The Market


Live Breaking News: Richard Colton Collection Ferraris Sold by H&H

Live Breaking News: Richard Colton Collection Ferraris Sold by H&H 13th October 2015

The eagerly anticipated sale of the two 'no reserve' Ferraris from the estate of the late British enthusiast Richard Colton took place a few minutes ago.

Both were 'shabby chic' and to be sold regardless of price, with all proceeds to benefit the Royal National Lifeboat Institution charity.

The 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB – the second steel, RHD car delivered – was hammered sold at £6,600,000. That’s £7,392,000 with buyer’s premium, say $11.5m. The silver and even more tired RHD 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4, an ex-Maranello Concessionaires demonstrator, went for £1,930,000 net (£2,161,600 with premium, or $3.3m).

The sale was held at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, Cambridgeshire and it was standing room only when the spotlight settled on the two final lots of the afternoon.

With two auction non-sales of similar SWBs within the last six months (RM at Villa d’Este and Monterey) this is the first regular-bodied SWB to find a new owner at auction since RM sold a solid but unraced alloy 1960 example for $8.1m in January 2013. Since then, we’ve seen various special-bodied SWBs successfully cross the block, culminating in Gooding’s $16.5m Bertone car this August.

It should be noted that the ex-Colton SWB is not an alloy car but not a 'bog standard' steel SWB. It bears steel coachwork but with various 'go faster' features such as hotter cams, higher compression ratio, trombette velocity stacks, a limited-slip differential, a competition exhaust and a massive (steel, not alloy) long-distance tank in the boot.

Of the latter, Damian Jones of H&H remarked, “It’s the only car we’ve had where we can check the fuel by dipping an arm in the tank…” Its sister RHD car is a well-known racer today at Goodwood and elsewhere.

Although not completely original, as Colton enjoyed improving his cars for day-to-day driveability with better brakes, wheels and tyres, both the SWB and the 4-cam are totally genuine cars coming out of long-term ownership, with the scars of a life lived to the full.

We hope the first thing the new owner of the SWB will do (after a major mechanical checkover) will be to swing an overnight bag in the back and embark on a long-distance road trip. Or at least a trip to the local pub – it’s how Richard Colton and his late wife Caroline would have wished it. Ferrari Classiche Certified? You must be joking...

Congratulations to the new owners, and above all to a very generous Richard Colton, RIP.

Smart, all-new presentation by H&H impressed the punters - and pulled them in
Smart, all-new presentation by H&H impressed the punters - and pulled them in

Martin Emmison, Partner at Goodman Derrick, Britain’s pre-eminent legal expert on buying or selling collector cars, who knew Richard Colton well, comments:
“Some 32 years ago, pulling out of a Shell garage on the way to my first Ferrari Concours, I followed this chap in a 250 LM.  He would know the way, I thought, hoping to keep up in my humdrum 250 GTE. Of course he left me for dead.  That was my first motoring experience of Richard Colton.  Over the next 20 years I enjoyed Richard’s company on many European rallies and Ferrari meetings.  He drove a large variety of Ferrari, Jaguar and Porsche machines, which always seemed to run better than they looked.   

“I particularly remember his lovely Ferrari 212 Vignale Coupé, for which (never keen to overspend) he borrowed my Weber carburettor trumpets for several months.  Then I recall a scary ride on narrow Northamptonshire roads, with Richard piloting his orange 911RS Lightweight at a fearsome speed. But best of all I enjoyed following Richard, for mile after delicious mile, he driving ‘574 NOT’ through rural France, wearing no bumpers.  Was there ever a neater backside to enjoy than a 250 GT Short Wheelbase? Or ‘the Wheelbase’, as Richard always referred to his favourite machine.”

The remaining ex-Colton cars sold as follows: 1998 Ferrari 550 Maranello, £150,080; 1954 Jaguar XK120 Fixed Head Coupé, £112,000; 1969 Jaguar E-type 3.8 Lightweight replica, £151,200. All were No Reserve, all prices with premium.

Other interesting sales included £70k gross for the ‘ex-John Steed’ 1976 Jaguar XJC12 (above, right). Even Jaguar itself dropped out at £60,000 as bids on the originally £10k to £12k ‘barn-find’ kept on coming and coming. George Best’s old V12 E-type coupé failed to reprise the magic, going for a second division £48,160 all-in, while the 1971 Aston Martin DBS V8 by Ogle Design, 'The Sotheby Special' (est. £100k to £120k) was sold shortly after bids stalled on it, for £78,000 net, £87,360 with H&H’s premium of 12%. The project to end all projects (above, left) was tipped at anything from £50k to £250k. In truth, given a likely £300k restoration, it was probably the right price.

Full report on the sale to follow.

All photos by K500