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1966 Costin-Nathan ‘Barn Find’ project sells for £80,000 at auction

An exceptionally rare Costin Nathan racing car, stood for more than 45 years, has sold for more than three times estimate at H&H’s Chateau Impney auction

After being discovered in a garage by a house clearance company, a rare 1966 Costin Nathan racer – stood for more than 45 years in a garage – has sold for £80,000 at H&H’s Chateau Impney auction at the weekend.

Estimated at £25,000-£30,000 before the auction, this GT racer attracted a number of bids despite its dilapidated condition. Despite needing a full restoration, the Costin was found in complete condition, complete with Hewland MK5 gearbox and Ford-based Twin-Cam engine.

Not many Costin-Nathans were built, but the model was generally very successful on track due to its low weight and aerodynamic bodies. This example is particularly special however, as it was originally the Works Prototype raced by Roger Nathan in 1966 in Spyder form. It was later converted to the hardtop GT form you see here for the second owner, with Chris Meek taking the wheel for a number of races.

Former race-driver, John Markey, who runs the H&H Classics Hindhead Surrey operation, says: ‘It is an amazing restoration project and a true 'barn find' slumbering in the late owner’s garage for the last 45 years. This is quite a special car. It is the original Works Prototype as driven with success by Roger himself in ’66. I’m probably dewy eyed having raced one quite extensively in the 60’s. From a personal angle, the car as an Imp engined GT was a delight to drive, very quick in its class with neutral handling and my car did the Targa Florio, the Montjuich 12 hours and an event at Anderstorp in Sweden without any mechanical problems whatsoever.’

A further highlight of H&H’s auction was the 1949 Cadillac 75 Fleetwood 5-passenger Sedan, previously owned by Cardinal Richard J. Cushing – a close friend of the similarly Boston-based Kennedy family. Research suggests that this car that transported the Cardinal to many Kennedy family events, including JFK’s funeral. Selling for almost £40,000, it represented a link, however tenuous, to one of the 20th century’s most legendary figures.

Martin van der Zeeuw found the car on behalf of H&H Classics: ‘Every now and then one comes across a car that is particularly interesting not just for its engineering or design or any other physical reason but because it casts a light onto our own human history. And this is one such car, its very close links with the remarkable, brilliant, tragic Kennedy family, makes it an object of particular and historic interest.’

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