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85 per cent hit rate - Brightwells Classic Car Auction: March 18

  • 1932 Lagonda 16/80 Tourer, which went for £59,100 - 0
  • AC Cobra CRS MkIV with just 1200 miles sold for £35,700 - 1
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Record crowd at Brightwells results in an 85% hit rate

Almost 2000 people flocked to Brightwells in Leominster to bid on over 120 classic cars and motorcycles in its March 18 sale. The result was an impressive 85% sale rate as buyers defied gloomy reports of a credit crunch to snap up car after car.

'It was probably our best sale to date in terms of clearance and we were absolutely delighted with the result,' said Brightwells’ classic car expert, James Dennison. 'Reflecting current market trends we had more than our usual quota of foreign clients and phone bidders were a recurring feature of the day.' Over a dozen vehicles went to overseas buyers in countries including America, Canada, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, France and Germany. Top lot of the day was the 1932 Lagonda 16/80 Tourer which went to a private Swiss buyer for $72,100 despite having started out in life as a saloon. Next best was an incredibly rare and early 1901 Singer Motorwheel tricycle which fetched a staggering $50,000 – undoubtedly a new world record for such a vehicle. The winning American bidder is planning to enter the trike in this year’s London-to-Brighton run where it is sure to arouse much interest. At the opposite end of the spectrum, a nine-year-old carbon fibre-bodied AC Cobra CRS MkIV with just 1200 miles on the clock was also hotly contested before finally being knocked down to a UK collector for £49,200.

Reflecting the enduring popularity of both these sports cars, a restored 1964 Austin-Healey 3000 MkIIA secured a healthy $38,000 while a clean 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL Pagoda made $35,000. Punching well above its weight was a tiny 1933 MG J2 which soared way beyond top estimate to finish on $30,000 despite being an older restoration that had barely been used for 30 years. Just as impressive was the $13,700 paid for a diminutive 1936 Fiat 500 Topolino.Also exceeding expectations were a 1954 Volvo TP21 Sugga Command Car which made $13,700 and a beautifully restored 1955 DeSoto Fireflite Sportsman Hardtop Coupe which went to a German buyer for $21,500. Perhaps the most surprising result of the day was the whopping $15,300 paid for a pristine 1967 Ford Cortina 1600E, almost certainly a new auction record for the model and which reflects a growing following for saloon cars of that era.

'We always had a sneaking suspicion that the sale was going to go well, despite all the doom-laden economic news in the media,' said James. 'There was a carnival atmosphere all day, the sun shone brightly throughout and the results were enormously encouraging not just for us, but for the classic car market as a whole which appears to be as buoyant as it has ever been.'

For more information, visit Brightwells' website: www.brightwells.com.

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