There was little doubt the Coys Auction at Alexandra Palace in London on Oct. 29 would serve as the highlight to the weekend’s Classic & Sports Car Show, one of England’s premier vintage motoring events sponsored by the eponymous publication.
What transpired, however, was a surprise, as the auction house shook off lingering concerns about Brexit’s effect on the collector market, delivering solid results across the board.
In keeping with Britain’s fascination with celebrity, as anyone who has read the local tabloids can attest, the top sale of the day went to a vehicle with legitimate star power--a 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 S first owned by Sir Rod Stewart.
Regardless of your thoughts regarding the Scottish rocker, his Miura was definitely sexy, resplendent in Blue Notte and upgraded to SV specification during subsequent ownership. Given its provenance and condition, the final price of £925,800 (US $1,126,350) almost seems like a bargain, even though it represents a significant premium when compared to other contemporary model results, making this a rarity well bought and sold for both the buyer and seller.
For more modern musical enthusiasts, there was the 1972 Maserati Ghibli 4.9 SS, which had spent a considerable portion of its life with Adam Clayton, drummer for U2, Ireland’s most significant export since Guinness was first bottled in Dublin and sent overseas. One of only eight examples originally produced in right-hand drive, it was in outstanding condition and had a sheaf of service receipts and records to back up the claim of fastidious maintenance, making it very well bought at £309,800 (US $376,909).
In a different vein but with no less historical significance was the 1970 Range Rover Classic, which laid claim to being one of the earliest examples remaining in existence. The 26th example ever built, and the first of a series of 20 press vehicles, this immaculate off-roader was retained by Land Rover until 1973, when it was sold to a company specializing in ambulance conversions.
Thankfully, this early car was spared such ignominy, eventually finding its way to an owner known for his extensive Range Rover collection, who restored it to as-built condition, complete with many of the bespoke preproduction parts that were fitted from new. With ratty and rough examples available for a song, the £91,400 (US $111,199) may seem steep, but for what this car represents, it was a fair price paid. After all, what price should be paid for a piece of history?
In terms of history, the 1964 Aston Martin DB5 remains an icon, as much for its star turn as James Bond’s mount in “Goldfinger” and “Thunderball” as for its stunning performance and voluptuous styling. Wearing a distinctive registration plate (VEV 2) and an attractive, albeit nonoriginal shade of California Sage Green, this well-maintained example was under single ownership from 1972 until 2016. Against a presale estimate of £525,000 to £625,000 (US $638,726 to $760,388), the £425,000 (US $517,064) paid may seem light, but it was in line with its condition as a somewhat scruffy driver, putting the price in proper context.
With a busy calendar that will see another event in just a few weeks, the True Greats Sale on the grounds of The Royal Horticultural Society in London at the beginning of December, Coys is poised to improve upon on what has already been a successful year, leaving us to wonder what is in store for 2017.
Photos courtesy of COYS.