Classics smash estimates at Silverstone sale


A 1975 Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 MFI Coupé and a 1952 Land-Rover Series I 80” were the subject of frantic bidding at Silverstone Auctions’ 23 May event, with both cars getting away for well above their pre-sale estimates. 

Interest in the 911 was expected to be strong due to the car being with its original owner since new, and clocking up just 55,000 miles in that time – partly as a result of being taken off the road in 2008. It far surpassed its £95,000 lower estimate to make £146,250.

Sold as a restoration project, there was rust evident on the bodywork, while the green paintwork was described as ‘faded almost down to thin metal’. Despite the work that was clearly required, the bodyshell had never been welded, while the original sunroof and right-hand-drive configuration made it something of a rarity. 

A Ken Wheelwright-restored Land-Rover Series I also performed better than expected, flying past its £28,500 upper estimate to sell for £39,375. The legendary restorer breathed new life into a number of Land-Rovers now in the firm’s own collection, including the Series IIA presented to Maurice Wilks following his retirement, and his involvement in Silverstone’s car had a clear influence on the bidding. 

As part of the restoration, the original chassis was galvanised, the engine was rebuilt and rebored, while the bodywork was finished in its factory shade of Deep Bronze Green. 

Considerably more modern, but just as desirable was a 2001 BMW M Coupé, which achieved £36,563 – more than £11,000 above its upper-estimate. The breadvan-style BMW was one of the most collectible of its type, sporting the S54 engine shared with the E46 M3. 

The car had covered 57,500 miles since new and was sold with a long MoT and a comprehensive history file. 

Though not quite as quick on the road, a 1967 Austin Mini Cooper was just as speedy to sell, with the hammer falling at £30,375 – comfortably higher than its £22-24,000 estimate. 

The car was bought by the vendor when he was just 17, and was restored over a period of five years before being campaigned in hillclimbs and sprints until the turn of the century. An accident at Brands Hatch resulted in a second rebuild with a raft of supporting receipts, including more than £12,000 for bodywork.

Also coming out of long-term ownership was a 1967 Austin-Healey 3000 MkIII, which was estimated at £20-25,000. The car was bought in 1971 and has spent the past 40+ years being driven on European tours, including the vendor’s honeymoon to Sicily in ’71. 

The well-travelled Healey was snapped up for £32,625. 

A beautifully patinated Mercedes-Benz 190SL barnfind may have only beaten its £50,000 upper-estimate by £625, but it certainly held the attention of the room. The car was laid up in 1977 and, though the red leather interior looked very salvageable, the engine was seized. 

Equally intriguing was a 1971 600 SWB Limousine from the same manufacturer. The imposing vehicle was a comparative bargain, falling just shy of its lower estimate at £43,875. 

Also failing to reach its estimate was a 1965 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III, which was bought for £27,563. The car had 82,289 miles on the clock and had undergone a great deal of work in the past nine years, including a bare-metal respray, a new fuel tank, and a reconditioned engine. 

Click here to see the full list of auctions results




As a boy I bought my first copy of CAR for 2 shillings and 6 pence in 1967. I have watched and read about cars ever since - and owned and driven a few (37 I think, at current reckoning). I now despair at seeing Classic Cars metamorphosed from vehicles and the coveted possessions of enthusiasts into 'art' and 'investment'. This movement began years ago but like all things, it's always a matter of extent. And now everything is an 'experience', unique and above criticism. Don't dare use the word ICONIC - since these things are NOT RELIGIOUS ARTEFACTS! Let us take three examples from your report. A drivable Rolls-Royce, a prestige luxury car, amongst the finest available, maintained and renewed, fails to reach an estimate LOWER than the price achieved for a Mini. Forget provenance, titled owners or the fact that Zaza Gabor's Pekinese once defecated on the back seat of the Mini (or any such spurious piece of 'Mystique' concerning), the Mini was a cheap and cheerful runabout, the RR a car for the elite! When markets become this skewed, the reasons are normally that certain agents are exploiting them. Then the MB 190SL, 'patinated' - a euphemism for clapped- out and with a seized engine - for 50 grand?! When realism returns and the over- leveraged whim buyer disappears, this is a market begging for the 'correction' it will receive. All of which is no comfort to those of us who love cars - AND DRIVING.

Add your comment

  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <p> <br> <img>
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

You must be logged in to comment
Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.