We are certain the location of Poole in Dorset helps SWVA Classic Car auctions always draw in an eclectic mix of cars for sale. Their first auction of 2019 was no different. Let’s have a look. We’ll also see if we can make any predictions on where the classic car market is heading in 2019.
Lot 14. A cracking low owner, genuine 26,000mls Metro Mayfair gets us off to a super start. All very original, complete with book-pack, keys, and all MOT’s. As you would expect it was in lovely condition. Sold £1,700. We thought that was a cheap car.
Lot 18. Nothing spectacular about this Mk3 Escort 1300L. But because of the Mk 3’s propensity to dissolve from the engine bay backwards in front of the owner’s very eyes, good original ones like this with only 30,000 miles are becoming somewhat scarce. Perhaps buoyed by the Fast Ford rise in prices, this little Escort sold well for £3,150.
Lot 19. A 1970 NSU Prinz 4, no less. The Prinz 4 was the updated version, we’ll be honest the Prinz 1, 2 & 3 passed us by. In its day, the Prinz 4 could do 0-60 in 38 secs! Despite most buyers at the auction not being able to tell the front of the car from the back, us included, it attracted considerable interest. After all the excitement subsided, we were pleased to see it had sold for £3,000. Funny old market isn’t it. But we could not help thinking, should have bought the Escort….
Lot 27. This 1967 Triumph 1300 was very interesting. It was a significant car for Triumph and their parent company, Leyland. It was their first front wheel drive car. In the 60’s BMC which was then distinct and separate from Leyland produced the Mini and various others. This Triumph was also interesting because of its remarkable all-round condition. It had 3 owners, a good doc pack and the 35,000 looked like it could be genuine. Sold. £4,300.
Lot 33. A Renault 5 GT Turbo. Here we go! What a crazy car these were back in the day. This one looked in fine fettle even with 103,000mls on the clock. It presented as original and relatively un-battered which was unusual for one of these. Sold. £7,700.
Lot 37. A 1968 Austin Light Van. Regular readers will know we do love a van. You’ll also know the vans tend to make a premium to the same model car. This Austin had led a comfortable life, spending most of its years in a Motor Museum in Henlow. The mileage on the speedo showed 42,000. With a battery as big as the A-Series engine, was the owner trying a crude attempt at hybrid technology? We were expecting good things. Sold. £5,200. Good value.
Lot 48. A very, very lovely Frogeye. Fully restored, with a photographic record. Bulging history file. Boxes of spares. Heritage Certificate. What was there not to like. Sold. £13,500.
Lot 50. A slight Hobby Horse of ours, which will climb down off quickly, we promise. A Capri 280 Brooklands. Very popular at the moment. Good ones reaching north of £20,000. This one had a Guide Price of £9-10,000. Alarm bells were ringing. The Auctioneer’s Note advised it was a previous insurance Write Off. In our view, not universally accepted we know, if it wasn’t deemed suitable to go back on the road it should have gone to great car park in the sky, via the car crusher. Pleasingly, the room took the same view. Did not sell.
Lot 55. Mini Cooper S Mk3. It needs no intro from us. In our 2018 Review (on our website) we did say one of the Top Five Cars NOT to buy in 2019 was the Cooper, as prices of £30k+ were over-inflated – except that is for the Mk3. We cannot understand why no-one likes the Mk3. It is a great Cooper. This S was in top nick. To us it looked like some smart buyer grabbed a bargain. Sold £17,000. In 2019, buy a Mk3 Cooper S!
Lot 56. An MGB GT V8, hmmmm. This V8 had a Holley 290 conversion along with Vitesse heads and Piper cams. Very nice. At some point it had a colour change too. Both those mods might have put some buyers off from an otherwise very nice V8. Sold. £12,000.
Lot 58. A 1972 Mk I Mexico in Olympic Blue. Having good deal of money lavished on it with numerous period modifications focused mainly around the engine with some suspension updates. Other than that the car was very original. A Note from the Auctioneer said “this is probably the best Mexico on the market today”. Given the acceleration of Fast Ford prices we expected big things of this car. Sold. £28,500. A wedge of money but not as much as we anticipated.
What to make of these sales and can any conclusion be drawn. The first thing to look at is data. The vast majority of the 70 cars at this auction featured cars up to £10,000. A few between £10-15 and literally a handful in the £20+ bracket. Additionally, the cars for sale were what we would call good solid, practical classics, MG’s Fords, Austin, Triumphs, Mini’s etc from the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s.
The market up to £10k in our view, is mainly enthusiastic enthusiasts! Not professionals, not collectors, not crazy get-rich-quick investors. And everyone loves a “Brit” classic.
Without fail at every auction we see a car that takes everyone by surprise and sells for a stand-out price over and above what was expected. That was absent here. There was a Jensen which sold into the £30k bracket, we feel that was a good price, but not unexpected. There was also a smashing MGC GT that sold for nearly £27k. These have been under-valued for some time. Good ones sell for £17-20k. This was a nut & bolt restore after 30yrs in storage, hence a small premium.
If we stuck our neck out a bit, we’d probably say most cars here sold a little under expectations. The MGB V8 was one example, another was the superb Mexico. If we stuck our neck out a bit further, we’d say buyers were a little cautious, discerning might be a better word.
It is far too early to draw solid conclusions. But taking the last quarter of 2018 and Jan 2019 together, we sense there is a touch more reality taking hold of the market. That is a good thing. Mini Cooper’s and Mk 1 Escorts pushing £35k + simply prices all of us enthusiasts out of the market. Of course, without all of us, there is no market!
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