A 1976 Rover 3500 made a phenomenal £23,000 at South West Vehicle Auctions’ 29 April fixture.
Only 77 examples of the commemorative VIP special edition were built to mark the end of P6 production (one for each of Rover’s UK dealers), of which seven are believed still to survive. Subjected to a painstaking £40,000 restoration, the P6 was in superb condition throughout (although no longer in its original Brasilia Brown) but few people could have predicted the hammer price, which was almost three times the pre-sale estimate.
Other mass-market British models to make big money included a 1966 Riley Kestrel 1100. Presented in timewarp condition, the car had covered an amazing 728 miles from new (an average of only 14.5 miles a year). At £10,400 it was a whisker over its upper estimate.
A 1968 Kestrel 1300 that also appeared to be in fine condition, but which had 35,000 miles on the clock, made a far more affordable £3500. A bidding war over a lovely 1958 Wolseley 1500, meanwhile, led to a hammer price of £5250, well in excess of its £1900-2900 estimate.
Pre-war lots were thin on the ground in the 70-car sale, but the charming brush-painted Austin Seven Ruby looked delightful. The 1937 car had just emerged from storage, and was sold as a non-runner for £4000. A gorgeous 1935 Alvis Silver Eagle, meanwhile, offered wonderful patina. Estimated at £12,500-15,000, the lovely old four-door saloon with coachwork by Cross and Ellis made £13,500.
Oddest lot of the sale was a beautifully restored Jaguar Mk2 that had been fitted with a 2.8-litre Nissan turbo diesel (the original, rebuilt 3.8 ‘six’ was included in a crate). Estimated at £16-17,000, it sold for £36k, which was still considerably below the £60k spent on restoring it. Purists would have prefered the imposing, Irish-registered MkIX 3.8 automatic - the beautifully patinated Jag bid to £22k. A superb, unrestored 1972 Daimler Sovereign S1 2.8 (£5600) also looked awfully tempting.
A Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 confirmed that the market for high-performance ’80s and ’90s saloons continues to strengthen. Estimated at £8900-9900, it made £17,500. Other Mercedes included a very smart R107 280SL roadster (£15,400).
Biggest disappointment for our correspondent was a 1975 MG Midget 1500. Presented in oh-so-period purple, the car had a very straight shell but shabby interior. Estimated at £1500-2000, the hammer price of £2350 was a whisker over budget, so it won’t be joining the C&SC fleet as had been hoped. If any readers have a decent rubber bumper Midget that they are looking to part with for sensible money, let us know.