Market: Italian exotica and fast Fords star at Silverstone

Hailwood Iso Grifo takes pole at Silverstone May Sale, where RS500 Number One fails to finish, but Escort Mexico sets new record during £4.76m weekend

The headliner at Silverstone Auctions May Sale was one of two Iso Grifo Coupés that were originally employed for rapid commuting between paddocks by ‘Mike the Bike’ Hailwood. The early Series 1 auctioned – a 1966 GL 350 in Bianco Polo Park with Chevrolet 5.3 V8 ‘small block’ 327, one of just 26 in RHD – was knocked down to a telephone contestant for a mid-estimate £240,000, costing £270,000 with premium.

Another buyer in the room had to bid a more-than-top-estimate £45,000 to clinch a 1973 Ford Escort Mk1 Mexico that had been fully restored at a cost of over £30,000. The £50,625 with premium paid was reckoned to have been a new world record auction price for a standard production Mexico.

Not all ‘Fast Fords’ flew this time, though. For the 1987 Sierra RS500 Cosworth ‘Chassis Number One’, surely the definitive one to have, failed to clear the £90k+ bar suggested. Its re-shelling by Ford may have deterred some players from joining the bidding party. It was left therefore to another RS500 of identical vintage, number 451 of 500 with 12,000 verifiable mileage, to muster a buying bid of £100k and sell for £112,500 with premium.

A 1996 Ford Escort RS Cosworth – the ‘Lux’ version with Recaros and heated screen, plus weighty electric windows and unnecessary sunroof – had been driven only 13,200 miles by a dealer principal and two keepers. The auctioneers had predicted £50,000-55,000, but £46,000 was bid in the room and the car was valued here therefore at £51,750 with premium.

The top-performing Porsche was a 1973 911S 2.4 in RHD – so a pre-impact-bumper car – that had service history on file since new. This also sold in the room for a within-guide £166,500 with premium, whereas a recommissioned 1970 2.4S that warranted further restoration was acquired for £101,250. A forecast £129,375 was forthcoming from a telephone buyer for a 1980 911 Type 930 Turbo 3.3 in RHD with 16,092 mileage, while a 44,000-mile Turbo of the same Type attracted bids from all platforms, selling for £80,917.

One of the most viewed and contested lots was a 1985 Renault 5 Turbo 2 ‘Type 8221 Original’ that had been static stored for years and was over-ripe for full restoration. Having been ‘come and buy me’ guided at £25,000-30,000, it achieved a £49,000 bid in the room; £55,125 with premium.

Although a 1997 Diablo SV did not fire up any bids near the £130k minimum required, a 1961 Lamborghini 2R Tractor with three-pot motor and Italian logbook, which had been treated to full beautification in the Ermes and Nicola Formilan salon, pulled a far from agricultural £13,500 from a saleroom bidder.

By the end of the Saturday-afternoon session above the F1 pit garages, and although 36 cars had sold (57 percent of the 63 in the ‘All-Makes’ catalogue), acquisitive punters had nonetheless spent over £2.33m including premium. That’s an average of £64,843 per classic. With the £2.43m-worth of Ferraris sold the day before added to the weekend’s stats, 60 or 62 percent of the 97 collector vehicles offered had changed hands at Silverstone for £4.76m. That equates to an overall average of £79,395 invested in classic acquisitions.

Classic Cars for Sale