It would seem that every auction house specializes in something: there are those who bet on the prewars and those who prefer the young timers; those who deal with the very high ranges and others whose workhorses are cars that are affordable for everyone. Historics has positioned itself as a specialist for dealers. The British auction house offers very “marketable” cars at attractive prices with often negotiable reserves, a real boon for those who know their way around the world of classic cars.
It is no surprise that of the 181 cars on offer, 133 (73.5%) were sold. With a very close value percentage (£6,075,000 against £8,789,000 on offer, equivalent to 69.1%).
The top lots were the preserve of Aston Martin with the top four sales going to this marque.
The most expensive and second-most expensive car in the auction were the same model: an Aston Martin DB5. To justify the price difference between the two examples (£560,000 and £525,000) instead of looking at the similarities I recommend looking at the details that are slightly different. For example: although the colour of British cars is historically green – ‘Sage Green’ is Aston’s version – due to a certain secret agent, the Aston MartinDB5 is inescapably linked to the colour ‘Silver Birch’.
The most expensive example of the two was in Glacier Blue, a tint slightly similar to the latter but marginally more sought after while the other was in British Racing Green (‘Goodwood Green’ according to Aston Martin). The green example (the cheaper one) had also been restored in 1990 while the blue (more expensive) one was refreshed in 2013. And with the engine increased to 4.2 litres – a typical change for this model – only the £560,000 version stood a chance against Spectre. Between the two I would have chosen the most expensive one, time will pay back the extra £35,000.
Third place went to the 1989 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante X-Pack. This model was the swan song of the V8 series that had begun more than 20 years earlier. Although the “basic” version already used electronic injection in 1986, this was the last model to use carburettors and the engine (internal code: V580X) pumped out 431BHP. In addition, the bodywork left no doubts as to the true intentions of this automobile. This particular model, one of 30 produced, was finished in an elegant metallic blue livery with a cream and dark blue mohair interior. As the model is now over 30 years old, since 2018 it is now legal to register the X-Pack in the United States (at the time it was not) and the recent book from Palawan Press – the best on the subject – has reawakened interest in this model. With an estimate of £280-320,000 it risked going unsold, but a skilled post-auction negotiation allowed it to change hands for £280,500.
Only just sold at £275,000 was the 1961 Aston Martin DB4 S2 that went unsold during the auction, but amongst the most important lots making fireworks was undoubtedly the Spyker C8 Laviolette LM85. Estimated at £130-160,000 it was sold for £224,000, 72% above the minimum estimate. The reason was soon revealed: one of only 15 produced and one of just two right hand drive models – try and find another one! – with just 596 miles on the clock since new. The 0-100 km/h in just 4.4 seconds is guaranteed by the 4.2-litre Audi-derived 400CV, a remarkable figure but not enough to compete at Le Mans (in fact the “LM” in the name stands for Le Mans where it participated in 2008). A curiosity: Spyker produced cars at the beginning of the 1900s and was the first manufacturer to introduce a four-wheel drive model.
I don’t know if the buyer of the 2010 Ford Focus RS500 acted alone or simply followed my advice – which had previously indicated the Focus RS as a car to keep an eye on – but there was a real scurry to take home the 135thexample (of 500 produced) with just 22,000 miles on the clock. Built in 2010 to say goodbye to the then current series, this particular model’s power output was boosted 15% over the “standard” RS version (if you can call it that) and was also the last two-door RS to be produced. Now the most attentive collectors are trying to put one in their garage, and although £56,560 might seem like a lot (against an estimate of £33-37,000), when the owner decides to sell it, I’m sure he won’t regret making this choice.
We don’t have to look for financial revaluation at all costs but if we’re looking for a car that gives a lot on a modest budget, why not bet on the Bentley Arnage Green Label? This car combines the classic Bentley character – in fact, it was conceived when Rolls Royce and Bentley were still part of the same group – with the reliability of the 4.4-litre BMW V8 (Volkswagen arrived later). This particular example sold by Historics had the elegant combination of ivory leather interior and a metallic blue exterior with, of course acres and acres of walnut on the dashboard. Sure, maintenance is expensive, but you can offset that by renting it out for weddings and events. And for just £16,980 (less than a new hot hatch) you’ll certainly make a splash with your friends…