Brightwells had assembled another eclectic range of vehicles spanning virtually every decade of the 20th Century for the May sale and bidders were out in force. By close of play, 55 of the 94 lots on offer had been successfully sold for a total of £564,530 giving a clearance rate of 59% which is fairly typical of the UK auction scene at the moment, the regular 85% clearance rates of the past being harder to achieve in the current climate.

Bucking market trends, the top seller was a pre-war car, a beautifully executed 1929 Riley MPH Replica which almost doubled its estimate to finish on £61,050. Given that only around 15 genuine examples were ever made and the last one sold by Brightwells made over £215,000 in 2009, it could be considered well-bought at this price, especially as it had a more powerful 2.5 Riley Big Four engine and a slightly wider chassis meaning normal-sized people could actually drive it!

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Next best was a really super 1966 Chevrolet Corvette C2 Sting Ray Convertible with  a 5.7 V8 and rare manual transmission which fully deserved the £53,300 required to secure it. Air-cooled versions of the Porsche 911 have long been deeply desirable so it was no real surprise that a lovely 1994 Porsche 911 (993) Cabriolet with only 42k miles on the clock had no trouble finding a buyer at £48,800.

Returning to the pre-war car theme, of the other 16 examples on offer, only eight were sold, next best price after the Riley MPH going to a smart 1935 Rolls-Royce 20/25 Freestone & Webb Sports Saloon which made £21,950. The exact same car had fetched £38,000 when last sold in 2016 which says a lot about the current state of this market sector. A 1935 Railton Eight Saloon could also only raise £11,500, just over half what it had made when last sold back in 2009, while a rare 1934 Standard Avon Sports, one of only five know to survive, made £8,400 compared to the £12,600 it had made when sold via Brightwells in 2012.

Morgans generally do well at Brightwells and a lovely 2006 Morgan Plus 4 with only 30k miles on the clock made £29,625 while a smart 1994 Morgan Plus 8 with only 16k miles but in need of recommissioning following 10 years in storage fetched £25,200. Tellingly, the pre-war 1934 Morgan Three-Wheeler ‘Barrel Back’ failed to find a buyer at £30k.

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Six of the 10 MGs on offer successfully changed hands, top price going to a wonderful 1972 MGB Roadster with various tasteful upgrades including power steering and electric windows which raised an impressive £17,700. A nice 1973 MGB GT with a V8 engine transplant also did well at £11,270 while a rare 1939 MG VA Saloon with lots of charming patina looked great value at just £10,640.

A nicely restored 1963 Mini Cooper MkI with a later 1,275cc engine comfortably beat its pre-sale estimate to finish on £15,680. At completely the other end of the spectrum, a 1990 Bentley Mulsanne S with only 45k on the clock looked like a lot of car for £13,440. Special mention should also be made of a 2001 Toyota MR2 Roadster in the Online Garage sale which made a remarkable £13,150 by virtue of its low 2,700 mileage – find another, as they say…

Much admired during the viewing was a really super 1953 Citroen Traction Avant 11BL which looked excellent value at £11,100 and would perhaps have fetched rather more if it had been in UK-friendly RHD. As regular auction goers will know, LHD has been a real negative point since Brexit which effectively killed the European trade because of the extra tax burden when buying cars in England. What a great idea that was…

Having said that, a 1974 Ferrari 365 GT4 2+2 restoration project that had been in barn storage for over 30 years was bravely taken on by a European bidder for £15,680 and is now on its way to a new home in Denmark.

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The next Brightwells Classic Car Auction will be on 19th June with a closing date for entries of 7th June so if you are thinking of selling, please don’t hesitate get in touch by calling 01568 611122 or by emailing for a free, no obligation valuation. It will include a special ‘British Icons’ section and we already have some exceptional early entries so your car will be in good company!