Matthew Steeples suggests 1990s cars in general and Porsches in particular prove the car market is still anything but over
Early September is car auction season in London and though I predicted the heady prices of previous years to somewhat level off post-Brexit, the market proved me utterly wrong.
At RM Sotheby’s Battersea sale – now in its tenth year – on the 7th September and the Silverstone Auctions Salon Privé auction at Blenheim Palace on the 3rd September, though several cars went for well above their estimates, it was Porsches and 1990s Porsches that proved especially popular.
At Blenheim, a 1963 Porsche 356b T6 Super 90 achieved £146,250 (estimate: £100,000 – £115,000) whilst a 1988 911 (930) Turbo went for £171,000 (estimate: £110,000 – £130,000). At Battersea, however, truly surprising results came in the form of a 1993 911 Turbo S Lightweight went for the staggering sum of £974,000 (estimate: £210,000 – £250,000) whilst a 1995 Porsche 911 GT2 smashed its way to the lofty sum of £1,848,000 (estimate: £750,000 – £850,000).
1980s and 1990s cars in general were star performers at both auctions – with a 1990 BMW E30 M3 convertible going for £59,630 (estimate: £37,000 – £42,000) and a 1986 Audi Sport Quattro reaching £403,200 (estimate: £290,000 – £320,000) at Battersea – whilst ‘barn finds’ did pretty well too. A truly clapped out and cling film wrapped 1957 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL went for £21,940 (no reserve) at Blenheim and a pretty ropey 1967 Iso Grifo GL Series I made £128,800 (estimate: £30,000 – £50,000) at Battersea.
Moving on to “more serious motors”, whilst Silverstone Classics had nothing in the £500,000 plus range, at Battersea RM Sotheby’s guided a number of cars to punchy results at or close to their very own estimates. A 1960 Ferrari 250 GT cabriolet Series II came in at £1,288,000 (estimate: £1,000,000 – £1,350,000), a 1963 Aston Martin DB4 Series V convertible sold for £952,000 (estimate: £950,000 – £1,100,000) and a 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster went for £784,000 (estimate: £900,000 – £1,000,000).
Proof, however, that “star” associations meant for little to buyers came in the form of a 1956 Austin Princess hearse that was converted to a limousine by John Lennon and used extensively by The Beatles. It had been touted as a highlight extensively in the press but passed at £135,000 (estimate of £185,000 – £260,000). Meanwhile at Blenheim, a 1960 Austin Princess hearse that was converted to a limousine by John Lennon and used extensively by The Beatles. It had been touted as a highlight extensively in the press but passed at £135,000 (estimate of £185,000 – £260,000). Meanwhile at Blenheim, a 1960 Bentley S2 Standard saloon once owned by Billy Connolly went for just £20,610 (estimate: £16,000 – £20,000).
Undoubtedly the weak pound encouraged international buyers to bid at both auctions, but what remains clear is that the market for classic and supercars remains surprisingly strong. Whilst Peter Wallman of RM Sotheby’s quipped: “Everyone should paint their cars Riviera Blue” of the star performing GT2 as his co-auctioneer Maarten ten Holder brought down his hammer on the GT2, tradesmen sat analyzing the staggering results – and will now be marking up any yet to be sold rare Porsche 911s on their lots.
Follow Matthew Steeples on Twitter at @M_Steeples.
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