Over 87% Pre-war sold to a packed salesroom
For the third Brightwells Bicester sale, a large crowd assembled in Hangar 113 at Bicester Heritage on the 25th October for what was the largest Brightwells’ sale at their new venue - the historically significant Bicester Heritage Centre, conveniently located at the heart of the country.
With the carpark filled to capacity, interest in the eclectic mix of vehicles was strong, with nearly £1.4m changing hands by the end of the day.
If variety be the spice of life, then Brightwells offered a veritable ‘Vindaloo’ of choice, from early Edwardians to an AMG Mercedes Estate with a rather interesting past.
Of the 105 lots that came under the hammer, 70% found new owners, although the market seemed to favour the pre-war vehicles which achieved a creditable 87% sale rate on the day. With such a wide variety of vehicles on offer, overseas interest was strong with registered bidders from numerous European countries and as far afield as Australia and Abu Dhabi.
Top seller on the day was the spectacular 1976 Ferrari 308 GTB Vetroresina, which was one of 154 fibreglass bodied cars made in RHD. With just 51,500 miles on the clock and an excellent service history, it was enthusiastically bid to a premium inclusive £134,200. With post-Brexit Ferrari prices having pegged back a notch, this car proves that quality and rarity will always command a premium and it deserved every penny.
E-Type Jaguars continue to create interest, the nicely patinated 1965 Series 1 FHC sold for £68,200 to a lucky new owner, who now has a lovely driver quality car which can be used and improved. Committed bidding was needed to acquire the slightly later 1969 Series 2 Coupe, which had been completely rebuilt in 2001, but was still wearing its steering wheel on the left-hand side. Fresh from five years storage and in need of recommissioning, £48,950 was needed by its new owner to take it home.
While on the topic of British sports cars, the smart and well cared-for MGC bust its £12 - £14,000 estimate to reach a commission inclusive £19,800 which reflects how stunning the car is and its new owner should be delighted by the way it runs and drives. The two lesser-engined ‘B’ Roadsters both sold for £7,920 and £9,130 apiece, the former being a fully restored and upgraded rubber-bumper conversion, although as with most models, top money was reserved for the earlier of the two cars. Talking of MGs, what was certainly the best TD we have ever seen was hammered away on estimate at £25,200 and a very smart Pre-war PA found a new home at £27,600.
Project cars continue their enthusiastic following, with Brightwells offering a brace of fine late -‘30s saloons. First up came the spectacular 1937 Alvis 4.3 with coachwork by Charlesworth. Up and running after an £18,000 engine overhaul by Earley Engineering, there was still plenty of work to do on the body and electrics, a post-sale deal selling the car for an on-estimate price of £66,000. One of its more interesting competitors at the time was the Riley-owned Autovia. Just 49 were made before the outbreak of war, boasting a three-litre V8 engine and 90mph+ performance. This very car was used for the Motor Road test in period and also spent six months with Raymond Mays at ERA under evaluation. The only one ever built with a manual gearbox (ZF), and one of just 11 remaining, it sold to an overseas buyer for £82,500, who thankfully intends to keep the highly original, sound and patinated coachwork just as it is.
The buyer of the La Licorne rolling chassis project decided that £8,800 was a reasonable sum to keep him busy in the workshop this winter, the end result will no-doubt be a most rewarding French Light Car. Talking of which, Brightwells offered an unparalleled selection of VSCC eligible equipment, the most fiercely fought over being the delightful 1923 Calthorpe 10-15hp DHC. Beautifully restored by its engineer owner some years ago, it was as nice as they come and fully deserved the £23,100 paid.
It is not every day that an International High Wheeler comes along, a wondrous cross between a horse and cart and primitive early Motorcar. Well-engineered and in this case, beautifully restored, it sold for £37,400 and needed nothing than a new master to tame its unusual ways. They were usually bought by mail order and sent to remote farms in the US and Australia, the new owners assembling them themselves and learning to drive by the handbook. By all accounts they often drove straight into the nearest tree, expecting it to steer round as their old horse used to –‘ whoa Neddie’.
The 1907 Delage, which was sold under licence in the UK by Friswell flew past the top estimate to sell for £26,400, and the delightful c1907 Rover 8 which had been in the same family (only its second owners) since 1930 also breached top estimate, finally selling for £24,100 – putting paid to the rumour that early cars have fallen out of fashion.
Jumping a decade or five, a comprehensively restored and very smartly presented 1961 Jaguar MkII 3,8 Automatic sold for £28,600, a mere fraction of the costs of its restoration and one of the finest Mini Cooper S Mk1s we’ve seen, sold for £37,400 to a well-known Midlands collector. Much admired during the viewing, the car was as good underneath as on top which is saying a lot!
The ‘barn find’ Beemer caused lots of interest, the 1971 2002 having seen a life as a road-rally car some years ago and has been resting on its laurels – or perhaps bump-stops for many years and although requiring a lot of work to get it back on the road, £4,620 was still needed for its new owner to load it on the trailer.
Everyone loved the 1976 Triumph Dolomite Sprint, but were a bit bemused as to why its original owner had ticked the three-speed automatic option on the pricelist. Debate ensued about today’s congested roads and stop-start traffic and its appeal grew sufficiently for its new owner to lash out £8,140 on its purchase. One of just 17 believed to remain, it certainly has rarity on its side.
Two low mileage cars caught our eye; they were the 1971 Mercedes 280S saloon, made at the zenith of Mercedes-Benz engineering integrity, it was in stunning, original condition and with a reputed 32,000 miles under its wheels looked worth every penny of its £15,950. Another beauty was the 1952 Hudson Commodore 8. A version of the famous Hornet immortalised on the Raceway and in the Disney Pixar movie ‘Cars’, it looked showroom fresh, retaining total originality and offering an 80mph cruise thanks to its ‘three on the tree’ and overdrive. Ex-Black collection from Florida, it still has less than 25,000 miles under its wheels and was fiercely bid to £14,850 and will now be heading for the Autobahn.
In contrast to all of these was the 2001 Mercedes AMG C32 Estate, not a natural entry into our Classic and Vintage sale, but included because it holds the UK land speed record for cars of between three and four litres, recorded at Pendine Sands in September this year. Selling above estimate, someone bought a bit of history with a road-rocket thrown in for £4,500 – value indeed.
“We were delighted with both the entry and the sales result for what is in effect a brand-new venture for Brightwells. Bicester Heritage continues to draw in a new and enthusiastic crowd for us and we are well on the way to establishing our Bicester sales as a regular calendar fixture” said Brightwells Consultant, Matthew Parkin. “Although we remain very good at dealing with sports and classic cars from the 1950s onwards, our experience and perhaps the location at Bicester Heritage has allowed us to build our strengths in the Pre-war sector, which is something that we both enjoy and understand very well. As always it is quality that sells best, but we aren’t shy of offering a wide range of vehicles, as long as it is interesting and quirky.”
“There is no rest for the Brightwells team as we have our next Classic and Vintage sale on 29th November at Leominster, which has a Modern Classic section included, designed to plug the gap in our calendar before the next Modern Classic sale early next year.”
To view the results of the October Bicester Classic Sale in full, please click HERE or phone 01869 229222. Brightwells’ next Bicester Classic & Vintage sale date will be announced shortly, if you are considering selling your classic, email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free, no obligation valuation.
All the prices given above include the 10% buyer’s premium.