£38k Austin A7 Chummy leads £3.4m Beaulieu sale

An Austin Seven raised a remarkable £34k during the Beaulieu sale, leading a £3.4 million total which included the likes of a barn find Chevrolet Corvette C1 and Jaguar XK150

A 1935 AC 2-Litre 16/0hp Competition with slab-tank justified its prime parking spot in front of the Bonhams rostrum during International Autojumble weekend at Beaulieu. With a results-topping £218,500 performance, the AC left jaws open across the auction room, albeit still falling within the pre-sale estimate.

The most extraordinary valuation of all though, inspiring a round of applause and much chatter, was the £33,000 bid required to win ownership of a 1925 Austin Seven ‘Chummy’. Admittedly, the diminutive four-seater tourer had been superbly restored, the best turned out your reporter has seen in any catalogue in decades, but the £37,950 paid including premium was truly record breaking.

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Very close behind the Post-Vintage Thoroughbred, however, was a formerly National Motor Museum-exhibited 1903 Panhard et Levassor 7hp Type A Veteran with rear-entrance. This cost the next automobilist £212,750 including an entry for November’s Brighton Run.

The once 1924 Bentley 3-Litre Saloon chassis 373 with original Vanden Plas Tourer coachwork from chassis 697 provided authentic ‘Speed Model’ motoring in a well maintained and patinated package for £200,000. That was £50,000 below the guide.

A Springfield, US-assembled 1923 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost carrying Salamanca coachwork by New Haven Carriage mustered £155,250, within estimate band including premium. This auction certainly confirmed once again that enthusiast buyers for large pre-WW2 automobiles are not yet extinct, not at this annual celebration of old motor car stuff anyway.

However, the most gasp-inducing restoration project this year was a Jaguar XK150 Coupe, one of only 88 3.4 ‘S’ Fixed Heads built in right-hand drive that had been taken off the road in 1975. Even though one of the rear wings had been eaten through by rust, the dusty relic still ran, with oil pressure reportedly good and gears and clutch apparently working when awoken from a 43 year slumber.

Even so, the £66,125 with premium required to take on this time warp in faded Cotswold Blue was an extraordinary vote of confidence in the unknown future.

Also gathering dust for many years, this time in a Belgian garage, was a 1961 Chevrolet Corvette C1, one of the first generation V8 Corvettes with ‘duck-tail’ rear end and desirable manual-shift, which raised a generous £50,600 for charity. The same Animal Rescue Centre in Ghent also benefited from the £18,400 sale of a c1962-64 Jaguar E Type Series 1 ‘new old stock’ bonnet!

As usual, there was much quirky kit to entertain the nostalgic petrolhead at this quintessentially British bash, including a 1959 Berkeley, the Biggleswade Bedfordshire manufacturer’s most successful model, the Excelsior-powered T60 three-wheeler.

The two-stroke twin-cylinder powered micro-sports smoked away for a cool £8280 during a most entertaining day, when 109 classics, 83% of the 131 on offer, were successfully transacted for £3.4m.

Happily, one can report that there was absolutely no shortage of enthusiasm for the infernal combustion engine in the grounds of the National Motor Museum, to which very many occupants of EU mainland registered cars had made annual pilgrimage.

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