A great start to 2017 has seen some impressive sale results from two big auction houses
‘More registered bidders than we’ve seen before’
Strong results from two January sales have helped to create a confident start to the year. The auctions, held on consecutive days at SWVA and ACA, saw increased numbers of buyers paying strong money, not only for more exotic cars but mainstream classics too, translating into sales rates of 99 and 80 per cent respectively.
ACA’s Rob George says that he’s pleased with the results of the 28 January auction: ‘I think it’s my all-time favourite sale. In previous sales we’ve had more cars, more customers and more money spent, but this sale saw more registered bidders than we’ve seen before, more than 1000 registering in auction’s run-up and phone bidders registering up to the morning of the sale,’ he says.
‘Some cars were getting multiple bidders – normally we’ll have half a dozen or so, but in the case of the BMW CSL there were more than ten. At the same time we were seeing a lot of new faces.’
With more than 200 cars offered, bidders on later lots might have expected waning interest, but only four of the last 80 cars failed to sell.
‘They were flying,’ says George, ‘and most made good, strong money.’
He detects a positive market, building on 2016’s results: ‘ We had banging sales in January and April. It slowed down in June but came back in April. In the new year people had confidence, and while we don’t want cars to become so expensive that they’re out of the reach of most people, increasing values mean cars will be saved.’
Just 24 hours before ACA’s sale, SWVA offered 71 cars, selling 69 under the hammer and another two days later, translating into a 99 per cent sale rate.
While the Poole auctioneer is not unaccustomed to high sales rates, boss Chris Holmes put this sale’s success down to ‘mainly private buyers – people who want a car for a bit of fun, rather than having money
in the bank, and 12 per cent went to overseas private buyers’.
Lot order also helps gee-up buyers, as Holmes explains: ‘I try to get something good in at the start to get the atmosphere buzzing, then add in some no-reserves – once the first ten sell, the flywheel’s spinning.’
But with sales rates on an upward trajectory, ACA’s Rob George believes that the industry should put its house in order.
‘Clarity is the biggest challenge for 2017, and I believe it’s time for classic car auctioneers to have a code of conduct,’ he says.
Early season sale success has got sellers and buyers buzzing. 1974 BMW CSL sold for an impressive £50,400 at ACA’s January sale.