Rowan Atkinson's Land Rover: why a punter paid £48,000 for this run-out Defender

While the sale of a Rowan Atkinson Land Rover may have been an auction milestone for a diesel-engined classic, equine horsepower has survived being replaced by the automobile and its support industry continues to thrive

 Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

Even though diesel cars are being disadvantaged first by both the Government with their 2040 ban on manufacturing new ones and the spread of the London Mayor’s two-tier parking charges, Rowan Atkinson’s Land Rover performed extraordinarily strongly at auction during the recent Silverstone Classic sales.

For the actor’s 2015 Defender Heritage 90 ‘Celebration Limited Edition’ in inappropriate Grasmere Green with newly politically incorrect 2.2 4-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine - one of the final 400 which had ‘officially’ been priced at £27,800, but had actually cost investors circa £31,000 – was landed by the second owner for a more than top estimate £48,000 including Silverstone Auctions premium.

Pre-auctioneers’ charges, this rolling asset had therefore appreciated by more than £17,000 or 55% in less than two years, a gain of £8500 per annum. Although Atkinson was only dispersing his 90 apparently as he had recently upgraded to the 110 4-door version. Nevertheless, the £48k valuation of this Defender may have been the peak on the graph.

Nearly all diesels sold in classic car auctions have been Land Rovers, although most of the really early and most collectible Series 1s have 1.6-litre petrol fuelled engines, which are likely to be unaffected by any curbing of diesels,  particularly in the shires that are safely outside what are likely to be increasingly emissions-obsessed metropolitan administrations, for most of the rest of this century. For while electrified buses and taxis could become the norm in the inner city, the haulage industry and white van man, who between them deliver everything we cannot do without, including fossil fuel by the tanker full, will continue to be diesel-fuelled for most of our futures.

In any case, the horse was never killed off by the infernal combustion engine and the motor vehicle revolution that quickly overtook hay-fuelled horsepower as the main means of transport. For fine horses, all of whom die (unlike collector cars, which outlive all their guardians!) have not only survived redundancy, but their support industry thrives. From risk taking hunters to pampered ponies, most horses are safely segregated from other highway users by being transported by horse box to the races and to the sales, where punters and owners continue to bet huge amounts of money on their future performance.

Already, many fine cars and most historic competition cars are similarly shielded from other road traffic by being carried about on trailers, increasingly covered ones, to take part in historic race meetings and rallies, to be displayed at classic car shows, and to be uplifted to and from restorers and auctions. Classics will survive surely by following in the wheel tracks of the transported horse.


With the future of the internal combustion engine under threat, the global market for classics will be tested like never before in the California sales

 Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

By end of play Sunday 20 August, 1300 mainly high value collector automobiles will have crossed six different auction house blocks in less than a week on the Monterey Peninsula in California and stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic will be digesting the biggest reality check of the classic car year. But if combined total sales at Bonhams, Gooding, Museum, RM Sotheby’s, Russo & Steele and Worldwide don’t exceed $300m at least, then consumer confidence will have been dented even in the largest market of all, where insurers Hagerty have logged a fall in the number of classics sold in recent North American auctions.

For although the Paris Climate Change Treaty compliance requirements have been officially rejected by the Trump Administration and fossil fuelled internal combustion engines should therefore be able to carry on exhausting without international interference in the US, many of the latest stats indicate that the rest of the motoring world may be greening rapidly.

For the fourth consecutive month, new car registrations in the UK have fallen, by 9.3% in July alone, with an apocalyptic fall of 23.8% in business demand for new vehicles. Whereas, despite only accounting for 5.5% of the market, the demand for low-emission, alternatively fuelled vehicles surged by 64.9% last month. Strangely, only the specialist sports cars sector has enjoyed growth of 10.3% it seems, while new diesel car registrations declined by a record 20.1%.

By the end of July, five of the six Historic Automobile Group International indices that monitor pre-war to millennium collector car transactions were in negative territory year to date, led by the HAGI F with a 4.12% decline in achieved prices for Ferraris. Whereas although the HAGI P Porsche index has fallen by 2.64% this year so far, Porsche transacted prices actually rose by 4.39% last month and the HAGI MBCI charts a 6.05% hike in Mercedes prices in July.

The most recent 96% success rate at the SWVA Drive-Through in Dorset and the £5.5m spent on cars and automobilia in the Silverstone Auctions sales at the Silverstone Classic also indicate continued consumer confidence in the sector at all price levels.  For even though much of the motor industry will cave in to the pressure group influenced politicians by offering hybrids first followed by switching production to all-electric cars recharged by Chinese nuclear power stations, one of the facts of life on planet earth as we know it is that it is the internal combustion engine that will help power the majority of motor cars worldwide, and that includes nearly all our classics, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.



Near sell out at latest SWVA Drive Through in Dorset

 Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

After a rash of low sale rates, where around half the cars auctioned have failed to sell, all stakeholders in the classics market will have been greatly relieved by SWVA’s sale of a chart topping 96% of the cars driven past their rostrum just outside Poole, where by Friday lunch time only three lots were unsold. Top priced seller was a previously repainted 1972 Aston Martin DBS 6 auto that became an Australian resident from 1986 until repatriation in 2013, and which sold for £64,800 during a £620k morning.

The previous evening in The Wing at Silverstone, commission, telephone and on-line bidders were seen off by a £200,000 bid from a punter in the back row, who paid £225,000 with premium for an ex-works Lancia Delta Integrale Evo 2 Group A with some period Kankkunen history. While a potential historic race 1961 Mk2 3.8 Jag Saloon was acquired for £45,000 by an on-line player in the Netherlands and a £37,125 1966 Mini Cooper to 1275S-spec with HTP passport headed for Australia.

A sensitively refreshed 1987 Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 ‘Original’ quickly raced past £100k and also sold to an on-line bidder from Australia for £114,750 during the Saturday Silverstone Auctions sale at the Classic. Whilst the almost double lower estimate £137,250 paid for a better than new in 1973 and totally mint BMW 3.0 CSL Lightweight in rhd and the £72,000 valuation, £12,000 above guide, by the new owner of a 1991 Vauxhall Lotus Carlton were also extraordinary votes of confidence in the futures of these fossil-fuelled commodities.

A Restore-A-Ford refinished, though not restored 1987 Ford Capri 280 Brooklands with 14,608 mileage was also applauded by attendees for making £55,125, over £10,000 more than had been forecast, and during the Sunday sale, a Swiss dealer displayed 2010 Ford Focus RS500 with only 260k on the odo made £54,000. A market confidence boosting 73% of classics sold during the Sunday session, while the sales total from the three Silverstone Auctions during Classic weekend amounted to £5.5m, a bullish average of more than £61k spent per auction car.

One can but hope that Brexit Secretary of State David Davis, who appeared to enjoy his Sunday at the Classic, will enthuse some of his Greener cabinet colleagues into supporting rather than destroying the old car economy and ensure that vital fuel availability will be preserved at the roadside.


Classic car auction prices are set to fall as petrol cars are phased out

 Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

As the Judges force the Government to ban the sale of even new petrol cars, classic car auction price falls of unknown depths are very likely in the short term. While I fear a long term collapse in most values and, indeed, most of the market as we know it, may be inevitable – as local authorities are empowered to tax and then ban old cars from even urban areas and fossil fuels are in very real danger of disappearing from what will be a dwindling number of forecourts.

For if the elected politicians prevent you from driving your classic car where you want to go and you are unable to refuel it when you get there, unless you have a motor museum, then there would appear to be little point in enforced ‘static ownership’ of a forever inactive artefact. Maybe only if a collector vehicle can be vandalised with some sort of green-friendly, retro-fit cassette motor, might the continued funding of increasing preservation costs be justified, let alone the provision of precious garage space.

Those owners who lose their nerve first will consign their classics to auction first and be the first to cash in their chips on a no reserve basis and accept what somebody is now prepared to pay for a fossil fuelled classic with the realisation that that the end of the old road is now nigh. Those with few driving years in stock and the will to spend rather than bequeath a few quid may soon be able to land a hitherto unaffordable investor-grade supercar for the yesterday price of a MGB.

There will always be a market for every commodity, of course, however unfashionable. For even with bombs falling in the London blitz, old masters were reportedly being dealt by candlelight on a promise to pay if still alive basis. Although classic car auctions may have to revert to what, historically, all auctions used to be pre-reserves, real auctions, where the object of the exercise always used to be to establish current value through all lots definitely selling for whatever somebody was prepared to pay when the hammer fell on the day.

The new reality may quickly also become a ‘today market’ rather than what a classic car might or might not be worth in the future, which thanks to ‘The Michael Gove Bombshell’ has become even more uncertain than ever before. In the meantime, and unless The Donald is trumped, which is always possible, the climate change denying US will continue their love affair with the gas guzzling automobile and most high value collector vehicles are likely to be air-freighted to a playing field where the goal posts have not been uprooted.


Sale rates from Monaco to Dorset decline as more reserves are not being met

 Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

Sale rates in public auction are the most accurate barometer of the true state of the classic car market and, although there have been some recent exceptions, the current trend would appear to be less cars auctioned are selling - and, where they do sell, most achieved prices are below the pre-sale estimates that were established often several months ago.

For the same weekend as the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where Bonhams sold 70% of the 86 cars in their Friday sale catalogue and 26 of them did not sell, there were buyers for only 52% of the 122 Artcurial cars on the Sunday in Monaco and 59 were unsold.

Whereas the following weekend at Brooklands, 101 of the 128 classics consigned by Historics changed hands in Surrey during a 79% sold Saturday session, although 27 of the reserves set by vendors were too much for the registered bidders, more than 200 of whom were competing for cars on-line. By the Wednesday afternoon at Leominster in Herefordshire however, while 75 of the 123 cars in the Brightwells sale sold, 48 of them did not, and on Saturday afternoon at palatial Blenheim in Oxfordshire,  both attendance in the Coys tent and obvious sales certainly ‘appeared to be’ well down on past pitches at the stately Oxfordshire venue.

The next day during Sunday trading in Dorset at the ‘Classics at Sherborne Castle’ event, there were buyers for only 38% of the 55 cars in and around the Charterhouse tent, from where 34 unsold cars had to be trailered back from whence they came. The following Tuesday in Surrey, 21 more classics did not sell at Sandown Park, where Barons sale rate was 48%, although the premium-inclusive prices paid for 15 of them did exceed their pre-sale estimates. Among market encouraging movers, a much viewed and restored 1970 Jaguar E Type S2 4.2 FHC sold for a £6700 more than top estimate £51,700, and a mint and upgraded 1964 Jensen CV8 for £48,950, again £950 above the guide.

The greater number of lower sale rates may just be a holiday time blip, of course. Although such a glut of unsold cars could be a timely reality check for auction car reserves, so many of which are now no longer achievable.

Three cars sell for more than £800k at Goodwood and a Sebring veteran Porsche RSR races to 1.72m euros (£1.52m) in Monaco, where 48% of cars were unsold

 Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

Although the once David Gilmour of Pink Floyd owned 1988 Ferrari F40 with a fiery past failed to find a friend in this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed auction marquee, 70% of the 86 cars in the Bonhams catalogue did change portfolios.

The £10.26m leader board was headed by a disc-braked 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster with hardtop sold for a mid-estimate £897,500. Also sharing the podium was a 1973 Porsche 911 RS Lightweight in right-hand drive sold for £830,500, again within the guide band, and £779,900 was forthcoming for an over-large for most 1931 Bentley 8-Litre Sedanca De Ville by H J Mulliner.

A princely £550,300 meanwhile, £150,000 more than expected, was required in order to secure a 1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Tourer that used to transport the Maharana of Udaipur in some style. The new going rate at auction for a 1972 Ferrari 365GTB/4 Daytona in right-hand drive meanwhile was £539,100 and an early, but nearly too scruffy 28/50hp Merc from 1911 with Robinson of Norwich Open Tourer coachwork picked up a most respectable £359,900.

Whilst the 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 Mk2, which became DB Mk3 Prototype that was driven on the 1958 Monte by the BBC’s Raymond Baxter of ‘Tomorrow’s World’ fame, rallied to a £337,500 result. For despite the worst efforts of our Elected Representatives and the Bad News obsessed media, and although 26 cars had to be transported back to their vendors, there were still plenty of big money movers in the lee of the Sussex Downs to cheer up long haul travellers.

The same weekend in sun-baked Monaco, Artcurial offered 122 voitures during a close to five hour session in the Grimaldi Forum and sold 52% of them under the hammer for 8.1m euros (£7.13m), a much raced in the US 1970s Porsche comfortably exceeding the magic 1m euros, while 23 other auction cars changed hands for over 100,000 euros apiece. For the Sunday sale’s top seller, a 1974 Porsche Carrera RSR 3.0 sold for 1,724,000 euros (£1,517,120), had raced at Sebring eight times in the 12 Hours and competed no less than seven times in the Daytona 24 Hours.

The other headliners beside the Med were a Ferrari 458 Speciale Aperta, driven 4200k by one owner from new in 2015, sold for 524,700 euros including 16.6% (£461,736) and a Team Zakspeed triple FIA GT series winning 2005 Saleen S7 R Coupe, that may have an Historic event future, race to a 419,760 euros (£369,389) result. A 2014 restored and Ferrari Classiche certificated 1967 330GT 2+2 made 373,120 euros (£328,346) and a one owner 2005 Ford GT 338,140 euros (£297,563).  The going in the tax haven was far from firm, decidedly sticky even, as 59 auction cars were unsold, their reserves too high for current market conditions.

Nearly £29k is bid for MG Midget 1500 with rubber bumpers at Goodwood, where Austin A30 and Morris Minor Rally one-offs also sold in a posh tent

 Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

One of the last Triumph Spitfire 1500 engined MG Midget MkIV Limited Editions in appropriate ‘Black on Black’ that commemorated a 1929 launched model axed by British Leyland in 1979 became an auction record breaker in the Bonhams sale during the Festival of Speed. Purchased directly from BL by West Country MG dealers, in whose private collection the unregistered Midget 1500 had been extraordinarily well preserved for the last 39 years, the inactive time warp had a mere 35 miles on the odometer.

With brake discs, master cylinders, ignition components, fuel pipes and all vital fluids freshly renewed, and guided at £10,000-15,000, the mass produced, though unique artefact was most keenly contested under the gavel until a most determined lady driver beat off all comers with a winning bid of £25,000, costing her £28,750 with premium, very nearly double top estimate.

Much of the perceived value with this rubber-bumpered Midget was the lack of mileage, of course, which means that if actually driven anywhere it could depreciate by the mile!  Although the new owner did hedge her bets by also outbidding a major F1 personality/collector in the front seats for the keys of a freshly Jag Shop rebuilt and upgraded 1962 Jaguar E Type Series 1 3.8 Roadster, into which she invested another £259,100, top estimate money.

Two more one-off prices meanwhile were paid by punters for much modified pop classics during this multi-million pound afternoon behind Goodwood House. For the £14,375 premium-inclusive valuation for a 1970 Morris Minor was mighty high for the once popular choice of the district nurse and rural vicar. Although ‘WOF 690F’ had been constructed from a new old-stock 2-Door shell and prepped with low-compression 1275cc motor, huge fuel tank and Marina disc brakes by the late Trevor Hulks for Joy Rainey to compete in the 2004 London to Sydney Marathon.


Whilst despite there being receipted invoices on file amounting to over £45,000 having been spent, and a pre-sale estimate of £20,000 or more, the 2017 London-Lisbon rallied and disc-braked 1955 A30 1275 ‘OSK 899’ was auctioned ‘Without Reserve. The next owner-adventurer paid £16,675 for ‘OSK 899’ which was still respectable money, surely, for an A30 which had undercut the Minor when new by £10! ..

Plastic-bodied Ferrari and Shelby Mustang Replica out-perform Oldtimers at Bicester Heritage during Flywheel weekend as times and tastes change

 Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

A Ferrari 308GTB Vetroresina, one of only 154 made in RHD, was the £121,000 best seller at the Brightwells £604,000 auction during Flywheel weekend at Bicester Heritage, where the 1971 Fibreglass-bodied Coupe with dry sump outperformed all the Pre-war cars, 10 of which failed to find buyers in the WW2 hangar.

For even though the Flywheel event was pitched at the mature automobilist and aviator, the highest priced oldtimers were a 1924 12/50 Beetleback sold for £33,000 and a 1933 MG J2 for £28,600, both below their pre-sale estimates. The stellar lot, a catalogue cover featured 1930 Delage D8 VDP Tourer, failed to shine however in a sector, in which enthusiastic owners already own oldtimers and potential sellers are beginning to outnumber likely buyers.

There will always be a market for Edwardian, Vintage and Post-Vintage pre-wars, of course - but unless very sporting looking, and preferably with some period competition provenance, or most attractively cheap, the present expectations for many of the older cars and their owners have become unrealistic.

For while there were no takers at Bicester for a 1927 Vauxhall LM 14-40 Princeton Tourer in nicely mellowed condition, many wasps buzzed around a 1965 Ford Mustang Shelby 350R Rep with potent sounding 306ci mil. The stunningly diligent Evocation by a technician from the nearby Merc F1 Team, would cost most civilians considerably more to re-create than the £39,600 paid by a fortunate buyer. Times and tastes are a’changing.

As just two days earlier at their Leominster HQ, Brightwells successfully shifted 46 of the 75 ‘Modern Classics’ for £355,663 (including a 1995 Porsche 911 993 Turbo for £83,600) at their latest fixture for the genre, where more fashionable youngsters can be seen and heard being reassuringly driven past the rostrum.

Heatwave fails to deter classic car consumers in Norfolk and Dorset where record sums were invested in what have become international commodities

 Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

Even though the cooling attractions of the North Norfolk coastline beckoned, plenty of classic car hungry consumers opted to spend their sweltering Saturday checking out the smoking metal at the latest ACA Drive-Through in King’s Lynn, where 74% of the 258 auction cars sold under the hammer for £1.66m.

Among 190 changes of ownership, a 1973 BMW 3.0CSL, the 160th RHD Coupe produced with 23 service stamps, was hammered away for £115,000, £120,750 with premium, over £40,000 more than the pre-sale estimate. A mainly showroom displayed 1978 Vauxhall Chevette 2300HS with 7900 warranted total mileage raised £29,400, close to top estimate. Equally extraordinary was the £16,800 performance of a running, but not driving 1967 Honda S800 time warp that had last passed an MOT in 2010 and which was nearly ripe for full restoration.

A more than retail £75,600 was forthcoming for an ex-US 1961 Austin-Healey 3000 Mk3 minter with triple-carbs that had cost £48k to rebuild and convert to right-drive.  While £63,000 was handed over for a Beacham of New Zealand restored and upgraded 1967 Jaguar Mk2 3.4 that had been in Spanish residency for fourteen years.

Simultaneously, Richard Edmonds successfully shifted 77% of the 99 cars under parched canvas at the Allington Farm Shop just outside Chippenham for £612,443. Among the 76 sellers, a claimed to have been factory-supercharged from new in 1931 Lagonda 2-Litre Low Chassis Tourer sold for £116,050, a Realm D Type Jag Rep realised £55,000 and an only 4750 miles from new in 2009 Nissan GT-R Modern Classic was driven away for £37,125. During a three day gig, the Wiltshire auctioneer sold 65% of 55 classic bikes, 75% of 1030 lots of automobilia and 97% of 391 spares lots in their highest grossing sale yet.

Despite worsening inflation and retail figures, CCA still sell 77% of classics

 Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

While the business of Government has been democratically paralysed by the electorate pencilling their primitive X in the wrong boxes, CCA defied the economic malaise that has depressed most sectors in post-Election UK by selling 77% of the 158 classics for £1.8m in a very well attended 5¾ hour Saturday afternoon session at the Warwickshire Event Centre.

Another market confidence boosting stat in Leamington Spa was that 21 of the 122 sellers out-performed their pre-sale estimates – notably,   a Lambo Countach 5000S ‘Evocation’ with Lexus 4.0 V8 in the tail making £50,050, £25,050 more than forecast. While a freshly imported 1970 280SL Merc fetched £62,700, £7700 above guide, a 1978 Daimler Sovereign lwb £36,520, £6520 more than expected, and a 1991 Honda NSX manual £41,250, £5259 over estimate.

A 1997 BMW E36 M3 Evo Cab with matching hardtop sold for £12,980, £4980 more than the up to £8000 that had been forecast, and £20,350 was forthcoming for a 1989 XJS V12 Convertible, £4650 above estimate. A remarkably original 1982 BMW 635 E24 CSI motored well, too, out-performing a forecast £25,000-30,000 to sell for £34,320, while a 1990 190E Cosworth 2.5-16 with £10,000-12,000 on the screen went for £15,950. A 1968 MGC GT auto with Webasto-roof sold for £23,650 to overtake its estimate by £3650 and a 1989 Lotus Esprit Turbo, estimated at £10,000-12,000 and the subject of a pre-Categorised insurance claim, fetched £13,750, £1750 over guide.

But although Sterling invoiced classics have never been better value for those paying in dollars or euros, few foreign languages can be heard in the salerooms or on the phones as most popularly priced stock continues to be bought by those natives who still have the balls to consume.

For other than classic cars, of course, most alternative destinations for taxed income have never been less attractive as even the inadequate returns from safe and boring ISAs are more than wiped out by the reality of the latest inflation figures. For due to the increasing cost of imports and foreign hols following the Brexit vote, UK inflation rose from 2.7% in April to 2.9% in May, the highest savings-eroding stat for four years. May retail sales meanwhile softened in sympathy by 1.2%.

Land-locked property investments are too costly, complicated and long-term for most gamblers with modest means and only risky equities, it seems, have been outperforming other Indices. The S&P Global 1200, for instance, has put on 1.78% in May and has grown in value by 9.41% year to date, dividends being a bonus for long-termers.


On Election Day itself, and before any exit poll predictions had destroyed the prospects of a Tory landslide, 76% of the classics in and around the DVCA auction tent pitched in the Athelhampton House gardens had sold for £237,805 with premium. The star turn in deepest Dorset was a Hong Kong sourced 1964 Jaguar E Type S1 3.8 Roadster project, some of it in boxes, taken on for £80,300.


Whilst even after the reality of a Hung Parliament and the prospect of a change of far from stable Government driven by a permanently damaged PM had been digested by stakeholders in UK plc, Barons also did well to sell 40 classics, 61% of the 66 cars in their Sandown Park catalogue, for another £389,390.    

Subaru makes £239k in Epsom, where 50% of cars fail to sell and Indices fall

 Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

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.

1930s Coupes top £21.4m evening in Italy, but E Type Jag breaks world record

 Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

Proving to the collector car world that demand for the finest pre-WW2 stock remains strong, the superstar of RM Sotheby’s bi-annual drive past gig beside Lake Como during Concorso d’Eleganza Villa D’Este weekend was the 1937 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS ‘Goutte d’Eau’ with Teardrop Coupe coachwork by the automobile sculptors at Figoni et Falaschi. Considered by auto-art lovers to be one of the most attractive, aerodynamically inspired automotive designs of all times, the car sold under the gavel for a card-melting 3,360,000 euros (£2,940,000 with premium).

Body beautiful 1930s French coachbuilding is obviously still in demand eight decades later, as the 1937 Bugatti Type 57 Atalante Prototype, one of three, was right behind the results-topping Talbot-Lago, bringing 3,024,000 euros (£294,000), setting a record for a non-‘S’ model Type 57. 

But such ‘Concours Belles’ (or, more accurately, ‘Trailer Queens’) were, in my view, upstaged by an early 1961 Jaguar E Type Series 1 3.8 roadster selling for £582,400 euros (£509,600 including premium) to establish a new world record auction price for a non-competition model E Type. During the 1962 and 1963 seasons, the Portugese first owner drove his production E Type to four victories in Portugal and Angola, beating Ferrari, Porsche and Maserati equipped rivals in the process.

The more than half a million pounds paid for what has become very much a restored road car these days can be explained by two value-enhancing factors - period race history, plus this E Type’s eligibility for all the high profile pre-63 and pre-66 Historic GT retro-events. All factory-applied numbers were claimed to still match though and some original features from the car’s weekend competition past had been preserved during restoration.

Although 67% of Porsches driven past the RM Sotheby’s grandstand in the Villa Erba grounds sold during a £21.4m evening in Italy, including a 1993 911 Carrera RSR 3.8 with only 10k on the odo sold for 2,016,000 euros (£1,764,000), a record for any 911 Type 964, 40% of Ferraris did not. For six Prancing Horses had to be transported back to their stables without new jockeys.

By contrast, the previous weekend in the Royal Ascot Racecourse atrium, eight out of nine E Types were successfully re-homed by Historics and new owners were also found by Bonhams for five out of six E Types in their Spa Classic sale. While only a few days earlier, three out of four E Types in the Brightwells catalogue had sold at Leominster and eight out of nine E Types displayed in The Wing above the F1 pits at Silverstone Circuit were hammered away by Silverstone Auctions.

Apart from the Portugese-raced ‘flat-floor’ record breaker in Italy, only five of the E Types out-performed their pre-sale estimates however. A still quite original 1965 S1 4.2 roadster (for improvement as and when) sold for £112,500, £12,500 more than Silverstone’s guide price, and a dry barn stored 1964 S1 3.8 FHC went for £59,625, £14,625 more than had been forecast by the same house. Whereas by far the cheapest E Type Jag to buy, but not complete, a Heritage Certificated 1969 S2 4.2 manual left-hand drive resto project with matching numbers, but without doors and other stuff, was bravely landed for £6600 in Herefordshire.

At these last five market-testing sales therefore, there were buyers for 25 of the 28 E Types auctioned, their Porsche and Ferrari beating 89% sale rate currently the highest being achieved for any popularly consumed classic car model. Illustrative images for this week’s blog appear courtesy of RM Sotheby’s, to whom my thanks.

‘No Reserve’ Castle-found Merc 300SL fetches more than £1m euros at Spa

 Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

29 of the 63 cars in the Bonhams catalogue at the Spa Classic and another 23 out of 161 offered by Historics at Ascot Racecourse were bravely auctioned entirely ‘Without Reserve’ and achieved 100% sale rates for their vendors within 73% sold sales in Belgium and Berkshire.

For a No Reserve 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL being sold for a more than 980,000 euros under the hammer, costing the buyer 1,127,000 euros (£968,183 with premium), is unprecedented in Euroland. While a pro-dusty 1967 Aston Martin DB6 Mk1 auto, inactive since last taxed in 1982, and a barn-found 1972 BMW 3.0CSL Lightweight project were also hammered away for £145,200 and £52,800 by Historics at Ascot Racecourse without their vendors having the comforts of any reserves!

Among the dozen Swiss Castle sourced NR classics dispersed at Spa, eight of which had been previously repainted in the owner’s preferred M-B Blue Metallic, a 1969 Maserati Ghibli SS 4.9 Coupe fetched 174,800 euros (£150,167) and a 1980 V8 Volante Aston 172,500 euros (£148,191). No Reserve Rolls-Royces sold from the same cache were an ex HJM 1933 40/50hp Phantom II Limo now Roadster for 111,505 euros (£95,830) and a Swedish Phaeton-bodied 1921 40/50hp Silver Ghost for 70,150 euros (£60,264).

A No Reserve 1972 Series 3 V12 manual E Type Jag Roadster persuaded a bidder to part with 64,400 euros (£55,324) and another to pay 32,200 euros (£27,682) for a 1970 Series 2 4.2 manual 2+2 FHC.  A Spa and Silverstone Classic eligible 1966 Mini Cooper Mk1 in 1275S FIA-papered left to right converted spec was also not protected by a Reserve, but achieved a 32,200 euros (£27,662) result.

Within the Ascot Racecourse Atrium meanwhile, a winning punter bet £8800 on a No Reserve 1970 MG 1275 Midget on wires with hardtop and another took on a health-interrupted 1961 BMW Isetta 300 resto-puzzle with spares for £7590. A restored 1969 Vauxhall Viva HB 90 Deluxe with bonnet louvres on Rostyles was auctioned Without Reserve for£6710 and an only 11,736 mileage from new in 1967, though repainted Viva SL cost a fourth owner £4840. An only 13 years old 260bhp UK-spec Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII GSR of 2004 vintage with super-active centre diff and yaw control also changed hands without any safety net for £12,100. A total of 49 such ‘No Reservers’ in one weekend might signpost cash-in-while-you-can times ahead on both sides of the EEC Channel.

Less Astons sold in annual sale, but £9.45m was still spent in one afternoon

  Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

There was no shortage of international enthusiasm for 007’S favourite marque during the 18th Bonhams sale for Astons at AM Works in Newport Pagnell, where a 1970 DB6 Mk2 Vantage Volante requiring re-commissioning sold for £700,000 and, after 45 years of vendor ownership, an actually only fair in close-up 1964 DB5 also in need of light re-commissioning at least, if not a more extensive revival beneath a 2016 respray, fetched £561,500.

Among the 62% of Astons that did sell for £5.85m was one of only three V8 Sportsman Estate Cars, a former Monaco resident with fitted humidor that had been acquired in Paris and had returned to its Buckinghamshire to sell for the required £337,500.  A 1961 DB4 Series 3 with 4.2 upgrade achieved £399,100 and a 1970 DB6 Mk2 Vantage £382,300, while contestants in the seats and in the standing room saleroom took a long time to determine £387,900 ownership of an ‘X-Packed’ 1989 7-Litre V8 Vantage Volante.

A much modified, but race-ready 1960 DB4 4.5 Lightweight, which would not be easy to sell in the outside world, fared really well in front of a target audience of committed Aston aficionados and AMOC members, inspiring a three-way exchange between those who had made the journey and those who were playing by telephone before finally selling for £236,700. The key holders of more recent Astons also changed here, a 1997 Vantage V600 Coupe going for £253,500 and a 2000 Vantage Le Mans for £309,500.

There were also new project managers for all the barn finds and tlc cases in a sold out vote of confidence in their future. Particularly derelict was a crumbling DB2/4. Formerly owned by a Yorkshire Viscount followed by a Soho Nightclub, since when it had fallen on very hard times having been abandoned to the elements for four decades, the 1957 Mk2 was very bravely hoovered up for £54,625!  A 1979 AM Lagonda Razor-Edged Sports-Saloon from the pen of William Towns was reckoned to be the very first production example, but in close-up had deteriorated beneath the gold paint since an AM rebuild 31 years ago and was over-ripe for the next one. Auctioned at No Reserve and ‘sold strictly as viewed’, the still futuristic-looking wedge was taken on for £28,750.

Marque and 007 registrations continue to pull at this one-stop shop annual, too, with ‘V8 VAN’ on retention fetching £4750. While the actual Nassau Bahamas licence plate ‘56526’ - as fitted to the left-hand drive DB5 won by Daniel Craig in a poker game and appearing in several scenes during the 2006 ‘Casino Royale’ movie, but strictly for display – clearly appealed to one Bond Aston memorabilia fan who parted with £4250. A range of Sean Connery and Daniel Craig autographed, glazed and framed wall candy was all snapped up, led by a signed monochrome photo of Connery as Bond with the DB5 at the Furka Pass sold for £1875.


A 1964 ZF 5-speed box for a DB5 changed oily hands for £5250 and somebody with £813 obviously really needed an original DB6 horn push with chipped Bakerlite surround and a steering wheel centre boss with ‘DB’ logo for a DBS found £625. A Lake & Elliot Millennium hydraulic jack for the DB5/6 and DBS in worn and distressed box had been estimated at £600-800, but lifted a cool £3500!

But then, simultaneously in neighbouring Northamptonshire under the Silverstone Auctions hammer, a Ferrari issue Daytona 365GTB/4 tool roll also made an astonishing £12,000 (record money for a tool kit?) before 72% of cars sold during a £3.6m afternoon beside the F1 circuit.

Two contestants exercised much brinkmanship competing for a numerically rare 1993 Porsche 911 964 Turbo S Leichtbau lefty in the The Wing saleroom, the winner bidding £495,000, £20,000 more than the lower estimate, breaking the half a million pound barrier by paying a gasp-inducing £556,875. The 964 was once the poor relation of the 911 family, although the £180k+ sought for a 1992 911 964 Carrera RS Lightweight in rhd was not forthcoming on this occasion.

Despite the increasing uncertainty of the times on both sides of the EU Channel and the North Atlantic, a 1989 911 Speedster in right-hand drive raised a top estimate £164,250, a 1961 356B Cabrio overtook an up to £120k forecast to sell for £123,750 and a 1991 944 Turbo Cabrio £39,375, again £9000 over the guide price. While more than estimate money was available for a 1988 911 3.2 Carrera Sport Coupe acquired for £42,188 and for a 2009 Boxster RS60 for £30,938.

An export market 1955 XK140 SE was responsible for a phone war which saw the estimate band demolished and the winner pay £121,500 to applause. Another bidding battle was waged over a UK supplied 1973 BMW 3.0 CSL in right-hand drive which pushed the price paid up to £83,813, almost double the lower estimate suggested. Whilst former BTC Champ John Cleland’s 1971 DB6 Mk2 Vantage that occupied pole position in the saleroom sold for £348,750, mid-estimate money.

Although 16 Astons did not sell at the Newport Pagnell auction this year and 21 of the vendor reserves were too high for potential buyers at Silverstone, nearly £9.5m had nonetheless been bet on classics futures at the two head-to-head sales on the same Saturday afternoon with not a politician in sight.

Percentage sold rates highest at ‘Drive-Throughs’, while top car prices soften

  Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

During the first four months trading, the highest sale rates in the UK have been when auction cars were driven past the rostrum.  An average of 94% of classics have sold at SWVA’s early season Drive-Throughs at Poole, while a market leading 513 cars have so far motored through the ACA hall at King’s Lynn, where there were buyers for 394 or 77% of them.

From the typically large numbers of enthusiasts attending those auctions where most classics are driven across the block and there is certainly a ‘moving show’ element to their day out, it would seem that many punters do value the reassurance of being able to see for themselves engines started up, gears engaged and cars for sale processing past the rostrum under their own power (or not!).

Although there is now a very large Green cloud on every horizon and, after smoking anywhere near a pub has been very nearly extinguished and diesel cars have been killed off, the dreaded ‘Ealth and Safety’ brigade will surely stamp out such primitive practices as driving exhausting and potentially toe-crushing motor vehicles through well populated salerooms.

Only driving cars up to the rostrum and then turning their engines off before pushing them out of the hall will dramatically reduce consumers’ intake of leaded gas. Installing much more effective extractor-fans and the employment of even more hi-viz jacketed marshals can only keep the clean air obsessive local authority clip boards at bay for a while. For the abolition of Drive Throughs may be around the corner after next.

In any case, the sale rates at March auctions, where cars were static-displayed, were 82% at Brightwells in Leominster, 80% at Brooklands under the Historics gavel and 78% at the Bonhams Goodwood Members Meet and at the Silverstone Auctions Race Retro sale in February.

Analysing the stats from those auction houses whose ‘live’ hammer prices are confirmed by published and therefore transparent results, the most classics went under the hammer during April, when 893 classics were catalogued, nearly as many as had been offered in March and February added together. But the 65% sale rate for the 581 cars declared sold was 10% less than it had been in March and 20% less than at the January auctions. While the £11,371 average price of a classic car at auction in April was considerably less than the £37,927 and £28,250 averages paid per car during the March and February sales.

Whilst a handful of high value automobiles went for millions of euros during Retromobile week in Paris in February, and millions more dollars were bet on the futures of investor grade stock at Scottsdale in Arizona in January and at Amelia in Florida in March, the highest auction prices so far this buying season in the UK have been sub-£600k in March.

For heading the first four months prices have been the £596,250 raised for the East Anglian Air Ambulance by the H&H sale at Duxford of the late Richard Allen’s 1964 Ferrari 330 GT Nembo Retro-Converted Spider and the £551,667 paid at Bonhams Goodwood for a replicated 1961 Aston Martin DP214 GT Competition Coupe. Very high value factory-correct ‘originals’, it seems, are not currently being dispersed in UK auctions where pay-outs will be in devalued Sterling.

According to Historic Automobile Group International, whose HAGI Top Index fell by 0.76% during April and by 3.33% this year to date, the monitored prices of higher value collector vehicles have continued to correct globally however. Indeed, four out of five of their international market tracking Indices declined last month. Only the HAGI MBCI that charts Classic Merc prices ended up in positive territory with a 1.86% hike for the month and 4.62% growth for the first four months.

By contrast, the Ferrari charting HAGI F recorded a loss of 1.83% in April with Ferrari prices down by nearly 2% for the year to date, whereas the HAGI P for Porsches corrected by another 0.99% last month contributing to a fall in achieved Porsche prices of 3.85% since January. What happens next is as uncertain as being the Head of the FBI or the size of Premier-Elect May’s majority.

Declining stats reversed at SWVA where 92% of classics were hammered

 Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

After the two most recent sale rates had fallen to only 46% in Surrey and 54% in Herefordshire, UK auction market makers can engage Top Gear again and relax until the next slide dents consumer confidence. For only 6 lots failed to find buyers at the latest SWVA Drive Through in Dorset, where 92% of vendors’ classics changed hands for a premium-inclusive £700,162.

One of the high fliers to take off just outside Poole on a Friday morning before lunch was an extraordinarily diligently restored 1949 Triumph 2000 Roadster, which was last auctioned in Southampton in 1965 when it had cost £20 before being later taken on as a restoration project in 1999 for £1600. Eighteen years later, and likely to be in comparable condition, the famously Jim Bergerac endorsed model finally fetched £11,820 more than the £19,500 top estimate to sell for £31,320 with premium.

A 1970 Jaguar E Type S2 4.2 Fixed Head with patina and Eagle Racing upgrades, including a 5-speed box and wide-rimmed wires, also out-performed the £37,000-39,000 forecast to achieve £67,500 – and a former 1948 Bentley MkVI Saloon, employed as the donor for an ali-bodied Special that had been stored since completion in 1993, went for £41,040, £16,040 more than the guide price. Whilst a Rennes registered in 1971 Citroen SM Maserati had come to the UK via three French residencies and a spell on Guernsey to make £43,360, again, £14,360 above the pre-sale estimate.

Even with paint stripped off for a respray that the keeper had never got round to doing, a genuine factory big-valve Sprint version of the 1972 Lotus Elan with rare factory hardtop that had been parked up for 27 years made £28,890, £3890 more than forecast. Whereas a far from standard 1960 MGA 1622 Roadster with MGB 1850 race motor and 5-speed box, a veteran of 50 Historic Rallies from the Pirelli Classic to the Monte Carlo Challenge,  was driven past the rostrum to cost the next enthusiastic owner £19,980, £2000 over the guide.

And finally, a 1958 Austin A35 Pick-Up - the 75th of the 475 produced that qualified for Purchase Tax and, as a result, were over-priced which resulted in half of them being shipped overseas - had been in receipt of a £25k restoration in 2001 and picked up £22,680 in 2017. All the prices quoted were high for the various models, whilst the 92% sale rate achieved by South West Vehicle Auctions was the highest logged on the UK auction circuit in recent weeks.

Series 3 Jaguar E-type Fetches £81k

The ultimately successful buyer of a UK supplied 1973 Jaguar E Type Series 3 V12 Roadster with manual shift only just managed to register to bid in time, entering the Sandown Park saleroom well after bidding for the car had started. But it was worth the rush as the claimed still to be very original Big Cat with 50,000 mileage from new, one of 7990 mainly exported S3 Open Tops made in Coventry, was secured with a close to top estimate bid of £74,000, costing the winning contestant £81,400 including Barons premium.

 Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

A well-presented 1976 Rolls-Royce Corniche Convertible also sold at the Surrey Racecourse for a near to guide price £35,750 with premium and a below estimate £28,050 bought a vast and obscenely finned 1961 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible.  Another lefty to find a friend in Brexit Britain was a 1957 Chevrolet Task Force Pick-Up that had only been driven 700 miles since a US restoration and which raised £26,400, top estimate money.  Whilst six out of seven Triumph TRs found new homes to go to, led by an £18,700 TR6 with wings and boot renewed during recent refurbishment and a cosmetically imperfect 1967 TR3A IRS that had been in receipt of a chassis transplant, for which a below guide £18,000 was accepted.

By the end of the Saturday afternoon session, and after some provisional bids had been converted into results, 43 of the 91 cars auctioned had changed keepers in what was only a 47% sold sale, but which nonetheless grossed a healthy £496,485 including premium with an average of £11,546 spent per classic.

The going had been only slightly less sticky at Leominster earlier in the week, when 100 ‘Modern Classics’ were driven past the Brightwells rostrum and 46 had to return home unsold during what was a 54% sold £220,727 Thursday afternoon when an average of £4087 was spent per car.

There were no big prices however, while the results were headed by well-engineered but unexciting Mercs led by a 1982 280SL R107 with hardtop fetching £13,420, albeit just over the lower estimate with premium. The top-priced BMW was a pre-facelift 2002 vintage M3 E46 Cabrio packing a 440bhp 3.2 Six sold for £9350 and a much stored 1992 Peugeot 205 CTi 1.9 with only 3105 miles on the odo made £10,780. A 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX with stock 2.5 turbocharged flat-four good for 227bhp was caught for £7700.

These lower sale rates reflect auction over-load with too many cars chasing much the same number of auction goers and on-line watchers as the economy takes a breather during the distraction of a premature General Election which can only increase uncertainty.

March and April Round-up

67% of auctioned classics currently sell for an average of £12,001 - compared to last month when 74.5% sold and the average price was £37,935

 Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

Percentage sold stats are the most accurate weather check for the collector vehicle market. For an independently monitored sale rate reflects whether vendors’ reserves are being met or rejected by consumers. If a car sells, one must presume that a buyer thinks the price paid is right for the condition - whereas, if one fails to sell, then punters present or on-line reckon a particular lot is simply too expensive for them. 

Of the 8 auctions attended in April, sale rates ranged between 73% sold by CCA 1 and 2 April at the NEC and the same percentage by ACA 8 April in King’s Lynn, via 70% at Brightwells Bicester 5 April to 67% by Charterhouse 12 April at Shepton Mallet (although no confirmed prices have been published by Coys for their Westminster sale later that evening) to a less bullish 54% sold Brightwells Modern Classics sale 20 April in Leominster and a bearish 47% Barons sale rate 22 April at Sandown Park.

Final sets of post-sale inclusive prices confirmed by the auction firms reveal that 508 of the 758 classics sold at the April sales monitored and an average of 67% cars auctioned are currently selling. Whilst with £6.1m spent, an average of £12,001 is being currently spent on classics at auction in an economy which would appear to be slowing down.

Whereas during last month, the percentages sold ranged from the 82% achieved by Brightwells Leominster 8 March and 80% apiece at Bonhams Goodwood 19 March and Historics Brooklands 4 March, via 71% in the Richard Edmonds Allington tent 4 April and 67% at H&H Duxford 29 March to 57% at DVCA Athelhampton House 2 March.   

Although less cars sold and less were auctioned during the March sales, when 389 of the 522 classics offered sold, the 74.5% sale rate was higher and so was the £14.76m with premium spent. For the overall total was greatly boosted by the £5.6m Bonhams Goodwood sale total and the £2.6m spent at the Historics Brooklands sale, figures which resulted in the average price paid for a collector car in the UK auctions monitored by me rise to £37,935 per classic.

And finally, regardless of whether they can be driven without potentially costly recommissioning, perceived to be classics with documented and therefore authenticated low mileage and genuinely few owners continue to out-perform cars from the same year at auction.

One of the lowest mileage lots to cross the block lately was a one lady owner Mercedes-Benz SL500, which was purchased from Norman of Mayfair in 1996 as a birthday present and driven just 80 miles before being garaged Knightsbridge by the sole lady owner who mislaid the keys and never drove it again. With just 81 miles on the odometer, the R129 with electro-hydraulic hood and detachable hardtop was hammered at £48,000 by Coys during their latest Westminster sale to an internet bidder, who must therefore have paid £54,300 with the graduated range of buyer’s premium charged by the auctioneers for a classic that was reportedly still “as-new”!

ACA Drive-Through

US Honda fan was outbid on 1991 CRX V-Tec sold by ACA for £19,425 and several Germans drove to King’s Lynn to land a 78 year old AC for £73,500

 Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

In the metal, a Honda CRX V-Tec at the latest ACA Drive-Through did not look like it was born in 1991, since when it had been driven most of its 15,374 mileage by only one owner before being dry-stored from 2012. With only a cracked supplying dealer front number plate to fix, but with 13 reassuring service stamps in the book, the apparently fit 26 year old had been guided at £8000-10,000 and was much viewed during another well attended Saturday afternoon shopping session in King’s Lynn.

With unusually still no internet bidding possible at ACA sales, potential owners had to make the journey to North Norfolk in person or compete for ownership on ye olde dog and bone, which one enthusiastic Honda enthusiast did from theStates. Although he was soon left behind by contestants in the ring, where auctioneer Jim’s gavel fell at £18,500, costing the winner £19,425 including 5% premium.

Unable to bid on-line therefore, but making the most of extremely favourable exchange rates, several car loads of Germans had driven huge distances to this sale with the intention of landing a seriously racey looking supercharged AC 16/80 Special that had been completed in 2015 using a 1939 AC 16/80 chassis with rebuilt original engine and gearbox.

Again, the 18,000-22,000 pre-sale estimate was swiftly overtaken by reserve-topping offers from EU players both in the sale-hall and on half a dozen phones until the ancient Brit was eventually hammered for £73,500 with premium. Even before all the roasted hog had been consumed and any post-sales done, 202 or 73% of the 276 catalogued cars had changed hands in Brexitland for a cool £1.76m, an average of £8696 per classic.

Earlier in the week, Brightwells held their debut sale inside a tent inside a WW2 hangar on the Bicester Heritage site just off the M40 in what the Herefordshire firm perceived was an open point on the collector vehicle auction map. A total of 60 vehicles were auctioned, less than four times the number of cars consigned in East Anglia, and 20 of them were pre-war cars, statistically much harder to shift on or off the classic high street, though there were buyers at Bicester for 17 of them, an 85% sale rate.

The top priced oldtimer, which also headed the afternoon’s results, was a ground-up revived 1923 Vauxhall OD 23/60 Kington Tourer for up to six Vintage Nostalgics sold for £71,500, mid-estimate money. A once elegant 1927 Delage DIS sporting Colonial Tourer coachwork by Phizakerley of Sydney shot well beyond estimate to finish up at £49,500 and a French Grand Routier Hotchkiss 686 Monte Carlo Decouvrable from 1939 that had sunned itself in Portugal for several decades raised a mid-estimate £44,000.

A 1927 Sunbeam 25hp Tourer that had served as a taxi and then been further demoted to breakdown truck duties during hostilities before being rescued and reinstated to original form in the late 1960s bagged an East Anglian collector prepared to invest a way over estimate £44,900. The future of a ‘barn-fresh’ Wolseley Hornet Special with bodywork crafted in the Eustace Watkins workshops in 1933 meanwhile was hotly contested in 2017 until determined for an estimate-cracking £14,850.   

Before the auction book had been finally closed (until opened again 24 June during the Flywheel Festival) , a total of 42 or 70% of entries had been sold ‘live’ under the hammer or converted from provisionally logged bids shortly afterwards to bidders paying invoices in devalued Sterling from as far away as Canada, Dubai and Singapore. Although buyers invested a 10% premium-inclusive total of £953,315 in old motor car stock in Oxfordshire (only just over half what they were about to do over the weekend at ACA in Norfolk), the average price paid at this, Brightwells first Bicester sale amounted to a much more M40 corridor sized £22,698 per classic.

BMW record buster, final Healey 3000 and 2CV twinny star at NEC sale

Statistically rare Motorsport 286bhp M635 CSi manual driven 15,300 miles by two owners from new in 1985 - one of an unprecedented 25 BMWs consigned by CCA for their two-day sale in Birmingham - had been guided at £40,000-50,000, but fetched a record £100,100 with premium.

 Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

A 1985 BMW 635 E24 CSI auto with 28 MOT certificates meanwhile also went for more than double the £14,000 lower estimate, selling for £31,900, as did a 1989 635 CSI Highline auto with a forecast £8,000-10,000 on the screen, which sold for £19,250 during the two day auction at the Practical Classics and Classic Car mags backed exhibition at the NEC.

One of the last Austin-Healey 3000 Mk3 BJ8s to leave the BMC production line in 1967, when it was first registered to the Donald Healey Motor Co, had been freshly restored and motored strongly to achieve a £96,800 result in Brum, where buyers spent £2.45m including 10% premium (CCA’s highest sale total yet) on 145 access-able classics, 73% of the 198 that packed the CCA show stand.

Among headliner valuations, a just over top estimate £68,200 was needed to bag a Sahara-traversing 1965 Citroen 2CV Sahara with twin 425cc twins driving all four wheels. Up to £60,000 had been suggested for a right-hand drive 1973 Porsche 911 2.4E Targa with £22k’s worth of Tuthill bills on file that realised an air-cool £95,150 – while a forecast £49,500 was forthcoming for a right-winged 1990 Porsche 928 GT manual with less than 26,000 mileage. A one family owned 2009 Ford Focus RS with just 45 miles of depreciation in seven years beat the auctioneers’ top estimate figure by £5000 to sell for £40,920.

Such was the magnetic force of a £20,000-25,000 1960 190SL Merc left hooker for restoration that 24 telephone bidders contested the position of project manager, a post that was only filled when Jonathan Humbert’s very active gavel fell at £67,000 and the winner paid £73,700 with premium.

The mortal remains of a brace of E Type Jags were also much picked over by fans of the Garage Found who had come to the NEC show to salivate over such challenges. No dreamer however was prepared to match the £38,000-44,000 being sought for a very early 1962 S1 3.8 RHD FHC without chassis plate, but with Heritage Certificate confirmed number. Although even with the triple negatives of being an auto, a 2+2 and a lefty, a said to be (mostly) complete and rust-scabby 1968 Series 1½ 4.2 Coupe did still collect £13,750 with premium from one brave investor.

Among technically interesting rare breeds to come to auction market at the show, a 797 miles since 1992 Panther Solo S2 Coupe with Sierra Cosworth motor and four-wheel drive, one of only around 25 built, sold for £18,700 and £14,300 was accepted for the believed to be 1988 Cirrus prototype of only three of the Gold Motor Company’s space-framed GTs with 200bhp Rover V8 and Ferguson 4WD.

More contemporary ‘Modern Classics’ also changed registered keepers here. A 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX-STI with high rise rear spoiler and calipers in gold, driven only 12,000 speed camera dodging miles by one ‘self restrained private owner’ apparently, raised the necessary £15,500. A 2000 vintage Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI Tommi Makinen Edition with 66k on the trip meanwhile had been only Traffic Lights GP raced in Japan until 2015 before selling on a Saturday afternoon in Birmingham for £13,970. And finally, Ferrari 1 teamster Kimi Raikkonen’s first single seater, a Formula Renault run by Haywood Racing in the winter of 1999, was auctioned again, this time selling for a more than top estimate £29,700.

Although most of the latest HAGI Indices, which monitor transactions of all kinds, recorded falls by the end of March trading with their Ferrari, Porsche and Top Car Prices Indices therefore all being in negative territory for the first quarter of 2017, there were still buyers for three quarters of all classics auctioned at the CCA PC CC Resto Show sale, where some mega-prices were paid and a record gross was achieved for the house and fixture.

On the new car side of the forecourt meanwhile, the SMMT have also logged their largest stat for a single month’s yet with new car sales in the UK up by 8.5% in March, when Jaguar Land Rover sold 31,767 vehicles, one every 30 seconds, and JLR sales were up by 26% on those achieved in March 2016 pre-Brexit!