Market Analysis

Market Commentary - which classics are selling, by whom and for how much

Market Commentary – Prevented by virus-defensive guidelines from being able to physically bid in person for collector cars, absentee buyers have still spent £21.9m with premium on 712 classics on the internet, 92% of the 773 transparently auctioned by those houses and platforms whose results are reviewed on this website.

A £1m+ Porsche was the highest priced auction car of the month, when an average of £30,766 was spent per car at the sales reviewed. CCA had their first £2m sale. Whilst with 246 cars crossing their block on camera, ACA consigned the most cars and, by selling all but one car during a 99% sold morning, SWVA achieved the highest sale rate. For The Market, statistically, June amounted to a triple-record breaking month.

JUNE SALES REVIEWED by Richard Hudson-Evans

RM SOTHEBY'S first EU Internet-Only Auction - Absentee buyers spent a 10% premium inclusive 18,886,060 euros (£14,919,987) on 173 classics before the time ran out 10/11 June during the first RM Sotheby’s Online Only European Sale, overtaking their recent US sale total, making it the highest grossing online collector car auction thus far. The internet only auction opened for bidding 3 June with an on-line house record close to 1000 registering to bid from 48 countries to bid, 41% being first-timers to the database.

After 100% of the Petitjean Collection ‘No Reserve’ cars had duly sold out, led by a 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL sold for 759,000 euros (£596,610), one of fewer than 30 examples specified with factory Rudge wheels from new and a resident in the Collection since 1976, a week’s bidding finally closed across 10-11 June, by when 91% of cars offered had sold and only 18 cars were unsold.

Headlining the results was a 2020 Porsche 935 Martini Limited Edition which inspired a flurry of last minute bids before cut-off and the winner had had to pay 1,320,000 euros (£1,042,800) with premium. Offered from 27 years of single ownership, a 1964 Porsche 904 GTS was another top performer, achieving a final 693,000 euros (£547,470).

The 1997 RUF CTR2 Sport brought game-changing performance to the 993-generation 911 Turbo platform and the example auctioned was one of just two built for the 1997 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, which explains the successful bidder’s 682,000 euros (£538,780) valuation.

Strong prices were recorded across all categories. Another headliner was a 1939 Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet by Gangloff with one-off special cabriolet coachwork by Lucien Schlatter, powered by Bugatti’s intricate eight-cylinder, GP-derived engine. This classic pre-war ‘Grand Routier’, the pinnacle of high-performance touring cars of the era, attracted much attention from bidders, eventually selling for 770,000 euros (£608,300).

Also noteworthy were a well maintained 1967 Aston Martin DB6 Volante at a final 627,000 euros (£495,330) and a mechanically restored 1981 Lancia 037 Stradale at 451,000 euros (£356,290).

Eight different Lamborghini models from the Petitjean cache drew significant pre-sale interest, particularly his early thin-gauge-chassis 1968 Lamborghini Miura P400 which brought a final 715,000 euros (£564,850). The first Miura delivered to Paris, the car had been owned by Petitjean since 1979.

Also selling well was a 1979 Lamborghini Countach LP400 S, which sold well within estimate at 451,000 euros (£356,290). One of just 50 first-series LP400 S examples built, the car was offered from 33 years of ownership in the Collection.

Lots offered in the two-day auction were originally set for RM Sotheby’s second annual Essen auction, which was cancelled alongside the Techno Classica Essen motor show due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the change of sale format, The European Sale became the auction house’s first-ever European car auction held via its proprietary online platform, which recorded an average of 25 bids, up to an unprecedented high of 70 for a single offering.

ANGLIA CAR AUCTIONS sell 205 classics for over £2m during first ACA On-Line ‘Drive Through’ - After 82% of the 121 classics driven past the YouTube audience on Saturday 20 June had sold for £763,862 under the hammer, ACA’s first on-line only auction then clocked up an 85% sale rate Sunday 21 June, when another 106 cars sold to absentee bidders for £1,293,640

Even before some of the ‘provisionals’ had been converted into post-sales however, 205 of the 246 cars auctioned had sold for a very bullish £2,057,502, an average of £10,037 with premium being spent per car. Indeed, only 12 cars were definitely declared unsold by auctioneer Jim Ronan, who, during a two TV quality camera shoot, umpired bids from the Proxibid and Saleroom-com platforms and up to 11 socially-distanced telephone operators in an eerily unpopulated auction hall.

An immobiliser fault necessitating it being pushed rather than driven past the rostrum did not prevent a results topping 1988 Porsche 911 Type 930 Turbo with 88,747 mileage from raising a £68,040, its top estimate. Whilst a ‘Special Forces Edition’ 2015 Land Rover 110 TD Double Cab, only driven 5103 stone-chip free miles in its first year of civilian life before being ‘furloughed’, made a really cool £60,420, over £20,000 more than had been forecast.

A genuinely dusty 1987 Ford Capri 280 Brooklands with 20,419 warranted mileage before spending many years in storage, but without any documents, was driven into new ownership for a more than guide price £25,920. A well repainted 1963 Ford Zodiac with pointed rear wings deserved its £18,550 and a 1990 Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth 4-door with minimal rear wing cost £17,550.

Auction cars could be socially and correctly distanced-viewed, and docs inspected behind a newly screened office counter, by appointment during preceding days, a facility that many dozens of regulars availed themselves of.

Many hundreds more punters then clicked on to YouTube for the live webcasts of the sales on both days, close to 1700 tuning at peak viewing times, whilst more absentee bidders than ever before registered to do so either via the two internet bidding platforms or via house telephones.

Pre-war Lagonda is best seller during latest H&H ABC On-Line sale – On the market for the first time in three decades, 1934 Lagonda M45 T7 scored £185k result to head 69% sold £840k+ i-sale for the Northern firm.

Viewed by six potential buyers at H&H HQ before the sale, during which ownership was contested by eight bidders, the still highly original Post Vintage Thoroughbred cantered past its £100,000-120,000 guide until hammered by house principal Simon Hope for £164,000, costing the new owner £184,500 including 12.5% premium.

An earlier 12/24 Tourer of 1925 vintage from the same marque, one of only five known to the Lagonda Club, also made a more than forecast £20,250.

A top estimate £69,750 meanwhile acquired a 1999 Ferrari F355 F1 GTS Targa-Top and the £63,000 sought for a 1965 Mercedes-Benz 280SL Auto Roadster that had been in receipt of a full body restoration with recent re-trim was forthcoming. A pro-restored 1974 Ford Escort RS2000 Mk1 made a mid-estimate £40,500.

While a notably early, indeed chassis 01 no less and therefore the first, 1995 Bentley Azure raised £45,000, despite needing some cosmetic attention, and a 2007 MG X Power SVR Coupe packed a 5.2 V8 and sold for a within estimate £33,750. It took a more than forecast £14,625 to land a 1967 Saab Sonett V4 Coupe.

Much socially-distanced viewed before the sale - like most of the cars in the sale, being located at a vendor’s home rather than at the Warrington auctioneers offices - was a 2007 Alfa Romeo 3.2 V6 JTS Q4 Spider. Estimated at £7000-9000, the hot Italian made a cool £14,625 with premium.

506 registered to bid on the internet and, after six ‘provisional bid’ conversions during the ‘live auction and 19 more deals had been done post-sale, 48 of the 70 cars had sold for £840,438, an average of £17,509 paid per classic bought.

SOUTH WEST VEHICLE AUCTIONS sell all but one car during their first Drive Through held behind closed doors -  After the vast majority of cars driven through the SWVA hall on Friday morning 26 June had sold under the hammer, and all but one of the stragglers had been successfully transacted by Saturday lunchtime, 99% of the 96 classics on offer were bought remotely by bidders without printed catalogues via telephones or on the internet for £947,369, an average of £9972 per car including 8% buyers’ premium.

Although the usual cafeteria-fed crowd were prevented from kicking the tyres and inhaling the gasoline by the current guidelines, many dozens of addicts did avail themselves of bio-gloved viewing of auction cars on-site during preceding days.

Leading the resilts in Poole were a Ferrari Mondial QV 3.0 V8 Pininfarina, driven 56,500 miles since new in 1985, sold for £43,740 and a £43,700 1968 Jaguar E Type S1½ 4.2 Manual Coupe. A 1993 Vauxhall Lotus Carlton Turbo Saloon with 94,511 mileage, but newer old stock engine, made the required £30,975 and £27,000 was paid for a well presented 1953 MG TD 1250 Roadster.

The first three Toyota powered Lotus Exiges auctioned and valued within 24 hours in the UK, a 2008 Lotus Exige S Club Sports Coupe with Touring Pack and 29,153 mileage sold to an internet bidder for £26,550. Nine telephone contestants contended a 1998 Jaguar XK8 Convertible with 35,546 warranted mileage until one had won the keys for £15,390 with premium.

A 1983 Daimler 4.2 Auto Saloon had done even less, just 7507 miles, hence the £18,630 paid by the next owner. A 1967 Austin Westminster A110 Super Deluxe Saloon more than doubled its estimate by selling for £11,880. The 1972 Reliant Scimitar GTE Manual known as ‘Henrietta’ found a more than triple estimate £7992 and a 1973 Saab 96 V4 with nice West Country history really was very sharp for £6912.

The three most unusual items on the menu all sold too – a 1959 Ashley GT-bodied Special with Fairthorpe Zeta chassis and MGA 1500 engine for £12,960, nearly three times its lower estimate, an apparently well engineered South African 1992 registered Birkin 7 Ford 1.6 S3 Sports for £9504, and a Marlin BMW Roadster that had employed a 1998 320 donor for £6372.

More detailed analysis of the 99% sold sale shows that 16 cars had been consigned ‘Without Reserve’, 17% of the total crossing the block, and these No Reservists were therefore going to sell anyway. While below estimate bids were accepted by the vendors of only 3 cars and 5 more sold for within their guide price bands, over 70 cars, 73% of those hammered, achieved reality prices that were higher than their bidder-inspiring top estimates.

CLASSIC CAR AUCTION debuts ‘Live’ On-Line Sale – A much viewed 1971 Jaguar E Type 5.3 V12 S3 Roadster made at the Warwickshire firm’s first ‘Live’ On-Line Sale 27 June when 91% of cars sold for over £2m.

The CCA sale was statistically effective for Lotuses, all of which sold, led by an apparently well restored 1960 Lotus Elite Type 14 Climax Series 1, estimated at £50,000-60,000, which sold for £51,700 with premium. A low mileage and mint 2016 Elise 220 Toyota 1.8 supercharged in red made £25,800, top estimate money, and a similarly supercharged 2005 Exige S2 with rebuilt engine in yellow £22,000.

Looking like a Lotus XI in your rear-view mirror, but actually a really well executed in 2018 Westfield Eleven powered by a BMC 1380cc deservedly fetched a more than estimate £23,650. The parts alone employed had cost £35,000.

A saleroom notice health warning that the 3.4 engine might need rebuilding did not deter a buyer from spending £50,600, over £10,000 more than has been estimated, for an only two owner 1958 Jaguar XK150 Fixed Head with 37,925 mileage that had come to market after 45 years in current hands.

Particularly noteworthy was the way over guide performance of a 1970 Ford Transit Perkins Diesel Mk1 Van with distinctive ‘Pig Snout’ which made a snorting £28,600! A far more EU and over-priced coffee vending ready 1980 Citroen HY ‘High Top’ Van found a brave entrepreneur with £16,720.

Noteworthy, too, was the £21,120 valuation for a 23,000 mile 1971 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow I, which had been stored for 15 years during 46 years of one family ownership. While a 1960 Borgward Isabella Coupe with Webasto-style sunroof and 37,197 mileage attracted interest from Germany before selling for the required £15,950.

Having been Category D insurance claim repaired and reinstated did not prevent a UK supplied in 2002 Mitsubishi Evo VII EQ-300 from making £14,300, £4300 more than top estimate. An armoured 2006 BMW 550i E60 4.8 V8 Left-Hand Drive Saloon that had cost the first bullet-wary owner £100k+ transacted for £11,550.

Wheeler Dealer presenter Mike Brewer’s 1960 Bedford CA ‘Martin Walter Farmers Utilabrake’ Van, a really rare 10-seater, ‘running restoration project’ was taken on for £7480. The 1972 BMW 1602 2-Door Saloon with round tail lights owned by petrolhead Jay Kay since he was a learner-driver also required restoration and was bought by a second owner for £5280.

Although 12 lots were unsold, 9.5% of the 127 auctioned, 115 or 91% of the 127 classics offered did sell for £2,035,551 including premium, an average of £17,700 being spent per car bought.

While 15 or 13% of them had been consigned at ‘No Reserve’ and were going to sell anyway, and 19 below estimate prices were accepted by the vendors of 17 or 15%, not only did 49 or 44% of cars sell for within their forecast price bands, but a further 32 or 28% made more than their top estimates.

Even more detailed analysis of what was announced on-line at the time by the Silverstone Auctions subsidiary indicated that only two cars were bought on commission, 52 to absentee bidders on telephones and 59, the majority, to those who elect to do their shopping, even for high value items, on the two internet platforms.

THE MARKET enjoys record June on internet - The Abingdon-based On-Line platform sold a higher proportion of more cars for the highest gross in one month, selling 95% of 61 cars for £1,104,531 in June. Their top seller on the internet was a 2012 11,680 mile Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Black Series bought by a winning click of a mouse for £79,500.

A one owner 2005 Renault Clio 3.0 V6 Phase 2 sold for £52,000 to set a new UK auction record, a 1966 Ford Lotus Cortina Mk 1 FIA race car fetched £47,500, a 1959 Jaguar XK150SE 3.8 FHC project was taken on for £43,150 and a 2000 Rover Mini Cooper S Works 90 made £21,250.

HAGI PORSCHE INDEX recovered strongly in June - Overall, including transacted prices for cars retailed, the strongest performer among the Historic Automobile Group International indices was the HAGI P that monitors achieved prices for collector grade Porsches and which rose by 7.24%.

By contrast, the HAGI MBCI Index charting classic Mercedes-Benz transactions declined 3.77% and their LPS Index for Lamborghinis lost 3.75%. Whereas after 3 months growth, although the classic Ferrari Index also lost 3.78% in June, the HAGI F is still 10.83% up for the first six months of the year to date.

SOME LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL- Spikes in infections or reactive regional lock-downs permitting, there will be more traditional sales with punters in the seats clutching hard copy catalogues from 1pm Tuesday 14 July at a ‘live’ Barons sale at the Epsom Downs Racecourse, where 87 cars can be physically viewed pm Monday 13 July and am Tuesday sale day – and then Saturday 18 July at the similiarly ‘live’ Historics sale from 9.30am at Windsorview Lakes, Datchet, where 182 auction cars for sale for £10m can be viewed over four preceding days from Tuesday 14 to early am sale day Saturday 19 July.

The Artcurial equipe will be manning their rostrum from 5pm Tuesday 21 July within the sanctuary of the Hotel Hermitage in Monaco, where 90 sale entries can be viewed Saturday 18 through to sale day Tuesday 21 July at the Monaco Top Cars Collection Museum.

Whilst 106 more Bonhams auction cars can also be physically viewed by appointment Thursday 23 to Saturday 25 July pre-sale in Hangar 113 at Bicester Heritage prior to the 1pm Saturday 25 July behind closed doors sale. Whilst 226 more cars worth £20m have been consigned by Silverstone for their 31 July and 1 August sales and, again by appointment, can be physically viewed pre-sale 16 July to 30 July at two Warwickshire storage facilities.

IF the science allows and the politicians permit the economy to wake up and breathe again, then there may at least be a little light at the end of what could be a very long tunnel indeed. For although the vast number of sale entries confirm that consignors are still in plentiful supply, for how much longer will buyers be prepared to exchange increasingly devalued Sterling for 92% of the classic cars auctioned? RH-E