Silverstone Auctions – May Sale 2021 – classic car auction preview

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Yesterday was a bit of a hectic day viewing both Silverstone Auctions (at Stoneleigh Park near Coventry), and Bonhams MPH (at Bicester Heritage), and meant a 300 mile round trip with plenty of traffic and rain). There is always a nice selection to see at Silverstone, though the hall was a lot less full than previously (mostly because the CCA sale isn’t happening on the same date, eliminating at least half of the volume). Between both auctions I can’t remember seeing so many Aston Martin DB6s in one day, and what that says for their share of the market I’m not sure.

The first car from the lot list that caught my eye was this 1973 Aston Martin V8 series 3, and not only because it was right by the door we entered through. This particular Aston is being offered with no reserve, and is in a rather nice colour combination I think. The Mendip blue paintwork presents nicely, as does the French Navy Blue and cream interior. I’ve previously said that I’m not a huge fan of light interiors, but when they look like this, I’m all for it. In 2016 the car underwent a £50,000 restoration, with work completed by both Aston Engineering and Chase Engines, and has apparently covered few miles since.

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Next up on my favourites list is lot 716, a 1958 Jaguar XK150, which is fitted with a 3.8 rather than its original 3.4 (though both the original engine and gearbox come with the car). That 3.8 litre engine isn’t completely standard either, as it is built to ‘club sport’ spec with a pair of 2” SU carburettors, and is fitted to an all synchro overdrive gearbox with a 9.5” clutch and competition gearing. This is a car built with long distance rallies in mind. Considering all of that, and the general condition of the car (which is lovely), I can’t help but think that the £60,000 – £70,000 guide is reasonable. I’m curious to see what it makes.

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Next up is perhaps an obvious one for me, a 1992 Jaguar XJR-S 6.0. I had one of these last year, although a decidedly higher mileage one. This one is also in better cosmetic condition, which it should be for a car with near enough half the mileage and a higher price. I think it should make the lower end of the £20,000 – £25,000 guide based on the car that The Market auctioned recently. That said, I do think they’re still very underpriced and a very special car to drive. I’d happily own another at some point (perhaps a manual converted one).

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Wildly expensive cars don’t always catch my eye, but this left hand drive Aston Martin DB2/4 mkIII Drophead Coupe was featured at Silverstone’s last sale and looks no less lovely in this one. This particular car is one of only 84 mkIII drophead coupe cars built, and was delivered new to Long Island, New York. It’s also be confirmed that it retains its original engine and colour scheme of Desert White paintwork with a red leather interior. Guided at £240,000 – £280,000 it certainly isn’t cheap nor affordable for the average enthusiast, but it is a little different to the collector’s favourites in the DB range.

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Lot 744 is a car that I’ve featured before, as it was at a previous Silverstone Auctions sale, and didn’t sell. This 1972 Maserati Mexico is absolutely wonderful, and is both a special and a rare car. I also think they’re undervalued against cars of a similar age from other manufacturers. This is one of six right hand drive, manual 4.7 litre cars built, and has only 17,000 or so miles on the clock. There are three files worth of history including a £150,000 restoration by CMC, which includes 250 pages and 1,000 photos detailing that restoration. The only sticking point is that the Speedo was exchanged and the new one has a false reading, which you’d have hoped would have been corrected. However, you get all of that car (and it is a handsome looking car), for a guide of £88,000 – £98,000. If only I had the money…

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Lot 745 is another Maserati, but I couldn’t feature the Mexico and not feature this 1972 Ghibli. This 4.7 coupe is perhaps the prettier car, and perhaps a more elegant one, but I think I’d prefer the Mexico in this case. That said, this Ghibli is a lovely thing, with low mileage of around 10,700 miles displayed. It is fitted with an automatic gearbox, which is part of the reasoning for my preference in choosing the Mexico. Grey cars and cars with tan interiors rarely appeal to me, but this is definitely an exception, as it provides a perfect combination. This car is guided between £145,000 – £165,000.

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Viewing cars at auction always provides a few surprises. Some are far better than their photographs, some are far worse, and some just hit you out of the blue. Lot number 760 falls into the latter category, and is my favourite car of the auction. It is a 1954 Austin-Healey 100-4 BN1 ‘100 S Homage’. The prices of big Healeys have dropped back a little in recent years, and though not all of them appeal to me, well modified examples like this are impossible to ignore. This is an original right hand drive BN1 car, first delivered to Car Mart, London in 1954. The engine has been configured to replicate an ‘S’ unit with a Weslake head and exhaust exiting under the right hand door. It is fitted with the correct 140mph speedometer, oil temperature gauge and Perspex screen, as well as slotted seats. Other modifications include a 5-speed gearbox, updated rear axle with limited slip diff, disc brakes on all four corners, telescopic dampers, an alloy radiator, a large capacity alloy fuel tank, and ‘drive-enhancing’ rack and pinion steering. I cannot think of a car at this auction I’d rather enjoy along country lanes, and at a guide of £45,000 – £55,000 I think someone could get a little bit of a bargain.

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