Goodwood in the Autumn 2021


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A Spirited Revival

It was a delightful day to drive down to Goodwood with the roof down in the autumn sunshine and an already busy car park indicated a revival that was more than just about an event.

As is usual these days, the Bonhams marquee was outside the show perimeter and the long walk showed a few less cars in the 1950’s/1960’s car park but the sense of occasion was palpable,

Inside the marquee, there was a good and well natured crowd and, any Aston Martin enthusiast listening to the bidding on the Automobilia had their sense of anticipation sharpened by lot 68, a tax disc for the James Bond Goldfinger DB5. Validated with a signed letter from David Brown, it had an estimate of £1,200 - £1,600 but spirited bidding took it to an astonishing £22,000 (£25,220 incl. premium) – and the latest Bond film isn’t out yet!

The Automobilia overran but the sale was further delayed for a moving and eloquent eulogy by Jamie Knight to his late colleague and former boss, Robert Brooks, supported by a short video that cut a dramatic piece of Goodwood Historic Racing, complete with excitable Murray Walker commentary, with major auction highlights, it was a fitting tribute.

The sorcerer was then replaced on the rostrum by his former apprentice, Sholto Gilbertson, who has clearly come of age as a performer – whether it was the slightly larger rostrum that offered the opportunity for movement or the amplification from the sound system, he did a good job enlivening an already attentive audience.

And those Aston vibes continued when a child’s replica DBR2 was the third lot from the Stan West collection.  Following on from two other half size replicas of a 1904 Talbot and a 1922 Rolls Royce, they all had similar estimates and sold well but the Aston – estimated at £2,000 - £4,000 sold for £16,800 (£19,320 inc. premium) showing the others a very clean pair of heels.

A little bit of reality returned with the first real Aston in the West collection a DB6 Mark 2 Saloon which sold on the hammer for £225,000 (£258,750 incl. premium) which was above top estimate. 

But one can’t help feeling that the auctions are doing themselves and their Sellers no favours – it is well known that there are a number of DB6’s (and other Astons) coming back to the market from an overseas collector which attract tax liabilities as well as re-commissioning costs – there were two in this sale.  But when you have a well-presented car such as Lot 207, is there really a need to start it at a lowly £100,000?  Let’s see a market differentiation and reward those Sellers!

Better news came from a rather lovely Aston Martin V8 Vantage – again, it beat its estimates and saw a hammer price of £174,000 (£200,100 incl. premium)

But the pendulum swung back to favour a Sussex based specialist when they bid a DB5 Saloon to £368,000 (£423,200 incl. premium) and then another buyer saw similar value on a well-presented DB Mark III at £110,000 (£126,500) reinforcing the view that Feltham cars and auctions are poor bedfellows.

Sholto had been clear about a close family tie with some of the cars in the Stan West collection and he certainly gave every car its opportunity to get the best bid and the total sale value of £3,573,500 (£4,107,495 incl. premium) was a reasonable result but Lot 227, a 1926 Rolls Royce 20HP Tourer brought a smile to a lot of faces.

In keeping with the Goodwood tradition of dressing up, there was a small group with the wives in “Pink Ladies” jackets from the film Grease and their partners were doing their best to do a John Travolta – a fair amount of champagne was flowing when the bidding for Lot 227 came on and “John Travolta” won the bid at £47,000 (£54,050 incl. premium). He promptly jumped to his feet, turned to the audience and cried “It’s the one that I want!” to the cheers of the crowd which grew in volume as his black wig fell victim to his wife’s congratulatory hug.

It was a sense of fun that persisted when the first of those DB6’s needing re-commissioning and carrying a tax liability came for sale. Reflecting the sunshine with its Bahama Yellow livery, this DB6 Mark 2 was bid to £132,000 (£151,800 incl. premium) – it was not the bright colours that cheered us up, it was the little girl sitting atop her Dad’s shoulders and waving his paddle number as primary bidder.

They tried again for the other similar car – this time a Burgundy standard DB6 but they were the underbidder when the car reached £127,000 on the hammer (£146,050 incl. premium).

The last Aston at the sale was another DB6 – this time an original LHD but with an upgrade to 5 speed ZF manual specification together with Webers and with Aston Martin Assured Provenance - £178,000 on the hammer (£204,700 incl premium) was probably a fair price but nonetheless a little disappointing for the Seller.

With Byron International’s long association with Aston Service in Dorset, we were really interested in the Forshaw collection especially the Fox & Nicholl 2-litre Lagondas.  Ivan Forshaw had always presented the cars as “a team” and they appeared like that on the cover of the catalogue.

One has to observe that Sholto passed the gavel to Rob Hubbard three lots before the Forshaw collection and there is an inevitable lull in a sale when the baton is passed and so with the decision to sell the four Lagondas as individual lots, momentum was against them.

The first entry made a hammer of £190,000 well short of estimate, but sold (£230,000 incl. premium), the second was bid to £150,000 and did not sell but then £155,000 (£178,250 incl. premium) was enough for a sale but another bid to £150,000 on the last unit left half the team behind – maybe they will be reunited by a someone with Ivan’s enthusiasm in the future.

Mind you, for a rare marque – 10 Lagondas in one sale has to be a first so perhaps there is the enthusiasm out there!

That is the second Goodwood event where we have seen live action back on the rostrum as well as the track and Saturday’s 75% sales rate was much better than July’s 61.6%.

No real star cars – and a mixed bag of results but when you hear the voices from all over Europe and hear the rostrum saying “that’s on its way to the Netherlands” and even calling on buyers to make sure a car stays in the UK, you know the market is regaining its legs.

It may be that it is still a bit wobbly, but with continued enthusiasm, it will soon be full steam ahead.



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