auc­tion­eers’ new for­mat shakes up clas­sic mar­ket

Timed on­line car sales could change the way auc­tion houses op­er­ate

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - ❚ www.berlinetta-auc­

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.

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