Over £1m more was spent on classic cars during the three Silverstone Auctions sales at this year’s Race Retro than in 2016. The £5.7m invested in the futures of 99 auction vehicles was a new high for the Midland auction house at the Stoneleigh Park annual in Warwickshire, where there were buyers for 78% of road cars and 26 owner-drivers were prepared to pay just over £1m for competition cars.
A long bidding battle between a contestant in the saleroom and another competing elsewhere for the keys of a right-hand drive 1974 Ferrari Dino 246GT – a right-hand driver with factory-ordered and executed flared-arches and Campagnolo wheels, which had come to market for the time in 22 years - was eventually resolved in favour of the phone-bidder. The £429,875 with premium paid by the winner however was nearly £140,000 more than the lower estimate!
From the same delighted private vendor source, another right-hand drive Ferrari F355 Berlinetta that had only been driven 7017 miles from new in 1998 had come to market to find £136,125, again £50,000 more than had been forecast. And it was certainly another good day’s racing for Prancing Horses with a 2005 575M right hooker making £146,250 and another right is right 512TR from 1992 fetching £128,250.
A pair of low mileage Italian left hookers seduced new masters (or maybe mistresses?), a 3300k 2005 575M costing a successful bidder £146,250 and an only 2500k since 1990 348TB £93,375, the same money landing a 1989 328GTS that had been previously enjoyed for 23,000m. Whilst one of only ten 550 Maranello 2000 World Speed Record celebrants in right-hand drive and with 33,800 English miles under-wheel was successfully shifted afterwards for £178,000, just shy of the guide.
Among locally reared Jaguars to change keepers, a matching numbers 1960 XK150 3.8 SE Drophead excited determined bidding until sold for £132,750, more than double the lower estimate figure. All twelve Porsches offered were snapped up, a 1980 911 930 Turbo headlining for £109,125, and eight ‘Fast Ford’ road car changes of ownership were led by an ex-Jensen Button 2010 GT 40 at £264,375, while an only 1800m from new in 2010 Ford Focus RS in shocking Electric Green achieved an even more shocking £41,063.
But then my old 1965 Ford Lotus Cortina Mk1, which cost me considerably less than £10,000 in the late 1980s, fetched £45,000 this time around and £39,375 was forthcoming for a 24m865m 1995 Escort RS Cosworth. A 1987 Sierra Cosworth RS swopped owners, the last for 28 years, for £33,750, while a 1988 Escort RS Turbo S2 with 17,048 mileage cost the next guardian £27,000. £19,688 was required to own a 1987 Capri 280 Brooklands with Turbo Technics conversion and £16,313 a 23,000m 1990 Fiesta RS Turbo.
Another high flier was a 1994 Lancia Delta Integrale Evo 2 lefty that had flown in from Japan in 2014 and, with 13,540k indicated, was much viewed until sold on a Saturday afternoon at the once Royal Showground venue for £53,100, within estimate band money.
And in the preceding Friday session for Competition Cars - statistically by far the stickiest sector of the old car market – a bullish 68% of the race and rally car stock were towed away on or inside new trailers. Taking the chequered flag was the only surviving 1961 Emeryson F1 Single Seater with Coventry Climax FPF and Hewland Mk6 in the tail, which was bravely piloted in period by Mike Spence, Jack Fairman, John Campbell-Jones and Tony Settember. Having been retrospectively campaigned in later life for an extraordinary 16 consecutive seasons by the equally intrepid vendor from Goodwood to Monaco, Emeryson chassis 1004 realised a truly Grand Prix of £174,380 in the Race Retro sale. I am old enough to have actually been spectating at Oulton, Silverstone and Aintree to see it in action! Memories were certainly made of this.