Extensively test-driven by Colin McRae and rallied by Valentino Rossi, Subaru Impreza WRC 97 chassis 001 was hammered away for a more than forecast £230,625 in a rain-lashed H&H auction tent behind the RAC Woodcote Park Clubhouse at Epsom. Originally built by Prodrive in 1996, the works rally team development Scooby 2-Door was extensively rallied by customer teams from Greece to Ireland before returning to Prodrive’s Banbury workshops for a 2009 restoration with original shell retained.
A 2001 Impreza P1 limited edition with 68,230 mileage meanwhile also sold, making £18,000 with premium, the lower estimate, as more younger classics are selling, it seems, than older ones, for which there are increasingly more vendors than potential buyers. For among earlier classics, although a better than expected £249,700 was forthcoming for a 1966 Aston Martin DB6 Vantage manual non-runner that had been stored since the early 1990s, and a North Devon barn found 1962 Jaguar E Type S1 3.8 Fixed Head non-runner was taken on for £63,000, whereas a ready to enjoy 1964 DB5 ran out of bids at an insufficient £670,000 and there were buyers for only 50% of the cars on the carpet.
Only half the H&H auction entry selling in well shod Surrey was a reflection, I would suggest, on a combination of political and economic uncertainty pre or post the General Election, plus far too many cars being offered in more auctions than ever before, but fewer of them selling. Even though some new world record auction prices are being paid for certain models, according to four out of five Historic Automobile Group International Indices, the collector vehicle market continued to correct during May.
For the headline HAGI Top Index declined 0.52% month on month and prices by 3.83% year to date. Prices paid for Ferraris went down by 0.24% in May and are 2.17% down since January. Although the Porsche monitoring HAGI P has fallen the most, down 3.62% last month and 7.33% in 2017, so far. Only the HAGI MBCI charting classic Merc transactions rose 2.15% in May, their prices up 6.86% year to date. Unexpected changes in “Strong and Stable” Government or a softening or scrapping of Brexit altogether, plus further declines in already devalued Sterling, may de-stabilise the sector and hasten sticky trading or even cause a crash. Uncertainty, of course, is bad for every business.