Market and auctions

High fever on the passion thermometer

Cliff Goodall’s view

Photo credit: CCA - Classic Car Auctions

Let’s be clear, the latest big hit of the British auction house Silverstone Auctions with its CCA online auction on 27thJune cannot be compared to the results of more glorified auctions, despite being very good. However, it is clear that online auctions have declared their absolute winner, and this is the Silverstone Auctions group.

Two numbers are more than enough to explain the result: 89% of cars were sold at over 107% in value. Even at the auction on 23rd May, they were unable to achieve this result, collecting “just” 98.72% of the estimated value.

The success of this auction could also be explained by the low figures required to take home the cars on offer: none of the cars were placed at over £80,000 and most were in the £10-20,000 region so buyers could bid freely safe in the knowledge that they weren’t committing their life savings.

And then the cars… many were amusing, some curious, others serious deals. Of the 127 cars on offer, I would have purchased 126 (just to say I made a selection!). This time, choosing just five was a really difficult task, which goes to show that even for me, the passion thermometer was off the charts!

Here are my five choices, from the oldest to the newest.

Summer’s here and after the first part of the year was determined by “prudence” and “detachment” it is now time for a little freedom. If you feel the same way, then the 1969 Volkswagen Type 2 Westfalia Bay Window Camper is just right for you, perfect for going to the beach with friends – but always remember your face masks – and, after a day at the beach and a dinner in front of a bonfire, it’s off to bed. Where? In the Camper of course! There might be six of you on your trip, but the double bed only accommodates two, meaning the other four will be unlucky and they can stay in the big 5-star hotel nearby while you enjoy an incredible experience. The price? Just over a bottle in the fridge of your friends’ hotel: £25,850.

1969 Volkswagen Type 2 Westfalia ‘Bay Window’ Camper Van sold for £25,850

From 1969 we move on to 1972. Many people know that Jay Kay is the frontman of the Jamiroquai group but fans of connecting rods and pistons also know that he is a real petrolhead – and that he uses his cars in his videos. So getting your hands on his first car, the one he learned to drive in, is a pretty good thing. If we add that it was a BMW 1602, a very popular car among the beemers (BMW fans for the uninitiated), whose prices are being dragged upwards from the 2002 Turbo – which are now priced between the stratosphere and the ionosphere – interest for the purchase can only increase. The price of £5,280 should not confuse the reader because Jay Kay bought it back in 2007 with the intention of restoring it, even if he never followed this up, and the new buyer will have the burden (and opportunity) to bring it back to its original splendour.

1972 BMW 1602 From Jay Kay sold for £5,280

The 1978 Toyota Celica GT was another curious and interesting car. In the 1970s, due to high tariffs, Japanese cars were real white flies in Europe. Yet they had every right to fight on an even playing field. The 1978 Celica GT had a 1.6-litre engine that produced 102HP (also used in the Australia F2 Championship cars where power output was doubled), maybe the line was a little too American – in fact it was nicknamed “The Mustang of the Rising Sun” – but it should be said that in the 1970s, their reference market was on the other side of the Atlantic. This model, delivered new to the UK, benefited from a complete restoration in the 1990s and had travelled less than 10,000 miles since then. For £22,000, the new owner took home a serious contender for the “find another one” contest.

1978 Toyota Celica GT sold for £22,000

Talking about finding others, this one could certainly put the Celica in serious trouble. It’s a Ford Sierra Station WagonGhia 2.8 V6. The Cologne 2.8 V6 engine is no lightning bolt – producing just 135HP – but at the time it was a serious competitor from the various fast German saloons (don’t tell the British that Fords are produced in Cologne, Germany!). The 1980s saw an increase in popularity of estate cars so it’s no longer surprising that during that period many of these Q-Cars (cars that seem quite normal but are very powerful) were also available as Station Wagons. Forget the boring SUVs with 500HP and beyond, if you want to be truly exclusive (and a little hipster), this winter take your friends to the ski slopes with this car, and don’t forget your Walkman with Cindy Lauper. Unfortunately, these weren’t included in the £10,450 selling price.

1988 Ford Sierra 2.8 Ghia Estate 4X4 sold for £10,450

Fancy showing your muscles and you have no intention of winning the award for the cutest character on the block? For tattooed guys holding a pit bull on a leash, bring on the 1997 TVR Cerbera 4.2. Yellow to avoid being too discreet, a 4.2 litre V8 that makes one hell of a racket and 360HP for those illegal races in the suburbs of Liverpool. TVR (the company) has had a very fragmented history: it has gone bankrupt five or six times and if we consider that many have promised to bring it back to life over the past 15 years, but no-one has actually done so, you know exactly where this is going. In the late 1980s and early 2000s it was the brand’s heyday and the (notoriously limited) reliability at that time was… acceptable. You could have taken it home for £18,700 and it wasn’t necessary to have any outstanding problems with the law or show a clean criminal record to have it.

1997 TVR Cerbera 4.2 sold for £18,700

There’s always a car that makes you think it will do great things in the future. It almost always has the same characteristics: very powerful and desirable when it came onto the market. This is the textbook description of the Ford Focus RS MkI: with its legendary 2-litre Duratec 212HP, in its prime it wasted both the Golf GTI and Renault Clio RS as soon as either got in the way. Of course, at the time the interior designers were paid very little; whoever would have imagined that no-one likes a blue and black steering wheel?  In fact, no-one did. With the Escort Mexico and the more recent Escort RS Cosworths soaring in price – and many often being “scratched” at track days in recent years – the Focus RS is next in the chain of command and in fact, with an estimate of £12-15,000 it was sold for £18,920. And for me there’s still room for it to climb…

What do you think? That I mentioned six cars, not five? I told you that limiting myself to five lots was very difficult

2003 Ford Focus RS MK1 sold for £18,920