The late Alan Riley’s most authentic looking facsimile of a Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix with the benefit of at least some original Bugatti parts and a suggested link to a period Type 51 certainly blew off the cobwebs in a hushed Brightwells saleroom at Leominster to sell for three times more than forecast.
After bidding had started at the £100,000 lower estimate, the high 100s didn’t take long before the £200,000 milestone was swiftly passed and, after a brief slow down, there was a final spurt above £250,000 to the £270,000 end game, a lady with racing intentions in the front seats being applauded for buying the Bug for £297,000 with premium. The issue of an official number by the Bugatti Owners’s Club would help this fascinating bitza join the establishment grid.
Some of the other prices that made the editorial notebook on a Wednesday afternoon in Herefordshire included – the ex-Mike Costin raced 1958 Lotus Elite Climax Prototype sold for £52,800, a very sharp 1953 Jaguar C Type Evocation with chassis and bodywork sourced from C Rep specialists Suffolk for £50,600, a 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230SL Pagoda-top auto for £40,700, a 1960 Austin-Healey 3000 Mk1 works-look rally car for £36,300 and a 41,200m 1979 Ferrari 308GTB for £34,650. And most extraordinary of all, and achieving twice the pre-sale estimate, an 11,200m from new and apparently still largely original 1970 Alfa Romeo GT1300 Junior raced to a £19,580 conclusion.
Brightwells’ early figures indicated that 94 of the 130 classic vehicles and a trailer had been sold by sale night, a 72% sale rate, and 5 or 83% of the 6 motorcycles crossing the block found new trailers. Once the book is closed, I will tot up the gross and let you know the final stats in this spot next week.
At Sandown Park last Tuesday, during the first of three UK auctions for classics held on consecutive days, Barons sold most of the big ticket items with a previously restored 1958 Mercedes-Benz 190SL with factory hardtop fetching £46,200 (£6000 more than forecast), a 1939 Hotchkiss 686 Riviera Drophead that did time in Argentina during the late 1980s a within-estimate £41,800 and a 1969 Jaguar E Type S2 4.2 Roadster with some sensible upgrades £35,750, again within the guide price band.
There were buyers for all three Ford Escorts with a super-clean 1969 Ford Escort Mk1 Twin Cam 2-Door with widened wings and other rally mods making £28,600, a 1974 Mk1 1300L 4-Door with only 11,270m on the clock £9020 and a 34,000k 1971 left-hand drive auto version £5390.
Among other market significant prices paid in Surrey, a 1948 Rover P2 12 Tourer with 1496cc four attracted £19,470, a predominantly original 1967 Daimler 250-V8 auto £15,620 and a 1967 British-built Morris Mini Moke with 1275cc motor fitted and original included £9625.
After some of the ‘provisionals’ had been accepted or converted, Barons sold 27 of the 45 cars offered, a 60% sale rate, for £299,855, £304,975 with premium including all 3 motorcycles, which also sold.
The next day at Newbury in Berkshire within another racecourse grandstand saleroom, H&H fared less well with 16 sales declared from their 50 car entry, a 32% hit rate. £177,500 of the £383,727 sale total was invested in a 1920 Vauxhall 20/98 E Type that had been originally Tourer bodied in Australia where it was subsequently body-off restored in the late 1960s.
Other valuations that blipped my radar were the £54,083 paid for a beautifully detailed 1963 Lotus 23B with no early history and newly issued chassis ID and the £40,320 result for a VSCC evented 1935 Singer MkII 1½-litre Le Mans.
Only 24 hours later under canvas at Templecombe in the West Country, DVCA shifted 20 or 53% of the 38 classics, historic commercials and a 3-wheeler in their ‘25th Silver Auction’ catalogue for £178,105. In addition, 10 out of the 11 motorcycles sold, a 91% sale rate, for £41,995, the overall sale total therefore amounting to £220,100 with premium.
A trio of the late Jonathan Stevens ACs were auctioned here, £67,100 being accepted for his colour-changed 1989 Cobra MkIV with matching retrim and a German buyer paid £15,000 for the unique ‘Ace of Spades’ prototype exhibited at the 1986 Birmingham Motor Show, though now with retro-fitted targa-top. Stevens’ 1997 Ace Lotus V8 Prototype with detachable hardtop ran out of vroom at £18,000 and is still for sale.
From another deceased estate, the 1960 ERF KV Rigid-Dropside Lorry known on the Historic Commercials circuit as ‘Happy Wanderer’ raised £12,925 and a solid looking Morris Minor 2-Door Saloon had been Dorset-supplied and registered in 1970 and resident in the county for 42 years, hence the more than top estimate £3960 paid.
An analysis of these last 4 auctions reveals that 157 of the 263 cars for sale did sell, the overall sale rate averaging out at 60%, whilst 18 or 90% of the 20 motorcycles were hammered way. But while only 2 classic bikes had to return home unsold, condition in the metal simply did not warrant the reserves sought by the vendors of 106 collector cars that failed to sell.