Classic Auction Review

Classic Auction Review - all you need to know about Classic Car auctions

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£1m 300SL Merc tops Historics £3.9m Brooklands sale and end of season prices as Iconic’s trad 'live' car sales gross more than Bonhams

An £875,000-950,000 estimated 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster, down to last nut and bolt restored by Rudi Koniczek & Co in Vancouver, was bid to an accepted £860,000 25 November in the Historics saleroom at Mercedes World by a former F1 World Champion Team founding executive, who paid £1,065,000 including premium and import duty.
The other podium places were occupied by an only 13,000 miles from new in 2007 Aston Martin Vanquish S Ultimate Edition sold for a top estimate £138,600 with premium, while a G500 5.0 V8 Cabriolet Merc lefty of the same vintage was valued by the next owner at a more than forecast £116,600.  
By the end of the Saturday afternoon, when 29% of the 153 entries had been offered Without Reserve and a clutch of post-sale deals had been done, 100 classics had sold for £3,897,593 with premium, a 65% sale rate, but an average value per lot of £38,976. But although 13% of sellers sold for more that their top estimates and 27% made mid-estimate money, below lower estimate sums were accepted by the auctioneers and their vendors.

Bonhams sell 90% of Bond Street cars for £3.6m
Only 3 cars from 31 consigned by Bonhams were unsold
at their New Bond Street Salerooms in London’s West End 15 December, when 28 cars sold in an unusually bullish 90% sold Friday afternoon for £3,608,925 including premium, an average of £128,890 paid per car sold. The vital stats were, 15 No Reservists, which were going to sell for whatever, 21% within estimate, 4% more than forecast and 21% below lower estimate.
Prices were led by a £475,000-550,000 guided 1962 Aston Martin DB5 that had been repatriated from South Africa in the 1980s and restored, before being bid to £420,000 under the gavel and sold afterwards for unpublished sum, likely to have been less than the lower estimate.
'The Headliner' though - and this Website's Front Page Featured Classic - was the first right-hand drive Porsche factory prototype 1965 911 2.0 SWB-Coupe 2-Litre, enthusiast owned since the 1990s and really well presented. On more reliable Webers with original Solex carbs and airbox included, the ‘MMU 911C’ registered chassis 300474 was bid to £265,000 in the room (£35,000 below guide and more than 911 2.0 with period race history have been commanding), which was accepted by the vendor, costing the new owner £304,750 with premium.

£111k XK120 FHC heads 60% sold H&H Buxton sale
H&H had already closed their book for the year 29 November on their original home ground of the Pavilion Gardens, Buxton Spa, in the Derbyshire Peak District, where on a Wednesday afternoon 29 November 90 or 60% of the 149 classics in the catalogue sold for £1,362,356 including premium, an average of £15,137 per car bought. 31 lots, 21% of the entry and 34% of cars sold, had been consigned Without Reserve
Analysis of the other vital statistics shows that although 22% of cars sold for within estimated prices and just 2% exceeded their top estimates, 37% sold for below what, presumably, had once been their reserves.
Top Cat was the Jaguar XK120 FHC that had been supplied new in 1954 to ‘Fast Lady’ Patsy Burt, who immediately Sprinted and Hill Climbed ‘OLF 660’, and which had been purchased by the vendor from the estate of the late Richard Colton for £114,000 14 October 2015. Seven years later, the Coupe was valued again by a new owner for a mid-estimate and almost the same, £111,375 with premium.
Whereas a £5,000 below estimate £55,125 was accepted for 1970 Jaguar E Type 4.2 Roadster, in receipt of an older restoration. While £17,438 with premium was forthcoming for a £15,000-17,000 estimated 1960 Austin-Healey ‘Frogeye’ Sprite Mk1 on wires that has been upgraded with 1275cc motor and servo-assisted disk brakes. Overtaking a £14,000-18,000 guided and restored to factory-spec 1954 Triumph TR2 for which £13,300 with premium was accepted.

There were buyers with £1.5m for 73% of lots at CCA WEC
The final sale of the Iconic auction year took place at the Warwickshire Event Centre near Leamington Spa Saturday 9 December, when their ‘Everyman Classics’ Classic Car Auctions subsidiary held their Christmas Sale for 149 cars, 109 or 73% of which sold for £1,543,539 with premium, an average of £14,161 paid per classic bought.
These CCA stats were boosted by 40% of cars sold being auctioned ‘Without Reserve’. Only 6% made more than top estimate money and 26% of cars sold for within their estimate bands, while below lower estimate prices were accepted for 28% of cars sold.
A thickly dusty St Louis plant hatched in 1966 and Barn Found Chevrolet Corvette C2 Stingray 427ci ‘Big Block’ V8 425bhp Manual resto-project with bird droppings more than doubled its £25,000-30,000 pre-sale estimate to be taken for £68,625 with premium.
Estimated at £38,000-42,000, a pre-280SL1967 Mercedes-Benz 250SL W113 Pagoda-Top with rear discs and larger gas tank sold for £54,000.
Whereas a £25,000-30,000 guided 49 year old and part-recommissioned Ford Escort Mexico Mk1, first driven out of the Bristol Street Motors showrooms in Brum in 1974 and with no previous keepers, fetched £40,500 with premium.
Despite being declared as Category C damaged, though repairable in 2000, a No Reserve 1985 Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera had been forecast to fetch £20,000-25,000, but sold for £37,687 with premium. Transformed from ‘rough project’ in 2021 with invoices on file for parts alone totalling £12,000, an extensively revived and still primitive 1972 Land Rover S3 88ins had been guided at £16,000-20,000, but raised £24,750.
After this their fourth sale of the year, Iconic owned CCA had sold 529 out of 702 classics at the NEC and WEC in 2023, a 75% sale rate, for £7,754,275 with premium, an average spend by buyers of £14,658 per car.

Iconic and CCA take UK lead by sale of 969 cars for £36m
Whilst under the former Silverstone Auctions and now Iconic Auctioneers re-brand, another 440 higher value cars sold from 683 offered at 5 events, which included Race Retro, Silverstone Festival and NEC Classic Motor Show, a 64% sale rate, for £22,065,770 , an average of £50,149 per car.
Excluding motorcycles and automobilia, therefore Iconic sold total of 969 of 1,385 cars in 2023, a 70% sale rate, for a Group total of £35,820,045 with premium, an average of £36,966 per car, to overtake 2022 UK traditional and ‘live’ auction market leaders Bonhams.
For Bonhams Cars 331 of the 455 cars offered at Goodwood, New Bond Street and Beaulieu in 2023, a 72% sale rate, for £34,750,534 with premium, a higher average of £104,986 per car sold.

Bonhams gross £209m in 17 sales to take global 2nd place
Including £4.9m worth of classic bikes and automobilia sales of £1.3m, and another 840 of 1,028 cars sold by Bonhams On-Line platform in the UK alone - an 82% sale rate on a Timed-Out basis, amounting to another £18,444,659 including buyer’s fees - Bonhams UK sales were £59.45m in 2023.
Whilst with 17 ‘live’ sale totals on the EU mainland and in the US, and on-line only sales of another £7m on both Continents - and with the hammering of a 1967 Ferrari 412 Berlinetta at The Quail Auction in California for $30.25m, the highest price achieved for any car during Monterey Auctions Week - Bonhams global sales grossed £209m, second only to RM Sotheby’s last year. RH-E

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Welcome to truly independent market analysis that is refreshingly free from advertiser influence. A one-stop site that aims to do exactly what it says in the title. Review classic auctions to highlight which cars are selling, for how much and, most importantly, why. But also do so entirely free of charge.

For unlike most of the terminal-bound media, C.A.R. comment aims to be far better informed from physically checking out the metal in the field. For before pressing any keys, we drive the miles to provide consumers with a fake news free take on market reality.

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