Goodwood on a sunny September afternoon is getting more and more like the British Grand Prix as you trudge through the car parks looking at the inbound helicopters thinking wistfully – “next year!”
This is a wonderful event that seems to get bigger every year, not to mention harsher on the pocket - £18 for a programme? It is a little bit sad that as the commercial side outside the circuit has grown, so the Bonhams marquee has become increasingly peripheral and it seemed a pity to have to enter and exit the event to gain access to their display.
With the large inventory, that outside display of cars was extensive but with the dry weather, layers of dust didn’t make for shiny attraction and the marquee itself was very full. But under cover, the display was outstanding and frankly made a difference, especially to the big racers like the Silk Cut Jaguar.
The auction was set into motion with a swansong from Robert Brookes – great to watch a master at work, selling benefits and value on every lot rather than just calling prices, a real salesman. Sadly, just the 10 lots from him before his departure from the stage to warm applause – would that we could have called for an encore!
Among his ten was the first Aston of the sale a 2003 DB7 GTA – one has to say a cold shiver went down the spine as the hammer price of £21,000 (£24,150 incl premium) represented a poor return for the seller and a great bargain for the buyer and could be a depressing market marker. In fact, if you stop and consider the Revival and the attendance, this price really reflected the right car in the wrong place – buyers look for bargains and this was one of those!
Because if you wanted to strike a trend, a couple of lots later was an Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite – estimated at £7,000-10,000, she flew away at £17,500 (£20,125 incl premium) really showed that if the car is in the right place, so is the market.
Jamie Knight had by now taken command at the rostrum and the bidding continued apace. For Aston Martin, the next car along was a delightful pre-war Short Chassis Tourer which made a great £230,000 (£264,500 incl premium) and that was in company of some great prices on E Types, XK’s and some interesting race prepared cars – single seaters and sports.
Into the Aston Martin realm came a very nice DB2/4 Mark II with an estimate of £170,000 – 200,000, we had thought it ambitious and so it proved with a top bid of £145,000 but, as if to prove the point about a certain market vibrancy, the next car, a V8 Series 2 that we saw fail at Bonhams last time out came in with a hammer price of £62,000 (£71,300 incl premium).
A small collection of Bristols served to show the old adage of two’s company, three (or more) is a crowd just before the next Aston, a DB4 to GT specification – there was an ambitious estimate but the audience knew, and it was repeated from the rostrum, that the car was there to sell and the hammer came down at £490,000 (£563,500 incl premium). The most pleasing element of that sale was the spirited bidding – and there was plenty of that on other lots. There is only ever one winner in auction bidding, but every one of those under-bidders is a potential customer for the next car – buyers have not disappeared!
A couple of highlights soon after the DB4 were a Mercedes 300SL Roadster at £660,000 on the hammer (£754,200 incl premium) and the Jaguar XJR-11 Group C Sports Prototype that weighed in at £1,050,000 (£1,191,000 incl premium) and there were multiple bidders on both!
There were still Astons coming and some mild disappointments – a Blue DB6, on display outside under a layer of dust was presented in the catalogue (and still in the results) as DB6/3292/R. A sale room notice that this was in fact DB6/3342/R was on the screen of the car and was briefly mentioned in the announcement of the lot from the rostrum and funnily enough 3292 had been sold through Bonhams a couple of years ago and 3342 had “missed” at a Coys sale. The confusion continued a little as the hammer appeared to come down at £170,000 but the results showed £150,000 (£158,333 incl premium).
That disappointment was compounded by the DB5 that was bid to £560,000, £90,000 short of bottom estimate and did not sell. It is a disappointment because the bid represented an inclusive selling price over £600,000 and representative of today’s market.
And it was a market that showed its mettle with a spirited £300,000 (£345,000 incl premium) on a Vantage X pack closely followed by £237,000 (£272,550 incl premium) for a Drophead DB2/4 and wound up with a DB1 Drophead at £300,000 (£345,000 incl premium)
So, this was not a “curate’s egg” of a sale, good in parts – it was VERY good in parts and that really reflects what this autumn has shown us across the world market.
For full results from Goodwood:
For Aston Martin Autumn Overview:
Over in Monterey, there were misses for Aston Martin but not many – more importantly, there was a World Record for DP215 $21,455,000 was a pretty good days work and DB4’s cracking in some great prices. Having broken records in Monterey, RM disappointed a little in London and there are clearly some Aston models that the market has not quite firmed its opinion on.
But, there are not giant differences in the opinions on price of buyers and sellers and on good examples, no differences at all. That is probably why we can see those shafts of sunlight through the lifting gloom.
The market is warming and at home base, the telephones are ringing again – a dealer acquaintance who had a display at the Revival came home with three cars less than he went with – we feel another Revival on its way.
© BYRON INTERNATIONAL