The sales at Historics and CCA, on the last Saturday of September, were a success thanks to the well-oiled and proven mechanism of the two auction houses: known locations and mix of cheap cars and no overestimated top lots.
With these simple ingredients the numbers were incredibly similar: 75.66% of the cars on offer sold at Historics, 71.09% at CCA which, in terms of value, equates to 71.38% of the estimates for Historics and 77.36% for CCA. Even the number of cars without reserve was similar: 21.71% for Historics and 19.38% for CCA.
To find a difference you have to look at the absolute numbers: Historics offered 152 cars (and sold 115), while CCA put 129 under the hammer and sold 91. The difference in the value of the cars on offer, however, was considerable: Historics offered cars worth a combined estimate of £4,787,000 (€5,627,238) and sold £3,416,844 (€3,993,419), while CCA confirmed its mantra of “Everyman Classic” by offering a combined estimated value of £1,902,500 (€2,236,436) and selling £1,471,750 (€1,721,726).
On average then, Historics sold each car for £29,712 (€34,758) while over at CCA, that same value was £16,173 (€18,919). As usual, we had a look through both catalogues and found some very interesting objects: the top lots, the most expensive cars sold at both events were, curiously, Lamborghinis.
Historics managed to sell the heavily advertised Countach 5000 S from 1982, a car in need of a full restoration but mechanically intact, with an estimate of £145,000-£180,000. With the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of this model, the price is going up (at Pebble Beach an example with the same characteristics and 5,000 km on the clock changed hands for over $700,000) so there was room for a proper restoration, and although it ended up selling for £257,600 (€302,815), far higher than estimated, I believe that the buyer did not make a bad deal. Certainly the seller did.
From CCA it was a 1985 Jalpa that held off the other contenders for the top spot. Curiously, it was a right-hand drive version but apparently it had just 50,700 km on the clock. It was hard to understand its history: perhaps it came from Japan? It didn’t seem to matter and the idea that it was imported didn’t put off the buyer who, against an estimate of £50,000-£60,000, bought it for £77,700 (€91,338).
A third Lamborghini (a Gallardo Spider from Historics) also sold – this time within its estimate – a sign that the brand is on the rise in the minds of collectors.
Speaking of brands that are doing just fine, do you want to know what my biggest surprise at the Historics auction was? A brand that is rarely a recommended buy: Triumph ended up being the wild card of the market. Of the 14 Triumphs on offer at Historics, 13 changed hands and no fewer than seven sold above their maximum estimate. I’m not saying it’s a record, but it’s certainly a good sign.
Among the many popular models at Historics, there was the GT6, the “poor man’s E-Type” as it was denigrated. Perhaps because of the rise in the prices of the E-Type (following its sixtieth anniversary) the two examples on offer “sprinted” well beyond their estimates. A 1973 MkIII went for £22,400 (€26,331) (from £14,000-£17,000) while a beautiful 1974 MkIII, with just one owner and 20,000 miles from new was sold for £28,000 (€32,915), 27% more than its minimum estimate of £22,000-£27,000.
Then there was a little mystery that the market inexorably refuted. Two Ford Sierra RS Cosworths, one from 1986 and the other from 1987. The former with 68,500 miles (not certified) on the clock, while the latter had covered 64,600 miles (certified). The first one had just one owner from 1987 to 2017, while the other had been with its career for the past 30 years. There was only one difference: the second one was slightly tuned with Koni shock absorbers and a modification to the turbo. But was this enough to justify the difference in estimates, with one at £35,000-£40,000 and the more recent one at £50,000-£60,000? Absolutely not! In fact, the market attributed almost the exact same value to both: £49,950 (€58,717) and £50,172 (€58,978). Nice lesson.
As is almost standard practice by now, the “expensive” Aston Martins didn’t do well at all. All three cars on offer went unsold, despite their competitive prices (that were decidedly low compared to a couple of years ago). The “James Bond” spec DB5 went unsold (at £500,000 or €587,760) despite having travelled just 422 miles since its restoration and being upgraded to the Vantage engine. The estimate for it was £540,000-£620,000. It didn’t get any better for the two 1980 V8s, a Volante (£110,000-£130,000) and an Oscar India (£74,000-£87,000). For these two, the offers stopped at £96,000 (€112,850) and £68,000 (€79,935) respectively.
Finally, two small hot hatches that I’m sure will give their new owners immense satisfaction (and not only on the road).
Let’s start with the oldest one: the 2001 Renault Clio 172 Exclusive, estimated at £7,000-£8,000 and sold for £7,215 (€8,481). With Renault price trends currently on the rise, I fully expect that the next time this Clio returns to the market, the amount paid will have four zeros.
The other model is the super-recent Toyota Yaris GR. The one offered at CCA, equipped with Circuit Pack was practically new with just 29 miles on the clock. But here’s the twist: The UK price list for the GR with the sports package is £33,495 plus options. The £28,000-£34,000 estimate therefore showed that despite being a used car, it kept its price well, but the £34,410 (€40,450) selling price not only exceeded the estimate, but also the list price. A car that is worth more used than when it was new? The future is looking very rosy indeed.