This year is no exception. If there is a general theme of note, it is the return to what might be described as perhaps more normal pricing for cars that, while still highly desirable, are nevertheless in quite plentiful supply, at least by the standards of classic cars.
Among these are a succession of what appear by their estimates, to be quite sensibly priced Jaguar E-types. I’ve always hankered after a Series 1 E, though the unsuitability of my 6ft 4in frame to their cramped footwells has always precluded. Two caught my eye, both 3.8-litre models, one a very early ‘flat floor’ roadster, the other a slightly later coupe with more legroom. Both cars have lower estimates tantalisingly close to five figures which, in the light of prices I’m used to seeing for such cars, seems very reasonable. For myself, I’d have a later 4.2-litre car because of its additional mid-range torque and quicker, less obstructive Jaguar gearbox, and for those of you who’ve always suspected me to be a Philistine at heart, there’s your proof.
Another car I’d love but simply don’t fit is the original Lotus Elite. To me, it is the Elite far more than the later, quicker, better Elan that best encapsulates the Lotus spirit. In its day it was a revolution for road cars, featuring the world’s first glass fibre monocoque, fully independent suspension, discs at each corner and a Coventry Climax race engine all in a car weighing around half a tonne. Elites won their class at Le Mans on no fewer than five occasions thanks in no small part to the extreme aerodynamic efficiency of their gorgeous Frank Costin-shaped bodies. Thought of in those terms, and the fact that fewer than 1100 cars were made, and it becomes clear just how special these tiny little cars really are. I did manage to squeeze myself into one once and loved every second of it, but I looked ridiculous and recall something of a struggle getting out again. But for a less outsize enthusiast, the Bonhams car has had only three owners, only done 12,000 miles and is in ‘immaculate’ condition. The guide says £80,000-£110,000.
Ferraris are also becoming more accessible, at least the more mainstream models. There’s a 328 GTS in there guiding at £50,000 to £70,000 and while it is a left-hand drive car imported from America that’s done around 75,000 miles, so too is it also a recent Concours winner. A car in that condition which could possibly be secured for around half the money of a lower mileage right-hand drive car would seem worth a look to a certain sort of buyer.