‘Nobody else was going to buy this car, so I gave myself £3000’
It’s not often that I leave an auction hall mournful for having missed out on a bid, but here I am, three weeks later, still bitterly regretting my tightness. The car that’s got me despising myself for being a hard-nosed trader is, fairly predictably, an Alfa Romeo.
It’s rare to see a Brera in an auction hall and I’d never seen one in metallic gold ever. So here I was, staring directly at the most beautiful car I’d seen for a very, very long time.
The Alfa was a part-ex into the Eastern Western Motor Group, so straight away I knew it was likely to be genuine. Indeed, the reg plates, rear window sticker and keyring all bore the logo of the supplying Alfa dealer.
Under the harsh white lighting of the hall, I couldn’t fault the paintwork, nor the thinly-spoked alloys shod with new Toyo tyres. There was a full panoramic roof to contrast with the unusual Spandau Ballet hue.
Inside, the Alcantara was in black with grey leather inserts and genuine floor mats, all as smart as the day they left the factory. I settled myself in. The driving position adjusted spot-on – most un-alfa like. I could see myself in this, I really could. The clutch was light, the handbook pack was all there, the reverse sensors worked.
Before I hit the starter button, I popped the bonnet to check under there before disturbing the fluids. The oil was clean and on the ‘Max’ mark, likewise the coolant and brake fluid. This was the 2.2, so it had a red rocker cover, which was spotless and shiny. The whole underbonnet area was clean – not from steam blasting, but from an easy, well-cared-for life.
Back inside, all the warning lights illuminated as I hit the START button and the car whirred and burst into life – gloriously so. All the warning lights extinguished and I could see there was more than half-a-tank of fuel. This, dear reader, usually signifies a car which has been maintained regardless of cost.
Mileage was 74,361 and there were eight service stamps. The car was pre-reg plus one owner. Top book was £3635, but this was late December and it was sub-zero outside. Nobody is going to buy this, I thought. So I gave myself £3000.
After a few slow bids, the hammer gently fell at £3200. Not even midbook and sadly not to me. There was a representative of the dealer group on the rostrum beside the auctioneer. I suspect he feared the sale was going poorly, so he instructed the auctioneer to sell it outright after he’d announced the provisional status of the bid – quite unusual.
I’d gambled and lost and I’m gutted. It’s now for sale at a specialist for a smidgen under £6000. It’s not outrageous money when you compare it to what else is out there. That’s a great margin on a great car.