ULTRA RARE 'ASTON' FORD CAPRI TURBO UP FOR AUCTION
Like a fast Ford? Step right this way!
I love a good car auction, me. Whether it's waiting around in the rain for a bacon roll whilst watching another procession of million-mile ex-taxi horrors splutter their way through the hall doing their level best to look shiny and appealing to the assembled throngs of tight-fisted punters who they know are their last chance of a happy life before the jaws of the scrap yard crusher beckon. Or, at the other end of the scale, sitting at the back of the golden circle at some golf course, drinking all the complementary champagne and making ludicrous bids on ancient Ferrari's being sold with preposterous backstories. "This 1983 Mondial was originally the property of King Zohan XVII of Albania, and the reason it has a dent in the door is because it is believed to have once been punched by Mike Tyson." Yeah, okay mate.
Even so, there are some great buys to be found at car auctions, even with the seemingly unstoppable rise of classic car prices, you can sometimes pick up the car of your dreams for a price you never thought possible.
One of the UK's best known auction houses, Classic Car Auctions in Warwickshire, are getting ready for their annual Christmas sale next month, and their catalogue, especially if you're a fan of old-school Fords, is well worth a look. I've picked out some of my favourites from the Blue Oval and beyond!
1986 Ford Capri Tickford Turbo - Estimate £18-22k
Bodykit ahoy! I don't think I've ever met someone who doesn't love an old Capri, and the Tickford Turbo is perhaps the rarest of the breed. Based on the top-spec 2.8 Injection model, semi-finished cars were shipped from the Ford plant in Cologne, Germany to Tickford's UK base where over 200 hours were spent extensively modifying each car. Tickford, if you don't know, were originally a coachbuilding firm who were bought out by Aston Martin in the 50's. By 1981 they were operating from the Aston factory as Aston Martin Tickford. That's why if you look closely at the wings of this Capri, you'll see a very familiar badge on the side.
The V6 engine was fitted with an IHI turbocharger which pushed power up from 160 to 205 bhp giving the Tickford Capri a 0-60 time of 6.7 seconds, impressive performance for the time. The five-speed manual 'box remained, but later cars like this one were fitted with an LSD as standard. On the inside the whole interior was retrimmed in the finest leather and Wilton carpets that Aston themselves used on their V8 and Vantage coupes. Finally, that fantastically 80's bodykit was fitted, and before you laugh, the man who designed it later went on to design the Ariel Atom.
All these mods didn't come cheap though, and the Tickford Turbo Capri was twice the price of a standard 2.8i when it was new. Perhaps that's why they only built 85 of them. Even today the estimate of £18-22k is strong for a Mk3 Capri. But hey, not only will you be able to say you own one of the rarest Fords ever, you'll be able to tell people that you've got an Aston Martin. Sort of.
2002 Aston Martin DB7 Vantage V12 - Estimate £14-18k
Okay. You want the definition of a world gone mad? You can expect to pay less for this genuine V12 Aston Martin than you can for the Ford Capri above it!
It's not as if this is some kind of wet-blanket Aston-lite either. The car you see here is a gorgeous DB7 Vantage Coupe. 'Vantage' is the important bit here, because it means this is the later version of the DB7 which binned the original supercharged 3.2 litre six-pot motor for the legendary 420 horsepower 6.0 litre V12 engine that went on to star in the Vanquish, DB9 and DBS. It's the most desirable spec too, with the six-speed manual gearbox and stiffer coupe body and has covered a mere 45,000 miles throughout it's life.
Too good to be true? Well, it is registered as a Category D insurance loss. This means at some point in it's 16 years this Aston has had a minor bump. It looks to have been repaired to 'good as new', but any prospective buyer will want to do their research to ensure any work has been carried out by a reputable specialist or Aston Martin themselves.
As long as that's all in order then you're looking at the potential bargain of the year. A V12 Aston for the price of a second-hand Golf. Admit it, you're tempted. So am I!
1990 Ford Escort RS Turbo S2 - Estimate £12-15k
Garage music, McDonalds car parks and the Ford Escort RS Turbo. If anything sums up growing up in the UK in the 90's and 00's then these three things are pretty high on the list. Unfortunately for those of us wishing to re-live those heady times, whilst we still have Craig David and the Big Mac, there aren't all that many RS Turbo's around these days.
Happily though, CCA have this last-of-the-line H-registered example up for grabs. The series two model was heavily revised to provide more sophisticated road manners than the laggy, wayward antics of the original. With just 73,000 miles on the clock and a detailed service history, this all original white car looks ideal for a collector or Ford fan looking for a great example that you wouldn't be afraid to give some stick down your favourite back road.
2002 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG - Estimate £10.5-12.5k
But if an eighties Ford or a hand-built Aston is a bit too antiquated for you, how about this for an Autobahn stormer? The 476 bhp supercharged Mercedes SL55 AMG was, perhaps more than any other, the car that really put the AMG brand on the map when it launched in 2002.
With a folding metal roof to let you enjoy the thunderous V8 soundtrack the SL55 was an instantly desirable hit and Merc dealers at the time were to be found beating eager buyers off with a big stick. A combination of comfort, luxury and blistering performance means that even today this early model '55 should still be able to give most other a bloody nose out on the road.
This car, with just 80,000 miles under it's belt and a long MOT is guided at almost a tenth of its original £90k price when new. Not bad for a car that can put the wind in your hair and hit 60 in just 4.2 seconds.
If that isn't enough to sway you then consider the added blessing of a fellow DRIVETRIBE member who back in the day swapped his beloved Ferrari F355 for an SL55 in a fetching shade of blue. His name? A Mr. J. Clarkson. Enough said.
1979 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II - Estimate £18-22k
But if Clarksonian approval isn't what you seek from a car, then how about the patronage of TV's James May? Those of you with long memories will recall that James' first appearance on 'new' Top Gear was a candid report into how his Bentley T2 (a rebadged Shadow) was slowly bankrupting him. "You simply cannot look bad in a Shad!" said TV's James May, and I agree with him.
Hopefully this Roller will prove to be in somewhat finer fettle, as it was originally supplied new to the embassy of Hong Kong, before spending some time in Italy, and finally coming home to the UK more recently.
The Shadow did garner a slightly dodgy image in the 1980's, a result of overproduction meaning that the price of used Rolls' plummeted, making them available for the first time to certain 'gentlemen' and 'gentlemenwomen' that the manufacturer would surely not have approved of. But these days they're seen as the epitome of silence, style and substance.
And if you're not sure what I mean by substance, check out Harry Metcalfe's cracking video on YouTube where he drives his Silver Shadow from the UK to the Arctic and back.
And the rest?
These are just my picks from the line-up at CCA's Christmas 2018 sale. If you want to see what else is on offer then you can visit their online catalogue here: https://www.classiccarauctions.co.uk/cca-december-2018-classic-car-sale/view_lots
When is it? Where is it?
1st December 2018. 11 AM. Classic Car Auctions, The Warwickshire Event Centre, Leamington Spa, CV31 1XN
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ONE OF MY CHOICES, OR MAYBE SOMETHING DIFFERENT?
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All images (C) Classic Car Auctions.