Market: £55m spent at UK classic car auctions in July!

It wasn't just the weather that was hot – the UK classic market was strong, with record sales, more than 600 cars sold and one company recording a 97% sale rate

Despite gloom-laden forecasts from the Governor of the Bank of England, £54.61m was invested in 621 classics at auction in July; 1012 cars crossed the block and the overall sale rate (where prices were published) averaged 61%.

There were buyers for all but two vehicles at the SWVA Drive Through just outside Poole, Dorset, where a month-leading 97% of vehicles sold, including a 1963 Vanden Plas Princess for £12,960, more than twice the lower estimate.

Most of the high value cars sold out in the Bonhams auction tent at the Goodwood Festival of Speed during a £32.3m afternoon, the auctioneers’ highest-grossing car sale in the UK. The results were led by the record £10.1m achieved for the 1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato ‘2 VEV’ and the John Surtees 1957 BMW 507 Roadster, which sold for £3.81m. But there was also the £365,500 paid for a 2014 Defender SVX Spectre, one of ten built by Land Rover SVO for the 2015 Bond movie •Spectre* (below), which was way over the £220,000-250,000 forecast.

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One of three Ferrari Dinos for sale at Goodwood however, a 1991 restoration of a 1973 GTS, failed to clear the £250,000 minimum sought. Meanwhile a 1973 GT needing cosmetic improvement made £199,740 and a 1972 GT project was taken on for £141,500.

In contrast, at the Silverstone Classic, a sympathetically restored 1972 GTS (below) estimated at £270,000-320,000 inspired a long bidding battle. It went to the winning couple for £343,125 with premium.

The Ferrari transaction monitoring HAG1-F meanwhile is the only Index of five such Historic Automobile Group International indices to have recorded any growth in 2018 so far. Although Ferrari prices fell by 0.44% in July, the HAGI-F has increased by 0.93% year to date.

Restoration projects continue to attract pre-sale publicity and duly sell for uneconomic prices. The latest barn-find – this suitably dusty numbers-matching 1962 E-type S1 3.8 coupé that had been asleep for 35 years in Moray, Scotland – was auctioned by H&H in Derbyshire at no reserve and briskly bid to £67,000, costing the buyer £75,375 with premium.

Another talking point H&H lot at Buxton was a one-family-owned-from-new 1967 Morris Mini 850 Super De-Luxe. It had covered just 36,000 miles, having been taken off the road in 1983. It was largely unmolested, with a quite extraordinary timewarp interior, and had remained well preserved in the same domestic garage for more than 50 years. It had been estimated to sell for £6000-8000, but raised £15,188 including premium.

Of the record 144 consigned cars parked around Buxton's Pavilion Gardens however, one of the most viewed items was a 1963 Rover 95. Uprated with overdrive, cruise control and power-assisted steering during a £120,000 restoration in 2002/3, and estimated at £9000-11,000, this Auntie P4 changed care homes for £16,988 with premium.

The smallest classic to sell for the highest auction price at the eleven sales reviewed was this minute 1963 Peel P50 restoration project, which made a giant-sized £49,500 at the Brightwells sale in Herefordshire. According to Brightwells, the Isle of Man-made microcar with psychedelic paint-job from the flower power era had once been used for'guess how many balloons it holds' competitions!

Peel Engineering’s fibreglass-bodied, DKW 47cc powered, one-seaters retailed for £199 in the 1960s. and you may recall that one was once memorably driven around the BBC TV offices by Clarkson on Top Gear. In March 2016, a Peel sold for $176,000 (£200,000) at the RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island, Florida – which makes even the impressive Brightwells sale pale into insignificance!

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