To celebrate 70 years of Brighouse Car Auctions, chief operating officer Simon Henstock has picked ten of the more unusual and interesting vehicles sold by BCA over the years.
Lady Diana’s Austin Metro
In the early 1990s, BCA conducted the sale of a modest ‘W’ registered Austin Metro. An unremarkable car in every aspect, perhaps worth around £1,200 at the time. The fact the car had been driven by the then Lady Diana Spencer at the time she was first linked with Prince Charles resulted in the car selling for more than five times that value.
Rod Stewart’s Lamborghini
BCA has handled the sale of a number of cars from Rod Stewart’s collection over the years. Rod is well known for his love of powerful sports cars. One car – a Lamborghini Countach Anniversary in white – sold for £100,000 and made an appearance on the Big Breakfast TV programme.
Jonesy’s Butchers Van
Star vehicles from TV shows always create a lot of interest. BCA had the privilege of handling the sale of Jonesy’s van from the Dad’s Army TV series, complete with portholes for the platoon to stick their rifles through. This pre-war commercial van sold for £10,400 in 1991 - perhaps double what it might have achieved without its interesting history.
Great Train Robber’s ‘getaway’ car
In 1969, BCA handled the sale of Bruce Reynold’s Lotus Cortina - registration BMK 723 A – as part of the ‘Great Train Robbery Special Auction’ held at Measham on 4th February 1969. Police seized the convicted Great Train Robber’s prized ‘getaway’ car and it was sold as a proceeds of crime vehicle. The sale caught the public imagination and even prompted cartoons by Giles in the Daily Express and Jak in Evening Standard.
Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang
Another car from the mists of time was Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang, sold by BCA twice in the 1970s. Six Chitty’s were made for the film and BCA sold the fully functional road-going version with the UK registration GEN 11 that is seen throughout the film.
Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral hearse
In the 1990s, BCA sold the 1964 Austin Princess Hearse used for the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill in January 1965. The then-brand new hearse was used to carry Churchill’s coffin past crowds of mourners from Festival Pier to Waterloo Station. It latterly went into service with royal funeral directors JH Kenyon Ltd and was subsequently resold several times. It currently resides in the US with a collector who paid £3 million for it.
First MG F
In 1996, BCA auctioned the first MG F models in a special sale on behalf of Rover. Interest was so high in the newly launched model that the 30 or so examples sold averaged more as used cars than they had cost new. On average each car made 7 per cent above the new list price.
Bentley in bits
In 1989 BCA sold the loose parts of a disassembled Bentley 3 Litre Open Tourer, that was literally presented for sale in bits. Sold at the height of the classic car boom on 11 September 1989 this collection of parts realized £80,400.
1970 Royal Mail Morris 1000 Post Van
The Royal Mail donated the van for sale with all the proceeds going direct to Barnardo’s, its chosen children’s charity. News of the sale attracted a huge crowd of buyers – including Morris collectors and Royal Mail enthusiasts. The van, which had seen service in Poole and Bournemouth in the 1970s, was fully restored by four dedicated Royal Mail employees at the Isle of Wight workshop.
UK Record Sale
The 2006 Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 sold for £625,000 in 2010. It represented a UK record value for a modern production car at auction and the highest value ever achieved by BCA on one vehicle. The sale attracted hundreds of people to the Blackbushe auction centre and included internet bidders from both the UK and Mainland Europe.