More than £3m spent on 98 cars at Historics at Ascot sale

Snow did not stop play for bulls at Royal racecourse, where over £3m was bet on classic stock in an afternoon

The worst winter weather in a decade failed to dent the success of the recent Historics at Brooklands event at Ascot in Berkshire. The auction house’s sale of the season saw vendors bravely transport 149 classics to the Royal racecourse, while an impressive turnout of intrepid travellers made the journey to spend more than £3m on 98 of the collector vehicles available.

Our resident market analyst Richard Hudson-Evans commentates on the snowbound event, and reflects on what sold – and what didn’t.

A totally original 1992 Type 964 Porsche 911 RS – one of only 40 right-hand-drive Lightweights sold in the UK, which had covered only 17,822 miles from new – raised £250,000 under the hammer at Ascot. The final tally with premium was £275,000 – £25,000 more than Historics’ top estimate.

Two Porsche 911S 2.4s did not fare so well, however. Although a Sportwagen and JAZ-restored 1971 car in right-hand drive from the same vendor as the sale’s top-selling 911 RS did change hands, the £132,550 paid was well short of the guide price of at least £165,000.

Meanwhile, a Beverly Hills Porsche-supplied left-hooker, one of the very last pre-impact-bumper 1973 cars, failed to attract a bid approaching the suggested £120,000-£140,000. The £36,000 or more sought for a Rennsport-restored 1992 944S2 SE, a rare last-of-the-line model, was also clearly too much.

However, a 1961 Porsche 329 Export Tractor – once worked in the Italian hills and then beautified in Croatia – did find a collector with a carpeted barn and a spare £22,550.

The highest-priced automotive asset in the Ascot Grandstand atrium was also the catalogue cover star. The previously restored and forever glamorous 1956 Bentley S1 Continental two-door Fastback by Mulliner Park Ward still presented well, and it sold for £286,000 – well within estimate. In contrast, a 1960 S2 Continental Flying Spur four-door with a substantial history folder scraped home with a bid of £107,500 – with premium, it was just under the £118,250 estimate.

One of only 198 West Brom-made Jensen FF MkIs with Ferguson four-wheel drive, this car had been resident in Ireland from new in 1969 until two years ago. Having since been restored and UK registered, it made its forecast £83,600 at Ascot.

That was more than a right-hand-drive, manual-shift 1997 Ferrari 355 Spider in far-from-discreet Giallo Fly, which was bought for £71,500; a left to right-converted and rally-prepped 1952 Jaguar XK120 FHC with 4.2 motor for £58,240; or an already collectible Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z06 Centennial lefty of 2012 vintage, acquired by a tamer for £55,000.

A Lotus Elan S4 DHC – whose claim to have been converted to Sprint spec at the factory in 1971 was backed up by documentation – fetched a mid-estimate £44,000. It had been in recent-ish receipt of a nut-and-bolt restoration costing over £30k, and was resplendent in Gold Leaf Team Lotus colours.

Meanwhile, £27,500 – £4500 below guide – was accepted for a seemingly very good example of a 1989 Lotus Esprit Turbo HC, which had been owned by the vendor for 26 years.

A successfully circuit-raced 1380cc 1961 Austin-Healey Sprite MkI with evocative Sebring-styled bodywork was well bought for £17,050. Possibly too extreme to be easily returned to street-legal spec, it did at least come with a tilting trailer in nice order...

The same money was required to own a 1929 Austin 7 AD Tourer. Suitable for perhaps three or four tiny adults, it had been given as a birthday present to a teenage girl nearly 60 years ago. The quite charming 89-year-old (the car, that is) had been restored to a high standard in the 1980s, and could still pull at Ascot. Its £17,050 price – £3050 more than the top estimate – was good going.

A freshly restored, ex-RAF 1968 Land Rover Series 2A 88, meanwhile, was far too nice to subject to the reality of snow, slush and mud in the outside world, especially after a buyer had paid £26,400 for it. In the same vein, the pale yellow 1967 Mini Moke that sold for £14,300 should also not be driven until summer.

A once-scruffy 1960 Austin Mini Seven Super Deluxe ‘timewarp’ had previously been bought by a Mini Club member for £1400. Following a photo-recorded restoration, and a return to original Speedwell Blue, the now very well turned-out MkI was auctioned Without Reserve for £11,550 with premium. Result!

After the news media had very nearly shut down the British economy with hysterical ‘Emmageddon’ weather alerts, Mark Perkins and the Historics team are to be congratulated on their perseverance with staging this sale. Their hard work and the stoic efforts of many of their vendors were rewarded by a large ‘live audience’, witnessing 66 percent of the 149 car lots selling for a premium-inclusive £3,030,925. That equates to a not-inconsiderable average investment in classic stock of £30,928 per car.

All of which proves, happily for those aboard the snowmobile, that there are still some bulls who are prepared to play with the bears in the snow.

Classic Cars for Sale