Brightwells rounded off their busiest year to date

Early E-Type project and barn find Land Rover thrill packed saleroom at Brightwells’ final sale of 2017

Brightwells rounded off their busiest year to date in fine style on a freezing cold November day with almost 80% of entries sold in their 12th and final Classic Vehicles sale of 2017 for a total of just over £1.2m.

Top seller of the day was a 1963 Jaguar E-Type Series One 3.8 Roadster, somewhat conservatively estimated at £45k - £50k due to the fact that it was in need of some restoration and had lost its original engine, being currently fitted with an earlier XK unit. Perhaps unsurprisingly it soon shot beyond forecast as numerous phone and internet bidders battled it out, finally falling to a local collector in the room for £73,150. Given that it would be worth perhaps double that amount once properly restored and reunited with the correct engine, it clearly still had plenty of upside in the eyes of the winning bidder.

Not far behind was a lovely 1936 Riley 12/4 Sports Special that had been specially built for the vendor by marque expert Keith Pointing 17 years ago and had enjoyed a successful racing career ever since. Carrying the same estimate as the E-Type, it too was hotly contested by a gaggle of bidders in the room and European bidders on the phone before finally going to an English racing enthusiast for £71,500, drawing a spontaneous round of applause from an appreciative crowd.

The other E-Type in the sale also did well, a highly original, matching numbers 1969 Series Two 2+2 Coupe with just one owner since 1977 and a rebuilt engine and gearbox in the not-too-distant past which raised an impressive £50,600. Dwarfing the E-Type was a stunning 1959 Jaguar MkIX saloon, restored to a high standard about six years ago with flawless Old English White coachwork and beautifully mellowed original grey leather interior. The epitome of ‘Grace, Pace and Space’, this majestic beast deserved every penny required to secure it and would doubtless have fetched even more in less ‘wedding trade’ livery. A smart three-owner 1967 MkII 240 also repaid the seller’s ‘no reserve’ gamble by romping to a £15,510 result.

Continuing the Jaguar theme and much admired during the viewing was a really purposeful-looking 1960 Austin-Healey 3000 MkI BT7 with flared arches and additional louvres in the front wings and bonnet to cool the 3.8-litre E-Type power unit that had been expertly squeezed into the engine bay by a previous owner in the early 1980s. On offer from a deceased estate and unused for some time, it comfortably sailed over £10k beyond top estimate to finish on £40,700. With over twice the power of a standard MkI Big Healey, what a lot of fun that will be! The other Healey 3000 in the sale, a UK market 1967 MkIII BJ8 with only 6,000 miles on a rebuilt engine was also successfully hammered away for £38,500.

All three Aston Martins found new owners, top price going to a 1999 DB7 Dunhill Edition six-cylinder coupe, number 14 of only 150 made, with only 16,000 miles on the clock and first owned by footballer Ian Wright which raised £35,200. A 1998 DB7 Volante with only 32,000 miles fetched £30,800, while a 2006 V8 Vantage six-speed manual with 64,000 miles made £27,500 despite having been recently repaired following a Category D insurance claim.

Ferraris have been having a hard time at auction recently as prices have cooled off significantly during the course of the year, so it was perhaps no real surprise that the lovely 38,000 mile 1989 328GTS in striking Nero metallic didn’t quite hit its £79k reserve, but the equally smart 29,400 mile 1999 456M GTA did find a buyer at a slightly below estimate £57,200. What did surprise many though was the price realised by a scruffy 55,500 mile 1983 Mondial QV that had been in storage for eight years after developing an engine fault. Clearly in need of a fair amount of bodywork and a full repaint, it also amply rewarded the vendor’s ‘no reserve’ tactic by romping to a £16,500 result and is now on its way to a new home in Germany. By contrast, a really sharp 1984 QV with similar mileage and a recent £12,000 mechanical overhaul failed to reach its £28k reserve. Go figure, as they say in Trumpland…

Talking of Germany, a one-owner 1980 Porsche 928 with rare manual gearbox looked like a shrewd buy at £19,800 despite its relatively high 100k miles, this being a model that has rocketed in value of late, as did a scruffy but mechanically sound 1982 911SC at £20,900 which still sounded fit and healthy after 175k miles, testament to the superb engineering of this iconic air-cooled sportscar. Despite being almost 20 years younger and with only 64k miles on the clock, the very sharp water-cooled 911 Carrera 2 3.4 only cost its new owner £12,100 to secure and will doubtless look a bargain in years to come, the 996 being one of the most accomplished models ever to wear the coveted 911 badge. A rare 1993 Mercedes SL600 V12 Roadster with only 51k miles under its wheels soared way above its £12k estimate before finally falling to a Cypriot phone bidder for £20,020, while a 1973 BMW 2002 Touring now has a 10,000-mile journey ahead of it having been bought by a bidder in Queensland, Australia for £7,700.

At completely the other end of the technological scale, all but two of the 11 MG models on offer were successfully hammered away, top honours going to a brace of 1954 TFs, both nicely restored and fetching £25,820 and £21,120 apiece, the latter perhaps hampered by having a non-original 1,500cc engine fitted. A sound but scruffy 1946 TC raised £17,380 while a superb 1967 MGB Roadster restored 20 years ago around a new Heritage shell fetched a mighty £14,300 illustrating just how desirable this once ‘cheap and cheerful’ runabout has become in recent years.

Four out of five Triumphs also found new homes, a RHD converted 1968 TR250 from long-term ownership raising £18,700 and a tidy 1974 Stag £8,250 while a nicely prepared 1961 Herald 1200 Coupe rally car looked like a lot of fun at £6,600. Streets ahead of all of them though was a six-year-old Morgan Plus 4 Supersports, one of only 60 made to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of this venerable model and still looking showroom fresh after just 1,700 miles which romped to a £41,250 result.

The two oldest cars in the sale also amply repaid their ‘no reserve’ strategies, a well-restored 1928 Renault NN Tourer that had previously starred in an Indiana Jones movie raising £15,400 from an Austrian bidder despite its feeble 986cc engine, while a 1.5-litre Meadows-engined 1929 Lea-Francis 12/40 P-Type Open Coupe fetched £11,550. Austin Sevens always do well at Brightwells and a delightful 1935 Nippy did not disappoint at £13,200 nor did a 1933 Two-Seater Tourer at £8,250.

Perhaps the most eagerly anticipated lot in the sale was a delightfully distressed 1949 Land Rover Series One that had been owned by one local family from new. In highly original condition throughout and with a rare power take-off still fitted at the rear, this battered old workhorse had lain unused in a barn for over 20 years and was ripe for sympathetic refurbishment. Tantalisingly offered at no reserve, it drew legions of hopeful bidders from as far afield as Australia, Malta and Finland, being finally bagged by a dogged Scottish collector who stuck with it all the way through to a £26,070 conclusion, much to the delight of the crowd who yet again showed their appreciation with a rousing round of applause.

All but two of the 14 motorcycles on offer also changed hands, top price going to a much-modified and uprated 1962 BSA A10 which almost doubled its estimate at £6,600.

“It was a great end to a very busy year with some exceptional results achieved yet again,” said Brightwells’ consultant, James Dennison. “We attracted our usual vast crowd and had to requisition the local B&Q carpark for the second sale on the trot to accommodate the overspill from our 10-acre site, the sheer numbers and enthusiasm of bidders demonstrating just how buoyant the classic vehicle market continues to be in these otherwise uncertain times. Our hard-working team of consignors will enjoy recharging their batteries over the coming festive season but are already eagerly looking forward to next year’s busy calendar when we will return, all cylinders firing strongly, to bring you yet another feast of mouth-watering classics across at least a dozen sales both at Easters Court in Leominster and at Bicester Heritage. We would like to thank all our customers for their continued support and we wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.”

To view the results of the November Classic Sale in full, please visit and click on ‘Classic Motoring’ or phone 01568 611122. Brightwells’ next Leominster Classic & Vintage sale is on 7th March 2018 and entries are now being invited with free valuations available by emailing The closing date is Friday 2nd February so please do not leave it until the last minute or your entry may have to be deferred until our 16th May sale.


All the prices given above include the 10% buyer’s premium.