Vitesse! Turn of speed secures car for late bidder

The power of the auction room was illustrated very early on at our latest sale. One of the early lots in the sale at Athelhampton House on June 7 was a 1969 Triumph Vitesse Convertible, one of the last British volume production cars to be built on a separate chassis and with a smaller capacity six cylinder engine. As the auctioneer was about to drop the gavel, a surprise new bidder suddenly entered the fray; Vitesse means speed and his fast intervention saw him driving the price up to £9,240 and then having to go and register as a bidder when he was successful!

Perhaps spurred on by the Vitesse bidding, the next lot, a Ford Thames 300E van, delivered some competitive bidding, too, realising a final price of £11,550, far above the £8,000 top estimate and reflecting the rarity of these early commercials, which were normally worked to the bone and into a scrapyard in short order. Another familiar but now rare Ford, a 1974 Mk 1 Escort saloon, was snapped up for £8,250.

Jaguar enthusiasts were quick to pounce, with one of the sale’s star lots, a 1957 Jaguar XK150 fixed head coupe, achieving £47,000. Old XKs have always been loved, big Jag saloons of the 60s less so thanks to many having starring, and ultimately fatal, roles in TV shows like The Sweeney, where they never survived to make the end credits. So the 1967 Jaguar 420 in the sale did well not only to have lived this long but also to make £7,590 on the day.

Two Jaguar S Type saloons sold well, the 2001 automatic with 40,000 miles behind it making £2,420 and the 2000 manual car, a real rarity showing a warranted 25,190 miles, selling for £3,190.

A brace of 1981 Triumph TR7 roadsters also found new homes – the ready to drive away car selling for £3,080 and the example only for spares or restoration getting to a remarkable £900. MG was another marque well represented; a 1966 roaster in the prized Tartan Red making £10,450, an equally appealing 1972 GT in Old English White, another classic MG colour, selling for £4,180, and a 1973 GT in Damask for £3,200.

Riley cars remain popular, with the pre-war 9 four seater Tourer seeing the hammer fall at £17,600 and a 1963 1.5 Series III saloon racing to £8,800. Aston Martin was another name that, like Riley, established itself via competition success and the halo has never dimmed, reflected in the £20,000 sale price of a 1995 DB7 in the auction.

Motorbikes were popular with a brace of Velocette LE “Noddy” bikes on offer. A 1949 Mk 1 fully road-ready sold for £1,650 while the barn find Mk III, needing work, made £900.

Buyers got quite tigerish about a 1958 Triumph Tiger 350 cc for restoration, with bidding rising to £1,320 while a 1925 BSA B25 Round Tank went for £3,300.

A variety of Austins were also presented, all appealing but quite different! A 1979 Mini pick-up, never numerous even when new, sold for £8,250 and an Opal Tourer of 1938 vintage realising £8,140. The car that our director Brian most had his eye on, a 1960 Austin 7 Hamblin Cadet that he helped manufacture as an apprentice at Hamblin’s Sherborne works, sold for £10,010 to a buyer in Austria.

“It was a great day for a sale, with kind weather spurring on an eager capacity crowd,” explains Brian. “We achieved strong prices across a wide variety of lots that truly reflected the many buying tastes in the vintage and classic market.

“The car sale was preceded by many lots of automobilia and spare parts which also find homes with buyers who haven’t got space for a whole car but have plenty of room in their hearts for nostalgia!” Our next sale is at Athelhampton House on Thursday, September 13th and entries are already coming in.