Before the first lot was knocked down at their last sale for traditional classics of this buying season at Leominster HQ, Brightwells announced an expansion deal with Bicester Heritage, which will see the Herefordshire auctioneers become Official Bicester Heritage Auction Partner and host three premium sales during 2017 on the 348-acre former WW2 RAF Bomber site in Oxfordshire.
‘Brightwells Bicester’ branded fixtures are additional to the Leominster sales programme with provisional auction dates in 2017 scheduled for Wednesday 5 April, Saturday 1 July during the Flywheel event and Wednesday 25 October. The Richard Binnersley led Brightwells team will also be putting down roots at Bicester with a permanent on-site office presence in the Guard House, while their auctions will be held within Hangar 113 on what has become the UK’s first campus for the restoration, storage and enjoyment of historic vehicles.
The 2016 International Historic Motoring Awards category winning Heritage venue, which is steered by Riley MPH owning MD Dan Geoghegan, is at the epicentre, of course, of a potentially fruitful Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire catchment area and is only a very gear-changes away from two M40 corridor junctions. Importantly for consumers too, salegoer parking is both plentiful and on hard-standing. Although whether long haul travellers can enjoy a hearty breakfast with tea for £6 - as they can in the most excellent on-site cafeteria at the Leominster Auctions Centre - is as yet untested by your Correspondent.
Back to the auction in the here and now, on a November Wednesday afternoon in the Welsh Marches, a 1962 Jaguar E Type S1 3.8 Roadster shell in primer with very early chassis number 850413 stamped in the picture frame and the same number appearing on a Jaguar Heritage Trust Certificate was by far the highest profile artefact in the 115 lot sale. Right-hand drive number 413 was among the first 56 to have the newly recessed foot-wells for increased driver-friendliness, whilst retaining the straight bulkhead behind the seats of the first 526 pre-recessed foot-well Roadsters.
The only RHD Roadster of the 258 made for the French market, number 413 was first owned by Princess Nina Aga Khan, the former Nina Sheila Dyer who became a top model in France, where she later ended her life with an overdose of sleeping pills. The E Type body with depressing back-story and panels, but without engine, gearbox or any other parts for that matter, was auctioned at ‘No Reserve’ and made £23,650.
The highest priced car of the afternoon was a Herefordshire domiciled Ferrari Challenge specified, former Category C crash repaired 2002 360 Modena, a unique road legal Ferrari racer, which sold for £72,150 with premium, forecast money. A ground-up restored and better than new in 1954 Land Rover S1 86ins in RAF Blue was, indeed, “stunning” and deserved its £21,120 valuation by a new owner – and a front of rostrum parked and original right-hand drive 1955 Fiat Topolino, fresh from a down to last nut and bolt rebuild, also raised a higher than predicted £15,400.
Much viewed by matured chaps in cloth caps was a pre-war 1934 Riley 12/6 Mentone Sports-Saloon with straight-six motor, Art Deco inspired interior and MG prefix reg, which was auctioned ‘Without Reserve’ and fetched £13,750. A 1965 Triumph TR4A IRS sold for £16,600 had been one doctor owned since 1972 and latterly only driven during annual summer visits to the UK from his Australian home. Lady Pidgeon of Great Brampton House Antiques had gifted a disc-braked and telescopic shocked 1970 Morris Minor 1000 Traveller in her Rolls-Royce matching Royal Blue with Charles Ware supplied comfy seats to a former employee on his retirement. The half-timbered Estate changed hands here for £7810.
Despite crying out for much re-commissioning, a ‘No Reserve’ 1989 Middlebridge, rather than Reliant-made Scimitar with Ford Scorpio 2.9 V6i and overdrive replacing 5-speed manual box sold for £5500. An apparently nicely prepped Barnard Formula 6 - a 150cc 3.5hp Briggs & Stratton powered go-kart with single-seater body-work bought off Tom Barnard’s stand at the 1967 Racing Car Show (£185 in kit form, ready-built for considerably more) - made £2200. Two Aston Martin test engines in unknown internal condition were vry much larger, heavier and cheaper, a 2007 DBS 6.0 V12 AM08 for rebuilding selling for £1760 and a rebuild-ready 2010 Rapide 6.0 V12 AM16 for £1650.
By far the most motor car for the money though was a retirement driven Weddings Cars lot consisting of three white-ribboned, chauffeur-driven redundancies, a 1979 Silver Shadow II Roller and a brace of matching E-Class Mercs which were hammered away for £8250 as a job lot. By the time the large car park had emptied and several hundred attendees had returned home round many bends to their laptops, and before any further post-sale provisional conversions had been added to the Brightwells website, 91 cars, 78% of the total offered, had sold for £954,370 including premium.