Auctions

Fortune favours the bold: 4 huge restoration projects you could bid for

by Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
28 February 2023 5 min read
Fortune favours the bold: 4 huge restoration projects you could bid for
Photos: Dore & Rees

There are 40 classic cars available at the forthcoming Dore & Rees Spring Auction, many of which are ready to go. Some are old enough to be tax and MOT exempt, so you could, in theory, spend the spring and summer months living the dream without worrying about anything other than the cost of insurance, fuel and general maintenance.

This quartet will require a little more investment in time and money. Indeed, as restoration-case cars, they might not be ready in time for the spring or summer of 2024. Brave pills required, etc.

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Still, fortune favours the bold, and these run-down classics provide a blank canvas for you to paint your own memories, or just curse under your breath as another challenge rears its head. We’ve included the pre-auction estimates and the current values according to the Hagerty Price Guide, just in case you were basing your decision on some ‘car enthusiast maths’.

1973 BMW 3.0 CSL

BMW CSL for restoration

Estimate: £40,000 – £45,000
Hagerty Price Guide values: £71,700 – £201,000

You might be encouraged by the £201,000 valuation for a 1973 BMW 3.0 CSL in ‘concours’ condition. Maybe our lead photo, with its moody lighting and subtle vignette, will tempt you into making a cheeky bid for what is undoubtedly one of BMW’s greatest hits – after all, it’s not often that one of the 500 UK cars come up for sale.

Make no mistake, it requires a lot of work. Our editor, James Mills, saw it at the London Classic Car Show and said, “the floor is literally falling out of it”. The exhaust is hanging from the rear bumper, tied on with string. The rest of the car is just, well… hanging. But we’re probably all thinking the same thing: what a fantastic opportunity.

All UK cars were fitted with the ‘City Package’, which restored some of the CLS’s weight-saving measures to make the ‘Coupé Sport Leichtbau’ more palatable to a general audience. That meant metal front and rear bumpers, along with power steering, electric windows, thick carpets, sound insulation, an interior release for the bonnet and a boot lock.

Yes, the boot lock was removed as part of the CSL’s slim-fast diet, which, when combined with the other measures, saved about 200kg in weight. All cars featured snug Scheel bucket seats, Petri three-spoke steering wheel, black headlining and, unusually for a performance coupé, wood trim. For more details on the history and specs of the BMW 3.0 CSL, check out Rob Siegel’s excellent guide, which will almost certainly leave you looking at the ‘Register to Bid’ button with wonder.

Dore & Rees says: ”Although apparently complete, the CSL is clearly ripe for restoration. The sills and floors show signs of extensive corrosion, as do the inner wing and bulkhead areas. [It] is the perfect candidate for full restoration to original condition.”

1961 Facel Vega HK500

Facel Vega HK500

Estimate: £55,000 – £60,000
Hagerty Price Guide values: £57,400 – £207,000

Launched in 1959 as an evolution of the FVS, the Facel Vega HK500 was, at the time, one of Europe’s fastest and most glamorous grand tourers. A car that was able to live up its billing as ‘For the Few Who Own the Finest’, the HK500 was a hit with the rich and famous. Owners included Ava Gardner, Ringo Starr, Joan Fontaine, Pablo Picasso and Maurice Trintignant, while Stirling Moss famously preferred his HK500 to flying.

Powered initially by a Chrysler 5.8-litre V8, the HK500 was upgraded to a 6.3-litre V8, making it the world’s fastest four-seater coupé. It mattered little that it had neither the brakes nor the steering to cope with the thunderous power, because few cars looked as beguiling and elegant as Facel Vega’s work of art.

The HK500 was Facel Vega’s most popular model, with 490 examples built. This 1961 example, which arrived in the UK from America in 1990, has spent three decades in storage, but the current owner has decided to move it on.

Dore & Rees says: ”The silver coachwork appears to be sound and straight, and the red leather interior is complete, although showing signs of wear commensurate with age. With just under 75,000 miles recorded, this stylish Grand Routier should prove to be a straightforward restoration or preservation project for the discerning collector.”

1954 Austin-Healey 100/4 ‘Le Mans’

Austin-Healey project

Estimate: £19,000 – £24,000
Hagerty Price Guide values: £27,300 – £96,200 (BN1)

The Austin-Healey 100 started life as the Healey Hundred at the 1952 London Motor Show, but was fast-tracked into production having been spotted by Austin’s Leonard Lord. Using the running gear of the Austin Atlantic, the 100 – named after its ability to hit 100mph – featured styling penned by body engineer Gerry Coker, with some tweaks by Donald Healey himself.

Retrospectively known as the 100/4, following the launch of the straight-six-engined 100/6, the sports car was powered by a 2660cc four-cylinder engine mated to either a three-speed (BN1) or four-speed (BN2) manual gearbox.

Some cars were converted to Le Mans specification, which included a louvred bonnet, larger carburettors, a cold air-intake airbox, high-lift camshaft, stronger valve springs and a revised distributor. The auction house says that although it’s unlikely that this 1954 example was treated to a Le Mans makeover in period, the age of the parts suggests they were fitted “many years ago”.

Dore & Rees says: ”Having been stored in various conditions for many years, the Healey will of course require a full restoration before being returned to the road. Early right-hand drive, home market 100/4s are relatively scarce, and one with period Le Mans features rarer still. As such, this survivor will no doubt generate much interest on the day.”

1956 Jaguar XK140 Roadster

Estimate: £34,000 – £38,000
Hagerty Price Guide: £41,400 – £152,000

Jaguar XK140 project

Estimate: £34,000 – £38,000
Hagerty Price Guide values: £41,400 – £152,000

Launched in 1954 as a replacement for the hugely successful XK120, the Jaguar XK140 had a tough act to follow. Subtle styling tweaks, a more comfortable interior, rack-and-pinion steering and improved suspension were the most significant changes, with power sourced from a 3442cc straight-six engine producing 190bhp, an increase of 10bhp over the XK120.

There were three body styles: Roadster (known as OTS, Open Two Seater, in America), Drophead Coupé (DHC) and Fixed Head Coupé (FHC). The majority of the 8937 cars produced were exported, with just 1392 XK140s produced in right-hand drive.

This isn’t one of them. The car was sold new in the United States and was at some point ‘treated’ to a lilac-coloured paint job. More positive is the fact that it was ordered with the desirable SE specification, which includes the Jaguar C-type’s cylinder head, increasing the output to 210bhp.

Dore & Rees says: “The car appears to have been last on the road in 1973, later to be laid up for many years before being acquired by our vendor in 2014, and imported into the UK. A candidate for comprehensive restoration, the XK is now clearly in need of major work. However, the car does appear to be complete, and is offered with its original C-type and later replacement cylinder heads.”

The Dore & Rees Spring Auction gets underway at 2pm on 11 March 2023. If you make a successful bid on any of these four cars, we’d love to hear all about your plans.

Read more

Six classic European sports cars with American V8 engines
Show star turned racer: Ghia-bodied XK140 up for auction
M3 CSL: The search for BMW’s M car pinnacle ends here

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BMW 3.0 CSL restoration project
BMW 3.0 CSL restoration project
BMW 3.0 CSL restoration project
BMW 3.0 CSL restoration project
Facel Vega HK500 restoration project
Facel Vega HK500 restoration project
Facel Vega HK500 restoration project
Facel Vega HK500 restoration project
Facel Vega HK500 restoration project
Austin Healey 100/4 restoration project
Austin Healey 100/4 restoration project
Austin Healey 100/4 restoration project
Austin Healey 100/4 restoration project
Jaguar XK140 restoration project
Jaguar XK140 restoration project
Jaguar XK140 restoration project
Jaguar XK140 restoration project
Jaguar XK140 restoration project
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