The runners & riders are lined up. The going is good. The first Historics’ auction of 2020 is under way at Ascot. Read on to see how we got on.


​Lot 110. Does mileage matter? For this 1981 XR3 in Sunburst Red with 101,000m on the clock apparently not. The condition was very good. But 101,000m on a Ford Escort? Well, it had a wide Guide Price of £7,000-£11,000. It attracted quite a bit of interest. Sold for £10,920.

1967 Austin Mini Banham Roadster

Lot 132. We were spoilt for choice when it came to quality Mini’s, but this 1967 Banham Coachbuilders Conversion really took our fancy. This Mk II was professionally converted to a drop-top by the Kent based coachbuilders and very nice it was too. Very nice. It was up for sale as a No Reserve item. Bidders quickly drove the price up to £7,000 in no time, where it stalled a little until the hammer came down at £8,400. Good price. Great car.

1954 Dresda Triton 750

​Lot 146. 1954 Dresda Triton 750. None of you reading this will need reminding, Triton’s were a Triumph engine in a Norton frame, making the best of British even better. This one came originally from a Putney (that’s in London, just saying) based motor cycle dealer turned successful club racer Dave Dresda. Lovely it was too. Sold £8,207.

1985 Peugeot 205 GTi (1.6 Litre)

​Lot 161. If there was ever a valuable lesson in how NOT to buy a car at auction, this 1985 205GTi was surely it. With just 32,000m on the speedo, at first blush it was attractive. Closer inspection revealed some paint & previous repair issues, nothing too serious but expensive to do if it was to be “right”. It was a No Reserve car, and we watched in shock as two or three bidders raced each other up to eight grand, smash through ten, press-on to twelve, without pausing push through fifteen grand and finally have a reality check at seventeen thousand pounds, phew. We can only assume someone bought this blind straight out of the catalogue without even attending, or, saw the car but didn’t have a scooby-doo what to look for. Sold £19,244. #Madness.

1966 Ford Lotus Cortina Mk. I

​Lot 180. 1966 Lotus Cortina Mk I. This was a terrific car. Original buff log book. Documented history of low ownership, one of the owner’s addresses being; The Officers Mess, RAF Connigsby, if you don’t mind! This car has been owned by owners who genuinely loved and looked after it. Very well known in Owners Club circles, the cars made various public appearances, including Stands at the NEC. These cars are not a rare visitor to the markets, but to find one in a wonderful condition combined with great provenance is rare. Wish we’d bought it. Sold. £46,412. Not expensive at all.

1968 Porsche 911S

​Lot 181. 1968 Porsche 911S in Bahama Yellow. Fastidiously restored over an extended period of time, it presented very well indeed. That immortal design in its early Sixties incarnation looked amazing. It had a Guide Price £120,000-£150,000. We didn’t think that was extravagant. There were a number of interested bidders, but all of them were very cautious. It was obvious the bidding was never going to get near the very reasonable Reserve. Not sold. #Interesting

1990 Ford P100 Californian

​Lot 220. 1990 P100. By the time these come up for sale they are usually absolutely clapped out. It is very rare to find a nice one, rarer still to find a nice original one, it’s on another level altogether to find one with just 1,084 miles on the speedo. Not, we might add 101,000, but just 1,000m. We had a very long hard look and decided to bid. We had no idea where it would start or end, but thankfully we knew where we would do both. This great P100 had a Guide Price of £14,000-£18,000, which in all honesty, we thought was a tad optimistic. It soared through that Guide. Sold. £23,520. Call ourselves experts…..

1970 Aston Martin DB6 Mk. II

​Lot 232. 1970 Aston Martin DB6. We’ll be honest, our less than expert Blogging skills cannot do this car justice. At the Sale Preview we just stood; jaws open catching flies. It made it on to our Results Review because…well, just because really. Guide Price £279,000- £320,000. Sold (not to us, sadly) £310,000. #Enjoy #CarPorn

1980 Ford Capri Mk. III 3.0S

​Lot 245. A 1980 Capri 3.0S. With the first owner hanging on to this for 33 years and then just one owner after that, it was no surprise this was as peachy as it looked. The exterior was spot-on. Inside it was near perfect and the crowning glory was that Essex V6. Sold. £23,772. Good price for the seller. Good car.

1974 Jaguar E-Type Series III Roadster

​Lot 259. 1974 SIII Roadster looking stunning in original Platinum Silver. It had been recently restored and done very well with some decent modern and period upgrades. Jaguar prices have suffered of late, Jags at this Sale were no exception. In addition, buyers were extremely cautious of cars with a three figure Guide Prices. This one had no problems gliding past the £100k barrier. Sold. £129,920.

1964 Mercedes-Benz 230 SL Pagoda

​Lot 293. 1964 230 SL Pagoda. You didn’t need to be an expert to see this needed an extremely extensive restoration. (Even we could see that.) It was not to be embarked on lightly nor was it for the faint hearted. A quick and dirty estimate by our team suggested parts alone would be around £20,000, without labour, any paintwork or contingency. With Pagoda’s selling for much lower prices than they were 24mths ago, we weren’t expecting much, even with a No Reserve Guide Price. We weren’t sure what to make of the frantic bidding or the final hammer price of nearly £25,000.  Some more cynical attendees suggested the new owner had paid a lot of money for a log book and VIN plates. We’re keeping quiet.

Given the enormous effort Historics put in to this sale every year it is often seen as agreat barometer for the coming year. With a fabulously eclectic mix of nearly 200 good cars this was sure to be the case.
Can we draw firm conclusions? Yes, we believe so. However, whilst the picture is mixed there are definitely some very clear themes emerging.

Overall, buyers are cautious and discriminating. Buyers are no longer prepared to pay high prices for relatively average cars. There were some exceptions at this sale, we’ll come back to that.
Towards the higher end of the market and by that we mean cars between £100,000 – £500,000 buyers are scarce, very picky and only willing to part with cash at a pre-2015 levels. The bubble that grew and grew between 2015 and 2018 has now well and truly deflated.

The middle tier of the market, cars broadly between £50,000 – £100,000, is a relatively healthy place to be. Prices, generally speaking are somewhat depressed from the highs of 2-3 years ago, but buyers are still around. They are however very price conscious. Certain marques have dropped in price more than others and are often only sold well below the Guide Price. Examples of this include Ferrari & Porsche.

Between £20,000-£50,000 the market to us feels vibrant and lively. There appear to be more buyers here than the upper end. We suggest some of the upper end cars are dipping in to this price point to avoid catching expensive colds above that figure. This price area of the market seems to be where most knowledgeable genuine enthusiast are. There is still much price sensitivity. When we take Fast Fords as an example, buyers are not prepared to pay £40 grand for an RS Escort that is worth only £25 grand. But because of the wide bandwidth of prices here these cars are still selling well but for more sensible values. A good thing in our view.

Up to £20,000 is an interesting space, and sub £10,000 is a very interesting place. We’ve lumped both together. The cautiousness, apparent in the above markets, seems to be absent here. Below ten grand it feels more like the Wild West than Ascot on a Saturday afternoon.

There are lots of cars and even more buyers. This is great, but in throwing caution to the wind some buyers are making questionable buying decisions. We saw evidence of this with Peugeot 205GTi in our opinion worth around £6-8,000 sell for £17,000.  Never mind coronavirus someone got a very bad dose of Auction Fever. There are early signs in this price band that the market is overheating.

Activity cools a little above ten grand, but the market is still very buoyant. A number of vendors are trying to push lower quality cars up into this price bracket. Additionally, vendors who now accept that their cars are not worth the £30,000 plus price tag they thought are re-calibrating their values.

Overall, buyers are cautious and discriminating. Buyers are no longer prepared to pay high prices for relatively average cars.  As with every rule there are exceptions.

We witnessed a Roller sell for £170,000 plus £20,000 in fees. There was no cautiousness there. One or two vendors chased a Pagoda in need of a £50,000 restoration to over double the £8,000-£10,000 it was actually worth. A Capri 3.0S with a Guide Price of £14-16,000 sold for £24k.

What do you think, are we first through the post or lagging sadly at the back with our review?  We would love to hear from you, get in touch via our social media links below and within our contact details at the bottom of the page.

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