Auc­tion fever

For the first time, an in­ter­na­tion­ally sanc­tioned au­to­mo­tive auc­tion was held in South Africa, and we were there to soak up the ex­cite­ment

Car (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - BY: Wil­helm Lut­je­harms Wil­helm­l_­car­mag PHO­TOS: Rob Till

IT’s a freez­ing Highveld evening but ex­cite­ment warms the large crowd as auc­tion­eers Chris Rout­ledge and Ni­cholas Wells be­gin their well­re­hearsed rou­tine, slowly stok­ing the an­tic­i­pa­tion and loos­en­ing the wal­lets of all those gath­ered in Jo­han­nes­burg for the first auc­tion of its kind in South Africa. Un­der the ham­mer of fa­mous Lon­don-based auc­tion­eers Coys of Kens­ing­ton, in part­ner­ship with Con­cours South Africa, will be the cars of Wayne Plit’s col­lec­tion. You may re­mem­ber the fea­ture we did on Wayne’s as­sort­ment in the June 2016 is­sue.

Fill­ing the floor of a large ware­house on the grounds of Steyn City, the col­lec­tion is ex­pertly parked to give po­ten­tial buy­ers the ideal view of each car’s best an­gle. Although you can never judge a car until you’ve driven it and had it on a lift for a more de­tailed in­spec­tion, the cars ap­pear to be in ex­cel­lent con­di­tion. Sev­eral of the ve­hi­cles have low odo read­ings; a few are clearly con­cours ready; and some al­ready boast that hon­our.

It’s an eclec­tic col­lec­tion in every sense be­cause, over the years, Wayne has cho­sen to col­lect cars he loved as a child and de­sired as an adult; that’s why you’ll find sportscars and sedans spread over many gen­er­a­tions and from a plethora of brands. There is pretty much a car for all man­ner of en­thu­si­ast but it’s clear some draw more eye­balls than oth­ers, in­clud­ing the odd mo­tor­bike.

Pro­ceed­ings be­gin with a few bikes be­fore Chris and Ni­cholas turn their at­ten­tion to the stars of the show; the cars which will re­quire par­tic­u­larly deep pock­ets to earn a win­ning bid.

Among these is a 1992 964 Porsche Car­rera RS N/GT that sees com­pe­ti­tion be­tween at­ten­dees and tele­phone bid­ders push it up to an im­pres­sive R4,0 mil­lion be­fore the gavel sig­nals a new owner. A 1968 Ford Shelby GT500 goes to a buyer from New York for R2,6 mil­lion; I won­der

if he’ll drink from the un­opened six pack of beers in the boot dat­ing back to the 1980s. An­other high­light is the only Fer­rari at the auc­tion, a 1969 365 GT 2+2; many en­thu­si­asts were wor­ried be­fore­hand it would be sold to a for­eign buyer. The re­lief is pal­pa­ble when the auc­tion­eer puts the phone down and en­thu­si­as­ti­cally pro­claims, “It is stay­ing in South Africa!”

A few rar­i­ties catch buy­ers’ at­ten­tions, too, in­clud­ing a 1973 Re­nault Alpine A110 1600S wait­ing to be un­leashed on a snaking Alpine moun­tain pass, and a cou­ple of light­weight, lowmileage Lo­tuses: a 2007 Ex­ige S and a 2001 Elise S1. The for­mer fea­tures some se­ri­ous mod­i­fi­ca­tions done by none other than Toy­ota Rac­ing De­vel­op­ments (fit­ting, as this Ex­ige boasts a Toy­ota en­gine).

There is also a num­ber of spe­cial Ital­ian cars in the mix, in­clud­ing a 1973 Maserati AM120 Kham­sin Pro­to­type, a 1964 Lan­cia Flavia Vig­nale Con­vert­ible and a beau­ti­ful 1967 Alfa Romeo Spi­der Duetto 1600. The Brits are in at­ten­dance, too, with a few orig­i­nal clas­sic Minis and a spe­cial 1960 Jaguar XK150S Drop­head Coupé.

Some quirky ad­di­tions don’t at­tract as much ad­mi­ra­tion but the crowd adores them. One such ve­hi­cle is a big-eyed 1970 Mazda E360 pick-up equipped with a tiny 359 cm3, liq­uid­cooled, 17 kw, two-cylin­der, two-stroke en­gine.

Sev­eral cars end up achiev­ing higher prices than auc­tion go­ers ex­pected but that’s un­der­stand­able when the event has a dis­tinctly in­ter­na­tional flavour. South African clas­sics are highly sought af­ter, gen­er­ally be­ing in bet­ter orig­i­nal con­di­tion than their Euro­pean or North Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts that have been ex­posed to harsher cli­mates and salted win­ter roads.

Our weak cur­rency also al­lows for­eign buy­ers great value and, even though some cars are sold for prices higher than they would nor­mally fetch in our lo­cal mar­ket, they’re still of­ten cheaper than what for­eign buy­ers would pay back home.

Plans are in place to make this auc­tion an an­nual event, with a num­ber of cars al­ready lined up for next year’s Con­cours South Africa.

01 A 1971 Porsche 911T, one of four 911s in the auc­tion. 02 The stylish cabin of a 1969 Fer­rari 365GT 2+2. 03 One of three built, the 1935 Singer Le Mans race­car. 04 Auc­tion­go­ers scru­ti­n­is­ing the cars. 05 A 1963 Honda Black Bomber Café Racer. 06 A 1997 Birkin 7 sportscar. 07 An early 1949 Mor­gan Sports 4/4 Road­ster. 08 The col­lec­tion of cars was eclec­tic, with a ve­hi­cle to suit nearly every taste. 09 From right to left: a strik­ing pur­ple 2005 TVR Tus­can along­side a 1969 Fer­rari 365GT 2+2, an orig­i­nal 1968 Ford Shelby GT500 and a 2007 Lo­tus Ex­ige S. 10 Bri­tain was also rep­re­sented by this Mor­gan Aero 8. 11 The auc­tion even gar­nered at­ten­tion from over­seas through tele­phonic bids.

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