The gods smiled down from clear blue skies as hundreds of classic car enthusiasts converged on the magnificent surroundings of Bicester Heritage to see more than 60 wonderful cars come under the auctioneer’s hammer. By the end of an exciting afternoon, 75 percent of entries had found new homes in a sale that grossed just over £1m with bidders from as far afield as Canada, Dubai and Singapore.
Top price of the day went to a beautifully restored 1923 Vauxhall OD 23/60 Kington Tourer, a most impressive vintage motorcar in all respects and one that fully justified every penny of the £71,500 required to secure it. Even more hotly contested was an elegant 1927 Delage DIS Colonial Tourer, still sporting its original Phizakerley of Sydney coachwork in eye-catching powder blue and with a wonderful milled aluminium dashboard that shot well beyond estimate to finish on £49,500.
Another French Grand Routier that fared well was the delightful 1939 Hotchkiss 686 Monte Carlo Decouvrable that sold for a mid-estimate £44,000 and just oozed quality, its excellent state of preservation no doubt due to having spent most of its life in sunny Portugal. Equally impressive was the imposing 1927 Sunbeam 25hp Tourer, a most aristocratic machine that had suffered the indignity of serving as a taxi then as a breakdown truck in World War II, before being rescued and restored to its original form in the late 1960s. It sailed way beyond estimate before being bagged by an East Anglian collector for an impressive £44,900.
In similar vein was the marvellous 1931 Lagonda 2-Litre Low Chassis Speed Model Saloon, a wonderfully rare and original survivor with just one owner since 1961, which had somehow eluded the hacksaws of the roof-chop brigade who have turned so many vintage saloons into tourers. In need of some recommissioning and being offered as a non-runner, this elegant carriage still smashed its £25k-£30k estimate to sell for £41,250.
Rarer still was the gorgeous 1924 Aster 18/50 Coupe with Dickey, one of perhaps 150 made with only two known to survive worldwide. Clearly a much-cherished example that had been on display at the Beaulieu Motor Museum throughout the 1960s and was more recently the subject of a five-page feature in The Automobile magazine, it romped to a £28,600 result. Equally rare was the fascinating 1905 Riley 9hp V-Twin, one of only three known to survive and quite possibly the very first Riley production car made. Restored to a high standard over a 30-year period by a previous New Zealand owner, it fell to a UK collector for £41,800.
Top seller among the post-war cars was a 1955 Jaguar XK140SE Coupe, resplendent in dark red with a lovely tan hide interior, which fetched the required £55,000 despite being a less market-friendly left-hand drive example. A 1971 Jaguar E-Type S3 V12 Automatic Coupe with a 350bhp Forward Engineering-tuned 5.7-liter V12 engine also smashed its estimate to finish on £42,900 despite being in need of re-commissioning after a six-year lay-up.
Much admired during the viewing was an impressive 1980 Rolls-Royce Camargue, the most expensive car in the world when launched in 1973, and which still exuded a commanding presence in Mistletoe Green with a sumptuous olive green leather interior. One of only 531 made and with a mere 64,000 miles on the clock, it looked a snip at just £31,900 when you consider that it cost three times the average house price when new!
Almost as luxurious was the 2005 Bentley Continental Flying Spur, a £120k indulgence when new and with a monstrous 552bhp and 480lb-ft on tap from its twin-turbo 6.0 V12 that could propel it to 195mph, making it the fastest four-door production car on the planet. With only 62,000 miles under its vast alloys, it too looked a steal at only £24,200. Equally ferocious was the 1996 Mercedes-Benz SL60 AMG, one of only 1,000 made and just 50 in RHD, which also cost its first owner £130k and could reach 185mph but was snapped up here for £26,620. If it weren’t for the 93,000 miles on the clock it could have easily doubled that amount, the SL60 being one of the most sought-after R129 variants and widely tipped for future growth.
At the other end of the performance spectrum, a fully restored 1957 Citroen 2CV raised more than a few eyebrows when it was keenly fought to an estimate-busting £11,770 conclusion, this being about £500 for each of its 24bhp as opposed to just £40 for each of the horses under the bonnet of the mighty Bentley Continental! A former concours-winning 1962 Ford Zephyr Six MkII Convertible also fetched an eye-watering £25,575, while a nicely restored 1960 Triumph TR3a raised an impressive £28,050, making the ex-1970 World Cup Rally Morris 1800S MkII look an absolute steal at just £25,850.
“Our hard-working consignors had assembled a wonderfully diverse and intriguing selection of cars including some real rarities that have never been seen at auction before,” said Brightwells’ MD Richard Binnersley. “We were delighted with the results of the sale and we thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, as did the hundreds of enthusiastic bidders who attended. The atmosphere in the magnificent surroundings of Bicester Heritage was truly something to savour and we feel privileged to be playing our own part in the development of this marvellous venue, which is fast becoming the most exciting hub of the classic car movement in Europe. We can’t wait to return for our next auction at the Flywheel Festival on June 24, and we already have some fascinating cars consigned, including a magnificent 1930 Delage D8 Tourer with coachwork by Vanden Plas and an extremely early 1961 Jaguar E-Type 3.8 Coupe. Space will be limited to about 100 cars so if you have anything interesting that you wish to consign, please contact us sooner rather than later or your entry may have to be deferred until our October 25 event.”
Daniel Geoghegan, Managing Director at Bicester Heritage, said: “Brightwells created a remarkable atmosphere inside one of our historic hangars in order to demonstrate their 150-plus years of auctioneering expertise and experience:. Judging by the buzz on the day and the results, this clearly met with the firm approval of buyers and sellers alike. For an engaging and unintimidating way to buy and sell at auction at a central location, look no further.”
Brightwells’ next Leominster Classic & Vintage sale is on May 17, 2017, and entries are now being invited with free valuations available by emailing [email protected]. The closing date is Friday April 21, so please do not leave it until the last minute, or your entry may have to be deferred until our July 12 sale.