H&H IWM Duxford – May 2021 – classic car auction preview

A walk around video from yesterday’s auction preview at IWM Duxford.

It feels like a long time since I’ve been to an H&H auction, or to IWM Duxford, as their auctions have all been online for the past year or so due to CV19. It was nice to be back, however, and I always like seeing what is going on over on the airfield side as well as the cars. As with the other auctions, there is a lot on offer and a nice variety, too. My picks for this auction will mostly lean towards the older end of the spectrum, but perhaps that isn’t too surprising given the amount of pre-war cars on offer.

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First up is lot 11, a 1934 Riley 9 ‘Monaco’. Although I would prefer a Kestrel, I still think this is a sweet looking little car, with just enough of a sporting aesthetic to give away that this was a clever car for its time, featuring a 9hp, 1037cc twin cam four cylinder engine. This car has been well cared for since the current owner purchased it in 2005, with the ash body frame replaced in 2010, and the car repainted after that. The MOT history suggests that the car has covered less that 10,000 miles since 1978, which means it is the perfect opportunity for a new owner to get out and enjoy it properly. It is offered at no reserve.

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Next on my list is this 1982 Chevrolet C10 shortbed pick up, which I didn’t expect to like after viewing the auction catalogue online. However, the condition is really rather lovely, and warrants the £18,000 – £22,000 guide price. This truck has been restored and tastefully customised, and doesn’t look to have covered many miles since then, judging by the underside. The teal. over white paintwork may not be the most modern colour combination, but it does suit this well, and the truck also received a new interior to compliment the rest of the works. The 350 cu in (5.7l) V8 was sourced from a 1997 Chevrolet 1500 and is fitted with an Edelbrock intake. and carburettor, vortex heads and long tube headers, and combined with an automatic gearbox (you can’t have it all, the only disappointment for me was realising the gear stick only made it look like a manual, rather than actually being one). Freshly imported last year, this could be a nice purchase.

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Generally I prefer Bentley to Rolls-Royce, but it can be impossible to ignore a car like this 1975 Silver Shadow 1. Presented in beautiful condition all round, and with a very clean engine bay, this Rolls-Royce really is a lovely thing. The only frustration I have (other than the old tyres), is that it hasn’t had an MOT since 2017. While it is undoubtably a lovely car, and in fine condition, an MOT is still worth having. Yes, it is exempt due to age, but there really is no excuse for avoiding a test that is designed to keep you safe on the roads. Guided at £14,000 – £18,000, I’m very curious to see how much this car makes.

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Perhaps the most beautiful car in the auction, this 1949 Bentley MkVI ‘Pillarless’ Coupe by Freestone & Webb was just one of six cars bodied in this style. This car has spent a good portion of its life in the US, and also in the Alan Browne collection until 2017. More recently the car has been repainted, had its interior re-trimmed, wood veneer re-lacquered and the brightwork re-plated, none of which comes cheap. A new, bespoke stainless steel exhaust (manifold back) was created by Hayward and Scott, and other mechanical work was undertaken to ensure the car is in fine condition throughout. To my eye it is an incredibly elegant car in the way a standard MkVI saloon never has been, and the. £85,000 – £95,000 guide isn’t expensive for the exclusivity you’d be purchasing.

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Lot 71 is probably my favourite car of the entire auction, and also the car I’d been waiting to see since I spotted it in the listings a couple of months ago. This 1929 Rolls-Royce 20/25 Tourer was displayed at the 1929 Olympia Motor Show when new, and although it had a completely different body at that time (a H. J. Mulliner Weymann Saloon body), it is still a part of the car’s history and makes it a little special. The first owner was none other than Mr Alfred Sainsbury, which is a name that most of us will be able to recognise from the high street. This car is reportedly in fine mechanical condition and has been used on Continental Tours by the current owner, and I think the Tourer body suits it perfectly. Certainly a car for warm, sunny days with plenty of time to enjoy the journey. Guided at £45,000 – £55,000.

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I’m sure Ferrari owners would be happy to tell me that any version of a 208 isn’t powerful enough to pull the skin off of a rice pudding, and that even some forms of the 308 are nearly as bad, but this 208 GT4 is a pretty little thing. The Blu Chiaro Metallizzato paintwork is matched perfectly with the blue cloth interior to create a specification you’ll rarely see on a Ferrari. With only 170hp and even less torque, this little ‘Dino’ 208 certainly won’t be winning any traffic light drag races, but perhaps there is more to it than that. The £45,000 – £55,000 strikes me as punchy, but I like the car nonetheless.

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An R107 really is a rather odd choice for a chauffeur-driven car, but according to the listing, that is exactly how this 1974 450SL started life. A hand-written log reports the car’s movements during its time with its first owner, a. successful architect with offices in London and Lincoln, and was even used to ferry his wife to Harrods. The car stayed with its original family for the first twenty-six years of its life, and has had a further three owners since then, accruing only 54,000 miles and remaining mostly original with only minor works being carried out. This car mostly caught my attention because I thought it would look perfect next to my ‘Penguin’ XJ-S, but it is a lovely car in its own right. Guided at £25,000 – £30,000, I would rather have this car than the 500SLs in this sale.

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My final pick of the H&H auction is probably best described as a little ‘wild’, both for its appearance and its history. This 1924 Marmon ‘Six’ Single Seater has a very convoluted back story, much of which seems to be based on supposition and rumour, but it is interesting. There is apparently potential for this car to have been derived from a two-seater roadster that was crashed on October 11th 1924, killing the driver, chief test engineer Franklin Hall Marmon. That car was fitted with a new braking system, but lost control on loose gravel and overturned. It was subsequently recovered and after that point no one seems to be able to trace what happened to it. Some do believe it was scrapped apart from its unique engine, whilst others believe it was sold to Illinois and converted to a single-seat racer. The car you see here has an engine that doesn’t match any others built in period by Marmon, though the engine also cannot be confirmed to have been built by Marmon, either. To add to the mix there is another car in the US which claims to have been built from that original two seater. Quite why everyone seems to want to own the remnants of a killer car is quite beyond me. Surprisingly this car did undergo an MOT test in 1999 and was driven on the roads near the owner’s home, although his drive was apparently curtailed by the police escorting him home. I can only imagine it is an event to drive, although perhaps the road isn’t the best place for it. Guided at £20,000 – £30,000.

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