“What A Car Auction Taught Me”
This weekend I decided to attend the Historics Classic & Sportscar auction at Ascot Racecourse. Not because I was planning on buying a new classic and/or sports car, but mostly because I needed pictures for this blog! After all, my planned trip to Geneva was cancelled, so I found the next best thing. So, what did I spend my day doing, then? Wishing I had more money, and taking more pictures of the cars outside the auction than in!
Those of you who are based in England will know that Ascot is quite an affluent little area. Personally, my family and I live close by, and I work in the High Street. Regularly during my lunch breaks I see Porsche 911’s, Bentley Continental GT’s and G-Class Merc’s parked up on the side of the road, so the grand racecourse setting is the perfect location for an auction featuring some very sought-after cars. And for sought-after cars, this auction did not disappoint.
Auction Lots fulfilling the “classic” criteria included a 1969 Volkswagen Beetle, a 1989 Lancia Delta Integrale in a magnificent red, and a 1960 Aston Martin DB6, which sold for a huge £310,000. Whilst these beautiful machines of yesteryear are admirable, personally, being of a younger generation, the more recent models on offer were the ones that caught my eye.
In terms of more affordable cars for the majority of people, up for auction was a 2003 BMW E46 M3 convertible, a 2000 Subaru Impreza P1 (the model that was modified from factory by Prodrive, the company responsible for running the World Rally Impreza’s at the time) and a 2006 Mini GP, which are all fantastic cars.
Some more modern bargains (for those wealthy enough to afford them, at least) included a 2016 Mclaren 570S which was sold for less than £80,000, meaning the car has lost pretty much half its value in just 3 years! Alternatively, a pair of Ferrari Californias, built in 2009 and 2010, were sold for £77,000 and £56,000 respectively. To put that into context, a 10-year-old Ferrari (that looks very similar to the current Portofino, to the extent a non-car-person would be deceived) can be yours for the same price as the new Mercedes AMG A45!
Two of the halo cars for this particular auction, however, were simply stunning. A 2016 Mclaren 675LT Spider with just 3000 miles completed was up for auction. Whilst it wasn’t sold, this 1-of-500 car had an estimated value of £240-275,000. The Solis Metallic paint on this particular model wouldn’t have been my personal choice, but I think I could look past that to appreciate the engineering inside. Given the choice, however, it would be a hard decision between that and the Alfa Romeo 8C Spider that was on offer. Another 1-of-500 example (although a 1 of just 35 UK-delivered), this particular 8C had the iconic Competizione Red paintwork, and looked just sublime.
Surprisingly, though, the car from that auction I honestly wished I could’ve bought hasn’t yet been mentioned. Whilst a 2004 Mercedes CL65 (yes, the same bi-turbo V12 that powers Pagani Huayra’s!) almost stole my heart, selling at just £19,000, it was in fact a BMW Z4 that got my tongue wagging, as this wasn’t any old Z4…
This BMW started life as a 2010 Z4 35i. No, this car isn’t even the M- variant, but it’s so much more! The turbocharged straight-6 in this particular car has been tweaked to ~500bhp, and is attached to the 6-speed manual. It’s a manual! Ironically, the drivetrain is probably the least-fettled aspect of this monster. This is because BMW-racing specialists Flossman have fitted this Z4 with a 100% Carbon Fibre GT3 widebody panel kit, including the ankle-slicing front splitter and the ginormous rear wing! The modifications don’t stop there, though. To help match the car’s go to its show, there are coil-overs, a new exhaust, and an upgraded intercooler, finally inside the Beemer has two full bucket seats, 6-pont racing harnesses, and a new digital racing dashboard that sits behind the obligatory MOMO quick-release steering wheel.
This car is truly a 1-of-1 GT3 replica, and it’s even got the plaque to say so. This weekend the estimate on the car was £28-34,000, but it didn’t sell. Considering BMW decided against making their own road-legal GT3 edition of the Z4, this homemade is the only road legal Z4 GT3 in the country, and must be an absolute hoot to drive! Whilst I’m in no position to actually go out and purchase the car today, it did get me wondering. Is it necessary for me to buy an actual racing car, or could I get away with buying a nice, quick road-legal car that I could just hammer on a track day? Thinking about it, I’m not going to answer that one now, because I feel like I could get another whole post out of that topic! That will be out in the next couple of weeks, so check back soon, but for now, let me know in the comments which would you pick, would you go and buy a racing car and compete for a year? Or would you go out and buy a sporty new daily that you could track on the weekend?
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