- Post is under moderationSERIOUS PRICES FOR 'FUN' CARS
Perhaps the most bizarre recent market trend is for fantastic sums being shelled out for what have traditionally been novelty cars based on common-or-garden underpinnings. Beach cars are the latest executive tov to command huge money. The fun-factor counts in their favour, but when someone pays £109,000 for a #Mini it is time to sit up and take notice.
But that car - sold by Bonhams at Quail Lodge - just reflected a growing trend. Even Philippe Starck’s #1972 Fiat Shellette starts to look like good value having sold for ‘just’ £33,000 at Artcurial’s 2014 Retromobile fixture. There were more interesting examples in the #Monaco sales: a #1963 #Autobianchi Bianchini Jolly (£42,000 at Coys) and a #1969 #Fiat 500 Mare by Carrozzeria Holiday (£39.5k at RM).
There’s no denying the rarity of these cars, but the prices are still staggering. In the same way, it is difficult for long-term enthusiasts to accept something such as an Amphicar commanding £50k-plus. Twenty years ago, you could pick one up in the Triumph Sports Six Club’s Courier for little more than the price of a decent Vitesse.
Scroll back a few years and the market deemed an ex-Gianni Agnelli #1959 #Fiat 600 Jolly by #Ghia to be worth £31,000 at Bonhams. When new, such a car would have cost roughly twice the price of a factory-fresh 600, so that seemed to be an intimidating-enough value. Yet a year later a similar example without the celebrity ownership made £50,000 at Quail Lodge.
In #2013 , RM took £51,500 for one at Monterey; by March this year a #1959 car sold for £60,000 at RM in Amelia Island. To top it all, at Monterey in August a #1961 example - sold as a pair with a #1957 #Multipla - made an astonishing $231,0 (£ 140k).
The Fiats and Minis have always carried a premium, but just look at the asking prices for the ‘man in the street’ models. They may not be nudging £100,000, but try to find a #Citroen Mehari in the UK for under £ 10k. Likewise, 1960s Mokes are routinely £15k-plus. Same story with #Renault 4 Plein Airs. Playtime is over.
'Twenty years ago, you could pick up an Amphicar for little more than the price of a decent Triumph Vitesse'
Clockwise, from main: #1962 Mini beach car sold at Bonhams' Quail Lodge auction in August; Philippe Starck's Fiat Shellette made £33k.
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