With new car sales at an all-time low due to a global shortage of the semiconductors needed to make them, prices of second-hand cars have rocketed by 30% in the last six months alone. Classic cars have also enjoyed something of a boom over the last 18 months and while not all have gained in value quite so dramatically, there is still a vibrant buzz in the market with more classics being sold at auction than ever before.
Brightwells now hold online Classic sales every six weeks (rather than the pre-Covid five-times-a-year format) and in the October sale, 124 of the 163 lots on offer were hammered away virtually for a total of just over £983,000 to give a 76% clearance rate.
Top seller on the day was a pleasingly original 1955 Jaguar XK140 FHC with oodles of patina which fetched £50,400. Several other Jaguars also did well, a freshly restored 1965 S-Type 3.8 Manual Overdrive looking wonderful in Golden Sand raised £20,160 while a superb 1989 XJ-SC Cabriolet with only 26k miles fetched £15,120 and a subtly uprated 1961 MkII 3.8 with a later automatic gearbox and electric seats made £19,600.
Nine out of the 10 pre-war cars on offer found new homes, top price going to a spectacular 1930 Packard Model 733 Rumble Seat Coupe with a lusty 5.4-litre straight-eight which fetched £43,100. Equally imposing was an extremely rare 1939 Sunbeam-Talbot 4-Litre Sports Saloon, one of only 44 made and two known to survive, which made £29,120. At the other end of the scale was a diminutive 1930 MG M-Type in lovely condition following an £18k overhaul which flew way beyond estimate to finish on £23,800. Equally compact was a nicely restored 1932 Austin Seven RL Saloon which made £7,850 and is now on its way to a new home in the Czech Republic.
Three out of the four Morgans on offer also sold well, a stunning powder blue 1960 Morgan Sports which had been specially prepared for international rallies with a heavily modified 4/4 chassis and a 4.2-litre Rover V8 tuned by JE Developments looked great value at £34,160 given all the hard work that had gone into the build. A very original 1978 Morgan Plus 8 made up for its rather unflattering brown paintwork by having just two owners and 7,000 miles from new which justified the £25,750 required to secure it. A 1996 Morgan 4/4 1800 in more retail-friendly red and still looking showroom fresh after covering only 16,200 miles raised a healthy £22,570.
Attracting much pre-sale interest was an extremely rare 1963 Triumph Dove GTR4, one of only around 50 made for Triumph dealers Dove of Wimbledon. Based on a standard TR4 Roadster, it had a large Harrington-made hardtop which turned it into a practical 2+2 Coupe. An older restoration in ‘use and improve’ condition, it was hammered away for £19,600. Rather more successful stylistically was a handsome 1957 MGA 1500 Coupe, arguably the best-looking MG ever made, which had been recently imported from sunny South Africa and raised £18,000.
Mercedes W107 Series Roadsters have a huge following these days and always seem to do well at auction thanks to their Teutonic build quality and elegant styling. The 1988 model on offer came in desirable 300SL spec with gleaming white paintwork and a nicely mellowed black leather interior that wore it’s 75k miles very lightly. Given the way that values of this model have accelerated of late, it looked like a smart buy at £24,650.
The same might also be said of another Mercedes in the sale – a jaw-dropping 42k miles 2004 Maybach 57 that was gloriously over the top in all departments: Twin turbo 5.5 V12 with 900Nm of torque? Check. Air-conditioned massage seats? Check. Double glazing? Check. Curtains? Check. Cocktail bar and fridge? Check. Twin rear TV screens? Check. Cost over £300k new? Check. Absolute bargain at £33,600? Hmm, maybe.
Arguably more classy, if not quite so lavishly equipped, was a palatial 2001 Rolls-Royce Park Ward, one of only 24 made in RHD and based on a standard Silver Seraph V12 stretched by almost a foot to give acres of leg room for the rear passengers. In stunning condition and wearing its 67k miles very lightly it romped to £38,100. Equally plush, if somewhat more thuggish, was a 2004 Bentley Continental GT with only 47,500 miles under its 20” wheels which fetched £21,300. A very smart Caribbean Blue 1977 Bentley T2 showing 118k miles looked cheap by comparison at £14,800, while a 2001 Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante with 58k miles fetched £28,000.
All but two of the 23 motorcycles on offer found new homes, top price going to a very original 1965 BMW R50 in need of recommissioning following 20 years in storage which made £6,200. A 1921 BSA Flat Tank made £5,000 while a 1951 Douglas Plus 80 and a 1952 Douglas Plus 90 both made £4,780.
The next Brightwells Classic auction will be on 9th December with a closing date for entries of 26th November. The market remains very healthy across all sectors from vintage to modern so if you are thinking of selling, please get in touch by calling the team on 01568 611122 or by emailing [email protected]
All prices shown include the 12% buyer’s premium