Records broken and unbroken in an increasingly virtual world

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

By selling for £121,500 including premium during the first of two Silverstone Auctions sales which saw 79% of cars sell for £5.7m during the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show at the NEC, the ex-Chris Barber Lotus Elite has established a new world record price in a public auction for Colin Chapman’s revolutionary fibreglass monocoque GT.

The first ever customer S1 Elite was supplied to jazz musician Chris Barber, appropriately registered CB 23 and seriously raced by the celeb band leader from Boxing Day 1958. The recent revival and upgrading of Lotus Type 14 MYPH/1009P and its Glyn Peacock rebuilt Coventry Climax engine was master co-ordinated by TV frontman Ant Anstead at his Evanta Motors workshops. While the famous car’s record busting dispersal at auction in Brum was recorded on camera for the next weekend’s ‘For the Love of Cars’ on C4.

A similarly C4 show resto-recorded 1969 Aston Martin DBS - with RSW ‘Vantage-ised’ 6-cylinder motor fed by triple Webers and the original auto-shift swopped for a Tremec T5 manual - also sold particularly well for a non-standard production example, achieving £174,375 with premium, more than £14,000 over the top estimate. The 2014 world auction record price of £533,500 for a DBS 6 still stands however.

For £359,125 more was forthcoming for this model two buying seasons ago under the Bonhams gavel during the annual Aston Martin sale at the Newport Pagnell works, where ‘The Persuaders’ exposed DBS/5636/R with original 6-cylinder engine and, pre-V8 launch and to impress viewers of the high profile ITV series, AM-applied V8 badging and V8-style alloys came to market.

Another really strong performer in Silverstone’s Saturday sale was a 1977 Jaguar XJ12 2-Door Coupe, the winner of 18 national concours awards, which still looked as sharp as it did when it came out of the restoration shop in 1990, and which made £43,875 with premium. A far more than current top retail price, this, for a standard production XJ12C, albeit a stunning example.

Although, again, not actually the highest amount paid at auction in recent times for a 12-Pot XJ 2-Door as £69,440 with H&H premium, more than five time the pre-sale estimate, was handed over October 2015 at Duxford for a Barn-found 1976 XJ12C project, though only the 8th produced and, again, with major ITV series provenance. For the dusty Broadspeed ETC-replicating, wide-bodied XJC with non-running V12 had been on location four decades earlier,  when pretend-driven by the late Patrick Macnee in the role of John Steed during the shooting of ‘The New Avengers’ .

Just over a year later, H&H had consigned another V12-engined Jag for restoration - a 1971 E Type S3 FHC manual in rhd only recently disinterred from many years static-slumber in a garage - for their latest Pop Classics sale at Donington. Estimated to fetch £16,000-20,000, such is the current pulling power of all E Types in whatever condition, it seems, that the project generated applause in the cavernous ‘Engine Room’ beside the East Midlands race circuit when bravely taken on for £33,000.

A brace of Bemma 3.0CSi sold well, too, a 1973 Coupe, uprated with later M5 (E34 Series) running gear storming past its £28,000-32,000 guide band to sell for £51,480 gross - while a second 3.0 CSi to standard spec, though in need of an extensive resto, cost a benefactor £23,600 with charges.

The day before, a rare, claimed still to be original and carefully stored in recent years HRD Vincent led a £660k classics bikes session with a close to world record £267,696 result. In second place on the leader board was a 1934 Brough Superior Alpine which cost the next rider £131,560. Including bikes and cars sold under the hammer, plus those provisionally taken bids that were converted during the ‘live’ auction process, the two sales had grossed more than £1.3m before the internet-feed to four bidding platforms had been unplugged.

Although unpopular with luddites (it takes one to know one), the paperless catalogue was totally on-line for this sale. How long can it be therefore before auctioning old cars at the moment of hammer fall becomes a virtual sport in which all would-be participants join the spectators wherever they happen to be at the time? In the pub without any traffic jams to get there sounds like a plan to me. 

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