H&H Classics hosted its first ever online-only live auction on February 2. An impressive 36 cars were included in this pioneering digital sale, with two thirds of the lots finding new homes.
As the cars could not be viewed the metal, purchasers could view a much wider range of images than usual on the H&H website, plus video content and a comprehensive description of each car. The idea is that costs are significantly reduced for the seller due to a lack of auction overheads; the cars stay with the seller until the live auction is finished, with H&H handling the transactions.
The top seller on the day was a unique George Barris-designed dragster from the early 1970s, which took nearly four years to build and cost the equivalent of around £1million in today’s money. George Barris and his team were responsible for nearly every famous TV and movie car from the ‘60s and ‘70s, including the original 1966 Batmobile, Black Beauty from The Green Hornet, Drag-U-La from The Munsters and the Oldsmobile jalopy from The Beverly Hillbillies all emerging from Barris Kustom Industries.
Other headliners in the sale included a1985 Chrysler LeBaron Town and Country Turbo ‘Woody’ station wagon, thought to be the last car owned by Frank Sinatra, and a timewarp MkI Fiesta formerly housed in the Science Museum.
The overall range of vehicles ranged from pre-War cars to moderns classics, with several bargains to be had. A 1999 Jaguar XJR 4.0 with the supercharged V8 motor carried a Category C marker and an expired MoT, but with one owner for the last 18 years and plenty of history, it was easy to be brave at just £1150. Several German classics were also up for grabs, with a BMW 850i and a Mercedes 300 SL providing plenty of contrast with three less powerful but equally characterful Volkswagen Beetles.
Our selected highlights from the auction are below. For a full list, visit online.handh.co.uk.
A star-studded lot, this 1985 Chrysler LeBaron Town and Country Turbo ‘Woody’ station wagon was once owned by Frank Sinatra. The car is rumoured to be the last vehicle Sinatra owned, and he reportedly spent the last 10 years of his life being driven around Las Vegas in it, hoping to avoid recognition. Offered for sale with no reserve, it sold for a very reasonable £5062.50 including fees.
Another star of the sale was this George Barris SnakePit, one of several weird and wonderful vehicles produced by Barris Kustom Industries in the 1960, ‘70s and ‘80s. Designed to put out 2000bhp, the SnakePit is powered by six Cobra-Ford 351 V8 engines, features 12 Holley carburettors and has 48 exhaust pipes! Sold with no reserve, it soared to a final selling price of £50,625.
A timewarp 1978 Ford Fiesta that had never been registered and had covered just 141 miles from new was a hotly-anticipated lot. It was displayed and stored at The Science Museum in London from 1980-2017 and faced being cut-up, but in the end a special jig was created that allowed to facilitate its removal. Perhaps the lowest mileage Ford Fiesta MKI still in existence, it was MoT’d for the first time in 2018 and carried an estimated of£6500-£8500 but surprised everyone to reach £14,625.
Reputedly one of 697 UK-supplied examples, this 1991 BMW 850i had recently been recommissioned following 13 years’ inactivity as part of a private collection. It’s been treated to a host of new parts all round, and came with the original handbooks and sales brochure. A final selling price of £6950 trumped its £4000-£6000 estimate.
Another desirable German, this one-family-owned 1987 Mercedes-Benz R107 300 SL was showing a mere 47,000 warranted miles. Supplied with a factory hardtop and soft top, it just beat its £28,000 upper estimate to sell for £28,125.
Believed to be one of 27 recorded survivors, this 1939 Austin 10/4 Conway Cabriolet is a rare four-door open-top version of the Cambridge saloon. This one was extensively restored in the 1990s, and was displayed in a museum. Looking smart in its combination of Westminster Green over black with green leather trim, its £9000-£11,000 estimate proved to be accurate as the car found a new home for £10,125.
Three Volkswagen Beetles were among the consignments. The oldest of the trio was this 1959 example, supplied new to South Africa and restored there before being imported to the UK during 2016. It boasted a fresh 1600 engine, along with new paintwork and a retrimmed interior. That wasn’t quite enough for it reach its £8500-£9500 estimate however, as it sold for £7875.
Four-cylinder Rover P6s are a great way to get into the classic market for a modest outlay, and this 1975 2200 SC was proof. Showing 81,500 recorded miles and supplied with a collection of old MoTs and invoices, it had also been treated to a recent clutch and carpet set. Estimated at £1800-£2200, it sold for £2250.