Auctions are enjoying some very exceptional months: one after the other with many lots on offer and a considerable number of sales. Today, we will examine the British auctions of Silverstone and Historics, the first held on 5th and 6th March, the second on the 12th. Some numbers just to warm-up proceedings: over two days, Silverstone offered 100 cars and sold 62 of them, Historics instead, offered 162 in a single day and sold 75.93%, equivalent to 123 cars.
Silverstone, however, had higher quality cars: with a pre-auction estimate of £7,548,000 (€9,019,830), it was well above the £4,260,000 (€5,090,685) on sale over at Historics, and the ratios between the two remained more or less the same all the way up to the final sales.
For the former, overall takings were £4,752,521 (€5,679,245) or £76,654 (€91,600) per car; for the second, sales amounted to £2,964,565 (€3,542,645) or £24,102 (€28,800) per car.
As a side note, I’d like to add a useful observation on cars without reservations: at Silverstone only 4% of the cars on offer came without a minimum price, while no fewer than a quarter of the cars on offer at Historics could have been taken home at any price. This, of course, has an impact on the percentages of sales.
As far as the cars were concerned, enthusiasts had a field day.
The top lot of these two weeks of British auctions was a 2001 Ford Focus. Obviously not a normal Focus but a WRC model driven to victory at the Acropolis Rally by Colin McRae, who also claimed second place at the New Zealand Rally with it. Silverstone estimated it at £300,000-£350,000 but the market recognised its value and it was sold for £423,300 (€504,035).
Now, forgive me for not resisting two Japanese muscle cars that looked like they came straight out of a video game: Silverstone offered two beautiful examples, a R32 Nismo Edition from 1990, estimated at (£65,000-£75,000) and sold for £67,500 (€80,375) and the R33 V-Spec from 1998 which thanks to a slight tuning, produces 486bhp at the wheels (approx. 600bhp at the flywheel!). Of the 107 R33s sold in the UK this was number 42. Estimated at £40,000-£50,000, it sold for £47,250 (€56,260).
Then a hidden gem: the 1983 3.5 litre Alpina-BMW B9. The estimate of £55,000-£65,000 and the sale price of £54,000 (€64,298) could be deceiving, but if we consider that in 2020 another example, which belonged to Jay Kay, lead vocalist of Jamiroquai, sold for £38,500 (€46,005), while another went unsold at £28,000 (€33,460), the value has almost doubled in just a couple of years.
Let’s turn our attention to Historics now: there were some great deals to celebrate the arrival of spring.
The prime choice here was without question the 1997 Mercedes-Benz SLK230 Kompressor sold for just £2,264 (€2,695). This car is a blast to drive and this silver-coloured example with its beautiful two-tone leather interior, was to be snapped up without hesitation. Congratulations to the buyer who did just that.
From the same year (1997) but of an entirely different calibre, a car I love very much: the Mini Cooper. Minis are a bit like the Porsche 911, there are many versions of them, each with an identical charm. Too bad we didn’t take the plunge with this one: blue with white roof and 76,555 miles on the clock. Yours for £5,660 (€6,739).
Shall we move up a rung or two of the price ladder? Then we should definitely consider the Triumph TR5 from 1968, the model that combines the style of the classic TR4 with the more powerful 2.5 engine from the TR6. This blue example with beige interior had been restored right down to the last bolt at a cost of £40,000. The estimate of £38,000-£46,000 disappeared in a flash and in the end the hammer dropped at £75,040 (€89,351). A new record for the model.
Another result that left me breathless was the BMW 325i Convertible from 1988 with a fantastic colour scheme: dark green metallic with cream interior. Just two owners from new and 22,429 miles on the clock. With the prices of the M3 E30 now in the stratosphere, and the other coupe versions following it closely, the estimate of £20,000-£25,000 seemed correct to me, but in the end, it was sold for £36,224 (€43,132), setting a new record for an E30 Cabriolet.
Overall, there were a great many opportunities to be had at great prices and just as many deals on excellent cars. Auctions have truly become a world of temptations for any wallet.