I was pleasantly surprised by the remarkable success of the Silverstone Auctions online auction, despite two potential handicaps: the first, having passed from 2020’s on-site format to 2021’s online equivalent, the other, they changed their web address from www.silverstoneauctions.co.uk to .com without warning, which created some problems when attempting to track them down! And yet, it was a resounding success. And it is great that Europe (Brexit aside) is sending out enthusiastic signs like this.
Compared to last year, they increased the percentage of cars sold from 58.16% (57 out of 98) to 78.46% (102 out of 130), with turnover more than doubling from €4,852,231 to €11,024,909 (£4,141,925 vs £8,538,178) against an estimate that grew +25%, €8,695,769 to €10,869,423 (from £7,529,000 to £9,411,000). If we add to this that the average price per sale also rose from €85,108 (£72,649) to €98,063 (£83,708), all the indicators are positive, as can be seen in our Dashboard.
My compliments go to the entire team (except the webmaster!), also because they brought many beautiful and very particular cars to the sale. Here are some examples.
One of the most guarded secrets of British pop culture is undoubtedly the sitcom “Only Fools and Horses” which tells the story of three generations (grandfather, father and son) of swindlers who never get what they want. On air between the 1970s and 1990s (with some spin-offs in the early 2000s), it was the most popular TV series in the UK, but was never exported because most of the puns of the show wouldn’t have had the same impact abroad. I am a huge fan of this series, and I couldn’t possibly have ignored the 1972 Reliant Regal Supervan III used by the stars of the show. Yellow with obvious signs of dirt, black vinyl interior with faux leopard roof lining and equipped with fluffy dice on the rear-view mirror, this was one of the 12 examples used during filming of the series. The price of €42,101 or £36,000 (estimate upon request) was 10-12 times higher than a normal model, but the price here was for the history. What was the motto of the three rascals? “Don’t worry, Rodney. This time next year, we’ll be millionaires”.
Moving from pop to top, the auction also included a small collection of recent Ferraris and it was a great opportunity to take a look at the market for these exciting cars. Two were immediately noticeable. Two identical Ferrari 599 GTO models. Both from 2011, both red with black interiors. A left-hand drive version with 2,500km on the clock (about 1,600 miles) sold for €469,062 (£406,125) while a 9,953-mile right-hand drive example sold for €585,472 (£500,625). On the one hand, the fact that the car was right-hand drive increased its value (at least in the UK), but the low mileage made the balance of preference tilt towards the cheapest of the two. In the end, I think the difference (almost €120,000 or £100,000) was determined by something we’ve already seen in the past: the more expensive one had the Ferrari Classiche certification, while the cheaper one did not.
The deal of the day? Anyone who has ever dreamed of owning a Group B would not have been petrified by the price of the Metro 6R4 nicknamed “DAM4100”. This model had a very special history: after the category was cancelled, former official driver Tony Pond and mechanic Dave Appleby set up a business to transform the 6R4 for rally crosses or other events and in the mid-1990s created DAM4100 complete with Kevlar bodywork and a 275bhp engine. Fresh from an engine retune (£18,000 + VAT), it was offered last year at £150-170,000 but went unsold. This time they played it safe: they lowered the estimate to €140-155,000 (£120-135,000) and took away the reserve price. The final sale price? €105,253 (£90,000), and now many will be kicking themselves for not buying it.
No sports car enthusiast, myself included, could resist the temptation to put a Lotus Elise S1 in the garage. Silverstone offered a 1998 gunmetal grey example that had travelled just 27,000 miles. Probably once belonging to Nick Mason – now more famous as a collector than as the drummer of Pink Floyd – it attracted the interest of many during the auction but what fascinated me most were the modifications carried out by Lanzante (who worked on the McLaren P1 GTR road version, for those who do not know) which, together with the front section “stolen” from an ex-Le Mans Elise GT1, made it clear that with this car, fun is guaranteed. And this is just for starters because the Lotus Sport Koni shock absorbers, adjustable roll bars and the very rare original metal matrix composite (MMC) brake discs are the main course. Usually auction houses – excellent sellers as they are – tend to inflate the merits and minimize any defects but I am fully convinced that this was the best Elise available and if anything, deserved even more praise. The selling price of €34,865 (£29,813) was 40% higher than a normal model and, in my opinion, it was well worth it.
Another car that couldn’t be missed was the 1955 Lotus Mk6, knowing that the steering wheel in this car had once been in the hands of Sir John Henry Douglas Whitmore, 2nd Baronet of Orsett Hall, Grays, Essex , known as John Whitmore, the spectacular champion of Saloon races in the 1960s, as well as an absolute hero behind the wheel of the Mini Cooper, and serious professional driver with no less than five appearances at Le Mans, including one with the legendary Ford GT40. The small Lotus, Colin Chapman’s first mass-produced road car, is a guarantee of limitless fun. Its heritage, noble pedigree and price – €48,679 or £41,625 – all deserved a click to buy.