Records tumble as 78% of entries sell
AC Greyhound tops the lot at another packed Brightwells sale...
The May sale always draws a huge crowd at Brightwells as enthusiasts flock to the Leominster saleroom to compete for the chance to buy a new set of wheels to enjoy over the summer season. An unusually large assortment of classics were on offer ranging from a 1924 Amilcar CC to a 2005 Aston Martin DB9, the dazzling variety of interesting machines attracting bidders from as far afield as Hong Kong, America and Australia. By the end of a long afternoon, 146 of the 186 vehicles on offer had successfully changed hands to give an impressive sale rate of 78% for a total of almost £1.4m.
Top seller of the day was a beautifully mellowed 1962 AC Greyhound, one of only 83 made and only six with the AC engine which had attracted a huge amount of pre-sale interest from all over the world. Quickly flying past its £40k - £50k estimate it was finally hammered away for £82,500 and is now destined for a new home in Tasmania. This sets a new auction record for the model, the last Greyhound publicly offered in recent times being a Bristol-engined version that was also sold by Brightwells in 2013 for £52,800. The price realised is over £10k more than the Hagerty Insurance valuation for a Greyhound in concours condition so their figures will now require some recalibration. Even at this price you could still call it a good buy when you consider that the best of the mechanically identical Ace and Aceca models are now fetching £250k+ and £150k+ respectively.
Almost as rare was a 1954 Swallow Doretti, one of only 276 made and based on Triumph TR2 running gear which had been in the vendor’s ownership for 48 years. Believed to be the 1954 Motor Show car and certainly the test car made available to the press in period, 609 CRF romped to a £60,500 result and will now be joining the AC on the other side of the planet, an Australian phone bidder having successfully beaten off considerable competition in the room.
Another rarity was a 1938 Lagonda Rapier, one of only 396 made and still in fabulous condition following an earlier restoration which had included the fitment of an Abbot four-seat tourer body. The third Rapier to be sold by Brightwells in the past five years, it comfortably topped its pre-sale estimate to finish on £59,400 thus setting a new benchmark for the model – the only other Rapier which has made more at auction being a heavily modified supercharged special with race history which made £82k at Bonhams in 2013.
Also nudging record-breaking territory was a stunning 1966 Sunbeam Tiger which had been fully restored by marque expert Brian Postle. At £55,000 it was the third highest price ever achieved by a Tiger at a UK auction, beaten only by another that made £57,200 in 2018 and an ex-works rally machine that made £77,000 in 2014, both of which were also sold by Brightwells. So if you want to get the best price for your own Tiger, you know who to call!
Alvis is another marque that always does well at Brightwells and the pair on offer did not disappoint, a lovely 1936 Speed 20 SD Saloon with unique William Arnold coachwork fetching £40,700 while an equally smart 1935 Firebird Drophead Coupe raised £19,800.
The same could also be said of the ever-popular MG marque and all but one of the 16 examples on offer were successfully hammered away, top price going to a 1934 PA Roadster with trials modifications which raised £20,900 while a very original two-owner 1952 TD made £15,400, a sound but cosmetically scruffy LHD 1954 TF fetched £12,870 and a tidy 1959 MGA Coupe with a later 1.8 engine made £13,420. However the really big surprise was a 1974 MGB GT which had been fully restored around a new Heritage shell and fitted with an Ivor Searle Stage 2 engine. Sensibly estimated at £9k - £11k it quickly shot beyond this to finish on an impressive £19,250, a new house record for Brightwells and only £900 short of the highest price ever achieved by an MGB GT at a UK auction. What will this once-humble model be fetching in another five years, one wonders?
Morgans are another house speciality at Brightwells (as they should be, with the factory only 25 miles away) and although there were only two in the sale they both sold, a standard 1997 Plus 8 with only 39,000 miles on the clock raising £30,800 while a 1990 Plus 8 with a mere 13,000 miles but retro-fitted with a supercharger made only slightly more at £31,350. All three Triumph TR models also sold, a 1956 TR3 in need of light restoration fetching £15,400, exactly the same amount raised by a tidy 1964 TR4, while a highly original TR6 with a warranted 60k miles made £17,050.
Jaguar E-Types have experienced a notable dip in value of late so it was no real surprise to see that the LHD 1972 V12 Roadster narrowly failed to hit its £55k reserve, but the RHD 1973 V12 Coupe more than made up for this by romping to £38,500 which was £10k more than forecast. Further proof that in these strange pre-Brexit times, domestic buyers are more ready to fork out for RHD cars than they (or our Continental cousins) are for LHD cars. Which made it doubly puzzling that there were no takers for the rare and attractive RHD 1960 Mercedes 190SL Roadster which failed to sell at £85k when the last RHD example offered by Brightwells was a restoration project that made £93,500 in 2015. Go figure, as they say across the pond…
Classic Land Rovers have also taken a slight dip of late but all six examples on offer were successfully sold, top honours going to a rare ex-military 1999 Wolf Defender with only 450kms on the clock which almost doubled its estimate to finish on £25,300.
All but one of the 12 motorcycles on offer also found new homes, top price going to a 1974 Honda CB750 in need of recommissioning which made £6,600 while a 1988 Harley-Davidson Sportster 883 Custom wasn’t far behind at £5,280 and is now on its way to a new home in Austria.
To view the results of the May sale in full, click HERE.
Entries invited... We are currently inviting vendors to consign their vehicles for Brightwells’ next Leominster Classic & Vintage sale on 10th July 2019. Our team is spread across the UK and have a wide knowledge of all classic and vintage vehicles. For a free valuation contact Toby Service on 01568 611122 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The closing date is Friday 14th June, so please do not leave it until the last minute or your entry may have to be deferred until our 4th September sale.
All the prices given above include the 10% buyer’s premium.