More than £4.5 million worth of classic cars were sold at Europe’s biggest enthusiasts’ event at the NEC last weekend.
The Lancaster Insurance Classic Car Show saw 65,000 car-lovers head for the Midlands in an event hailed by organisers as “the best ever”.
Many of the NEC’s cavernous halls were turned over to the annual event, which encompassed everything classic car-related imaginable.
As always, one of the highpoints was the Silverstone Classics auction, which this year resulted in sales of more than £4.5 million.
Celebrities Steve Coogan and Theo Paphitis and racing legend Sir Stirling Moss were among the famous faces in the auction hall.
The most expensive car sold was a 1994 Jaguar XJ220 supercar, once owned by the Brunei Royal Family.
With just 6,000 miles on the clock it had an estimated price of £200,000-£220,000 but ended up selling for £247,500.
A highly sought-after 1954 Bentley R Type Continental Fastback failed to sell, though it had been expected to fetch as much as £900,000.
Among the auction surprises which passed all expectations were a Land Rover Series I, expected to fetch between £20,000 and £24,000, but which eventually sold for £38,250.
It had been owned by the same family for more than 30 years and had undergone a full restoration 15 years ago.
Among the other surprises were a 1980 Talbot Lotus Sunbeam with just 193 miles on the clock, which sold for more than £50,000 (it had been expected to fetch a maximum of £28,000) and a 1994 Range Rover LSE with a guide price of £14-18,000 which netted £33,750. One of the more affordable lots was a 1967 MGB GT Mk I. Described as “a delightful first classic for someone taking the plunge”, it sold for £3,150.
A more collectable MG SV-R sportscar dating from 2004 and built shortly before the ill-fated MG Rover operation shut up shop the following year fetched £34,875.
As always there were a host of classic Jaguars up for sale, including a 1954 Jaguar XK120 3.4 Special Equipment Roadster which sold for £51,750.
Several E-Types were also up for grabs by buyers with deep pockets, ranging from a 1971 Series III V12 2+2 Coupe which went for £43,313, to a 1964 Series 1 which sold for £91,125.
A 1966 Austin Mini Cooper S Mk I proved classic Minis are as collectable as ever – selling for £28,125 when it was expected to go for a maximum of £25,000 but a 1977 West Bromwich-built Jensen Interceptor Series IV, described as “rare and special” and valued at between £45,000 and £55,000 failed to sell.
Cars that did sell at hefty prices included a 1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 and a 1973 Porsche 911 S 2.4 Coupe.
Described as “just about as good as it gets” the Aston sold for £145,125, while the Porsche fetched £106,875.
A rare lot, in a sale which saw 81 per cent of the cars being auctioned sold, was a 1981 DeLorean DMC12 with no reserve which went for £28,125.
DeLorean cars continue to attract a loyal and dedicated following both in the UK and throughout the world.
They were built in Belfast between 1981 and 1983 by motor industry maverick John DeLorean, backed by UK government funding.
But a combination of spiralling debts and mismanagement – culminating in DeLorean being convicted of drug trafficking and money-laundering in the US led to its demise.
Throughout that time the firm’s purchasing officer was based in Coventry and the DMC12 went on to become a global sensation after it was featured in the Hollywood blockbuster Back to the Future.
In fact the Back to the Future DMC 12 was one of the stars of the show at the NEC, forming part of a Hollywood premiere theme big screen stand that also featured Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters and KITT from Knightrider.
Motoring presenter Quentin Willson also joined the show team this year as the host of the new Classic Club Stage, which saw expert seminars and classic motoring advice, as well as the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Club’s Motormind Quiz.
One of the undisputed hits of this year’s show was the Jaguar Heritage stand which displayed a historic D-Type and the new ‘Car Zero’.
Car Zero is the prototype for the new Lightweight E-Type being built by the recently-launched Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations division based at Browns Lane in Coventry,
Six new E-types will be hand-built by specialist engineers, completing a project first started more than 50 years ago.
The E-types were originally built in 1963 with aluminium bodies to improve performance, with just 12 of the planned 18 cars being built. The cars will carry the original series chassis numbers of the ‘missing’ models.
Jaguar Heritage also used its NEC stand to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its legendary Le Mans winning D-type, displaying the famous ‘Shortnose’ D-type, chassis number 561.
This year’s show managed to squeeze in more than the expected 1,700 classic cars with in excess of 1,800 commemorative display stickers handed out to go on the vehicles being showcased by the 250 clubs.
Meguiar’s Club Showcase saw Adrian Evans and his 1969 Ford Cortina Mk2 1600E announced as the overall winners on Sunday afternoon. Mr Evans bought the “badly restored” Ford in 2009 and stripped it back to its shell before completing a four-year restoration.
Meanwhile, the Imp Club was awarded the prize for most interesting selection of cars by Classic and Sports Car.
This year’s success, with visitor numbers on a par with last year’s record-breaking year, has prompted the organisers to plan a move to bigger halls at the NEC next year.
Event director Dan Nwaokolo said: “For 2015, such is the demand from clubs and the industry, we’re going to make the show even bigger by moving across to the biggest halls the NEC has to offer.
“This will expand the show to over 93,000 square metres – it is currently 82,000 – so we can ensure more marques and clubs can join us.”