So beautiful it was worth double. After the great sale in May, this was my first thought following the Silverstone Auctions event held on the eponymous circuit on 31st July 1st August. What we witnessed, was the concept of word of mouth: if an auction is successful, this brings beautiful cars to the next sale and this attracts ever more wealthy customers, generating a virtuous circle.
It would appear that Silverstone found the perfect online auction recipe with its latest sale. The numbers speak for themselves: with 166 cars sold out of 226 on offer, the number is a very respectable 73%, but it is the turnover that impresses the most. With total takings of £15m, not only does this result make it the most profitable sale ever for the British company, but its success makes it comparable to those of the international majors (RM in London in October with a physical sale took in £9.3 million) indicating a way forward for them and, for us enthusiasts, provides an alternative location to place important cars as well.
During the last weekend of July, as well as sealing its best sale ever, Silverstone also sold the most expensive car ever to have passed through their hands. The prom queen was a 1972 Lamborghini Miura SV, one of the last 94 Miuras produced and therefore already equipped with the split-sump. Among the many highlights from the catalogue, this was referred to as one of the 11 factory-built right-hand-drive Miuras ever produced but the story was a little different: originally left hand drive and sold new in Italy, it was converted at a very young age for the Lamborghini Australia importer who needed two right-hand drives to satisfy its customers. My advice (and Silverstone’s too) would be to bring it back to its original specifications in order to have a larger customer audience. Imported in 2010, the current seller refused an offer of £700,000 he received in October 2011 during the sale of RM in London. And he was right, as here he sold it for £1,912,500.
A collection of 35 Porsches from the same owner was also offered, a job of love and passion because each car was the finest expression of that particular model, from a 1987 924 S with 6,623 miles from new (£26,438) to a 1996 993 Turbo with just 745 miles on the clock (£168,750). But the car that stole my heart was one of the 119 right-hand-drive versions of the 2007 997 GT3 RS 3.6. A car from that era might seem more like a used car rather than a collectible car in the eyes of the less experienced, but when the car was introduced, the fans couldn’t get enough of it and that’s more than enough to justify possession. That it also had 5,534 miles on the clock since new can only increase its future revaluation. For £128.250, you could have parked an orange surface-to-surface missile, complete with roll bar and a coffee table-sized spoiler in your garage, just to remain discreet…
In recent years, the Japanese have entered the world of collecting with considerable passion, so much so that they have been called by more than one collector “the land of the rising sum”. It is therefore no surprise that this auction set a new world record for a road-legal Subaru Impreza, a 1998 22B-STI. Number 326 of the 400 produced for the Japanese market (for friends JDM, Japanese Domestic Market) was imported immediately into the United Kingdom and was purchased by its current owner in 2004. Lovingly cared for all its life, it had covered just 30,200 miles since new, not many but hardly a pittance. Estimated at £70-80,000, it changed hands for almost twice as much at £130,500. In my opinion the price was more correct than the estimate so I can only congratulate the seller for the great deal, but within the next ten years the person celebrating will more than likely be the buyer.
The last car was also the oldest of the group. In fact, I will not talk about a single car but a kind of direct clash between two examples of the same model, from the same year, with the same specifications. However, one of them went for a much higher price than the other. The reason? Follow me and you will find out.
Is there anything more classic than a Jaguar E-Type at an English auction? Silverstone offered no fewer than nine examples, from the first ones produced to the final series, open and closed versions for every budget. But it’s two examples I’d like to focus on. They were both first series, both powered by 3.8 litre engines, both roadsters, both “flat floor”, both from 1961, the oldest model had chassis number 51 while the other had chassis 62, so both with the coveted “outside bonnet locks”.
However, in 2001 when it was owned by the racing driver Eddie Irvine, the older model was converted (for a remarkable price for the time of £25,056) into Lightweight evocation with aluminium panels and a better performing engine. The other a few years ago, on the other hand, went through a thorough restoration process taking it back to its original specifications. Although we only know it was sold after the auction for an undeclared sum (but we do know that the owner had also rejected an offer of £275,000 and the minimum estimate was £300,000 so the price should be in this range), the other, according to official prices published by the auction house, went to its new owner for £157,500.