Big bids and a few bargains at Australian classic car auctions

By: Mark Higgins, Unique Cars magazine

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Lots of wild results over a big auction weekend

Shannons, Lloyds and Pickles staged classic car auctions on the last weekend of May with big-buck items and bargains up for grabs.

For Shannons it was the firm's first auction held in conjunction with the Hot Rod & Custom Auto Expo with 43 cars going under the hammer at Sydney’s Rosehill Racecourse.

Topping the auction was an Australian-delivered right-hand-drive 1951 Jaguar XK120 Roadster, one of 192 steel-bodied examples sold in Australia. It had been in storage in Sydney for around 30 years and after a bidding frenzy on the floor and phones it went for $128,000.

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A pair of later-model Jaguar E-Type coupes also sold. The first was an Australian-delivered, two-owner-from-new and low mileage 1971 4.2 Series 2 Coupe in need of cosmetic refurbishment, which brought $65,000. The second was a 1972 V12 with long-term ownership and offered with no reserve that sold for $50,000. 

Number plates are still proving hugely popular with $222,000 paid for NSW plate 201 and $102,000 outlayed for 1943.

A trio of Aussie cars offered with no reserve attracted excellent results with a 1971 LC Torana GTR bringing $60,000, a 1974 Holden HQ Monaro GTS 253 sedan with four-speed manual gearbox going for $55,500 and a 1972 HQ SS 253 V8 sedan $34,000.

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Not to be overlooked, sporty Euros performed well with a 1986 M635 CSi fetching $100,000, whle a 1987 Mercedes-Benz 560SL sold for $38,000 - the same price achieved for a rare 1973 Volvo P1800ES.

Headlining the Lloyds internet auction was a super rare 1981 Le Mans Porsche 924 GTR that sold for a whopping $330,000.

With a mere 300 kilometres on the clock from new, the one-owner race car was one of two examples delivered to Japan. After sitting in storage for two years it was bought by a Japanese businessman to add to his collection. While never raced, it turned a wheel in anger at the Suzuka and Mt Fuji tracks very occasionally, covering just 109 kilometres in the first seven years of his ownership. It’s considered the most original, untouched and completely unmolested example of a 924 GTR ever.

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A pair of E-Type Jaguars went under the hammer, one a 1969 Series 2 coupe in Primrose Yellow with matching numbers and a 4.2-litre six bolted to a four-speed manual gearbox. It had 73,000 miles showing and sold for $119,000. The 1967 Roadster, in stunning red with black interior was also a manual. An Australian delivered car, it underwent an exhaustive resto in the mid 1980s and sold for $162,000.

A rare 1972 Ford Lotus Escort GT that had undergone an engine and gearbox rebuild, along with a repaint in bright green and reupholster, fetched just $45,000. Even rarer was the 1975 105 series Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 Veloce fitted with an automatic ZF gearbox. It’s one of 200 made and one of eight known to be in Australia. For such a car, a winning bid of $24,000 seems a great deal. 

And for those hoping to steal a lot of metal for little outlay a couple of British luxos went out the door for bargain basement prices.

A stunning burgundy with contrasting leather trim 1990 V12 Jaguar LWB Sovereign with full history with just a smidge over 85,000km on it went for a paltry $18,500. If that wasn’t disheartening enough for purveyors of pommy luxo, a 1981 Rolls Royce Silver Spirit in outstanding condition with full books and tools, finished in Light Oyster with Connelly cream leather was snapped up for $18,500.

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At the Pickles auction, attended by 300 people with a further 300 watching online, the highest price realised was $420,000 for an immaculate 1964 Ferrari 330GT. Next best seller, from the same year, was a Brabham BT11A - the first car to record an average speed of 100mph around Bathurst with Kevin Bartlett driving - bringing $230,000 while a 1977 Holden Torana A9X went for $200,000.

An electric blue 1973 V8 Aston Martin in excellent condition, once owned by song-writing legend and Easybeats lead guitarist Harry Vanda passed in at $155,000 while a 1962 Ford Consul Capri and 1956 Ford Thunderbird convertible sold for $35,000 and $80,000 respectively.

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