A very happy hour or two was spent on Wednesday last week in the stable yard at How Caple Court in the largely unspoilt county of Herefordshire, where, shock horror, a suited person is about to delete Hereford Racecourse from history. And for their final sale of this season in the old world, the HVA team had lined up the usual array of pre-war kit, some of it in incomplete and mechanically challenging component form.
The afternoon’s top price of £10,750 was paid for a 1923 Morris Oxford Bullnose 2-Seater Tourer and a £9175 1924 Cowley Bullnose 2-Door Special-Sports was not far behind. An even earlier Cowley Bullnose, first registered in 1919 and abandoned in mid-revival, was taken on again here for £5500.
An aluminium-bodied 1928 Austin Seven Special with aero screens for two attracted £9700 and a 1930 A7 Ulster Rep with grp body £6655. Whilst despite requiring a great deal of finishing, an Edwardian era 1912 Star 12hp work-in-progress 2-seater was swopped for £5500 and a never completed 1934 A7 Nippy Trials-Special for £3960. By auction book closing time, 11 or 73% of the 15 cars or projects on offer had sold for £48,325.
White glove Artcurial sale in Monaco for Rainier cars
Late last Thursday afternoon Artcurial enjoyed a ‘white glove’ sale in Prince Albert of Monaco’s Motor Museum, where 100% of the 38 ‘Royal Reserve Collection’ exhibits auctioned ‘Without Reserve’ were successfully thinned for 1.18m euros (£930,594) including a market leading 21% buyer’s premium!
The late Prince Rainier’s personal car, a 1983 Merc 500 SEC - until now, considered not particularly collectible, hence a modest pre-sale estimate of 15,000-25,000 euros - attracted a quite extraordinary 117,600 euros (£92,904). It takes two to tango remember, so there was also at least one under-bidder prepared to pay not short of this.
Other bullish valuations to register on the editorial radar here included a 11913 Panhard & Levassor X19 Roadster at 81,300 euros (£64,227), a 1907 Berliet C2 Double-Phaeton 70,700 euros (£55,853), a 1930 Ford Model A Roadster 62,000 euros (£48,980) and a 1942 Dodge 4x4 Command Car 56,300 euros (£71,501). For the first time, Le Patron Herve Poulain shared the rostrum with Department Head Matthieu Lamoure who made his auctioneering debut at this gig.
77% of pop-priced classics driven through SWVA hall sell
The next morning, following an excellent fried breakfast (yes, it is still just about possible to find one in fat-free UK) in the SWVA cafeteria at Parkstone, just outside Poole, 37 or 77% of the 48 pop-priced motors driven through the hall changed hands for £75,546 including 6% buyer’s premium.
A £7632 Elan +2S 130 Coupe, which benefited from having had a new Lotus chassis transplant in the early 1990s, was the most expensive item on the Friday menu followed by a £4876 1967 Sunbeam Alpine with 1725 Holbay engine but without bumpers. A £4399 1988 Citroen 2CV6 Special had been freshly repainted and was unmarked, a £3816 1966 Morris Oxford 1622cc Pininfarina-styled Saloon apparently sound and a £2915 NSU Prinz 4L 598cc 2-Door tidy and rare.
Bandleader’s Duesenberg tops RM hit parade in Michigan
Then last Saturday, across the big pond at Saint John’s Michigan, RM sold 61 of the 74 cars in their latest catalogue to achieve a solid 82.4% success rate and a more than $6.8m (£4.37m) sale total including 10% buyer’s premium.
The big bucks sellers were headed by a forever majestic 1930 Duesenberg Model SJ Convertible Victoria formerly owned by band leader Paul Whiteman of ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ fame sold for $957,000 (£612,480) and another great American heavyweight, a 1933 Packard Twelve, believed to be the very last Convertible ‘Coop’ produced, for $385,000 (£246,400).
The infamous 1928 Cadillac V8 ‘Al Capone’ Town Sedan, one of the earliest surviving “bulletproof” automobiles (which is more can be said of some of their owners!) fetched $341,000 (£218,240). While nearly a century ahead of its time, a 1914 Detroit Electric Model 46 Cape Top Roadster silently raised an eco-friendly $99,000 (£63,360).
What exactly IS going on out there?
And finally, my ‘Number of the Week’ (just as City of London watchman Jeff Randal always concludes his week-nightly broadcasts on Sky) is 1275 - or, to be more precise, 1275 in pounds sterling!
For this was how much one bidder was prepared to pay for a plastic Silver Cloud III child’s pedal car of uncertain vintage at SWVA. £1275 was more, you see, than the prices paid for 18 of the full-size classics that were driven through the hall, including a 1991 XJS HE, a 1980 2CV and a 1979 Land Rover 88. Just how crazy was that?
I shall, of course, keep popping those tablets and suggest you do the same.RHE