Xmas shoppers pay big prices for old Princes

Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans

A ‘Prince Henry’ Sports Torpedo, one of the world’s first sports cars made by Vauxhall in 1914, cleared half a million at the Bonhams New Bond Street sale, selling for a within forecast £516,700 with premium. The ‘Prince of Wales’ 1988 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante - first owned by AM CEO Victor Gauntlet, and subsequently seriously upgraded with RSW 7-litre 500bhp V8 and reassuring AP Racing brakes – seduced another West End Christmas shopper into parting with £651,100, mid estimate money.

Attending the sale of the rightly applauded 102 year old Vauxhall survivor were the family who had parted with their Prince back in 1945. Whereas the 28 year old Aston Martin Prince was one of a Newport Pagnell works run of only 27 such hand-built open-top V8s with Vantage performance, but with a less macho and more restrained appearance that celebrated the ownership endorsement of Prince Charles.

By contrast, a 13 year old DB7 lefty with Coupe Carrozeria by Zagato, sold for a more than forecast £309,000, had only been driven 900k since new in 2003. A 2004 vintage Porsche Carrera GT with 1722m on the odo, although bid to £430,000, £50,000 below the guide price, was declared sold with premium by the closing of the book – and a below estimate £158,820 was also accepted for a 13,000m from new 2011 SLS 63 AMG (a sign of a softening in demand for such non-essential big boys toys perhaps?). The end of 2016 season Bond Street rate however for an always right-handed and 26m since restored 1962 Jaguar E Type S2 3.8 Roadster was still a healthy enough £219,900 with premium.

Indeed, by the end of the Sunday afternoon session, 67% of the 27 top cars displayed in the firm’s flagship salerooms, where the finest artworks and priceless porcelain pieces are hammered away on a daily basis, had sold for £4.36m and a market-impressing average of £250,000 had been invested in the 18 high end classics that changed portfolios.

Three days later, the Bonhams Motor Cars team were occupying The Grand Hall at Olympia, the former location of the pre-Earls Court era Motor Shows, where, and following morning and early afternoon sessions for automobilia and classic bikes, another 83 collector cars for more inclusive budgets were on offer. By early evening, 58% of them had been hammered away to new homes and an additional £3.41m had been spent in 48 classics by new owners.

Among them a 1967 Aston Martin DB6 ZF 5-speed manual, last restored and upgraded to 4.2 Vantage-spec by Goldsmith & Young in 1998, headed the prices with a more than top estimate £359,900 performance. A Nicholas Mee serviced 1966 DB6 auto fetched £216,540, within estimate, and a 1938 2-Litre 15/98 Sports Tourer for the occasional four that was acquired from the Stratford Upon Avon Motor Museum in 1996 sold again here for £198,333.

The 1992 Geneva Motor Show displayed Virage Volante 6.3 in Emerald Green with matching hood had been first registered in supercar rich Brunei and driven less than 20,000 miles in 24 years. Repatriated in 1999, it sold for £86,620. A one owner since 2009 and left-hand drive DB9 Volante with Touchtronic-change made £61,980 and a DB7 Vantage Coupe manual that had cost a fraction under £96,000 when new in 2000 was bought by a happy couple in the seats for £52,900.

The 1971 Earls Court Motor Show and right-hand drive Ferrari 246GT in Bianco Polo Park first bought from the Dick Lovett dealership by F1 Team owner Rob Walker realised £331,900, within the forecast band. Much more primitive and high rise was a Stutz Bearcat with rumble seat that was believed to have been first owned in 1918 by Charles Elsworth Stuz and which sold for a better than expected £214,300. Another couple had viewed a 2008 restored Porsche 911S 2.4 with 1972 model year ‘oelklappe’ external filler for the engine’s dry-sump tank at great length before outbidding the room and paying £203,100 for a right-hand drive 911S with all numbers still matching.

A second-series Alvis Speed Twenty SB 4-Seater Tourer of 1934 vintage - when an all-synchromesh gearbox and independent front suspension made it one of the more technically advanced British motor cars of the day - was hammered away for £92,000, less than the £95,000 worth of engine and body work bills since 2010 on file! With Halda Twin Tripmaster and WW2 aviator’s clock, and such event-sensible upgrades as an electric fuel pump, flashing indicators and hazard warning lights, the clearly very well sorted Speedy Twenty with stickers for four ‘Flying Scotsman’ rallies and the 2015 ‘Alpine Trial’ (so far) looked ready for more adventures far away from Motorways.

Jaguar prices were led by a left to right drive converted 1952 XK120 Roadster, restored and upgraded with 5-speed box by Fender Broad, which went for £89,980. £88,860 was forthcoming for a 1964 E Type S1 3.8 Fixed Head with known ownership history, £85,500 for a 1966 E Type S1 4490cc to ‘Fast Road’ spec, £79,900 for an always right-hand drive 1959 XK150 DHC, £73,180 for a 1973 E Type S3 V12 Roadster manual in oh so period Lavender Blue and £65,340 for a one owner from new in 1971 E Type S3 V12 Roadster manual.

A 1962 Lotus Elite Climax with Type 9 5-speed box fetched £73,180, an ex-Swallow Registrar 1955 Doretti £68,700, an only 2-owner 1955 Austin-Healey 100 lhd £51,750, a 1988 BMW Z1 Roadster accessible via electrically-operated doors that (are supposed to) drop down into the body £41,400, and an apparently renovated 1977 Porsche 911 SC 3.0 Coupe glass-out repainted in Lindgrun Green metallic £28,750. In such uncertain political and economic times, being able report on such definite market movement in our sector has to be seasonally encouraging for all concerned.

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