Hammer Time! UK car auction preview March 2021

by Andrew Newton
1 March 2021 5 min read
Hammer Time! UK car auction preview March 2021
1993 Toyota Supra Turbo Silverstone Auctions

Spring is here and March is set to be a busy month for auctions in the UK with Bonhams, Anglia Car Auctions, Silverstone Auctions, and Historics Auctioneers all conducting sales. There are costly blue chip collector cars as well as budget classics crossing the block at all of them, but we’ve picked out 10 of the rarest and most interesting vehicles up for grabs this month. See if any takes your fancy…

1995 Subaru Impreza Series McRae

Photo: Bonhams

Bonhams MPH March Auction
Estimate: £15,000 – £20,000

Colin McRae won the World Rally Championship (WRC) for Drivers in 1995, which also gave Subaru its first Manufacturers’ title in the series. The same year Prodrive (the outfit that ran Subaru’s WRC team) built a limited run of 200 “Series McRae” Imprezas with 16-inch gold Speedline wheels, Recaro front seats, Blue Mica paint, and some subtle decals.

This one is represented as the 12th car produced, and although it shows 59,000 miles, it appears well cared for, doesn’t have any visible mods, and has reportedly had just four owners from new. With original, early Imprezas getting harder to find, this car will hold plenty of appeal for plenty of Subaru and McRae fans.

1964 Jaguar E-Type SI 4.2 Roadster

Photo: Silverstone Auctions

Silverstone Race Retro Live Online Auction
Estimate: £70,000 – £90,000

Back in December of 1964 this car was a shiny new E-Type Roadster. Just three months later, a crash at Snetterton relegated it to a decades-long hibernation. It is still in unrestored, neglected condition.

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The original owner, a Yorkshire playboy named Tom Casson, already had a notorious reputation for bad driving long before he bought his E-Type. He was banned from operating an automobile for 10 years after killing a cyclist in 1940. But even 24 years after that incident he was still crash-prone, and an on-track mishap heavily damaged the Jag’s left side. In 1966 it went to another owner who fitted a new floor pan, doors, rear wing, sills, and bonnet, but he never drove it.

Today it’s a total project, but what makes it stand out is the level of originality, plus the 2805 mile on the clock. It last sold for £116,600 in 2016, and five years later it still needs saving. If it takes more than a love of Jaguars to sway you, check out the Hagerty Price Guide values for the Series I and weigh up whether it make financial sense to restore this example.

1993 Toyota Supra Turbo

Photo: Silverstone Auctions

Silverstone Race Retro Live Online Auction
Estimate: £35,000 – £40,000

Clean, unmodified Mk IV twin-turbo Supras aren’t easy to come by anywhere, but an original UK-market car is something special. According to Silverstone Auctions, this is one of 200 Supras sold to Britain with the twin-turbo engine and 6-speed manual gearbox. It also reportedly stayed with the original owner until 2018, benefitted from £20,000 in recent servicing, and was featured in a 2019 Top Gear segment celebrating the fourth-gen Supra.

1978 Lotus Esprit S2

1978 Lotus Esprit S2 auction March 2021
Photo: Silverstone Auctions

Silverstone Race Retro Live Online Auction
Presale estimate: £55,000 – £60,000

Any S2 Lotus Esprit is cool. An S2 Esprit in John Player Special (JPS) colors is even cooler. Officially called the “Commemorative Edition” to celebrate the company’s 1978 Formula 1 World Championship victory with the black and gold Lotus 79, the JPS Esprit is a rare car by any standard. Only 185 were built, including 100 for the UK market.

This is represented as the 12th car built, and it was reportedly featured on a Top Gear segment back in the 1990s. Esprits, particularly early ones, often live up to the company’s “Lots Of Trouble, Usually Serious” reputation, but thankfully someone has already spent a lot of money on this one. It’s represented with £25,000 worth of receipts since 2017, including an engine rebuild.

1956 Continental Mark II

Photo: Historics Auctioneers

Historics Ascot Racecourse
Estimate: £43,000 – £52,000

The Continental Mark II (often mislabeled as a “Lincoln Continental Mark II”) was a largely hand-built, exquisitely appointed piece of 1950s American magnificence. With a starting price of $10,000 (nearly $100,000 in today’s dollars, around £71,500) it didn’t sell well, but it was never supposed to. It was a car for the rich, famous, and powerful.

This car, for example, was reportedly sold new to Nelson Rockefeller. Not only was Rockefeller from a fabulously wealthy family, he also served as the Governor of New York from 1959-73 and as Vice President of the United States from the end of 1974 to the beginning of 1977. How long he kept his Continental isn’t clear, but it has since been fully restored.

1970 Ford Escort Twin Cam

Photo: Historics Auctioneers

Historics Ascot Racecourse
Estimate: £48,000 – £58,000

Finnish rally driver Hannu Mikkola, who passed away last month, won the 1000 Lakes Rally seven times and the RAC Rally four times. In 1983, he also became the first person to win the World Rally Championship in a four-wheel drive car – the Audi Quattro. Much of his career, however, was spent behind the wheel of Ford Escorts like this 1970 Twin Cam. According to Historics Auctioneers, he drove it in the 1970 Cyprus Rally. An ex-works car, it has reportedly been featured in several books and magazines but in more recent years has been kept in storage.

2004 Ferrari 575M

Photo: Silverstone Auctions

Silverstone Race Retro Live Online Auction
Estimate: £175,000 – £200,000

This car ticks nearly every box you can think of for a 575. It’s an original right-hand drive UK-market car. It has the optional Daytona-style seats, Scuderia shields, and Fiorano handling package. It is finished in the rare but attractive colour combination of Grigio Titanio over Crema leather. It comes with a service history and its odometer reading of 14,065 miles is impressively low but not so low that you’d feel guilty every time you go for a drive. Most importantly, though, it has a 6-speed manual gearbox. 575s with that open gate between the seats can sell for about twice as much as a car with paddles.

1988 Porsche 924 S Le Mans

Photo: Silverstone Auctions

Silverstone Race Retro Live Online Auction
Estimate: £20,000 – £25,000

By the 924’s final model year in 1988, Porsche’s entry-level transaxle coupé had grown up a bit. It gained the “S” moniker for 1986, and with it came the more powerful 2.5-litre M44 engine from the 944. Porsche had also won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the 12th time in 1987, and to celebrate Porsche sold a special “Le Mans” edition with M030 sport suspension, Turbo sports seats, phone dial wheels and, of course, big decals.

Just 74 of the cars sold in Britain, with 37 finished in Alpine White and 37 finished in black. Porsche Centre Swindon restored this one in 2016.

1976 Jaguar XJ12 Series II Coupé

Photo: Historics Auctioneers

Historics Ascot Racecourse
Estimate: £14,000 – £20,000

Jaguar offered a pillarless coupé version of the XJ, aka the XJC, from 1975-78. Buyers could choose either the XK six-cylinder engine or the 5.3-litre V12. The coupé was already expensive to build and cost more than the equivalent XJ saloon, so the V12 version was a tough sell. Only 1855 buyers stepped up for one. This red over cream car comes out of a private collection and looks like a solid driver. If you’re in the market for more of a project, Bonhams is selling an XJC Prototype this month as well.

1963 Vauxhall VX4/90 Rally Car

Photo: Bonhams

Bonhams MPH March Auction
Estimate: £50,000 – £60,000

The VX4/90 doesn’t look like the sportiest thing on four wheels, but it’s based on the Vauxhall Victor, and with a name like that it’s only natural that they took it rallying. This one is represented as a works rally car that doesn’t have any major wins to its credit but nevertheless boasts an impressive resume.

It ran the RAC, Tulip, Welsh, and Spa-Sofia-Liege Rallies, the Rally of the Midnight Sun, and the Monte Carlo Rally twice (1963-64). It also did some historic rallying in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and is represented with its FIVA Card, RAC Competition Log Book, RAC Historic Vehicle Identity Form, FIA Historic Vehicle Identity Form, and copies of the original homologation papers. While its more recent history is quiet, it at least looks ready to hit the stages again.

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