Everyone makes their own choices. When I schedule which auctions I’m going to write to you about at the beginning of the month, I make choices: yes, it looks promising. This one doesn’t look so interesting, I’ll follow it, but I won’t write about it.
The online sale organized by Silverstone Auctions on 23rd May was not one of the ones I thought was worth talking about. Yes, there were interesting lots and it is also true that it took charge of the market after a couple of months of lockdown, but I didn’t have the sensation that this was going to be a “game-changer”. I was so wrong.
After the first “warm up” lots we arrived at Lot 116: a (beautiful, I will admit) replica of the Jaguar D-Type shortnosebuilt by leading experts on a Jaguar E-Type chassis, with an original D-Type gearbox and aluminium body. Replicas, the declared and documented ones, are a reality in themselves. We’ll deal with this subject in time. The example in question was estimated to be worth between £225-275,000, very high but calibrated to the level of the car on sale. After repeated relaunches, they sold it for £390,500. Bang!
Next lot, 117. An excellent replica of the 1973 Porsche 911 2.7 Carrera RS built on a 911 2.2E Coupé base from 1971. Also here, an excellent example with some original components (mainly body panels) and the same applies to the quality of work carried out. The estimate of £75-90,000 seemed correct until the bids started flooding in. First it reached its minimum estimate, then the maximum estimate, then it broke through the £100,000 mark and continued to rise; £125,000, £140,000, £150,000! In the end, the buyer paid £161,900 to take it home, 116% more than the minimum estimate. And my jaw fell to the ground.
Calling this auction a success would be like calling Albert Einstein a physics enthusiast, it simply doesn’t do it justice. In total, Silverstone sold 98.72% of its available value; By comparison, in Arizona the average was 70.58% and at Retromobile only 56.81%.
Of the 72 cars sold, only 4 did not reach their minimum estimate (just as many more than doubled this value) while exactly half saw bids at least 25% higher than the estimates of the auction house’s experts. Without fear of contradiction, I think it’s fair to say this was the most successful auction in recent years.
Pretty much whatever was offered was sold: from a 1971 Rolls Royce Corniche (estimate of £10-12,000, sold for £24,200) to a 1987 BMW M3 racing car that once belonged to Jay Kay (sold for £92,950 euros against an estimate of £48-56,000). An exceptional 1961 Jaguar Mk2 3.8 litre, with just 20,400 miles from new, set a new world record for a road model at £93,500 (again, the estimate was £50-60,000) beating the previous record by more than £10,000; even a very common 2009 Porsche Boxster 3.4S with 25,000 miles on the clock, a car that can be easily found at a used car dealer, exceeded its estimate of £12-16,000 and was sold for £19,800 euros. There was absolute euphoria in the house.
Interesting cars… Deals…?
Well, talking about a car that was sold above its maximum estimate may not seem like a deal, but at an auction like this, one can bend the rules. The 1984 Peugeot 205 T16 was not one of the original ex-official cars but it had been modified in the same year by Peugeot Sport UK for American driver Jon Woodner who used it in the SCCA Rally Championship between 1984 and 1988, achieving nine podiums and a class victory. After the untimely death of the owner in a plane crash, the car was put in the garage until 2000 when it was sold in New Zealand where it was used in other rallies and then returned to the United Kingdom in 2005 where two owners enjoyed it. Group B is coming back into vogue and the prices of these cars are soaring, so even if it wasn’t one of the official Turbo 16s, the price of £336,600 (estimate £260-290,000) can be considered correct.
The other interesting car at this auction was a 1971 Lotus Europa Twin Cam. The car was sold for £24,200, in line with the estimate of £22-26,000, but this model is one of the jokers on the market. The Europa has a 1600 Twin Cam engine, the same used in the Lotus Cortina Mk I (which costs twice as much), it’s one of the first 1,580 examples with the 105bhp engine and, weighing just 740kg, is certainly a lot of fun. It is also very easy to tune it and this example, after a restoration that lasted 12 years and cost £30,000 (more than the sale price) carried out by Europa Engineering, now develops 145bhp. If you’re looking for a flaw, you could say that you need to be small and agile to climb in and then that the Roman Purple colour might look very 70s but it’s certainly not pretty, I would take it back to its original Colorado Orange.
In conclusion: what was the magic of this auction? Low estimates? Great cars? Revenge spending? The inebriating aroma of freedom?
I don’t know, but if good day starts in the morning, it’s going to be a exciting second half of the year.