Brightwells kicked off the year in fine style on 16th February with 114 of the 154 lots on offer being successfully sold for a total of £993,000 giving a clearance rate of 79% for the cars and 73% with motorcycles and number plates included.
The star lot of the sale was a 1992 Honda NSX which had covered only 11,500 miles from new in the hands of one owner. Fitted with the preferred manual gearbox and in pristine condition throughout, it was estimated at £55k - £65k but given the way that values of Japanese supercars have rocketed in recent years, no-one really expected it to sell within this price bracket. Nevertheless, the final result of £110,880 was quite remarkable and sets a new UK auction record (perhaps even a world record) for this long-undervalued but now deeply desirable model. Even at this level it could still be considered well bought – where would you find another one?
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Also flying beyond its £35k bottom estimate was a very nice 1967 Jaguar E-Type S1 2+2 which had been restored in the late-1990s and had only covered around 20k miles since. On offer from a deceased estate, it attracted lots of pre-sale interest and was finally hammered away for £49,020. Also from the same estate was an exceedingly rare 1952 Armstrong Siddeley Whitley Station Wagon Coupe which the owner had acquired via Brightwells back in 2015. Given the same £8k - £10k estimate as it had carried previously (when it made £11,300), this time around it made a whopping £23,520. One of only around 700 made and perhaps as few as three surviving worldwide, it was another case of ‘where would you find another one?’.
The same could also be said of the 1998 Maserati Quattroporte MkIV Ottocilindri, a very rare RHD 3.2 V8 biturbo variant of which only around 415 were made, all but 70 in LHD. With 80k miles on the clock and sensibly estimated at £6k - £8k, this Italian stallion had no trouble in romping to a £10,470 result thanks to its lovely condition and impeccable service history.
Those who follow the 4x4 market will have noticed a dramatic surge in interest for the Land Rover Defender L316 series. The last of the separate chassis Land Rovers and produced from 1983 - 2016, they have developed a cult following of late and prices have risen accordingly. So it was no real surprise that a one-owner 2014 Defender 110 XS County Station Wagon with only 6,500 miles from new fetched a mighty £40,830. A very tidy three-owner 2003 Defender 90 TD5 XS with just under 39k miles also did well at £23,150.
Another car with a cult following is the Citroen DS, widely regarded as one of the most innovative cars ever made. While you can still pick up a decent one for around £12k, the very best can easily double this amount and the 1971 DS21 on offer was definitely one of the better ones, hence the £24,890 result. Equally full of Gallic charm is the humble Renault 4 which was so fundamentally right from the outset that it remained in production for over 30 years. While good ones can easily be found for £5k, it’s not often that you see a real stunner so the 1986 R4 GTL on offer, with only 22k miles under its wheels, had no trouble in fetching £11,870.
Sticking with cult cars, the Fiat 500 has long been considered one of the most influential small cars of all time. Utterly basic but utterly charming, they sold in their millions so values are typically fairly modest for the plentiful LHD versions (about £7k for a good one) but the relatively scarce RHD models attract a significant premium. Hence the £16,240 required to secure the fully restored 1971 Fiat 500F on offer, a really cracking result for a lovely car.
At the complete opposite end of the spectrum was the 1989 Chevrolet Corvette C4 Convertible, every schoolboy’s dream of what a proper sportscar should look like. In super condition throughout and hiding its 52k miles extremely well, it also shot beyond estimate to finish on £13,670, an excellent price for the model.
All but two of the 12 pre-war cars on offer were successfully sold, top price going to a smart 1930 Ford Model A Two-Seater and dickey which made £15,960. In similar vein was a nicely patinated 1929 Austin 12/4 Two-Seater and dickey which fetched £11,810, while a really lovely 1939 Morris 8 Series E Tourer £12,540 more than doubled its estimate to finish on £12,540. A partially restored 1926 Crossley 18/50 Tourer in a dismantled state but with an intriguing Royal Tour of Australia history raised £9,250 while an extremely rare but sorely dilapidated 1935 British Salmson S4C Shooting Brake made £7,280 – both cars leaving plenty of work for their new owners to do!
The next Brightwells Classic Vehicles auction will be on 30th March with a closing date for entries of 18th March so if you are thinking of selling, please get in touch by calling 01568 611122 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.