We’re just a few days into the new year and already we’re gearing up for 2019’s first big British auction – and it’s a new one!
The inaugural Silverstone Auctions Autosport International sale takes place at the NEC Birmingham this Saturday, 12 January, and we’re rather excited about it.
As you might expect given the event’s motorsport theme, there are a number of race, rally and homologation special cars in the line-up, but as our picks prove, it’s not all FIA-approved, competition-ready lovelies.
Of course, in whittling down a list of 60 to just a dozen favourites, we’ve had to leave out some real eye-candy, such as an ex-press fleet 1974 Triumph TR6 PI, a race-prepared 1965 Studebaker Lark Daytona 500 and a Lime Green 1971 Porsche 911 2.4 S – but that just goes to show that many exciting cars will cross the block in a few days’ time…
1. 1984 Renault 5 Turbo 2
Guide price: £60-70,000
So let’s start with one of the homologation specials. This could only be a child of the ’80s and surely adorned many a bedroom wall.
A left-hand-drive example from a private collection, this Turbo 2’s first owner was a Renault dealer principal who uprated it for a more rally-like feel: it’s got an aluminium roll cage, a Devil exhaust and Gotti split-rims.
Its Renault Heritage Certificate proves it’s a matching-numbers car, and it’s finished in Pearl White paint with a brown leather/Alcantara interior.
Whoever places the winning bid can be reassured that this example has received a clean bill of health from specialist Olly Melliard – and they’ll see it in a soon-to-be-aired episode of Top Gear!
2. 1968 Dodge Charger R/T Custom Hardtop
Guide price: £65-75,000
It’s time to double the cylinder count with our next one to watch – and there was no way we’d have missed this one!
This ’68 Charger has recently been the subject of a no-expense-spared, ‘rotisserie’ restoration. Indeed, its listing says it “needs to be seen to be believed” and states it’s “possibly the best Charger in the UK”.
So how does it back up these bold claims? Well, its restoration happened in the US when its owner also had a bodyshop, and it’s been finished in its original factory colour. In addition, its 440 cu in V8 has been professionally built with Edelbrock upgrades, as well as aluminium heads and a high-rise aluminium intake manifold.
There’s a new Tremec five-speed manual ’box and front disc brakes, while the cabin has a refurbished dash, a new steering wheel and a thumb-wheel RetroSound digital radio. It is now UK registered.
The Dodge will be sold with a history file detailing all this work, which will hopefully give its next owner the confidence to enjoy it.
3. 1965 TVR Griffith 400
Guide price: £120-140,000
Here’s our first racing car – and it’s a winner. In fact, in its last eight races it’s taken five wins, plus a second and a third. Are you brave enough to take the wheel?
Starmist Green paint paired with black American Racing wheels is a great combination, but this British classic is about much more than just looking good; it’s also its next owner’s ticket to some of the world’s most exclusive historic races.
FIA approved until 2025, its chassis and body work were carried out by Nigel Reuben Racing, the only firm at present that can build an FIA-compliant Griffith 400 as raced in period.
Race-ready, this right-hand-drive model is thought to be the last one built and we hope it’s back on track soon.
4. 1975 Porsche 911 ‘Safari Spec’ Rally Car
Guide price: £60-70,000
This is another competition car, but a rather different proposition from the previous one – although a seventh-placed finish in the East African Safari 2009 proves it means business. Given that, maybe the fact it’s Tuthill-prepared comes as little surprise…
It left the factory in 1975 as a 3.0SC and still has its matching-number engine and colour. Since then, it’s had a lot of money invested in it that Saturday’s winning bidder will benefit from.
We’re talking £129,500-worth of work by Tuthill Porsche in 2008/9 that got it Safari-ready, and receipts totalling a further £150,000 since then. Now check out its guide price and it starts to look like good value.
Last campaigned in 2015, it will need a little TLC before its next rally, but if you want to tackle the East African Safari, this could be the car for you.
5. 1935 Mercedes-Benz (W18) Type 290 2-door Cabriolet B
Guide price: £60-70,000
It’s time for a change of pace with the next Autosport International sale lot that’s caught our eye.
This sophisticated 1935 Mercedes-Benz cabriolet is believed to be well-travelled, having apparently spent time in Persia and County Antrim, before being restored over two decades.
It has been with its current owner since 1998 and is a reluctant sale, due to advancing years.
That said, it’s always only been used infrequently, yet has been well maintained and carefully stored, so although some light recommissioning work and/or basic servicing is probably required, this is essentially a very usable, elegant classic.
Mercedes offered its 290 in six different body styles, or simply sold the chassis. Given that a mere 3476 were produced in total, that means there’s no such thing as a ‘common’ model these days – making this one all the more desirable.
6. 1972 BMW 2002
Guide price: £38-44,000
Sticking with German two-doors, you surely won’t be left wondering why this car, lot 309 at Saturday’s Silverstone Auctions sale, turned our heads.
It’s described as “without doubt, the finest BMW 2002 you will ever see”, which is quite some boast, but the fact that it’s the BMW National Concours Winner 2018 clearly means it’s pretty special.
The BMW’s meticulous restoration was completed by a previous owner whose attention to detail and painstaking preparation is in evidence wherever you look. Anyone tempted can flick through a comprehensive history file and enjoy the original books which this 2002 will be sold with.
This stunner deserves a loving new home and we hope it finds one when it crosses the block at the weekend.
7. 1966 Ex-works Ford Lotus Cortina
Guide price: £180-200,000
One look at the roll call of superstar drivers on the side of this Ford Lotus Cortina racer will be enough to explain why we had to include it here.
It’s been campaigned by Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jacky Ickx, Peter Arundell and Sir John Whitmore, no less, and is one of a trio of Group 5 works cars built by Lotus for the 1966 British Saloon Car Championship.
Raced in the UK until the end of the ’68 season, it then went to Africa, where new owner Peter Parnell entered it in the Bulawayo 3-Hour race in Rhodesia.
It remained on the continent until the late 1990s, when it was bought by Cedric Selzar, Clark’s race mechanic, who repatriated it to the UK.
It’s race ready, with its original shell, and period engine and suspension modifications, and is surely one of the star lots at the Autosport International sale.
8. 1985 MG Metro 6R4
Guide price: £180-200,000
Here’s another unmistakeable silhouette for you: the MG Metro 6R4.
Any 6R4 is worthy of inclusion – it’s an undoubtedly cool car, after all – but what makes this example stand out is the fact that it’s done only 175 miles. Yes, you read that right.
If you love Group B rallying, you’ll know that the series was canned before the mighty Metro had the chance to prove its potential, but that doesn’t make the 6R4 any less evocative.
The fact this car includes Williams Grand Prix Engineering on its list of previous owners only adds to the appeal.
9. 1973 Porsche 911E
Guide price: no reserve
Yes, it’s another Porsche 911 and, yes, it’s another rally car, but we had a tough time resisting this one, so we didn’t.
Not only is it an interesting car, which we’ll get on to in a moment, but it’s also being offered with no reserve. So, what might it go for? Well, it’s the sister car to a 2.7 Carrera ‘RGO 4L’, which, in 2012, sold at auction for £225,000 – meaning this could be one of Saturday's top-priced lots.
This 911’s competition life started in racing, when it was driven to the Porsche Cup series title in 1989 and 1990.
Its current owner bought it in 1992 and transformed it into a ‘Marathon’-spec rally car, and it was a works-supported entry the following year in the London-Sydney Rally. Sadly, it didn't finish the event, but at one point was running third overall.
The sale includes its original gearbox, but no engine, so we’ll be keeping an eye on this to see what it sells for.
10. 1980 Ford Capri ‘Fabergé’ car
Guide price: £70-80,000
Let’s deal with the elephant in the room right away: this is a replica. But what a replica.
This car left Ford’s factory as a Capri 1.6, with its conversion to a racer starting when it was dipped, seam-welded and sent to Historic Race Car Preparation to have a period-correct T45 rollcage installed.
It now has a 3-litre Group 1 engine, a straight-cut, close-ratio, Quaife four-speed quick-shift ’box, a ZF limited-slip diff and that famous livery. And since getting its papers in August 2017, it’s achieved race wins and podium finishes.
Indeed, its next owner could contest April’s Members’ Meeting in it – an entry has been submitted, subject to approval. But what price will they pay on Saturday?
11. 1970 Ferrari 365GT 2+2
Guide price: £190-220,000
This one-of-52 Ferrari doesn’t just tick the rarity box: it’s also V12 powered and has rear seats, so you can share the pleasure with two (diminutive) friends.
It’s an original, UK-supplied, right-hand-drive, matching-numbers car that’s most recently been owned by a caring, diligent keeper who’s been lucky enough to have it for 20 years.
Check out those unmarked Borrani wheels, the gleaming body in the 365GT 2+2’s original hue and the well-kept pale-blue interior – it looks to be a very fine example.
When it goes under the hammer this Saturday at the NEC Birmingham, it’s likely to become one of the auction’s biggest sellers. Do you want to predict what it will sell for?
12. 1961 Emeryson Formula 1 Climax FPF
Guide price: £180-225,000
Last, but by no means least, is another ex-works racing car that could put its new owner on some of the world’s most exclusive grids.
Raced in period by Jack Fairman and Mike Spence, chassis 1004 is the sole surviving Emeryson F1 car and therefore a special piece of grand prix history.
In 2017 it was extensively rebuilt – to the tune of nearly £90,000 – with the target of competing at last year’s Grand Prix de Monaco Historique, but since achieving that, it’s been garaged.
Ready to race and eligible for the Goodwood Revival’s Glover Trophy, Silverstone Auctions’ Autosport International sale is surely the perfect place for it to find its next keeper.