Biggest ever barnfind sale breaks million mark

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More than one million pounds changed hands during Silverstone Auctions' inaugural Restoration Show sale at the NEC in Birmingham on 12 April.

In total, 87 lots were offered, ranging from the fully rebuilt to complete restoration projects, but the majority of cars needed considerable work.

Among the long-forgotten treasures on offer was a 1969 Aston Martin DBS Vantage that doubled its pre-sale estimate at £51,175, while a 1970 DBS V8 finished at £49,295, a whisker away from also doubling its upper estimate.

Also selling well was a barnfind 1958 Jaguar XK150 dhc. It crossed the block at £62,100, comfortably beating its upper estimate of £45,000.

The other major talking point was a 1939 Lagonda V12 with Hooper coachwork, which was estimated at £75-100,000. However, it never made it to the auction hall after being sold in advance of the public offering. A spokesman for Silverstone Auctions said: "The auction house do not usually accept pre-auction sales but due to the gravitas and strength of the offer, and in full consultation with the vendor, it was impossible to ignore."

The offer was described as a significant six-figure sum.

A 1962 Facel Vega HK500 turned the greatest profit, eventually selling for £64,400; it was expected to fetch just £34,000. While restoration looked like it would be a mammoth undertaking, it was in fact largely complete, barring the wraparound windscreen. Despite the work required, the impressive figure achieved was undoubtedly helped by the rarity of right-hand-drive models.

Also posting a good result – double its lower estimate – was a 1985 Lamborghini Jalpa that made £40,825 on the day. It had just 47,706km on the clock and was a rarity due to being right-hand drive.

A 1968 Austin Mini Wildgoose motor caravan sold for £8863. It was one of only 50 built between 1964-68, and was created by removing the rear bodywork from an Austin Mini, extending the wheelbase by six inches and widening the track. The hinged roof allowed enough room to sleep up to three adults and included a gas cooker, sink and wardrobe.

Again doubling its lower estimate was a 1983 Fiat X1/9 Bertone, which had covered just 2370 miles from new. It reportedly had spent the past eight years in storage and quickly reached its upper estimate of £10,000, before selling for £17,940.

Not everything sold for mega money; there were plenty of bargains for those not afraid to get their hands dirty.

A 1989 Ford RS Sierra Cosworth looked good value at £3450. Though it last turned a wheel in 2007, a thick history file showed an engine rebuild only four years earlier. It seemed to be a straightforward and rewarding project.

Just £1610 was all that was needed to take home a 1972 Daimler DS420 Limousine. It had been off the road for three years, but remained a tempting project.

A brace of 1968 Jensen Interceptors sold for £3565 and £4600 respectively, though both would have needed considerably reconditioning. A Mk2 example from the following year sold for £1510.

Despite being a Restoration Show sale, there was plenty on offer that required little more than a regular polish.

A 1953 Citroën Traction Avant 11B was in stunning condition having been fully restored in 2000. Its unleaded conversion and Kevlar brake linings made for a practical proposition, and it was no surprise when it beat its upper estimate and sold for £17,250.

A 1959 Triumph TR3a was bang on the money, selling for £18,400. The right-hand-drive conversion was fully rebuilt in 2007 by TR Bitz of Warrington and was still in fine condition.

TV stars also made an appearance at the sale, with Arthur Daley's 1981 Daimler Sovereign 4.2 Series III selling for £15,525, just over its upper estimate of £15,000.

Also from the world of television was a 1969 electric milk float that starred in Eastenders for a number of years. Sold in barnfind condition, it bore the insignia of the fictional Walford depot. The hammer eventually fell at £2300.

The next sale will be on 24 May at the Silverstone circuit. 

 

 

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