The final event on the calendar for Historics at Brooklands was its Nov. 26 auction, and the small English auction house could have used the opportunity to coast toward the end of what has been an eventful, successful year.
Instead, the company chose to close out its calendar with a bang, assembling one of the most eclectic catalogs seen in recent years. Highlights included a dozen microcars, presented in remarkable condition and offered with reserves, priced to appeal to the assembled crowd at Mercedes-Benz World in Weybridge.
Although highly regarded microcars from German manufacturers, such as BMW, Heinkel and Messerschmitt, are frequent visitors to some of the world’s better-known auction blocks, the Fall Sale included several rarities from the Home Market, cars unknown outside the friendly environs of Piccadilly Circus and Hyde Park.
It was one of these domestic models, a 1957 Tourette Supreme, that surprised most of all, selling for £31,360 (US $39,036), several thousand pounds above its high estimate. Only 26 of these were built by a bespoke London-based builder from 1956 to 1958, and this oddity was capable of 55 mph, with styling that is a mix of belly tank racer and amusement park ride.
Not far behind on the weird-o-meter was the 1974 Zagato Zele 1000, which sold for a solid £13,440 (US $16,730). Certainly one of the most affordable four-wheeled vehicles to wear Zagato coachwork, this period Smart-esque car was built on a chassis derived from the Fiat 124 and 500 with power from four 12V batteries. Although several hundred were built, precious few survive, making this just the thing to park next to your Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato as proof that you care about the environment enough to drive an electric car.
Unquestionably, the coolest name of the day belonged to the 1959 Family Frisky Three, built by the Marston Group, one of England’s leading automotive conglomerates that built its empire on manufacturing caravans, car bodies and automotive accessories. Powered by a Villiers 197cc engine and riding on three wheels, the optimistically named vehicle was classified as a motorcycle for licensing and tax purposes, making it a popular period ride. With oddly attractive styling, thoughtful details place it in a class beyond many of its Teutonic rivals. Considering the last example sold for US $57,500 out of the Bruce Weiner Collection at RM Sotheby’s, this has to be considered a great buy at £16,800 (US $20,912).
Honors for the highest bid of the day was £255,000 (US $317,416), which narrowly missed purchasing an exquisite 1972 Ferrari Dino 246GT. Given the model’s rarity in the United Kingdom, where only 498 examples were sold in right-hand-drive, this would have been a sound purchase at a market-correct price that fell just short of the low estimate.
On the day of the sale, 183 of the 242 lots found buyers, although this number increased afterward when a number of them found willing takers before the transporters arrived. This included a 1990 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Edition that sold within its estimates for £238,560 (US $296,952).
With a total haul of £2,115,700 (US $2,633,560) for the cars sold across the block, this auction was a spectacular way for the Historics at Brooklands to finish 2016, making us eager to see what is in store when they return in March 2017.
Photos courtesy of Historics at Brooklands.