In the UK there is hive of auction activity in the classic car world this month. Bonhams will conduct the wonderful Goodwood Revival sale on September 18. H&H will hold its Imperial War Museum Duxford sale on September 8 and Historics Auctioneers will have an auction at the Ascot Racecourse on September 25. Earlier this week Hagerty published their top 10 favourites from the forthcoming auctions…
Estimate: £90,000 – £120,000
Four-wheel drive is common today, but back in the 1960s it was limited to off-roading and work vehicles. Jensen was way ahead of its time in 1966 when it introduced a new grand tourer that had not only the FF (Ferguson Formula) four-wheel drive system but also Dunlop anti-lock brakes. Other than its drivetrain it was largely similar to the Interceptor, and that meant a Touring-designed body from Italy and a Chrysler V8 from America.
The one offered by Bonhams is a final-year Mk II model, restored 10 years ago with its matching numbers 383 cubic inch Chrysler engine. Bonhams calls it “the best Jensen FF we have ever seen.”
Estimate: £105,000 – £150,000
The turbocharged version of the Esprit truly launched the Lotus wedge into supercar territory, with the 910 engine delivering 210bhp and 200 lbft of torque.
Before the standard Esprit debuted, however, there was a special edition called the Essex Turbo Esprit. Named for Team Lotus’s F1 sponsor Essex Petroleum, the car featured the oil company’s signature colours of blue, red and chrome over scarlet leather seats
Offered by The Market, an online auction platform recently acquired by Bonhams, this Essex is number 17 of the 45 Essex Esprits built. It boasts £40,000 in restoration work.
Estimate: £200,000 – £250,000
One of the more memorable Italo-American hybrids to come out of the 1960s and 1970s, the Iso Grifo combined a Giotto Bizzarrini-designed chassis and Bertone body with Chevrolet small-block V-8s. Later Grifos were even more potent with a big-block 7-litre engine and there was even a 7.4-litre “Can Am” Chevrolet engine.
The one offered by Bonhams is represented as one of just three right-hand drive big-block cars and boasts just one owner from new. The only bad news (unless you fancy a project) is that it has been in dry storage since 1974.
Estimate: £25,000 – £30,000
Built from 1957-60 in Slough, Peerless combined Triumph TR running gear with a tubular space frame chassis under a fibreglass four-seater body. Although it was a quick, attractive, and powerful car, only a little over 300 were made. This yellow car offered by H&H was restored in the 2010s.
Estimate: £85,000 – £95,000
RUF is one of the oldest Porsche tuners of them all, with the German manufacturer’s first modified 930s dating back to the 1970s. The BTR (Gruppe B Turbo RUF) was the first RUF with a company-specific VIN, although many BTRs were customer cars converted to BTR specs. This early left-hand drive model offered by Historics Auctioneers this month started out as a standard 1979 930, then was upgraded to BTR specs in 1985 by the authorised RUF importer in Japan.
Estimate: £75,000 – £80,000
The TR5 was something of a carryover model for Triumph, but that also makes it the best of both worlds for TR fans. It has the potent 2.5-litre fuel-injected straight-six from the upcoming TR6 but also the purer Giovanni Michelotti-penned styling of the TR4. And because Triumph only built the TR5 for a couple of years, it’s quite rare. Less than 3000 in total were built, and less than half of those stayed in the UK.
Estimate: £140,000 – £180,000
Bristols have always been exclusive, expensive, hand-crafted cars and the 406 is no exception.
The last Bristol to use the old BMW-derived pushrod straight-six before the company switched to Chrysler V8s, the 406 had a production run spanning four years but fewer than 200 were built in that time. Even more exclusive were the six special 406 models bodied by Carrozzeria Zagato.
Offered by Bonhams this month this Bristol is represented as the same car displayed at the 1960 Earls Court Motor Show. Bonhams also sold it at the Festival of Speed sale in 2014 for £169,500.
Estimate: £60,000 – £68,000
Land Rover isn’t much known for racing but there’s an outfit called Bowler that has been modifying Defenders since 1985 and winning rallies with them. Bowler also sells high-performance parts for various Land Rover models and has even designed its own in-house chassis. Bowler was acquired by Jaguar Land Rover in 2019 and is now part of Jaguar’s Special Vehicle Operations division.
This Wildcat, chassis number 004, boasts a 5-litre Rover V8 tuned to 334bhp and took wins at the Baja de France, Baja Great Britain, and Scottish Rally. It was also shown at the 2005 Goodwood Festival of Speed and was hammered not sold at a £69,000 high bid at the Silverstone Race Retro auction this March.
Estimate: £30,000 – £35,000 Sold for: £29,250
Any Morgan Plus Eight is a desirable car, combining Morgan’s timeless looks with kick-in-the-back performance from the compact Rover V8. This one offered by Bonhams is a little more special in that it is represented as the last of 19 special Lightweight models with all-aluminium bodywork. It is also represented as having been owned by John McLaren, brother of Bruce McLaren.
Estimate: £200,000 – £250,000 Sold for: Unsold
One of Britain’s great sporting automobiles of the 1910s and 1920s was the Vauxhall 30-98. A worthy if lesser-known competitor to the contemporary Bentleys. A later OE-Type model with overhead valves and hydraulic brakes as well as the standard tourer coachwork, this one also boasts matching numbers and its original body. It was bought by the vendor in 1993 and soon restored.