Could a Viper and a Rolls‑Royce be your ultimate garage of opposites?
For Christmas car shopping few places are guaranteed to loosen even the tightest of wallets more than the NEC Classic Car Show auction in Birmingham this weekend (11-12 November).
This year Silverstone Auctions is providing a fine array of classics from the more down-to-earth end of the market, and lacing them with some temptingly affordable guide prices. Plus inevitably there are some celebrity specials – this year you can pick up Eric Morecambe’s Jensen Interceptor or Del Boy’s Reliant Regal from Only Fools and Horses – along with a sprinkling of cars that you certainly don’t see for sale every day.
Here are five rarities (with their pre-sale estimates) that we wouldn’t mind having under our Christmas tree…
1967 TVR Tina, £30-40,000
The last time we saw Tina it was surrounded by glamour models in our own Earls Court Motor Show at Revival this year – there as part of the TVR display to mark the unveiling of the new Griffith. Tina – named after Gerry Marshall’s daughter – is certainly a rarity: only two prototypes were built, this coupe and a convertible, both designed by Trevor Fiore, based on the diminutive Hillman Imp Sport chassis and aiming to be a smaller, cheaper sort of TVR. The idea never flew but the coupe has survived. It was bought by Gerry Marshall in 1989 and subsequently restored by his daughter, the eponymous Tina. Now it is in all its gold body, red leather interior, 55bhp glory. And in case you are wondering, the ‘Tina’ badge really was going to be the Ford badge with the ‘Cor’ chopped off!
1998 Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph, £33-38,000
From a Rolls-Royce era before Goodwood and before BMW (Rolls was owned by Volkswagen then, remember that?) comes the Silver Seraph, first V12-engined Rolls since the Phantom III and last Rolls saloon to be made in Crewe. It was in production for just four years, sandwiching the Silver Spirit/Spur, which finished in 1997, and the new-generation BMW-developed Phantom of 2003. So a good industry back-story to go with this example’s Silver Pearl body, French Navy Connolly leather, lambswool rugs, burr walnut, rear picnic tables and electric front and rear heated seats. All the traditional Rolls goodies then as well as that V12 – which was from BMW, setting the path for the future – and what is said to be a history of 46,500 gentle and well-cared-for miles.
2000 Dodge Viper, £32-38,000
The perfect winter sports car? Er, no. In California maybe, but with an 8.0-litre 450bhp V10 engine, rear-drive and no namby-pamby ABS or traction control, Vipers are not for wet and slippery European winter roads. It would surely still make your Christmas day to have this cult American muscle car parked outside. This left-drive car is a second-gen SRT10 model, one of 840 made, finished in steel grey metallic with Viper stripes and includes a rare hard-top. Mileage is said to be 15,500 from new.
2000 Lotus 340R, £50-60,000
There weren’t many of these Elise-based track-day specials from Hethel at the time (only 340 in fact) and today there are fewer still in the UK, after many were exported and some inevitably had track-day ‘mishaps’. So they are rare but they are also highly sought-after, rightly so for what was at the time the ultimate track-day car with 0-100mph in under 11 seconds. Silver and black like all of them and road legal, this one appears a peach: one owner, 7.200 miles and factory upgraded with the 190bhp 1.8-litre K-series engine.
2015 Jaguar F-Type Project 7, £150-170,000
If you saw and fell in love with Jaguar’s speedster take on the F-Type at its unveiling at the Festival of Speed in 2015 then you were not alone. One FOS fan present that year was so smitten with it he ordered two: one for himself and one for his wife. An F-type with 575bhp supercharged 5.0-litre V8, bespoke alloy body with D-Type style fairings and all the running gear pushed to the sporting max, Project 7 is a car that begs to be driven. Alas, this one wasn’t, though that is potentially good news if you wanted one of the 80 right-hand drive examples but failed to get on the list when they were new. It has just twelve delivery miles on the clock. Maybe she didn’t like the colour…