Tough times for provincial auctions

| 27 Jul 2011

After a strong May and June (featuring RM's £20m Villa d'Este and Bonhams' £7.18m Festival of Speed sales) the local provincial auction industry has had to work its gavels to bring home the bacon in what is a traditionally (in the run-up to the heady results from Monterey week) a fallow period.Six auction houses put 470 cars under the hammer but their respective results were tempered by a string of near 50% sale rates that meant barely one out of every two cars found new homes.Brightwells was first up with its 13 July sale at its Leominster base, where it took £650,000 from 59 cars. Top seller was a Jaguar XK150S Roadster at £78,100 (one of just 93 Roadsters built in right-hand drive form), closely followed by its successor - a nut-and-bolt restored 1961 Jaguar E-type Roadster  - at £58,300. An equally pristine and freshly-rebuilt 1970 Porsche 911S 2.2 made similar money at £51,500 but Brightwells struggled to get a 1972 T variant (below) away at £13,500 - with bidding dampened by the car's Sportomatic semi-auto transmission.

Other bargains extended to a 1991Ford Sierra XR4x4 (below) that had bills for £11k of upgrades yet sold for just £1350 and a humble1990VW Golf Driver in automatic form made a mere £650. More buoyant was at a pre-production1980 Triumph TR8 Convertible with 37,000 on thew clock that made £6950.

Talk of the sale was Brightwells barnfind1948 Invicta Black Prince Drophead Coupe that sold for £20,000 to a French buyer while a BMW Isetta (£6500) was another novelty.

Three days on Coys with a claimed a monumental £2.94m at its traditional Jaguar marque sale at Blenheim Palace on Saturday 16 July although top result didn't go to a Coventry car but the ex-Duke of Kent's 1931 Bentley 8-litre (below) that made £600,000. Also strong was a 1934 Bentley 4 1/2-litre sold for £180,000 while the £133,000 taken for a Jaguar E-type ensured that the marque didn't let the side down.

Charterhouse's 17 July sale had some bargains among some standout results: a 1972 MGB GT made £1600 and a 1977 Bentley T2 and 1975 BMW 1602 - both in need of decommissioning - made £1900 and £920.New kid on the block Silverstone Auctions had a tough time at the Silverstone Classic on 23 July following the news that its star lot - the ex-James Hunt 1975 F1 Hesketh - was sold by private treaty a couple of weeks before the sale. It's £400-475,000 estimate would've boosted the sales takings.

The same week, H&H offered 87 cars at its long-running Pavilion Gardens venue on 22 July with an uprated blood orange AC Cobra MkIV (below) taking top slot at £81,400 and a pair of rare La Salles - a 1929 328 Coupe and a 1930 340 Saloon - making £26,400 and £16,500 respectively.

H&H also did a strong trade in 1960s British sports cars with a 1958 Austin-Healey 100/6 selling for £27,775 and a 1968 MGC Roadster making £17,325 while a Sunbeam Tiger (below) looked good value at £19,800.

Last up was Barons with its 26 July sale which featured 61 diverse lots although Baron's provisional sale results had just 21 down as 'sales'. Early interesting results included a 1973 BMW 2002 £5280 and a concours1963 Ford Zephyr at £6800 while a 1971 Jaguar E-Type V12 Roadster provided the top result at an entirely market correct £46,200.