Archive for the ‘Auctions’ Category


If you had met your mates for a drink in the local and told them you had just bought a car that could reach 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and could max out at 217 mph do you think they could guess the make and model? Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren etc would be the obvious candidates until you mentioned that it was built in 1992, and it’s a Jaguar XJ220.

The all-aluminium XJ220 was a car that made umpteen records and even by today’s hypercar standards the numbers still look impressive. A Nurburgring lap time of 7:46 set by the XJ220 was unbroken from 1992 until 2000 and the car’s twin-turbo V6 produced 540hp which in the early 90’s was akin to selling a Formula One racer to Joe Public. But it didn’t sell.

The story of the V12 proposed for the XJ220 being ditched in favour of the V6 at the eleventh hour is well-documented and for supercar-wannabes the smaller engine was a faux pas. The fact that it made the car actually go faster than originally intended was ignored by both prospective buyers and the press. Interesting that here we are today hearing about twin-turbo V6’s ultimately replacing traditional V12, V10 and V8 powerplants to save weight and become more fuel-efficient. The XJ220 could achieve 32 miles per gallon which made it the most economical car produced by Jaguar at the time. And still it didn’t sell.

So what really was behind the cancelled orders and the grand total of only 271 cars being produced? Simple – price.

When the XJ220 was launched in 1992 the list price in the UK was £470,000 including vat. That is over £100k more than you might spend on an Aventador SV today. The development costs crippled the project and nonetheless had to be recouped but buyers just couldn’t stomach the outlay. Great car but not at any price.

However, prices for XJ220’s have long-since hit rock-bottom and buying one for around £100,000 was something that occurred about 10 years ago. Now they are heading for £300k+ territory. The market has woken up to the fact that the XJ220 rightly deserves a place in the automotive history books and is a proper icon that moved the game on in its day.

The XJ220 is big and has presence. The styling is svelte and will draw crowds parked in a High Street even parked next to a LaFerrari. It is comfortable and very easy to drive (just avoid country lanes because it is wide, very wide). Most XJ220’s today have covered seriously low mileages and time is running out to buy at less than 1992 prices – the car is an absolute bargain.

We have spotted a 1994 Silverstone Green example with less than 3000 miles on the clock complete with what looks like great service history and provenance on sale in the Silverstone auction on the 27th/28th February here. The sales estimate is less than £300k so this could be a good opportunity for somebody looking to acquire a decent XJ220.

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In the meantime here is Jay Leno having his first encounter with an XJ220….


There are too many icons from the 1970’s but some will remain in our minds forever. Glam-rock, flares, tank-tops and the Lamborghini Countach are freeze-framed for eternity.

Any self-respecting petrol-head with a spare bedroom wall to hang the Athena posters on would have given centre-stage to the one featuring the Countach. The car was white and it was car-porn. Yours truly remembers it well.

Even better than having the poster was to one day see a Countach in the flesh and one day it happened, in Carnaby Street (or very near that at least). The car was red and matched the owner’s jacket. It attracted a large crowd and the sound ‘Wow’ was repeated constantly which roughly translated is what ‘Countach’ meant if you came from the Piedmont region in Italy. A visitor from Mars may just have well landed in front of us.

Today, the car is still likely to get the same reaction. Not because of its outrageous design but more so that it comes from the past. From around 40-odd years ago in fact. That is what boggles the mind these days. Park one next to a Pagani Huayra and see which car attracts the most attention. Have another look at the sharp, angular detailing of the design and then take a close look at the Aventador. The genes are obvious and the Countach set the blue-print for most Lamborghinis that followed it.

In its day the Countach was no slouch but by today’s hypercar standards a 0-60 mph time of slightly less than 6 seconds and a top speed of 160 mph seems a bit laid-back and more comparable to modern-day hot hatch performance figures. However, if road presence is a major factor then a Countach has it by the spade-full and not only did the car look sensational it sounded mental too.

A few decades ago nobody really gave a damn about how noisy your car was. Cherry-bomb exhausts and sawn-off silencers were high priorities for a spotty-faced adolescent looking to impress his mates in the pub car park. The louder the better so it went back then.

A Countach’s V12 woke up with a war-zone explosive sound that could vibrate the inside of your rib-cage. It was feral and primeval and made your neck-hairs stand upright. It was glorious and it attacked all of the senses. This is what made the Countach a hero of its day.

Today, the Jimi Hendrix of the car world is more likely to be found posing at a classic car event or sitting in an auction room as eye-candy for investment opportunists. It is likely that most owners of the few that were made have ever driven them, at least if they have then not very far. And who would want to anyway? On the UK’s congested roads and tight parking spaces the Countach would be a pig to navigate. The letter-box view from the cockpit and virtually no rearward vision would make for a very stressful driving experience let alone the recurring nightmare of damaging your very expensive purchase.

So how much would you have to pay for one today? Up until only a few years ago it was possible to buy one for well under £100k. Today you would need to spend at least double that for a decent example. It is strange that such an important car as the Countach would have arrived so late to the ‘appreciating classics’ scene but now it seems the sky is the limit depending on which model is up for sale. An early 70’s car with solid-gold provenance could probably write its own cheque.

Not many do come on the market but on the 26th – 28th February Silverstone Auctions will be featuring a rare right hand drive 1981 LP400S which was originally purchased by a certain Tim Dutton Woolley of Dutton Cars fame. The car appears to have a decent recorded history with plenty of paperwork to support the work carried out on the car over the years including various colour changes. The current-day Pearl Yellow finish suits this Countach and is a good match for the Oatmeal leather interior. Just look at those dinky 15″ Campagnolo wheels too!

Yep, still in love with the Countach so it seems that The Car Spy is about to make another poster purchase.

For more details of this Countach click here take a look at the information on the Silverstone Auction site

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Fifty years ago Ford launched a car that they thought would take away some of the market share that BMC were stealing with their revolutionary Mini. Instead their brand-new ‘Consul Cortina’ created a marketplace all of its own which has pretty much endured to this day in the form of the current Mondeo and the multitude of similar-sized cars from most of the world’s manufacturers – all chasing the same market segment.

Their Cortina (still not sure why they insisted on using the ‘Consul’ moniker) appealed to the 2+2 family of post-war Britain that were hungry to escape the dark past of two world wars and were ravenously consuming the renaissance in music and design that was taking place during the 1960’s. Think Beatles, Mary Quant, Conran and the beautiful E-Type Jaguar as part of a tidal wave of newness that knocked the population off its feet.

The Cortina offered the family man in 1962 a car with clean, modern lines, (relatively) willing engines and performance for a reasonable amount of his hard-earned Pounds, Shillings and Pence – ‘new’ money didn’t come along along until the early 70’s. But there was more to come.

Ford had created a GT version of the Cortina with lowered suspension and – wait for it – 78 BHP over the standard 1500cc engined car which produced a weedy-sounding 60 BHP. Today of course we would expect more power from a sit-on lawnmower but in those days there were very few road cars that would achieve more than 100 BHP. Anything on offer to the general public producing more than that would have fallen very much into the ‘sports car’ category and was often far too expensive for ordinary folk. The Cortina did indeed put a smile on Family Guy’s face.

I had an uncle who once owned a Cortina GT and he drove it hard and fast. I blame that particular car for the love affair I developed later on in life for all things Ford including a Cortina 1600E, a 3.0S Capri in Daytona Yellow and a Scorpio Cosworth (sigh).

Four individuals were the catalyst for the birth of the Lotus Cortina – Colin Chapman, Harry Mundy, Walter Hayes and Keith Duckworth.

Colin Chapman owned Lotus with all of their chassis engineering expertise; Harry Mundy was an engine designer who joined Lotus from Coventry-Climax; Walter Hayes was head-honcho at Ford and Keith Duckworth a highly talented engine tuner (ex-Cosworth).

The four men created the cocktail of ingredients that created a true ‘sports saloon’ that distanced itself from its cousin the Cortina GT and its nearest rival the Mini Cooper. Press reviews were full of praise for the car’s handling and road-holding capabilities comparing it to the track-day Lotus 7 at the time.

On the track the Lotus Cortina inevitably blew everything else into the weeds and quickly became THE car to beat. The Ford Cortina-Lotus (as Ford preferred) is now firmly rooted in the folklore of saloon car racing and will still often make an appearance at classic car racing events today.

There was a simplicity in the approach that Ford took in the overall look of the car that is tasteful and pleasing to the eye. No fancy spoilers or wide arches just quarter-size bumpers, 5.5″ Wheels, Lotus badges and any colour you wanted as long as it was white with a green stripe. However, there is a story that one customer insisted on a blue stripe because he was superstitious about the colour green!

Today most Lotus Cortinas still running would have received an enormous amount of loving attention (and expense) to keep them on the road and their rarity value means that they are achieving high prices when they change hands. Figures in excess of £30000 would be readily paid for cars in top condition and concours examples could write their own cheques.

The forthcoming Baron’s auction on the 28th-29th May happens to feature a Lotus Cortina which has been described as follows:-

“This 1965 registered, Airflow model, Lotus Cortina,  underwent a full restoration in 2008/2009 meaning that GRO 28C is in very good order throughout. The car was produced in July of 1964 but was not sold and registered until March of 1965, Originally an “A frame” car, which was later converted to the more popular leaf spring set up, when used for group 2 historic rallying by the Ecurie Ten team from 1990.  Among the car’s six previous registered owners are the above mentioned Ecurie Ten team and well known and well respected  motoring journalist, Richard Hudson Evans. This car is known to the Lotus Cortina Register.”

The guide price is quoted as £30000 to £40000.

Click here for further details of the car that has been entered plus details of the auction

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Unless you are someone who is looking forward to celebrating their 60th birthday in the very near future it is unlikely you will remember the significance of the Mk II Jag.

To put some perpective on the importance of this car when it was launched in 1959 the Jaguar Mark Two was the M5 of its day – before anyone had any concept of what an M5 was and way long before BMW established the benchmark for the ‘ultimate sports saloon’.

The performance of the 3.8 straight-six, twin SU carburettor engine was even by today’s standards highly respectable – 220 bhp, 0-60 in 8.5 seconds and a top speed of 125 mph – but this was 1959! Today that conveniently might compare well with the figures the XFR produces to do battle with the M5 – but there was no M5 back then.

The Mark 2 Jag took to the tracks with the the help of Stirling Moss, Graham Hill and Mike Hawthorne to show that it could handle too and romped home with a sideboard full of trophies during the 1960’s. Even today it’s possible to see the old girl flying round taking the lead in classic car race events around the world.

These days the only decent Mark 2 Jags left are those that thankfully have been well-attended to over the decades by those people who have the financial resources and blood, sweat and tears in abundance to keep the legend of the 1960’s ‘M5’ alive. Perhaps more appropriately the current M5 pays homage to the car that set the blueprint back in the day. The Mark 2 Jag is dead – long live the Mark 2 Jag.

The inspiration for this misty-eyed piece of nostalgia is the fact that a truly beautiful example of a Mark 2 Jaguar is to be auctioned in the forthcoming Baron’s Jaguar Heritage Sale. The details of this particular car can be found here but we couldn’t resist sharing the images with those die-hard Mark 2 fans out there…..

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Thirty six cars worth more than £6.million, including an Aston Martin DB5 owned by George Harrison, a Cord 810 Phaeton owned by Jimmy Page and Duncan Bannatyyne and a Mercedes Benz 300 SL Roadster stored in an Edinburgh garage for the last 23 years are to go under the hammer in London next week.

The cars along with a huge collection of movie posters are to be sold at the COYS True Greats auction, which will be held at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London on Wednesday December 7th.

“There are some extremely interesting cars on offer which could be the ultimate Christmas present,” said Managing Director of COYS Chris Routledge. He added: “The classic car market is one that is still buoyant and many people are looking at cars as an investment that is also fun.

He added:” We are seeing traditional investors moving away from financial markets and looking at investments that are more tangible.”

On Wednesday Model and photographer Patti Boyd, who was married to George Harrison when he owned the DB5 was re-united with the car when it was showcased at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel.

Patti and a host of other celebrity photographers attended a Gala evening at the hotel to raise money for Variety Club the Children’s Charity.

Led by celebrity photographer, Alistair Morrison, 25 of the UK’s top photographers had just completed an incredible project. Between them, they photographed 110 fabulous pictures of landscapes, famous individuals, children and extraordinary people in and around the stunning, newly refurbished London St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel.

Manufactured in late 1964, DB5/1896/R was supplied new on January 1st 1965 through Brydor Cars of Brooklands to Beatle George Harrison.

Painted in the attractive shade of Platinum silver with a black Connolly leather interior, the factory build sheet shows that non-standard equipment specified by Harrison included chrome wire wheels with Avon tyres, 3 ear hub caps, a heated rear screen, a radio, Britax safety belts, FIAM horns with changeover switch and a detachable passenger headrest. The build sheet also states that the timing chain was modified later that same year.

By the late 1980’s the DB5 had found its way into a museum in Tokyo, Japan. In 1995 it was purchased by a Japanese collector resident in Germany, where it was exported to join the rest of his collection. Purchased for the collection in 2007, the DB5 has been maintained in a largely original and unrestored condition.

Chassis DB5/1896/R is now presented in very nice general order, with a recorded mileage of just over 22,000 miles. The paintwork has clearly received some attention over the years and is in good order. The delightful patina on the leather seating surfaces and the condition of the roof lining and carpets leads one to believe that they are the originals while the internal door trims appear to have been refinished to a high standard relatively recently. The instrument panel and wood rimmed steering wheel likewise appear to be original. The engine compartment is also largely original and shows the signs of some recent maintenance. The DB5 starts and runs well and shows no signs of major mechanical maladies.

The provenance of chassis DB5/1896/R is confirmed by a letter from Aston Martin, the history file includes a copy of the original build sheet and documents relating to the importation of the car into Germany.

Chris Routledge said: “ We are delighted to offer for sale George Harrison’s first “important” car, bought new and delivered to him personally in 1965 at his Kinfauns estate in Esher, Surrey, England.

He added: “We are offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire not only one of the most collectible of the David Brown Aston Martins produced, in very original condition, but one that has been owned by arguably one of the most influential musicians ever to grace The Earth.”

The DB5 is estimated at between £225,000 and £260,000.

For many the 1936 Cord 810 Phaeton being offered at the sale is the purest version of the famous Cord shape, and certainly one would have to search long and hard for the condition of the specimen being offered.

It is believed that the car entered the UK some time in the 1970s, and it was probably shortly after that that the car came into the hands of the remarkable Jimmy Page. Obviously his fame will rest principally on his legendary associations during the 1960s with the Yardbirds, but his legend really took off after that with the formation and subsequent massive success of Led Zeppelin. One interesting secondary aspect of his interests, however has been to own some truly beautiful country houses, and also some very remarkable cars. The most recent owner reports that today’s Cord Phaeton was the recipient of a concours standard restoration while in Jimmy Page’s hands some ten or twenty years ago, and the current condition argues forcefully that the work must indeed have been to a more than ordinarily high standard, and the car subsequently meticulously kept while he had it, and even more so during its most recent decade in other equally dedicated hands of its former keeper Duncan Bannatyne; entrepreneur and ‘Dragon’ from BBC TVs Dragon Den.

The Coachwork, still dramatic and beautiful after seventy five years, is finished in a lightly metallised (as was available from new) shade of Royal Blue, matching a closely-1958 Mercedes Benz 300 SL Roadster  

“The finding of this remarkable Mercedes just goes to prove what is still out there waiting to be discovered,” said Chris Routledge,” and we have received calls about the car from all over the world.” 

In 1952, the original W194 300SL race car managed second and fourth places at its first outing, the Mille Miglia and scored overall wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in the sportscar race of the Eifelrennen at the Nürburgring, and in Mexico’s Carrera Panamericana.

New York based US Mercedes Importer Max Hoffman, certain that a market for such a car existed, approached Daimler-Benz management in Stuttgart requesting a road going version. Legend has it that Hoffman was forced to produce 1000 firm orders before Mercedes would concede that there was indeed a market for such a vehicle and engineer the car for the road.

These iconic sports cars have in recent years proved to be one of the best ‘blue chip’ investments as their popularity continues to grow.

Supplied new to the United States, as most 300SLs were in 1958, chassis 8500299 was first registered in the UK in 1962. The V5 states that there are only 3 previous owners on record, the most recent of which was an Edinburgh businessman and it is understood that the 300SL was in regular use by him until 1988 when it was taken off the road.

Recently gently rolled from its garage for the first time in over 20 years, 3 DXC is still in its original DB180 Silver with red leather trim, fitted with its original engine and a rare, desirable factory hard top and has been upgraded with the more desirable European headlamps. A Becker radio cassette is mounted below the dash.

Supplied with UK V5C, a few receipts dating from 1988 and two sets of keys, this sought after roadster is complete except the soft top and has a little over 13,000 miles recorded on the odometer.

With the increase in values of 300SLs in recent years, unspoilt candidates for restoration such as this are becoming very hard to find. It is estimated at £225,000 – £275,000.

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