Freddie Mercury’s old Rolls-Royce sold for an amazing £73,000 at Coys’ Autosport International auction at the NEC on January 12 - but the other ‘celebrity’ lot, the ex-Del Boy Trotter Capri failed to bid above £12,000, not enough to buy it.
Not having passed his driving test, the flamboyant Queen front man never actually drove the Silver Shadow, which was five years old when his company bought it in 1979, and it was in a pretty forlorn state with rotten sills and the front wings about to part company from the hull - but that didn’t prevent a bidding frenzy, with four phones on the go at one point. Eventually, after new money appeared north of £60k, the bidding slowed to £1000 increments and the protagonists, one of whom was rumoured to be a representative of the band wanting to buy the car for a forthcoming comeback tour, dropped out one by one and auctioneer Chris Routledge finally dropped the hammer at £65,000. Even Coys’ pre-sale expectation was only £9000-12,000, about three times market value for a Shadow in this condition.
Elsewhere, a 427 Cobra, one of two cars that have claimed the same identity but built from the chassis of the ‘real’ CSX3272, had its reserve removed on the morning of the sale and sold for £205,000, a 1961 Lamborghini 1R tractor from a small consignment of cars entered from Coys’ Italian office was £9488 and a Lotus Seven chassis also offered at no reserve sold for £7475 – this was a rare ‘7X’ type with independent rear suspension and we will surely see it racing again after much reconstruction.
A brand-new recreation of a 1935 BMW-Veritas with FIA HTP papers hammered for £225,000 (£249k all in) against a £250-350,000 estimate, another recreation, of the 1952 Alfa Romeo ‘Disco Volante’ hit £91,700 and a tidy 1970 Lancia Fulvia 1.6HF Fanalone (‘big headlights’) in rally trim fetched a respectable £35,600. As Routledge said, this was a Porsche day; two RSR-spec 911 racers made £60,900 and £84,000 and a nicely executed 1972 S/T rep made £124,700, while a 3.2 Carrera Speedster sold for the right £63,100 and a 1996 993 Turbo 4 indicated where these last aircooled 911s are going, to hit £43,300.
An FIA-spec 1965 MGB racer looked fair value at £23,575 and a very original and unmolested left-hand drive S1 Jaguar E-type 4.2 Roadster looked right at £63,100, with the same paid for a very sharp S3 roadster, but the £295k bid wasn’t quite enough to buy the ex-Sebring 1950 Allard J2. And there’s still a Schuppan roadgoing Porsche 962CR for sale if anyone wants it…