auctioneers’ new format shakes up classic market
Timed online car sales could change the way auction houses operate
A classic auction house is trying out a new system of timed weekly sales as a way of shaking up the classic market.
The sales will be hosted by Berlinetta Classic Car Auctions on its website, with detailed descriptions and photo galleries.
Prospective buyers are encouraged to view the car (at the seller’s location), just like a private sale. Registration is free and – unlike some online auctions – last minute ‘sniping’ is eliminated as the timer ticks down at the end of the sale because any bidding activity in the final two minutes of the auction adds another two minutes onto the clock.
The first sale includes the oldest known M100 Lotus Elan SE (a preproduction prototype shown at the 1989 London Motorfair) and a Morris Minor Traveller from a fleet of 50 originally supplied to the Royal Navy.
Berlinetta’s managing director, Peter Thornton, says: ‘ The traditional auction process can be soulless and risky, and a private sale can also be hard work both for buyer and seller, and lacks the focus that a timed auction brings to the process. We’ve all had our time wasted by no-show buyers, dreamers and tyre- ‘ We’re trying to make a classic car sale more enjoyable for both buyer and seller’ kickers. We’re trying to change the way these transactions function, and make a classic car sale more enjoyable and straightforward for buyers and sellers.’
CCW markets editor Richard Barnett says he welcomes the fresh approach, but wonders if the weekly online format will bring any further benefits to an already busy marketplace.
He says: ‘I note that Berlinetta’s MD says we’ve all had our time wasted by no-shows and dreamers – but this process sees the seller having to deal with prospective bidders who might not turn up! And how cross will you be if your internet connection goes down when bidding fever sets in?’
Berlinetta’s first timed sale includes this 1989 lotus elan se.