Bravely having a stab where just about every other major auction player has tried and decided ‘not again, thanks’, and after a break of more than a decade since the annual classic car show has hosted a sale, Silverstone Auctions managed to pull off a reasonable 61% success rate at a venue that has traditionally been tough going for auctioneers.
But in the intervening years the internet has done much to change the way that classic cars are bought and sold, in that buyers don’t actually have to be present to view and purchase a car. And, at a large show that’s hard to get around – that worked in this still relatively fledgling auction house’s favour.
Though much of the really tasty stuff didn’t sell, auctioneer Jonathan Humbert got 41 of the 67 lots away, the top seller being a really straight and proper Aston Martin DB4 Series II at £224,000, plus a low-miles Ford RS200 at a market-correct £103,040, a Porsche 911 wide-body Speedster at £66,080 and a meticulously restored and shiny 1955 Land-Rover ‘86’ for a high £24,640. But nobody was prepared to front up at least £650,000 for the centrepiece Ferrari Enzo with 12,000km and neither could the 1967 Lamborghini 400GT find the £150,000-plus needed to buy it. A beautifully reworked 1953 Jaguar XK120 coupe wasn’t sold at £52,000, and the 1954 drophead couldn’t reach the required £60k.
But two early restored VW Beetles did well – a 1952 split-window at £23,520 and a ’57 ‘oval’ at £12,880. Of the two 1971 Fiat 500Ls, the immaculately restored example at £16,800 was pipped by the still-nice at £18,480 – perhaps because it had previously been owned by up-and-coming Prime Minister David Cameron, a gift to his wife. A choice of hot Escort Mk1s were £12,880 (1974 Mexico) and £11,760 (Pinto-engined 1972 rallycar), while a small-bumper 1975 Porsche 911 2.7 coupe was £33,600. Two near-perfect Minis made £22,960 and £18,000, for a concours-restored 1968 MkII Cooper and a police-spec Cooper S from the same year. An unusual car for a classic auction, a Volvo 244DL diesel, made £4928, just £700 behind its new price in 1980, but it was almost like new with 11,382 miles recorded, and yet another ‘Bullitt’ clone 1967 Mustang was a healthy £49,280, despite riding on too-large wheels.
On convertibles, the 1967 Pontiac Parisienne was a lot of car at £15,680 - remember, folks, this is the car the Monkeemobile was based on - and a tidy Triumph TR4 made £26,320, while a really nice 1967 Alfa Duetto from Black & White Garage was £18,592. As we posted this, at least one further post-sale deal was ongoing.
Silverstone’s next auction is at Race Retro on 23 February, and it plans to be back at the NEC next November.