Auction Watch – January 2019

Posted: January 29, 2019 by The Car Spy in Auctions, General
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

1969 Jaguar E-Type Series II Roadster

January 2019 was unpredictable. Brexit, the weather, the economy, post-Christmas retail sales figures and credit card bills hang heavy in this month but the predictable part is that the first day of Spring draws ever-closer and each day passed adds another minute of extra daylight. Woohoo!

Another predictable event is the start of the car auction calendar and as usual The Car Spy is keeping a keen eye on activities to see what clues we can glean from the state of the car market here in the UK and then next month in Europe.

Car auctions are probably the best indicator of car values we can refer to when it comes to the buying and selling of cars. If we had a British Pound for every time we were told by a seller that their car was ‘worth “x” all day long’ then yours truly would be sitting on a super-yacht in Monaco whilst writing this post.

Reality is an unpleasant experience when it comes to a market correction in car values but it is unavoidable. For the past ten years we have seen astonishing prices paid for sometimes very mundane models (in our opinion) and excessive premiums paid for the privilege of owning certain new models.

We just hope that those who came in at the top of the market have bailed out by now because the indications are that the market has ‘softened’. That’s the polite way of describing it anyway.

How do we know? Apart from being in the business of buying and selling cars we have past experience of market corrections and the old adage of ‘what goes up must come down’ applies to the car market too and it’s happening right now.

There are always exceptions of course and top-end Ferrari’s, Porsche’s, vintage marques and super-rare, low-volume examples will always be considered as works of art by wealthy collectors. That much is unlikely to change.

Curiously though, most Ford’s seem to be doing surprisingly well at auction which is certainly bucking the mainstream trend.

So the auction year has started in earnest anyway and the Autosport International Sale is a key kick-off event in the UK series of selling activity.

With just over 60 cars on sale offering a good cross-section of choice for almost all tastes of car buyers from the experimental VW XL1 to a Lola F3000 T90/50 there was, however, understandably a larger proportion of race-prepared/works cars in the sale given that the auction took place at the Autosport show.

So what did we learn from the sale? Well there were probably more unsold Porsche’s than we expected, including an appealing 2010 997 Gen 2 GT3 RS, and there were some obvious bargains in the sub-£100k category including a 1973 911E at £28,125 with some impressive rally provenance.

The fact is however, we suspect that the auctioneers were pretty disappointed with the number of unsold lots in general. Not a good start to the year and we suspect that the reserves set on the cars are beyond what the market wants to pay right now. There’s another clue for all of us.

The aces in the sale? An ex-works 1966 Ford Lotus Cortina that sold for a whopping £168,750 and a 1985 MG Metro 6R4 which sold for exactly the same amount!

Our favourites? A 1966 Sunbeam Tiger Mk 1A that sold for £36k, a 1992 Ford Sapphire Cosworth 4×4 at £20813 and a gorgeous 1972 BMW 2002 that was unsold (reserve too high?)

And so we have a mixed start to 2019 so far but the indications are that reserves are still being set at too high a level for the market mind-set. On to the next auction sale!

Check out the full results of the Autosport Sale here



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