Most astonishing result at Bonhams' Beaulieu sale at the weekend came when a gorgeous 1953 Alfa Romeo 1900C 1st Series Sprint Coupé made a mammoth £152,700 against what looked like a perfectly reasonable estimate £60-80,000.
Sold during an auction in which as many cars passed £100,000 as passed £1million at RM over the next two evenings, the Italian wasn't quite top-seller – that honour went to a 1926 Sunbeam 3-Litre Super Sports 'Twin Cam' Tourer (above) that achieved £158,300 – but from a buyer point of view the Bonhams auction seemed a rich hunting ground for bargains and some wonderful curiosities.
Loads of usable classics were sold for anything from under £1000 to just a few thousand pounds. One potential steal that caught the C&SC team's eye was a 1962 Jaguar Mk2 3.4 manual/overdrive. Although in need of recommissioning, it looked a sound car with only 200 miles on its engine and sold for just £6900.
A 1934 Alvis Firefly SB Tourer also looked very good value at £23,575, while we were tantalised by the prospect of a 1947 Allard M15-litre dhc for £58,620.
Some of the other stand-out cars were a one-of-39 1948 Healey Duncan Sports Saloon for £37,950, an ex-Motor Show Rolls-Royce 40/50HP Silver Ghost (£113K) and a 1980 Silver Shadow Shooting Brake that belonged to John Entwistle of The Who (£43,700).
By far our favourite of the lots at the £2,825,448 auction was the Earl of Onslow's 1971 Savien TP3L39 4x4 Gun Bus. Powered by a 2.6-litre engine, it seats three abreast in the front and a further dozen 'shooters' behind. In need of recommissioning, it was snapped up for £805.
Don't expect similar prices at Bonhams' next sale, its blue riband Goodwood Revival fixture on Saturday.