Autocar - - IN­SIGHT LOW-COST AUC­TIONS -

On that lat­ter point, sell­ers are charged an en­try fee of £15 plus 6% com­mis­sion on the sale price, with a min­i­mum of £36. Buy­ers pay a £35 in­dem­nity fee (it’s a surety that the ve­hi­cle is Hpi-clear to sell) on cars cost­ing up to £500 and £5 ev­ery £300 be­yond that. It means that a car that sells for £350 would cost just £385 in­clud­ing charges.

“Fees at Can­nock are very low,” said Steve, a ca­sual trader who has been com­ing to the auc­tion for two years, in which time he has bought 20 cars, among them just one ‘le­mon’. “You can eas­ily pay £200 at larger places, and on some sales you’ll pay more in fees than you will for the car it­self.”

He was a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed at the day’s range of cars but was still rel­ish­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of spot­ting a good’un. Tellingly, a very bright 2015 Ford Fi­esta 1.25 Zetec with 25,000 miles and a full ser­vice his­tory left him cold. “Sus­pi­ciously good for this place,” he said. Sure enough, it didn’t sell.

Wil­liam Har­ri­son told us that he has been buy­ing cars at Can­nock for 40 years. “I’ve bought thou­sands,” he says. “When there were more in­de­pen­dents like it, we would come here on a Satur­day morn­ing and then go to Stoke for its sale. On Tues­days, we would be here and then over to Stafford. Prices are very low. Peo­ple are happy to pay £1000 for a car, run it for 12 months and then put it back through the auc­tion. That’s cheap mo­tor­ing.”

Tom, his son, isn’t so sure: “A lot of these cars will be sold for parts – es­pe­cially their cat­alytic con­vert­ers.”

Broth­ers-in-law Steve and Adam were shop­ping for a car for Steve’s daugh­ter. They had their eye on a 2010 Citroën DS3 1.6 Black & White with 116,000 miles. They left hav­ing snaf­fled it for £1350.

“I’ve been go­ing to auc­tions since

I was 16,” said Adam. “I’ve bought around 90 cars from them but only two off dealer fore­courts, one of them new. I’ve never come un­stuck, un­like the time I bought a Ford Fo­cus on an on­line mar­ket­place for £700 and spent an­other £600 re­pair­ing it…”

Part of Can­nock’s se­cret is that it’s a tra­di­tional, fam­ily-run busi­ness. Own­ers Tom Luik and his wife Mar­garet ac­quired it from Tom’s brother Il­mar in 2016, when he re­tired. Il­mar had in turn ac­quired it from Can­nock’s founder, a chap called Stan Fal­lows who started it in the late 1960s to sell all sorts, from tele­vi­sions to cars. Il­mar joined part-time in 1976 and slowly as­sumed the reins. To­day, Tom is al­ways vis­i­ble and avail­able to ad­vise or, oc­ca­sion­ally, me­di­ate, as is the way with auc­tions.

The first thing you no­tice on ar­rival is the large green, pitchedroo­f build­ing that dom­i­nates the ex­panse of hard­stand­ing di­vided into pre-sale and post-sale parking ar­eas. It’s where, in nor­mal times, sales are con­ducted. Free­lance auc­tion­eer ‘Rapid’ Rich Stood­ley (“If I were any faster, I would be medi­ocre”) told us there’s no bet­ter auc­tion: “I’ve been do­ing this job for 30 years and Can­nock is the best. It’s a shame you’re here in Covid, be­cause when the shed is open, there’s loads of ban­ter and at­mos­phere.”

We can imag­ine, which is why we reckon we’ve just found our new Mid­lands meet-up where we can kick tyres, chew the fat and bag a mo­tor for pen­nies. Bet­ter than ogling unattain­able su­percars any day.

L

Rapid Rich has been auc­tion­ing for 30 years

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