Market Analysis

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

£2.7m auction record breaking Mansell William-Renault and £832,500 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing were among 565 classics bought for £22.79m at 9 sales, during which 66% of entries did sell, but 295 cars failed to do so.

JULY SALES REVIEWED by Richard Hudson-Evans

The July auction prices were convincingly led by the 1992 Williams-Renault FW14B-08 ‘Red 5’ that Nigel Mansell drove to five consecutive Grand Prix victories in South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Spain and San Marino, which sold to a major collector in the seats in the Bonhams auction tent during the Goodwood Revival for £2,703,000 with premium, a world record price for a Williams F1.

A 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster, estimated at £800,000+, was sold afterwards for £600,000, whereas a front row bid of £400,000 (£460,000 with premium) bought a 1928 Bentley 4½ fitted with factory replacement chassis from the ‘Old Mother Gun’ Team Car and VDP-bodywork in the early 1930s that had been pre-sale estimated at £600,000-800,000. Although guided at £500,000+, £425,000 was also accepted afterwards for a 1953 Bentley R Type Continental HJM Fastback.

A Jaguar XJ220 driven 9,346 miles from new in 1998 raised £414,000, more than mid-estimate and considerably more than the last two XJ220s auctioned. Ex-BMC Team Austin-Healey 3000 Mk3 BJ8 ‘BMO 93B’, latterly club raced by the Maymans and Peter Smith, but returned to original 1964 Spa-Sofia-Liege winning works rally-spec, can still pull men of a certain age however, one paying £230,000 for it at Goodwood.

The newest ‘classic’ for sale was a 2011 vintage Land Rover Defender SVX ‘Spectre Edition’, the only Landy to have been cast in consecutive Bond movies Skyfall and Spectre, which convincingly overtook its £180,000-220,000 guide to cost a 007 fan £316,250. Although 39 of the 83 consigned cars could not be re-homed, the 44 or 53% that did get away did so for £10,218,533, an average of £232,239 spent per car.

The following week in the 4x4 county of Herefordshire, top performer during a 72% sold £1,723,530 mid-week afternoon at Brightwells HQ was a £185,000 1923 Vauxhall OE 30-98 with 2-Seater Mulliner coachworks. An only just below lower estimate £107,500 was accepted afterwards for a 1961 Jaguar XK150S 3.4 FHC that had spent most of its life in Suffolk. A very open 1909 Maudslay for two, believed to be the only surviving short chassis model and the oldest 17hp Maudslay on the planet, made a splendid din during viewing and went on to fetch an orbital £59,400, £14,400 more than had been suggested. There were buyers in Leominster for 123 of the 170 classics in the catalogue.

The next day at Henstridge Airfield in Somerset, a 1957 Austin-Healey 100/6 that had been treated to an extraordinarily well chronicled restoration in a 4-page catalogue description accounted for £52,250 of the £145,120 total for the 12 cars sold. At the weekend however, displayed in and around a newly spacious and much more airy tent at the Brooklands Museum, Historics buyers spent £2,241,966 on 111 or 64% of the 173 catalogued classics.

Among them, a 2014 Porsche Leeds restored and stunning 1981 Porsche 911 Type 930 Turbo deservedly raised £91,840 and £72,290 bought a 2012 McLaren MP4-12C with full and recent main dealer service history. The required £67,200 was available for an early Jensen Interceptor Convertible from 1947 that had been previously owned by composer Benjamin Britten, and an upgraded 1957 Jaguar Mk1 with 4.2 motor, hydraulic power steering and Coopercraft front brake calipers sold for £38,360, £5,360 over top estimate.

The following Tuesday at Barons at Sandown Park, a scraped and scratched 2005 Aston Martin DB9 Volante that had been uplifted from central London storage with documents to follow made £26,620, double the lower estimate. A vendor owned since new in 1961 Morris Mini Van project with side window conversion, wind-up window doors and one-piece lift-up tailgate had been parked up for more than 18 years before being taken on here for £3,750 during a 55% sold £265,300 afternoon.

At the weekend’s Classic & Supercar Show in the Charterhouse auction tent in the grounds of Sherborne Castle, buyers paid £232,239 for another 22 classics, including two out of three restored 1961 Triumph TR3As for £32,190 and £27,500. Even with 62,500 mileage, a never tracked 1997 Lotus Elise S1 with Rover K Series 1.8 16v in the tail looked good value in Dorset for the £10,878 paid.

The next Wednesday at the Pavilion Gardens Buxton, a left to right converted during restoration 1971 Jaguar E Type S3 V12 Roadster topped a 69% sold sale when 108 of the 157 classics offered sold for £1,302,344 with premium. Among 33 cars auctioned Without Reserve was a Revington TR restored 1962 TR4 cop car nicked for £33,750. On the Friday morning just outside Poole at the SWVA Drive Through, during a month topping 93% sold sale, buyers bought 75 of the 81 cars for £620,179, including a 1959 Jaguar Mk2 3.4 manual for £32,940 that had been Vicarage-rebuilt in 2007/8 for an invoiced cost of more than £66k.

At Silverstone Auctions two-say sale during Classic weekend, a 1989 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing changed nests for an applauded £832,500 and the same buyer also netted a 2010 SLS AMG Gullwing for £203,625. The late Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams 1964 Welsh International winning Mini Cooper 1071S, re-shelled and uprated to 1275+ spec, rallied to a £65,250 result and his 1972 Lancia Fulvia HF1600 made £39,375. Consigning 20 ‘No Reserve’ cars certainly helped 75 or 61% of the 122 classics (including statistically hard to shift competition cars) sell for £6,045,280 with premium, an impressive average of £80,603 per lot.

And finally, statistical analysis of the 9 sales reviewed this month indicate that 565 or 66% of the 860 cars auctioned sold for £22,794,491 including premium, a UK average of £40,344 spent per classic in July on the main auction circuit.