Perhaps for the first time in SA, an auction of rare and collectable cars was met with international attention – and of course piles and piles of cash. A far cry from the usual bank-repossession auctions that take place weekly in the country, the Concours SA Auction featured nearly 100 cars, most of which were from the amazing Plit collection, ensuring it would definitely be a cut above the rest. The auction was more along the lines of what you see in international circles – not just cars on offer but a fitting ambience. The venue was The Shed in Joburg’s Steyn City, a large shed-like (duh) structure able to house plenty of cars and people, which it definitely did.
Coys of Kensington, old hands at the classic car auction game, managed the portfolio, and their experience and professionalism was immediate. The auctioneers, including the legendary
Chris Routledge were quite funny at times. Playing on people’s egos to raise the bids isn’t a skill easily learned; that’s down to experience and reading the room, but that’s most certainly what he did.
With complimentary wine flowing and canapés served, a crowd of serious buyers was ready to raise hands and tip hats to signal bids on some amazing cars, and for international buyers, there was a table set up with three liaisons bidding on behalf of clients based all across the world.
Some cars on offer were in original condition, while others were the result of a ground-up restoration, but every single one had a story to tell. Each car had a small bio in the windscreen and the estimated selling price – some were bargains and others were more like investment opportunities. A few cars had attracted serious international attention though, such as the 100% original 1968
Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500 with just about 67 000 miles (107 000 km) on the clock and a case of ’70s beer in the trunk (sold with the car). The car was estimated to fetch between R2 800 000 and R3 200 000, but it finally settled on R2 550 000, and is now headed to New York.
Another very rare car under the hammer was a 1973 Renault Alpine A110 1600S, easily one of the best-looking cars at the event. With a long and interesting history, the French racer will be leaving SA, it’s also headed overseas to an international buyer who snapped it up for a relative bargain at just R1 400 000, it fell short of the R1 800 000 estimate. A little lower in the spectrum was a rare Honda 1300 Coupé from 1971 (pictured above) – just 7 881 were produced and only a few hundred remain worldwide. The air-cooled car was Honda’s first attempt at a conventional sedan and it had many features ahead of its time, which is why it eventually beat its estimate and sold for R115 000. A number of BMW fanatics were keenly eyeing the 1993 Alpina B10 in Metallic Island Green (pictured top right). Just 572 BMW 525i, 535i and 540i models were converted to this B10 spec with a potent 3.5-litre straight six making it highly sought after, and the R660 000 price tag makes it possible for many to own this immaculate, rare saloon. It sold below estimate, at just R565 000. Another BMW was very surprising – a 1999 Z3 M Coupé with just 20 000 km on the odometer that fetched a mad R860 000. Who would have thought the infamous ‘clown shoe’ would become so sought after? Appealing to the boy racer in us all, was an MK3 2005 Renault Clio V6 with just 31 000 km on the clock. In absolutely perfect condition, the hot hatch was estimated to fetch up to R450 000, but after a bidding war kicked off, the price rose higher than expected; the hammer dropped at R630 000 with the winning bid going to an international buyer.
The highest price paid on the night went to the stunning 1992 Porsche 964 RS N/GT. The Carrera RS-based Porsche is one of just 290 cars in this specific spec: stripped out, welded roll cage, Recaro race seats, six-point harnesses and long-range fuel tank. Further special-order bits can be found on this 911, including Kevlar doors and fenders, upgraded front suspension and 18-inch Speedline wheels. In true South African style, when the car arrived on our shores it was immediately subjected to a series of modifications. The engine was upgraded to the RSR-specification 3.8-litre lump, an ultra-light flywheel was added along with a race-spec clutch, and finally a TechArt front splitter and rear wing. Even though the car was built to be driven instead of being parked in a garage somewhere, that’s exactly what happened. As a result, the Porsche only racked up 6 000 km in 26 years! With such an impressive car, you’d expect it to fetch good money, and it did. The Porsche set the record on the night, and the overall record for a car on auction in SA, too, a cool R3 900 000.
We’d love to tell you who bought a lot of these rare and special cars, but just like a psychiatrist, there’s a level of confidentiality that applies. What is clear, is that there’s a big market for exclusive car auctions in SA, and while the perception is that the country is losing money, those who have it are investing in things that will appreciate in value, and rare automobiles seem to be the safe bet. We most certainly approve.