Market followers should be aware that the applauded £46,750 retail+ price paid by a West Country enthusiast for a Lotus Cortina in the DVCA marquee beside the Gartell Light Railway in sun-baked Somerset was due to a number of value-boosting factors.
Firstly, being of 1963-manufacture, Z74C 065895S was a really early A-frame Mk1 and a genuine Lotus version at that, not some ‘built-up jobby’ that started life as a 2-door Cortina of some kind.
Secondly, the car’s history from new had been fully charted, Messrs Francis Garage, the Ford Main Dealers in Colwyn Bay, being the first owners, who raced it in period, before selling it to the vendor’s uncle for what had been 46 years of one family ownership.
And thirdly, apart from having no quarter-bumpers at the front, ‘8515 UN’ had been keenly restored to road car spec and was not some stripped out tin can without trim. Under the hammer, the new owner, who had to outbid some determined competition both from private collectors and a haggle of traders in the tent and on the phones to secure the car, is likely to source some bumper-ettes and swop the gold Minilites for the original steels which were included.
And to think your once Wheeler-Dealing Correspondent thought it was Christmas when he parted with a fully operational 1965 Cortina Lotus Mk1 with MOT for just under £9000, £37,750 or so less - but that was in 1990, 22 years ago!
There were buyers for all the MG entries at DVCA, where £9680 with premium was accepted for a 1958 Magnette ZB Varitone with most pleasing interior, £4620 bought a reasonable looking 1969 B Roadster manual with overdrive on wires, and a one couple owned from new in 1964 and still apparently largely unmolested Midget MkII cost £3190. 1973 B GT prices on a Thursday afternoon out West were £1705 for a resprayed one with recent leather and £825 for another requiring paint.
The Morris Minors all sold out here, too, led by an early 1990s restored 1971 1000 Traveller at £6600. Having been fully revived and upgraded, a 1970 Van with 1275 engine made £6160 and a recently refreshed 1969 1098 Pick-Up £4180. A ‘Split-Screen’ 4-Door Saloon from 1956 with most parts present was carried off for £700.
Much picked over by potential rescuers was a 1947-built and so ‘Flat Rad’ Morgan 4/4 Series 1 Drophead, which had once been the pride and joy of a fighter pilot who survived WW2 and had kept it for 36 years.
The original Standard engine had been replaced with a Ford 1500 and box with remote-change in 1967 and an unfortunate conversion from 2 to 2+2-seat accommodation had taken place in the 1970s. With 2010-crafted ash frame included to return the DHC to ex-factory configuration, the ‘working project’ was taken on for £6500.
Two Jag Mk2 Saloons were hammered away to new keepers, a 1960 3.8 on wires, manual with overdrive, lsd and unmarked paintwork fetching £13,475, and a 1980s restored 1963 3.4 on wires with Webasto, all-synchromesh box and Coopercraft discs £11,225. £12,760 bought a clean after 100,250 miles from new in 1988 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 Coupe with the timing chain mods and the later G50 Transmission.
A rare Toyota FJ45 Land Cruiser Pick-Up, an ex-demonstrator from 1976 which was original but shabby, magnetised much interest until sold for £5940, £1440 above the guide price.
Indeed, by close of play, 21 of the 36 vehicles in the sale plus 2 motorcycles had sold, a 61% hit rate, for a premium-inclusive £168,755. And always providing, of course, the nation’s forecourts are not shut down by Number 10 orchestrated and news bulletin fuelled panic buying, and actual industrial action by Unite card carrying £50k pa tanker drivers does not materialise, then most of the early season auction stats bode well for the continued health of the collector vehicle sector in a zig-zag economy.
So, some diesel in the pumps permitting, I hope to see some of you auction circuit regulars on Saturday 31 at the ACA drive-through in King’s Lynn. Until then, the best advice has to be, keep those tanks and glasses half full! RH-E