Thunderbirds, Bugattis, Jaguars and more! - Auction Action

By: Mark Higgins

The auction world is full of surprises, with ever changing values, along with the occasional bargain. Here are some of the highlights, presented by Donington Auctions

1963 Ford Thunderbird Italien Show Car

SOLD: $688,600


Screen Shot 2024-05-29 at 11.11.21 am.png

Built by Ford’s Design and Performance ‘skunkworks’ in Dearborn, this one-of-a-kind Ford Thunderbird show car, built for the Custom Car Caravan, a Ford nationwide tour showcasing the Italien. Based on a ’62 T’bird it underwent a transformation, including a fastback roofline and over 80 more custom pieces. In 2005 it underwent a full resto by well-known restorer Tom Maruska and was recently sold from a private collection where it had been since 2008. 

1957 Jaguar D-Type replica

SOLD: $140,000

Donington's Auctions, LOT 49

Jaguar D-Type replica.jpeg

This d-type replica came to australia in 2020. it's hand-finished alloy body is in british racing green and it features dunlop-style peg wheels with knock-off hubs. The cockpit has a leather seat and smiths gauges. Power is from a 3.8lt jaguar twin overhead-cam engine with matching head and triple weber carburettors.

2010 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport 'Sang Bleu'

SOLD: $4.65 million

RM Sotheby’s, LOT 132 


It’s hard to believe the Bugatti Veyron is almost 20 years old and this is a one-off, built to celebrate Bugatti’s centenary. This one has had two owners and 2793 miles on the clock. It boasts 1001-horsepower from its quad-turbo 8.0lt W-16 engine, with zero to 100km/h in 2.46 seconds and top speed of 410 km/h. It has a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, 10 radiators and all-wheel drive. This car debuted at the 2009 Monterey car week.

2000 Subaru Impreza P1

SOLD: $128,820

Iconic Auctioneers, LOT 906

P1 Impreza3-11 at 16.50.17.jpg

The P1 is the big kahuna of Imprezas. Built by Subaru and fettled by Prodrive. Only 1000 were made and this three-owner example has the factory Prodrive wheel and brake upgrades and a mere 22,768 miles from new. The three-door body is finished in Blue Mica and power is from a beefier 280hp turbo boxer engine. It is unmodified, unrestored, lived in a climate-controlled garage and was stored for 15 years. 

ON THE BLOCK: 1966 Chevrolet El Camino

Mecum Indy Auction - May 15th

LOT W127 


Screen Shot 2024-05-29 at 11.11.09 am.png

There’s little doubt many old utes or pickups are enjoying a second life thanks to restos, or grafting new mechanicals into old bodies. Others are brought back to their original splendour. This ’66 El Camino looks stock but runs a 496ci big-block V8 tied to a four-speed manual. It has a Positraction rear-end, power steering and brakes, bucket seats, new front suspension and is finished in a custom bronze hue, for a cool look. 

1926 Bugatti Type 37

SOLD: $750,000

Donington's Auctions, LOT 53

 Bugatti Type 37.jpeg

Arguably the most significant Bugatti to race here, with three second places in the first six Australian Grands Prix. It was with one family for 60 years and is the 64th Type 37 built, arriving in Australia in 1929. After passing through several owners, it was bought from a wrecker's yard in 1962 and rebuilt. Its major components are all numbered in the expected range, including the front axle, chassis frame, gearbox and rear axle. 

1987 Mitsubishi Starion EX

SOLD: $28,600

Collecting Cars

Mitsubishi Starion.jpg

Growing in value is the Mitsubishi Starion and this well-preserved EX model is claimed to be in highly original condition. Under the bonnet sits a turbocharged 2.0-litre electronically fuel-injected inline-four, sending power to the rear wheels via a five-speed manual transmission. This one was registered in May 1987 and has been with the seller for two years, although they also owned the car for approximately five years around 16 years ago. It shows 80,475 miles from new.

2015 Land Rover Defender 110 Heritage

SOLD: $162,000

Iconic Auctioneers, LOT 931

LandRover Defender.jpg

I bet you’re wondering why anyone would pay this price for a Landy. The previous owner, one Rowan Atkinson CBE and its limited edition status might be the reasons. In excellent condition with 3800 miles from new, this Heritage Edition Defender is one of 400 made. Atkinson had fitted a factory-spec tow bar and air-con (for A$8300) as well as a car alarm. It sold with its matching green book, Land Rover - One of 400.

1987 BMW M3 Coupe

SOLD: $162,000

RM Sotheby’s. LOT 262


A two-owner, E30 M3 Beemer in Henna red with 48,054km on the clock. Power comes from a 2.3lt DOHC four, with nearly 200hp and a dog-leg close-ratio five-speed gearbox and LSD. This one has its numbers-matching engine and a comprehensive service history and rare spec including a sunroof, air-con, sound system, onboard computer and wind-up windows. 

1967 Lancia Fulvia 1.3 Rallye

SOLD: $90,000

Trading Garage

Lancia Fulvia.jpg

This 1967 Lancia Fulvia Rallye is a UK-import that had a full resto less than 10 years ago. It’s powered by a naturally-aspirated 1.3lt four putting out 65kW to the front wheels, through a four-speed manual gearbox. This example came to Australia in the 1990s. In 2016, a Lancia enthusiast bought it and did a nut-and-bolt resto, taking six years. It has won awards at club events. 

1988 Mercedes-Benz 300 TE 6.0 AMG 'The Mallet'

SOLD: $705,000

RM Sotheby’s, LOT 218 

1988-Mercedes-Benz-300-TE-Mallet -1449912_.jpg

What do you get when you shoehorn a 310hp 6.0lt V8 into a W124 Benz wagon? The AMG Mallet. It’s faster than a 911 and seats seven. Before AMG became a Benz subsidiary, they built some wild chariots, one being the Mallet, of which two were made. The engine and gearbox were from an S-Class and it was the personal transport of the boss of AMG USA. It sold with known history.

1982 Talbot Sunbeam Lotus Series 2

SOLD: $109,000

Iconic Auctioneers, LOT 912

Sunbeam Talbot Lotus.jpg

In the late 1970s Chrysler had Lotus produce a Group 4 rally car to tackle the Ford Escort RS. Lotus installed a hot 2.2-litre engine, hooked to a five-speed box and fettled the suspension too. It was offered in black or silver, with Marchal spotlights and 'double four-spoke' cast-alloys. Just 1184 were built. The car was used from 1988 to 2016 before undergoing a complete resto. Sold with 58,021 miles and history file.

1979 Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC

SOLD: $45,000

Donington auctions, LOT 67

Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC.jpeg

Built to Aussie-spec late in the model's production run, this Pastel Blue 1979 SLC was supplied through the Benz tourist delivery program and lived in Europe with its original owner, until it was shipped here in 2011. Pampered all its life, it was sold by its second owner with a tad over 81,000km on the clock and came with a comprehensive history file.

1973 VW Karmann Ghia

SOLD: $48,500

Iconic Auctioneers, LOT 901

Karmann Ghia.jpg

This example was so good, it went before the auction commenced. The Type 14 (Karmann Ghia) debuted at the 1953 Paris Auto Show as a styling concept by Ghia’s Luigi Segre. The Sport Edition is one of the rarest Karmanns produced with a run of 300 cars and this is the only one in the UK. Finished in Saturn Yellow with black accents complemented by 'Sport' road wheels it was imported from California in 1973 by an ex-JD Classics classic restoration engineer for his own use. 

1991 Honda HSX 

SOLD: $70,000

Trading Garage

Honda NSX.jpg

Honda’s two-door mid-engined NSX supercar was partly developed by the late Ayrton Senna and this one has had four owners. Some cosmetic upgrades have been added and it shows 136,809km on the clock. Its naturally-aspirated 3.0lt six producces 188kW, through a four-speed auto. It was originally green before being resprayed to white. Inside is a black leather interior. Imported here in 2021, it sold with documented history.

1969 Mustang Mack 1

SOLD: $155,500

Trading Garage


By the end of the '60s, the Mustang had lost its gloss, so Ford came up with the Mach 1. This 1969 model features a 428ci R-code V8 bolted to a three-speed auto. Poppy Green in hue, its third owner in 2001 commissioned a nut-and-bolt restoration to 'concours-grade' condition using new-old-stock parts. It sold with no reserve. 

ON THE BLOCK: 1969 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe

Mecum Indy Auction - May 15th

LOT R769


Screen Shot 2024-05-29 at 11.11.29 am.png

Built the same year as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon, the Corvette was the choice of car among NASA astronauts. This one is rare having an M-code engine casting from GM Engineering, denoting it as a test block. According to the NCRS newsletter, The Corvette Restorer, only 12 Corvettes from 1968-72 have been documented with M-coded engine castings. Under the bonnet is a matching-numbers L46 350ci V8 mated to a four-speed manual and has discs all-round.  

Unique Cars magazine Value Guides

Sell your car for free right here


Get your monthly fix of news, reviews and stories on the greatest cars and minds in the automotive world.