A taste of the auction scene down at Barons

| 7 Jun 2011


Popped down to Barons Auctions during lunch (its sales are hosted at nearby Sandown Park) to see what they had on offer at today’s auction and was reminded just how diverse the lots this provincial sale house pulls in are. Today’s sale was one of five local auctions we’ll be reporting on in the August issue of C&SC, which will have circa 250 results listed. The last few weeks have been a busy period on the auction scene with some lofty results (witness Bonhams’ recent £282k barnfind DB5 and RM’s €2.44m takings for a trio of Bertone concept cars at Villa d’Este) so it was great to test the water with some more grounded fare and catch up on industry gossip.

Sexing up the sale room from the off was this pair of Escort RS2000s  parked up at the entrance – both 1980 examples but only the yellow one (estimate £9 – 12,000) was pukka; the other was a rep but with all the rights bits including a roll cage, slippy diff and a dry-sumped (and seriously tweaked) Pinto lump up front. Which is why it had a £15 – 18,000 guide although that was evidently too high, despite the raft of go faster goodies: top provisional bid was only £13,750 while the yellow car failed to shift on the hammer at £8200. I suspect both will go through in the next day or two as both vendors and bidders temper their expectations.

There was more interest in another 1980s performance icon; a smart one-owner-for-the-last-20-years 1982 Porsche 911 Turbo put the trade into a spin as they battled it out before a late bidder snared it for £14,600. No not bad going considering the Porker’s £15 – 20,000 guide although the rostrum announcement that it had ‘just had a new turbo’ sounded more alarming than comforting as the Turbo on these is near bulletproof, according to word in the sale room.

The trade has been at it just a couple of lots before when an immaculate 1972 Alfa Romeo Spider crossed the block. Complete with a bills for an £11k restoration and a step-by-step illustrated account of where each quid went, this Kamm-tailed beauty looked good value. Which is exactly what its new owner – South London sculptor Jeff Lowe– thought when he happily bid £1500 over its £8500 – 10,500 guide to take it home for wife Monica, to the dismay of at least one trader who was already mentally clearing a space on his forecourt for the summer. 

Not everything flies off the rostrum like that, mind and Barons had its fare share of lots on offer for the second time round. When the re-runs are ubiquitous fare such as R107 Merc SLs or Jag MkIIs the guilty lots are hard to spot but unfortunately one of the sale’s star lots – a V12-engined and expensively upgraded 1959 Jaguar IX saloon – rather stood out. 

Especially when the bonnet was opened to reveal the 6.0-litre XJRS lump festooned with pipe work and electronics. Last sale Barons wanted £50 – 60,000k for this curvaceous saloon but only got a top bid of £44k which the vendor should’ve taken as this time as interest petered out at £32.5k. Either would’ve have been a bargain (if a seriously discreet wolf in sheep’s clothing set of wheels is your thing, that is) as the build costs were £80k+, I’m told.

Another cat that was hard to hide, and which failed to reach a previous bid from last time round, was an XKSS replica from a deceased estate. The RAM kit-based rep stalled £2500 off its £38 – 45,000 guide (it got to £40k last time) which the trade thought was strong money. It is indeed but, again, kit cars can swallow up tens of thousands if you start from scratch and want a half decent result that doesn’t shout Wickes from more than five yards.

Also making a comeback was an ultra-rare (in manual form) 1969 Daimler V8 250 which was snapped up at DVCA back in mid –March for £3200 on the hammer but failed to elicit a bid at Barons a month on. This time it got up to £3900, which wasn’t near enough to its £5500 – 6500 guide – strange as it looks fine value and a great entry into MkII ownership.

Barons always has a good slice of yank fare on offer and today’s sale was no exception with a smart ’54 Buick Roadmaster Convertible on offer for £28 – 32,000 (it made £26.5k provisionally and will no doubt go through) and a 55k-miles-from-new’65 Ford Thunderbird.

This one family-owned Jackie O era beauty pulled in a lot of interest thanks to its working Philips 45rpm record player. I didn’t get to hear it in action but it would no doubt have a job masking the rumble from the T-bird’s 300bhp 390ci lump up front!