Classic Auction Review

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Utterly derelict and incomplete Ferrari 250 GTE Barn Find more than doubled estimate to be virtually hammered by Brightwells for £109,536

Brightwells latest 22 & 23 June two-day Timed-Out sales were given ‘Platinum Jubilee’ billing, which saw 158 cars auctioned on-line only during Wednesday and Thursday evening sessions.
By the time the two internet books had been closed, the calculator showed 109 sales, 69% of the total offered, which grossed £1,983,063 including 12% buyer’s premium, an average of £18,193 being spent per car bought. In many cases, unseen by their buyers too, although all lots could be physically viewed on-site by appointment during preceding days.
Although the Ferrari 250 GTE ‘Barn Finds’ headlined on social media, where the virtual equivalent of tyre kickers spend most of their screen time, the top seller was a 1954 Jaguar XK120 SE Roadster with various evolutionary upgrades including front disc brakes and a 5-speed box, which digitally ascended beyond its forecast £90,000 upper estimate to set a premium-inclusive £135,520 house record for model after 57 bids had been posted.
A 1957 Jaguar XK150 SE Drophead Coupe, also with some needed ‘Fast Road’ upgrades, fetched a within guide £72,800 to the 11th bid, while a 1958 XK150 SE Fixed Head auto made a forecast £57,790 from the 9th bid and a 1952 XK120 Fixed Head left hooker a just over lower estimate £51,520.
The £50,000-60,000 suggested for a 1963-dated Proteus C Type Rep with ali-bodywork and freshly rebuilt and modified 3.8 engine was convincingly overtaken with a £89,020 with premium valuation by a clearly determined and winning 66th bid.
The auction performances of the two rather sorry looking Ferrari 250 GTE projects were really extraordinary. The 1962 S2 was utterly derelict and incomplete, too, with no cylinder heads, carbs, gearbox and front seats, though the final bid more than doubled the £40,000 - 60,000 estimate, the 60 year old remains eventually taken on by bid 69 for £109,540.
The 1963 250 GTE rolling chassis only meanwhile, with no engine or gearbox, made an arguably more generous £66,370 after a sale record 87 bids. Two more 250GTEs will reappear eventually or will both projects and their identities form the basis for two more 250GT or TR Sports race cars?
Whereas a tidy-ish 1974 Ferrari 400 auto with a mere 65,000 miles on the odometer, but requiring extensive recommissioning following 22 years in static storage was hammered away after 15 bids for £19,600.
A well-used and uprated 1966 Austin-Healey 3000 Mk3 BJ8 from 52-year ownership also beat its £45,000 upper estimate to run out of time after 26 bids and a £52,830 premium-inclusive result, while after 11 bids a fully restored 1965 Sunbeam Tiger Mk1 with a 5-litre Ford US Motor Sport V8 under-hood was purchased for a correctly estimated £46,780.
All six of the locally-manufactured Morgans on offer in the Brightwells viewing sheds sold strongly, the £38,640 top price paid by the 17th bid for a surely unrepeatable 2003 Plus 8 driven only 4,700 miles by just one owner. Not far behind was a very original and well patinated 1929 Super Aero 3-Wheeler in need of potentially minor fettling raised £26,320 from bid 15.
Eight of the eleven MGs on the menu were also consumed by buyers, the 26th bid amounting to the buyer paying £22,400 with premium for a restored 1951 TD and another a healthy £20,280 from bid 20 for a smart 1954 TF 1250, actually a 1320cc.
Six out of the seven Porsche models on offer also found new homes, a 2010 Type 997 Gen 2 with 55,000 mileage and preferred manual gearbox taking spot at the 11th bid, the buyer paying £38,000 with premium.
Utterly different, but remarkably close behind was a 1965 Porsche 912, which may have been 260bhp shy of the 997 in performance, but only trailed it by £1,000 in the £36,960 price paid by the 10th bid - the 912 offering all the looks of an early 911, but at well under half the cost.
Much admired during the viewing was a mechanically interesting Bugatti Type 59 Evocation, one of 13 look-a-bit-like Bug T59s concocted by Teal in the early 1990s with Jag running gear and convincing from afar ali-panels, which attracted EU mainland interest. Estimated at £25,000-30,000, the one-off sparked a fierce bidding war that was ultimately won by the 36th bid in the Czech Republic for £46,660. A huge and probably record price for a Teal, but many millions less than a real Type 59.
The oldest lot to cross the inter-block was a 1904 Rover 8hp, one of only two known to survive and acknowledged to be the earliest roadworthy Rover in existence. With a good track record of completing the London to Brighton Run, the 118 year old motored way past its £72,000 upper estimate to finish on £106,500 after 31 bids.
Equally rare was a 1921 Lancia Dikappa with a remarkable 5-litre 4-cylinder engine and less than beautiful later bodywork, which had spent most of its life in Australia. Again, one of only two known survivors (the other currently undergoing restoration in Argentina), it attracted considerable interest from Europe (one gent traveling all the way to Herefordshire from Austria), but was eventually knocked down after the 17th bid to a well-known local collector for £35,840.
Also, in the ‘rocking horse droppings’ category was a nicely patinated 1923 Itala Tipo 50B Tourer, which had spent most of its life in New Zealand. Quite possibly, the only surviving roadworthy example and with a recently rebuilt engine, it fetched £21,280 from bid 8 and is now on its way to a museum in Italy.
An extremely rare 1938 Riley Kestrel 16/4 Blue Steak, one of perhaps only 110 made in total, also attracted a huge amount of interest, despite being in need of thorough recommissioning following 16 years in storage. Conservatively estimated at £18,000-20,000, it had no trouble in romping to a £34,720 result from the 26th bid.
Also noteworthy was the £39,480 raised by a ‘shabby chic’ 1938 Bentley 4¼-Litre Sports Saloon with still handsome HJ Mulliner coachwork and mellowed red leather for which 13 bids were cast. An unusually original 1925 Austin 7 Pram Hood also deserved every penny of the £17,275 required to secure it by the 9th bid.
In addition, among the 2-wheeled lots, particularly noteworthy was a 1904 Le-Francis Ladies Bicycle auctioned ‘Without Reserve’. Perhaps the top quality bike of its era, and with a 16 guineas price tag when new, the 118 year old cycle attracted a surprising amount of interest from all corners of the still revolving globe, finally going to a bidder in Japan for £950. So, from being manufactured in Coventry to residency in Kyota, quite a journey.
The next Brightwells Timed Out - when, again, all collector vehicles auctioned and their documents will be on-site for physical viewing at the auctioneers once ‘live auction’ premises just outside Leominster – will be held on-line only 3 August, for which the closing date for consigning entries is 22 July. RH-E

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