Brightwells’ brand-new Bicester Heritage auction got off to a flying start on 5 April with more than three quarters of lots – many of them dating from the pre-war period – getting away for a cumulative total of more than £1m.
Top price was paid for a 1923 Vauxhall OD 23/60 Kingston Tourer, which fetched an impressive £71,500. Despite spending some 27 years in storage, the car was the subject of an extensive restoration which included the addition of a new old stock cylinder head and complete rebuild of the wheels and radiator.
A 1927 Delage DIS Colonial Tourer was also hotly contested, soaring above its pre-sale estimate to sell for £49,500. The car sported its original Phizakerley of Sydney coachwork and milled aluminium dashboard, and was finished in a striking shade of powder blue.
Also exceeding its upper estimate was a 1927 Sunbeam 25HP Tourer, which had spent a large part of its life serving as a taxi and then as a breakdown truck during WW2 before being rescued and restored to its original condition in the 1960s. An East Anglian collector snapped up the elegant machine for £44,900.
Falling slightly short of the Sunbeam’s figure at £44,000 was a 1939 Hotchkiss 686 Monte Carlo Decouvrable. The stately French automobile was in an excellent state of preservation thanks to spending most of its days in the warm climate of Portugal.
In considerably worse condition was a 1931 Lagonda 2-Litre Low Chassis Speed Model Saloon, a rare survivor which had been in the care of a single owner since 1961. In need of recommissioning and sold as a non-runner, it nonetheless smashed its estimate to sell for £41,250.
Away from the pre-war selections, a number of later cars also sold well – led by a 1955 Jaguar XK140SE Coupé, which fetched £55,000 despite being a left-hand drive example. Meanwhile, a 1971 Jaguar E-type V12 automatic boasting a Forward Engineering-tuned 5.7-litre V12 brought in £42,900, though it required extensive recommissioning.
One of the most outlandish classics in the sale – a 1980 Rolls-Royce Camargue – sold for £31,900. One of just 531 ever built, it was showing just 64,000 miles on the clock.
Meanwhile, a whopping £11,770 was achieved by one of the most unassuming – a 1957 Citroën 2CV.