Silverstone Auctions hosted its debut sale at the Autosport International event on January 12, which took place inside Birmingham’s NEC. As you might expect given the event’s motorsport theme, there was a healthy number of race, rally and homologation special cars in the auction line-up, but not all the cars crossing the block were competition vehicles.
To prove the point, a 1935 Mercedes-Benz (W18) Type 290 two-door Cabriolet headlined the results by ore than doubling its lower £60,000 estimate to sell for £121,500. Also performing well was a 1990 AC Cobra Mk IV. AC’s production ceased in the 1960s, but was resurrected when Autocraft produced the legally-titled AC Cobra MkIV in a joint venture with Ford. This example was one of 26 built to a ‘lightweight’ specification with a hand-crafted aluminium body, and sold to a round of applause for £139,500 against an estimate of £90,000-£110,000.
Other strong results included 1970 Ferrari 365 GT 2+2, one of just 52 produced in right-hand drive, which sold for £200,250 to become the most valuable lot of the day. A 1975 Porsche 911 ‘Safari Spec’ rally car surpassed its reserve to sell for £81,000, with a 2005 McLaren Mercedes SLR doing likewise at £196,875 and a 1968 FIA-spec Lotus Elan S4 performing well at £34,875.
Over all, 63 per cent of the cars sold, generating combined total sales exceeding £2.6m. However, many cars that found did so at the lower end or just under their reserve prices. Pre-sale, much of the buzz has surrounded a 175-mile 1985 MG Metro 6R4, but despite selling for £168,750 with premium, that was some way short of its £180,000-£200,000 estimate. It was the same story for a famous ex-Works Lotus Cortina. Driven by Jim Clark, Peter Arundell, Jacky Ickx, Sir John Whitmore and Graham Hill, it again sold for £168,750 against a £180,000-£200,000 estimate.
Doing a little better was a stunning 1980 FIA-spec 3.0 Capri built as a replica of the period Fabergé racers, which was closer to its £70,000 lower prediction at £68,625, while a modified road-going 1972 Escort RS1600 reached the upper end of its £60,000-£70,000 estimate at £69,750. One of only four Mk2 Cortina Lotuses to be factory finished in Fern Green Metallic performed well too, selling for £40,275.
Things weren’t so good for the Mini Cooper Ss involved in the sale. Out of the three included, only an FIA-spec racer managed to sell, with a 970 S and 1275 S both failing to reach their reserve prices. A beautiful 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 also failed to hit the heights expected by not reaching its lower reserve of £340,000, while three other 911s – a 1971 Porsche 2.4 S, a 1972 911 T and a 1967 2.0 S built as a replica of Vic Elford’s 1967 Monte Carlo Rally winner – all failed to sell. A superb 1972 BMW 2002 rebuilt to concours standards was one of our sale favourites, but was another not to find a buyer.
However, there were bargains at the more affordable end of the market. A 1974 Triumph TR6 PI with press history looked at great buy at £17,348, while an 18,000-mile 1972 GT sold for £9450.
The sale probably comes a little too early in the year to be drawing too many conclusions about the market. Silverstone Auctions will also be holding a sale at Race Retro on February 24, which should give us a better idea of the state of play.