Seconds away, Round Two: Bonhams MPH at Bicester, November 2019

Seconds away, Round Two: Bonhams MPH at Bicester, November 2019 27th November 2019

We attended the inaugural Bonhams MPH sale two months ago. It was a start, but our initial impression was one of slight disappointment. We asked experienced classic car auction commentator Paul Hardiman to report on the company’s second venture to Bicester Heritage…

“Bonhams MPH’s (or should that just be MPH’s as some of the branding appears to suggest?) second visit to Bicester Heritage started off well, and if you wanted a tidy R5 ‘Le Car’ (£1,406) or restored Peugeot 104 (£1,687), this was the place to be. But the most interesting collection – including one of the fwd Ford Escort turbos – was withdrawn, and after that graveyard the default setting was (mostly) passes.

“Just 46 sold out of 107 cars catalogued, or 94 that were actually on offer, in which case the sale rate improves to 49%.

“Rob Hubbard did get away the Maserati Indy for £31,050 and a rusty 1987 Mini Moke project made an inexplicable £6,975, but when the best E-type result is just over £32k, it must promote a sinking feeling. £26,437 looked a knock-down (sorry!) price for an Aston Martin DB9 but it hadn’t passed an MoT since 2016, so may or may not have been a bargain.

“While a nice restored 1966 VW Type 2 double cab got the right money at £42,750, a more interesting 1958 panel van project did not. It was very good underneath, and sported a new engine, but perhaps the ‘Oklahoma Rat’ look has not sufficiently caught on in the UK.

“Oddities included a glassfibre Glenn Pray ‘Cord’ 8/10-scale replica with Corvair power that sold for £7,712, and a rare 1937 DKW F5 van project that made £731 against a £4,000-6,000 estimate.

“Right near the end a ray of sunshine glimmered through, as the nicely restored AC Greyhound Bristol fetched £60,187, but the immediately following 1977 Aston Martin V8 did not sell, and neither did the 1989 VW Golf Clipper that bookended an underwhelming afternoon – though to be fair, it nearly matched Bonham’s sell-through rate at Hendon the week before.”

Bonhams MPH at Bicester, 26 November 2019 (September 2019 sale)

Total gross cars: £628,772 (£1,211,914)
Number of cars not sold: 48 (45)
Number of cars withdrawn: 13 (9)
Total number of cars: 94 (111)
Number sold: 46 (66)
Percentage cars sold by number: 49% (59%)
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 26% (42%)
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 65% (62%)
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 89% (85%)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 7% (9%)
Average value of cars sold: £13,575 (£18,362)
Average year of cars offered: 1978 (1978)
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 22% (12%)

Photos by Paul Hardiman