Q3 & Q4 – The Barons’ Perspective
The second half of the year was very busy for Barons, with four sales held in the six-month period. First was the Connoisseurs Classic Car Collection sale in July, which was a smaller sale aimed at high-end classics. The best-selling lots were two pieces of classic British motoring heritage, both of which exceeded top estimate. The bright red 1970 Jaguar E-type Series 2 FHC achieved £51,700 while the handsome 1964 Jensen CV8 sold for just under £49,000.
Queen guitarist Brian May raised over £6,300 for the animal charity Save Me Trust when the 1952 Jowett Javelin he brought for his father 35 years ago went under the hammer at the sale. Enthusiastic bidding and strong pre-sale publicity meant that the car went for over top estimate, with the lucky new owner acquiring a charismatic family classic car previously owned by rock royalty.
Next was the Jaguar Heritage sale in September, which was the second time that Barons had held a sale at Kempton Park Race Course. The star of the show was undoubtedly the stunning Jaguar Mk IX, which sold for £44,000 including buyer's premium. This was closely followed by a number of other Jaguars, with a total of eight big cats finding new homes on the day, including a 1969 E-type Series 2 2+2 coupe (£40,150) and a 1959 XK150 FHC (£35,860). Amongst the pristine Jaguars, a 1965 E-type S1 FHC stood in sharp contrast. In need of complete restoration, this exciting project sold for £15,950.
Among the non-Jaguars in the sale the 1948 Lanchester LD10 Drop Head by Abbott - one of just two examples ever built – sold for over top estimate, at £27,500, while a very attractive, one-owner 1985 Mercedes-Benz 280SL with just 33,000 miles on the clock achieved a strong £24,000.
The third sale was the Autumn Classic in October. A 1985 Ferrari 328 GTS which has covered just over 1,000 miles in the past 26 years was the top seller. The bright red ‘Prancing Horse’, which has covered fewer than 19,000 miles in total – sold for £71,500.
The biggest bidding battle of the sale was for the gold 1972 Stutz Blackhawk, which sold for £34,650 – powering way past top estimate. In the 1970s the Blackhawk was the car of choice for superstars such as Frank Sinatra, and it is now a very rare machine. There was a lot of interest in the gold example at Sandown Park, with the eventual successful bidders, a father and son from France, driving their new acquisition straight to the ferry afterwards.
Another lot which sold for well over top estimate was the 1977 Royal Enfield Silver Bullet. This exceptional example of a model which has remained continuously in production since 1948, sold for £4,290.
Barons’ Christmas Classic Sale in December saw a number of entries almost double estimate. These included a 1964 Jaguar Mk 3.8 saloon, which achieved £41,800 (estimate £22,000-£28,000), and a 1994 Jaguar XJS 4.0 ‘facelift’ model that was bought for £11,000 (estimate £4,500-£6,000).
One hotly-contested lot was the ideal hot hatch - the 1989 Peugeot 205 1.9 GTI. With just one lady owner from new and only 21,000 miles on the clock, this sold for £26,620, racing past the £18,000-£22,000 estimate.
The 1934 Alvis Speed 20 SB - a challenging but enormously rewarding restoration project - achieved £13,200 and the 1954 Morris Minor 1000 that has spent 30 years under a dust sheet in a farm shed was offered at no reserve, and its buyer has acquired a charming starter classic for £1,450.
Q3 & Q4 - general market overview
It is near on impossible to provide comment on the market as a whole at present as different sectors of the market are behaving in very different ways. The indices used to monitor the market reflect this: the Historic Automobile Group International indices show small growth for the year (the HAGI P being the lowest at 0.41), while the Hagerty Price Guide Update Q3 2017 states that their index is up 5.3% for the year, but 11 of the 50 cars included in the index dropped in value, with another 14 unchanged (less than 2% movement).
A very high-level summary of the market would be that cars up to £50,000 are still selling as well as ever, cars in the £50,000 to £100,000 bracket are slowing a little, with the £100,000+ market proving tough. I think it is certainly looking like it’s moving towards being a buyers’ market, and I would strongly suggest having a read of the article “2017: A buyers’ Market” in Classic Car Weekly on 6th December by Murray Scullion, as it is very interesting and gives a good indication on the current position of the market. I’m expecting more of the same in 2018, and I’m hoping that many seller’s expectations continue to become more realistic than is often the case at present.
Buyers are also becoming better informed year on year, and I expect that to continue, meaning that below par vehicles will have to be priced accordingly or they just won’t sell. The really top examples will continue to achieve very high values regardless of what is happening in the rest of the market.
I also think that it is likely that we’ll see less investors buying classic cars. The media hype that was telling people that you could buy any classic car in any condition and double your money within a year or two has thankfully disappeared in the main. As such, I think investors will be looking at other assets to invest in. We may see investors selling their previously acquired stock in 2018, but only if they are willing to accept realistic values. Unfortunately, I think there are a lot of cars that were bought by investors at the peak of the market, and with many unwilling to accept losses, these will be spending another year under a car cover in a storage unit.
What was hot in Q3 & Q4 2017?
Modern classics seemed to make most of the headline results in the second half of the year. This sector continues to grow, and I believe will continue to do so, but I certainly would not have predicted results such as £97,875 for a 1980 Ford Escort RS2000 Custom, £22,500 for a 1983 Ford Fiesta XR2, and three Peugeot 205 GTi 1.9s each selling for over £26,000!
Q3 & 4 - bargains to be had
As I’ve said before, there are always bargains to be had at auction. We constantly get people telling us in the days and weeks after a sale that they would have paid more for a car than the amount that it sold for, but they didn’t bother to bid as they didn’t think that they would win. Our advice is always the same, put a bid in for the car, even if you can’t be physically present at the auction or think that you have no chance of buying it, as you can quite often end up pleasantly surprised.
The two cars that Barons sold that I think were amazing value for money were the 1967 Ford Mustang that sold for £13,260 in October and the 1972 Lancia Fulvia Coupe 1.3S that sold for £9,350 in December.
Q1 2018 predictions
Jaguars of all ages and models seem to be in high demand at the moment, and I think that most of the traditional British marques will be as well. Ford values continue to rise - I keep expecting this to slow or stop, but there is no sign of that at the moment. The modern classics sector is going to continue to grow, especially anything with an RS or GTi badge.