Classic car enthusiasts are a hardy breed and neither the wettest February on record nor the rising anxiety about Coronavirus deterred the usual huge crowd from descending on Brightwells to see over 200 classics come under the auctioneer’s hammer for the opening sale of the year on 4th March. By the end of the day 78% of entries had been sold for a total of over £1.5m with bidders from as far afield as Canada, Australia and the Arab Emirates.
Top price honours went to an exceptionally clean and tidy 1988 Porsche 911 3.3 Turbo, one of only two made in RHD to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of this iconic model and whose 63,000 miles was more than made up for by a string of concours wins in the not-too-distant past which justified the £84,000 price tag. Next best was an equally good 1969 Ford Escort MkI Twin Cam, one of only 883 made and fresh from a total nut-and-bolt restoration which fetched £47,040.
Attracting a great deal of pre-sale interest was a 1968 Aston Martin DBS Vantage restoration project from long-term ownership and with desirable 5-speed manual transmission. Offered at no reserve it sparked a fierce bidding war, an English collector in the room finally beating off international competition to secure the car for £44,240 which should leave plenty of headroom for the restorative works now required. Also selling well was a 1994 Ferrari 456GT in classic Rosso Corsa with desirable six-speed manual transmission and only 59,500 miles which raised £39,200, this being £11,000 more than the price realised by an equally good 2008 Aston Martin DB9 Volante with just under 50,000 miles on the clock.
A 1967 Jaguar MkII 3.8 with various modern upgrades and some rather ‘Marmite’ styling tweaks to the front and rear ends which fetched £31,360. A pair of E-Type projects also exceeded their estimates, a 1968 S1 2+2 just needing final reassembly following an extensive restoration by Jaguar main dealer apprentices fetching £29,120 while a 1969 S2 2+2 with a rebuilt engine and new interior but in need of substantial bodywork repairs raised £26,880.
Much admired during the viewing was a 1963 Studebaker Avanti R2 with rare factory-fitted supercharger and quirky Jet Age styling which also comfortably beat its estimate to finish on £28,560 and will give its new owner plenty to talk about at shows. Equally discussion-worthy was a rather bizarre 1979 Fiat 126-based De Ville ‘Zero’, the prototype of 21 such kit cars eventually made by Car Craft of Lancashire and which wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Noddy cartoon. Offered at no reserve, it raised £4,590 and is now on its way to a new home in Switzerland where it will no doubt be appreciated by the Gnomes of Zurich…
Triumph TRs are always popular at auction and all five on offer successfully changed hands, a nicely restored 1967 TR4A raising £20,720 and a tidy 1954 TR2 with various upgrades making £17,920 while a pair of recently restored TR6 roadsters made £19,935 and £14,000, the latter held back by a rather indifferent repaint.
All but one of the 12 MG models on offer were also sold, a smart ex-USA and now RHD converted 1960 MGA 1600 Roadster leading the way at £19,260. A very tidy-looking Primrose Yellow 1969 MGC Roadster wasn’t far behind at £16,800 while an equally smart LHD 1952 MG TD MkII fetched £15,680 and another LHD use-and-improve 1950 MG TD raised £10,080.
A brace of VW Beetles told an instructive tale, a derelict and partially dismantled 1957 1200 Oval Window in need of full restoration fetching exactly the same as a nicely restored and subtly backdated 1970 1300. At £8,960 apiece, they nicely illustrated the gulf that exists between early and late models of this iconic machine. The price achieved by another VW also raised a few eyebrows, a rare 1991 T3 Synchro 4x4 LT45 with a demountable Tischer Type 245 twin-berth camper body which comfortably exceeded its £13k bottom estimate to finish on £20,720.
Pre-war cars always do well at Brightwells and a very smart 1935 MG PA that had been little used since full restoration and conversion from two- to four-seat format in the early 1980s fetched a healthy £24,640. A very handsome and delightfully original 1934 Standard Avon Special two-door sports saloon looked like an interesting buy at £19,600 while a tidy 1934 Singer Nine Sports four-seater with a freshly rebuilt engine made £15,680. A 1936 Alvis Speed 20 SD project with replica Charlesworth drop-head body and a jigsaw puzzle of unrestored parts should keep its new German owner gainfully employed for a considerable time while he figures out how to reassemble his £11,200 investment into something worth perhaps ten times as much.
A 1958 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I let down only by a garish interior retrim in electric blue leather fetched £19,040 while an equally imperious 1950 Bentley MkVI Sports Saloon in need of work following many years in storage raised £11,200 and is now off to a new home in Belgium.
A good-as-new 2012 Land Rover Defender 90 Pickup with only 7 miles on the odometer fetched £28,560 and presents its new owner with the dilemma of whether to use it or continue to preserve it in mothballs. Also worthy of mention was the £16,800 raised by an outwardly unremarkable 1969 Morris Minor 1000 Traveller, the dizzy price being accounted for by the very remarkable figure displayed on the odometer – a mere 11,095 miles thanks to spending the last 45 of its 51 years in storage. Find another, as they say…
To view the results of the March sale in full, please click HERE or phone 01568 611122. Brightwells’ next Leominster Classic & Vintage sale will be a two-day sale with cars on 21st May and motorcycles on 22nd May 2020. Entries are now being invited with free valuations available by emailing [email protected]. The closing date is Friday 24th April so please do not leave it until the last minute or your entry may have to be deferred until the following sale on 15th July 2020.
All the prices given above include the 12% buyer’s premium.