As an excited schoolboy I remember climbing the Monument in London to see the view from the top and feeling giddy from the experience then last summer, I visited the Shard and looked down trying to make out that original high point in the jungle of skyscrapers that makes up modern London’s skyline.
The reverse sensation hit me on Saturday when I visited the latest addition to the London classic car show scene – the Olympia Historic Automobile Fair & Auction. Walking along the main frontage and passing the Cruise Show, the PC Gaming Show the signs pointed you round the building to what they call Olympia West but some might refer to as the annexe and the show had been consigned to a disappointingly small arena!
There were a few fine displays by, for example Hilton Moss, but the space, small as it appeared, was dominated by the stock for Coys Auction and, true to form, the display quality of their cars was, shall we say, wanting? I spoke to a couple of the exhibitors and there was disappointment on the size of the hall and the lack of exhibitors.
Most visitors stayed for the Coys auction and, as the first UK event after the scene setters in Arizona and Paris, we were interested in the outcome. The overall sell through rate was good but more a factor of moderate price expectation from Sellers than anything else. As has proved the case at so many recent auctions, the estimates were more guesses than proper guides – a 1967 Mercedes Benz 250 SL made a hammer price of £65,000 (£74,600 with premium) against an estimate of £30,000! Aston Martin enthusiasts may have been distracted by a Fergus Ulster 2 seater one of seven cars ”inspired” by the Aston Martin Ulster. Its price was equally attractive, drawing £20,000 on the hammer (£23,600 with premium).
With desultory bids from the audience, most bidding action – and entertainment – came from the telephone and internet bidding. It was the latter that provided the entertainment with the diminutive young lady managing the internet leaping to her feet when the first bid came through online, knocking her chair flying but getting her bid across – and she continued with that same enthusiasm with a number of successful online bids.
But, this being Coys, there was no discernible pattern in the likely success of a bid – when a BMW 635CSi was bid to £7,000 just over half way to its bottom estimate, it was accepted. Then a 1954 Sunbeam Alpine that we first saw failing to sell in Ascot several months back, apparently “made” its bottom estimate of £40,000 but was not quite enough”.
Energy returned with a very nice Ferrari Dino recording a hammer price of £320,000 (£360,200 with premium) and closely followed by a nice, but far from perfect 1974 Aston Martin V8. Estimated at £85,000, it rose to a hammer price of £95,000 (£108,200 with premium) which was a great result and pleased us as it reinforced the value of cars that we have for sale on www.allastonmartin.com
We doubt if this show will resurface – we have the London Classic Car Show later this week in conjunction with Historic Motorsport International (and another Coys sale). Let’s hope that show moves on from last year although it is interesting to see that some of the exhibitors are not returning so we may be back to show and tell rather than show and sell!