special Deluxe cruised through to a £13,338 result, within forecast money.

The very next day at the ACA Drive-Through, Lewis Hamilton’s Dad Anthony was among another huge crowd of potential buyers for 237 cars, 4 2-wheelers, 1 cherished registration on retention and a Viennese Opera Carriage from the 1870/80s!

A 1957 190SL Merc in rhd without UK reg led the prices with a more than forecast £110,925 valuation by the next keeper and a 1995 Porsche 928GTS manual, one of 44 UK RHD examples, went for £50,400, £10,000 more than forecast. While a much stored, though running, driving and UK-supplied in RHD 1964 230SL auto for improvement still motored to a £43,050 conclusion, nearly £10,000 over the guide price band. Much more on what went for what and why in East Anglia in my next take on a market changes by the auction and never stays still for long.

GTO-beating E Type Jag breaks £6m auction barrier in Arizona

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

In selling for $7.37m under the Bonhams gavel during the Arizona sales (£6,002,681 in UK Sterling), the 1963 Australian GT Championship winning Jaguar E Type Factory Lightened Competition became both the most valuable E Type and the most valuable post-1960 Jag ever to sell at auction. The Scottsdale sale saw a near sell-out of headliners with 85 or 81% of the 105 cars and a scooter changing owners for £29.59m well before winter sundown.

Apart from the E Type auction price buster, a 1952 Ferrari 340 America Vignale Spider Competizione also sold at the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa for $6.38m (£5.2m), a 1928 Mercedes-Benz Type S 26/120/189 Supercharged Sports-Tourer by Erdmann & Rossi for $4.81m (£3.92m) and a 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C Supercharged Zagato Spider for $2.81m (£2.28m). A 1955 Austin-Healey 100S fetched $539k (£439,002) and the 1984 Ferrari 308GTB QV driven on-screen by Tom Selleck Magnum PI during the 1984/5 shooting seasons persuaded a nostalgic viewer to part with $181.5k (£147.8k). The average investment in the futures of old cars bought in the Bonhams Pavilion this year was £348,073!

By the end of this now 10-day auction bonanza, the total spend at the seven collector automobile sales held in AZ this year amounted to just under $260m (over £210m), which was just over £6m or 3% more than the January 2016 sales total. While after more than 2650 vehicles had crossed the auction blocks among the cacti this year, and after most post-sales had been tied down before nearly everyone had flown away, around 1980 or 75% of the total entry had sold.

In terms of bucks blown, the biggest grossing event was the RM Sotheby’s bash at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix itself, where a two-evening sale generated around $53.65 (£44.53m) in the sales of 139 or 89% of the 156 cars consigned, the average spent being $385.97l (£312,640). Top seller was a one-off Merc from 1939, a 540K Special Roadster sold for $6.6m (£5.35m), followed by no less than seven Ferraris, the Italian marque therefore dominating yet another auction top ten.

Among the Prancing Horses were two new auction record breakers, a 1968 GTS selling for $3.6m (£2.92m), triple the model’s previous auction record, and a 1995 F50 in black making $3.14m (£2.54m), again milestone money. A strong $3.14m (£2.49m) was forthcoming for a 1961 400 Superamerica SWB Aerodinamico and the 2003 Enzo purchased new in 2003 by designer Tommy Hilfiger, who had only driven it 3620 miles, roared onto the stage to sell to a second owner for $2.69m (£2.18m). Bidders hailed from 30 countries, around 20% of the players apparently being first-timers to the house.

BBC TV antiques show regular and Atlantic-hopping Brit Charlie Ross once again shared the Gooding rostrum with House President David Gooding at their Scottsdale annual, which saw $33.4m (£27.04m) worth of motors move successfully into new trailers, 106 or 84% of the 126 cars driven over the stage selling for an average of $315,327 (£255,415) per lot sold.

The most notable valuations in public auction at this sale were the world record $3.3m ($2.67m) paid for a still highly original and only three owners since 1925 Bugatti Type 35 Grand Prix and the $2.92m (£2.36m) performance of a 1965 Ferrari 500 Superfast. A one owner 1955 Merc 300SL Gullwing flapped its door to achieve $1.56m (£1.18m) and a $451k (£365k) world record was also set for a 1920 Stutz Series H Bearcat.

Now although such heady extravagance will, of course, be largely ‘on another planet’ for most consumers of classics on the Brexit Islands, the mega prices paid at the Arizona auctions this year were nonetheless high profile votes of confidence in what is clearly seen by the movers and shakers to be the continued health of our favourite commodity.

Higher prices and low interest rates fuel finance rush

Auctions Commentary from  CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

Auctions Commentary from  CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

As the prices of many, though by no means all classics have increased, and interest rates remain at historic lows, the number of acquisitions funded on finance has risen dramatically. For some time, brokers have been advertising their services in auction catalogues and their reps have been discreetly networking with the punters at sales, and retro-hp has been possible to actually pay for cars that have been knocked down to bidders who prefer to use (or need )other people’s money rather than their own.

Now, however, Historics at Brooklands have become officially authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority to offer consumer credit in partnership with Classic & Sports Finance, so that, subject to acceptance checks, their clients can bid away in the knowledge that they have a finance agreement ‘pre-arranged’.

While even more like the trad trade, where virtually all new and most used motors are bought on the drip, a new-fangled web-based interactive finance calculator, embedded with every auction consignment listing in their on-line catalogue at www.historics.co.uk, enables those interested to configure a package that suits their pocket and repayment time scale.

The suits anticipate that most credit-equipped buyers will opt for an hp agreement on a fixed rate of interest (9.6% fixed, as I input this, with an APR of 11.56%). Although, and as has become custom and practice when buying new stuff, other creative solutions such as scarey balloons and the like, are available so that repayment of as much of the outstanding amount can be delayed for as long as possible. All fine and dandy, of course, if prices continue to rise, as they have done for many Ferraris, Porsches and Aston Martins in the recent past, when increased dispersal values have been assured and historic classic car appreciation has taken care of finance charges. But all markets are cyclical and all cyclists will encounter a steep hill eventually and even Olympians on state of the art bikes crash spectacularly!

Although individual credit approval can be set up within 24 hours of an Historics auction, at least five days before is recommended and an impulse buyer certainly cannot expect to arrange finance on the day of the sale. Those bidding for classics on credit must also have an AIP in place, the all-important ‘Agreement in Principal’, which confirms that the lender is willing to lend before the day of the auction and enables a registered bidder with credit approval to bid away up to their limit.

As long as they can afford to buy, native classicists, who might fear credit-cleared overseas invaders armed with much cheaper currency buying up even more of our automotive heritage, will be relieved to hear that pre-financed buyers will need to be domiciled in the UK and have a permanent UK address that checks out.

On behalf of rare consumers who prefer and are able to spend their own money, and who may be fearful of competing against financed opponents, I have also been assured by Historics’ Auction Director, Edward Bridger-Stille, that the auction company will not know how much any registered bidder with an AIP from Classic and Sport Finance is good for - thus avoiding an auctioneer from running the financed bidder up to his pre-arranged spending limit!

While gratification may well be relatively instant for those who will buy classics on the tick, by end of term, borrowers will, of course, have paid considerably more for their toys than those bidding with their own old money. The vast majority of properties and their contents, jets and commercial vehicles, most private cars and their running costs, and nearly all lifestyle purchases, have been paid for with borrowed money for yonks. Maybe fellow luddites who pay hard earned taxed cash for Real Ale rather than bending the plastic or swiping their mobiles in order to consume the cheapest goods may have to adjust to even more change.

Although if the finance trend does really catch on or even become the norm in the old car bizz, then the prices of all £10k+ classics will almost certainly rise as a direct result of the influx of external funding – and only a return to a softer market or even the return of ye olde bear pit is likely to frighten away the new breed of brave young bulls with their AIPs.

C-Type Jag Sells for £5.7m

£5.7m C Type Jag was top Brit in EU auctions, though average auction price in 2016 fell by 9%

Auctions Commentary by Richard Hudson-Evans

Auctions Commentary by Richard Hudson-Evans


Although new auction records were established for several models, the average price paid for classics fell dramatically during 2016. For while there were buyers for 7537 of the record 11,375 collector vehicles auctioned in Europe as a whole, the average paid per EEC auctioned car fell by £4727 per car, a fall of 9% in value in one year. Of the 5885 cars from the 8929 offered that I personally saw change hands for £166.5m at UK island auctions last year, the average sum handed over for a classic sold under the hammer amounted to £28,292 with premium, nearly 15% less than in 2015 sales.

Even more surprising perhaps is the average price of the 1652 classics that I reported on being sold for £189.31m on the Eurozone mainland auctions also fell by the Sterling equivalent of £48,286 per car last year from one year earlier, and, lest we forget, average prices paid in 2015 had been £27,130 lower too than those seen in 2014. Statistically, and contrary to so much other shallow punditry that peddles permanent boom in what will always be a cyclical sector, the prices of most, though by no means all mainstream classics have softened dramatically during the past two years. 

Real world sale rates achieved at the 107 classic auctions attended at home and abroad varied from a 17% low at Newmarket in July to 100% at New Bond Street in September. The £40m total sell out of 423 ‘No Reservists’ at Milan in November meanwhile was by far the highest grossing sale of the year. Whereas the average sale rate for the whole of my last year’s catalogues worked out at 66% of auctioned cars selling in the UK, 4% fewer than in 2015, and an average of 68% on the Continent, again 4% less than the average achieved at auction one year earlier.

In terms of both the numbers of cars offered and sold as well as their sales total, RM Sotheby’s topped the auctions chart on the Continent by selling 546 of the 589 cars consigned for their Paris, Monaco and Milan fixtures, 33% of the cars sold on the other side of the Channel last year, and achieving a 93% sale rate and grossing £76.22m by year end, 40% of the industry total for 2015 in Euro Europe. In second place were Artcurial, who, in shifting 366 or 79% of 464 of their clients’ cars for £57.85m, took a 31% euro-market share. Bonhams Europe were third, securing 20% of the market with the sale of 173 of the 286 cars auctioned for £38.01m and achieving an average of £219,711 per car sold, the highest on the Continent. The 1953 Le Mans raced Jaguar XKC sold for 7.25m euros (£5.72m with premium) in May at the Fairmont Monte Carlo was the highest-priced Brit auctioned in Europe last year.  

In Brexit-land, more collector cars were auctioned in a single sales season than ever before and, by selling 374 mainly higher end classics in 9 sales for £45.57 with premium, Bonhams were the UK market leaders with a £121,845 average per car sold figure and a 27.37% market share by value. In second place were Silverstone Auctions and their CCA subsidiary, who sold 436 mainstream cars in 9 UK sales for £25.44m, an average of £58,349, and 403 more accessible classics in 6 sales under the CCA gavel for £5.44m, an average of £11,033, a combined 16 sales total of £30.88m with premium. By selling 65 top cars for £21.65m in Battersea Park in September, an average of £333,077 per lot, RM Sotheby’s took third place by value with a 13% UK market share, while H&H were fourth with 563 cars sold for £14.73m, an average of £26,162 and an 8.85% market share.

By volume however, once again ACA consigned the most cars for their 5 sales at their single King’s Lynn venue, where they sold 938 of the 1268 cars offered for £8.4m including 5% buyer’s premium, the lowest charged and an average of £8955 per car sold, and took a market-topping 15.9% of the UK market by volume. Although with 929 of their 1312 cars sold stat in 2016, the Midland Silverstone and CCA brands were right behind the Norfolk firm. The 8 Brightwells sales for Traditional classics (at an average price of £11,986) and Modern classics (at an average of £4977) saw 846 of the 1193 consigned cars sell for £8.27m, a 4.3% UK market share by volume.