Market and auctions

How do you find gold? Historics and Silverstone show how

Cliff Goodall’s view

Photo credit: Historics, Silverstone

Some auctions are like gold mines: look hard and a nugget will always come to the surface. Today we’ll take a look at Silverstone and Historics, different profiles for two different types of cars: 77 and 79 cars sold respectively, about 60% for each. 

Just like being behind the wheel: everything you need to know to fully understand the situation
Just like being behind the wheel: everything you need to know to fully understand the situation

At this point, though, the similarities end: Silverstone aimed high, netting £6,813,765 (€7,831,055) in takings with an average sale price of £88,490 (€101,700), while Historics took home £2,712,991 (€3,118,038) or £34,341 (€39,468) per car.

Just like being behind the wheel: everything you need to know to fully understand the situation
Just like being behind the wheel: everything you need to know to fully understand the situation

Leaving the numbers to our usual Dashboard, let’s take a few steps down into the mine and select a few nuggets of our own:

The first is without question the 1985 Ford Escort RS Turbo S1 that once belonged to Lady Diana. I don’t think I need to mention that it came without an estimate or, with a healthy dose of courage, reserve. The car, which in great Britain has a commercial value of between £20,000 and £25,000 leaped to a mouth-watering £722,500 (€825,000). A few years ago, I made a comparison between the prices of normal cars and those belonging to famous people and in that classification, Lady Diana Spencer multiplied the value of the car by a factor of nine. Here, that number jumped to more than 30! A record worth remembering for many years to come.

1985 Ford Escort RS Turbo S1 ex-Lady Diana Princess of Wales sold for £722,500 (€825,000)

The Subaru Impreza phenomenon is more than a little interesting: three came up for auction, all with considerable hype. The perfect and immaculate WRC was just like it appeared when it officially competed in the Monte Carlo and Sweden rallies in 2001, changing hands for £392,500 (€448,000), in line with the pre-auction estimates of £380,000-£420,000. 

2001 Subaru Impreza WRC ex-Richard Burns sold for £392,500 (€448,000)

Even more interesting was the 1998 22B STI which went to its new owner for £182,250. This example wasn’t one of the 16 officially imported into the United Kingdom, but one of the 399 destined for the Japanese Market, which are usually worth much less. Estimated at £100,000-£120,000 and sold for £182,250 (€208,075), it’s a nice leap up. Finally, a P1, the younger sister of the 22B, meticulously restored by the seller, arrived at auction with an estimate that placed it somewhere between £45,000 and £55,000, set a new record at £56,250 (€64,665).

1998 Subaru Impreza 22B-STI sold for £182,250 (€208,075)

Of similar tone was an Audi RS2, the legendary German station wagon developed together with Porsche, quite rare (less than 3,000 examples were built) and in excellent condition. Sold for £75,938 (€87,165), yet another record and perfectly in line with expectations of £70,000-£80,000.

1995 Audi RS2 sold for £75,938 (€87,165)

I had promised myself not to talk about the Mercedes SL again, but that’s a tall order to keep when there were three very interesting examples on offer from different periods, each with a distinctive history. The first was the one offered by Silverstone, a 1966 230SL Pagoda that once belonged to Stirling Moss who had specifically required a more powerful engine, settling on the power unit from the 250SE along with customizations never seen on the standard model. The estimate was high, £100,000-£120,000, but a fan of the British racing driver was willing to pay £177,750 (€204,000) to take it home. Perfectly understandable if you ask me.

1966 Mercedes-Benz 230SL “Pagoda” ex Sir Stirling Moss sold for £177,750 (€204,000)

From Historics, a 380SLC from 1981, restored to its previous splendour by SLSHOP, the most important model experts. The estimate was sky high. If you think that until recently, cars in excellent condition barely exceeded £15,000 (in fact no one restored them), the estimate of this particular example was up in the stratosphere: £48,000-£60,000. The result of £41,000 (€47,065) still managed to set a new record, somewhere around double the previous one.

1981 Mercedes-Benz 380 SLC sold for £41,000 (€47,065)

Finally, the R129 series from the 90s. Here, too, prices are taking off: Lot 231 from Historics was a perfect 600SL from 1993, with just 11,000 miles on the clock. Until a few of years ago, you could take home one of these for less than £10,000, but the wind has changed: estimated at £27,000-£32,000 it ended up changing hands for £40,186 (€46,130).

1993 Mercedes-Benz 600 SL Roadster sold for £40,186 (€46,130)

Chapeaux to whoever took home the almost unknown Evanta Barchetta from 2015. Built by a certain Ant Anstead using Chevrolet Corvette mechanics and inspired by Italian sportscars from the 1950s and 1960s, the interior and finishes were of a very high standard. It was estimated at £30,000-£40,000 but flew to £67,920 (€77,965).

2015 Evanta Barchetta sold for £67,920 (€77,965)

The car I would have taken home from these two sales? Without a shadow of doubt the 1974 Lamborghini Espada S3. An ultra-futuristic line – look at that near vertical glass on the tailgate – the engine of the Miura, four seats and regularly “serviced” by a Ferrari dealer. Sold for £83,768 (€96,155), much higher than the estimated £68,000-£78,000. Clearly, I am not the only one who loves her.

1974 Lamborghini Espada Series III sold for £83,768 (€96,155)