Historics at Ascot – classic car auction preview – May 2021

A walk around video of the auction preview, which can give you a better look at some of the cars on this list.

It only seems like last week that I was wandering around Ascot looking at the previous Historics sale, and in reality it wasn’t all that long ago due to COVID constraints. It’s always nice to see a blend of cars, even though Historics is relatively high end. I’ve picked out a few favourites, for various reasons, and as always some cars appealed more in person than they did in the catalogue, and that’s just one reason it’s important to view a car before you bid on it.

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First up is a rather nice little Renault 4L, which looks decidedly older than 1992. I keep my eyes peeled for one that could be fun to modify a little, but this one is much too nice for that. This late build car was originally constructed in what is now Slovenia, and cars like this were constructed until 1994, which is quite incredible really. This no reserve car could quite easily be a bargain, and I think it’s very appealing.

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Next up is a car that I believe I’ve seen before, at a H&H auction at IWM Duxford. This 1950 Chrysler Newport Town & Country is an unusual and lovely thing, with only 698 ever built and it’s believed that only two currently reside in the U.K. Considering this car is also rare for its black on black spec, I suspect that it’s probable that this is the car I saw, and I’ll have to have a look and see if I can find the result. The catalogue describes the interior as in time warp condition, and never restored, however I do seem to remember a split in the driver’s seat (though it was lovely otherwise). It’s recommended that the car undergoes some light recommissioning work before it is used, as it has previously spent time in a museum in Germany. Guided at £30,000 – £38,000.

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Lot 139 is a rather sporty looking 1930 Alvis Silver Eagle, and is described as a competitive track car which is suitable for VSCC events and was restored in 2005, after having stood since 1967. The engine was dyno-tested after being rebuilt (with a dry sump set up fitted), and produced a rather healthy 144hp, which I’m sure is enough to thrill or terrify most drivers. Not only is this a competitive car, but it’s also road legal, meaning there is no excuse not to use it and make up for all of those lost years. The chassis was shortened to nine feet, and the front axle lightened, along with many other modifications. The two seats are just about squeezed into the narrow body, and I’m not sure I’d manage to fit in either of them, though I’d love to try. This car is guided between £72,000 – £82,000.

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My next pick is this 1934 Rolls-Royce 20/25 by Atcherly. It isn’t the most conventionally attractive Rolls of the era, but it has a certain charm to it, and is quite majestic to my eyes. This car has been well loved, and nicknamed ‘Ada’. The car has been used properly, with many tours including a 4,000 mile trip around New Zealand (with photographs in the history file). Historics also mentions that they took this car for a short test drive and note that this may well be the best driving example of a 20/25 that they have seen. The registration plate also comes with the car, and is viewed as integral to the car’s history. In this case it seems that you have to be good enough for the car, rather than the car being good enough for any potential buyers. A guide of £39,000 – £44,000 doesn’t seem totally unreasonable, either.

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A car that surprised me was this 1995 Ferrari 456 GT, as they rarely appeal to me on looks alone (I tend to prefer the 550 or 612). The reason I liked this car more than others was because it has a manual gearbox. I still believe the guide of £52,000 – £60,000 is ambitious, but I’m curious to see what it makes. Black paintwork with a black interior doesn’t seem like the most inspired choice, but then it’s rare to see one of these in a truly nice colour. It would look great in either red or yellow though….

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It wouldn’t be a proper post without a project car, and while even I steered well clear of the 1969 Mercedes 600 SWB, this gorgeous little 1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale by Bertone was just too pretty to ignore. For me, this is just such a beautifully styled car which looks both lovely and unusual from every angle. This car can also trace its lineage back to the bold BAT design studies of the 1950s, and perhaps it’s worth viewing it as a more affordable younger generation of one of those cars. This car is also fitted with a 1300cc twin cam unit which I am a particular fan of, and no doubt will sound fantastic when this car is fully restored. Surely this no reserve car will attract a large number of bidders and won’t sell cheaply, but I’d love to own it nonetheless.

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Next up is another Italian beauty, but this time in the form of a 1962 Lancia Flaminia GT Coupé, one of my all time favourite cars. This particular car has been the focus of a £100,000 restoration, and presents beautifully. It’s hard to pick just one favourite from this auction, but this car is certainly in my top three, and I’d rather buy this than some of the ‘more desirable’ cars in this auction. The guide is £79,000 – £92,000.

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The most modern car to feature in this list (which isn’t altogether surprising give that its a classic car auction), is this 2000 Lotus 340R, which looks completely wild, and suits its ‘YOB’ number plate very well. It probably isn’t too much of a shock to see that the mileage is only 10,860 from new given the open nature of the car and the fact it’s British registered. I can’t remember the last time I saw one of these, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen one on the move. I can only imagine it’s great fun to see the faces of other drivers. This car is guided at £42,000 – £52,000.

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Possibly my favourite car of the entire auction (balanced against the Flaminia and project Alfa Romeo), is this 1968 Maserati Quattroporte Series II, which just oozes class and appeal. This is a reasonably guided, and original factory right hand drive manual car. Not much is known about the first years of the car’s life, but owners can be traced back to 1984, with more history starting from 1998. This car has lived a large portion of its life in Australia, and was originally produced in late 1969 (despite the catalogue listing it as a 1968 car). This car is guided at £45,000 – £55,000.

The QP ends my own list for this auction, though I could have picked a few more quite happily. I’ll be curious to see what these cars make, and if any of them were particularly affordable against their guides.

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