Socialite’s AC Cobra to lead Coys

| 26 Jun 2013

A 1965 AC Cobra 289 MkIII that once belonged to ’60s hipster Tara Browne is expected to make £300-350,000 at Coys’ 29 June sale at Blenheim Palace.

Browne was heir to the Guinness Brewery fortune and known for hobnobbing with icons such as The Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

Aged 21, though, he ran a red traffic light at the wheel of his Lotus Elan, colliding with a lorry and dying from his injuries the following day.

The AC, meanwhile, has been with its present owner for four decades and comes with a comprehensive history detailing its maintenance.

Sharing the AC’s pedigree, if not its glamorous history, is a 1954 Jaguar XK120 that is expected to make £35-45,000.

The ex-California car sports a well-worn patina – which, given recent trends is sure to excite bidders – but is said to be ripe for restoration, being both rust free and original.

The latter means that it still has its optional (and rare) aluminium bucket seats.

A 1994 Audi Cabriolet 2.3E that once belonged to Diana Princess of Wales has stirred up much of the pre-sale hype and will likely exceed its extraordinary £20-25,000 estimate – more than 10 times the value of a similar model.

Bidders who can’t stretch to the ex-Browne AC may be interested in a 1965 Austin Mini Cooper Radford restoration project that shares a Beatles connection.

It was once owned by the band’s manager Brian Epstein and is expected to make £15-20,000.

The car stayed in Epstein’s name until 14 November 1966, when George Harrison’s brother, Peter, acquired it.

Other cars of interest include a 1990 Mercedes-Benz 500SL (£7-8000) that was delivered new to Sir Stirling Moss and one-of-two 1972 Guyson E-types (£50-60,000), but which has been converted back to its original specification and look.

View the full lot list on the auction house’s website.