Market: strong prices at Race Retro competition car sale

BTCC-winning Cosworth RS500 and a Mini Cooper S were among the highlights at a healthy Silverstone Auctions' Race Retro competition car sale. But did the famous McRae Ford Focus sell?

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Despite historic competition cars statistically being the hardest classics to shift, more than 60% of them did sell in the Silverstone Auctions sale at Race Retro, where a BTCC-winning Sierra pulled over £182,000 and nearly £47,000 was invested in a Mini Cooper S rally car.

BTCC Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500

The 1990 British Touring Car Championship-winning Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 sold to a major collector for £182,250 with premium – meaning it topped the Silverstone Auctions prices for historic race and rally classics during Race Retro at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire.

The Robb Gravett, Mike Smith and Stig Blomqvist-driven Group A Ford, which clocked up a record-breaking nine wins during the season, had been re-shelled in period and has since been well preserved thanks to 20 years in storage.

For comparison, at the Silverstone Classic sale in July 2017, the ex-Tim Harvey 1989 Labatt’s RS500 ran out steam at an insufficient £160,000 bid, £20,000 short of the lower estimate, and the Harvey-piloted 1991 BTCC season BMW E30 M3 sold for £146,250 with premium.

Morris Mini Cooper S and Fast Fords

The talking point result from the Friday sale at Race Retro, though, was the £46,690 paid for a Heritage-certificated 1966 Morris Mini Cooper S, which had been well restored and upgraded to 1293S club rally spec.

Apparently only lightly used, with a gearbox rebuild less than 500 miles ago, the circa-100bhp historic rally-ready Mini had been seductively estimated at £26,000-32,000, which certainly inspired multiple bids from several contestants.

Neither the 1999 ex-Colin McRae WRC Ford Focus ‘S10 FMC’ nor an Ari Vatanen 1993 Acropolis-campaigned Subaru Legacy RS Group A ‘K555 BAT’, previously in the Richard Burns Collection, failed to clear their £120,000 barriers.

However, a better-than-new 1968 Escort Twin Cam Mk1 that had been treated to a 2-litre alloy block BDG and ZF gearbox deservedly made £65,250. You could not have built such a high quality Escort for anything like this figure, let alone sourced a Mk1 Twin Cam donor.

Cooper Monaco and Renault 5

A 1960 Cooper Monaco T57 Mk2 Sports-Racer, prepared by Martin Stretton Racing, powered by a 2-litre Coventry Climax FPF engine and with the in-period benefit of Mk3 coil-sprung rear suspension by John Cooper, was hammered for £145,000. That was £15,000 below forecast, and cost the applauded winning bidder £163,130 with premium.

By contrast, the cheapest entry-level lot, for £1690 with premium, was a 37-year-old Renault 5 GTL which was originally built by Mark Fish Motorsport in 1981. Following recommissioning and safety equipment upgrades, it will be 750MC Classic Stock Hatch eligible.

Historic classic cars for sale now

Lola T210, Morgan and A35

Claimed to be the best sorted and currently the quickest Lola T210, this 1970 SL210, chassis 07, fetched £146,250. It's another one looked after by Martin Stretton Racing, and was a winner in 2017.

A premium-inclusive £57,380 bought an FIA Period G-compliant 1970 Morgan Plus 8 with 2011 GEE chassis, factory-renewed ash frame and 254bhp John Eales V8.

£19,690 bought the HRDC-spec Austin A35 with wild paint-job, which was pedalled by former Dragons' Den star Theo Paphitis.

Rally Datsun 240Z

Loads of sideways grunt for the money was provided by a fully loaded 1972 Datsun 240Z with original motor bored and stroked to 2.8-litre capacity. Painted and decaled in Nissan works 1972 Monte colours, the very well presented rally replica had been enthusiastically exercised on the Monte Carlo Historique in 2013 and 2014 without collecting a Col. Even with MSA-lapsed logbook and the now mandatory safety stuff out of date, this was one cool Z for the £25,880 paid.

A beautifully ground-up revived 1959 Fairthorpe Electron Sports on wires meanwhile was a more affordable alternative to a Turner Climax from the period for £22,500. It has many Herald/Spitfire-ish components, and the bonus of a Peter Waller-built 1220cc Coventry Climax engine under the bonnet.

Barn-find Ford Capri

And finally, a dusty ‘barn-find’ Capri 3.0 with such ye olde Group I clues as a Ford Motorsport shell with twin-filler necks and a large tank plus centre console switch panel, was sold ‘strictly as seen’ for £2930. Now there’s a vote of confidence in the future of fossil-fuelled motor cars!

Indeed, before sundown and my local had opened, a statistically encouraging 62% of the 29 ‘Competition Classics’ had changed owner-drivers, who parted with £891,070 including premium for 18 of them.

One year ago during the same warm-up session, which precedes Silverstone’s auction for mainstream classics at Race Retro, 68% of the 38 redundant race and rally cars on offer sold for £1,038,794.

Classic Cars for Sale