If someone had told you at the end of the 1980s that in less than 30 year’s time a Ford Sierra would be worth £115,000, a Vauxhall Lotus Carlton could set you back £72,000 and a Peugeot 205 GTI would ring in at almost £40,000, you’d have probably doubled over in hysterics.
But an almost unfathomable spike in classic car values in recent years – and a rich dose of 1980s and early 1990s nostalgia – has made these sums a reality, with three boy racer poster cars, a Sierra RS500 Cosworth, a Peugeot 205 GTI, and a Lotus Carlton achieving astonishing sale prices at auction last weekend. So who’s laughing now?
Here’s a closer look at some of the ‘classic’ cars – including a 2010 Ford Focus – that sold for formidable figures among the £5.5 million worth of motors offered at last weekend’s Silverstone Auctions sale.
The six-figure Ford Sierra
Six-figure Sierra: Very rare and with incredibly low mileage, this RS500 Cosworth is one of the most desirable late-1980s Fast Fords to come to the market. But at over £100,000, is it a sign that the collectible car market is going bonkers?
The low-mileage Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth was sold at the Silverstone Auctions sale at the Silverstone Classic event at – you guessed it – Silverstone over the weekend.
That’s right, someone genuinely paid £114,750 – a new British record – for a Ford Sierra.
Okay, it’s far from any normal Sierra. This one is a rare RS500 Cosworth with a paltry 10,733 miles on the clock. In fact, since it was last MOT’d in September 1991, it has covered just 666 miles – that’s around 26 miles a year on average.
As the name suggests, just 500 we made, but few will be in as original and unused condition as this one, which was eventually bought by an Australian bidder who paid £20,000 over the lowest estimate set by the auction house.
Easily recognisable by the passenger jet-sized rear wing, the RS500 was one of the race-car-for-the-road versions of the family hatchback that Ford was struggling to sell in the early 1980s.
The RS500 Cosworth has been in storage for most of the last 26 years, in which it has turned just 666 miles
Like new: With a total of 10,733 miles on the clock, it’s little surprise that the Sierra’s interior looks showroom fresh
This 1987 example has remained in single ownership for 26 years, kept by ‘one of the world’s wealthiest men who had extensive business interests in Ireland and India’, according to Silverstone Auctions. No more clues to who that mystery man is were given.
Along with the low mileage car, the winning bidder also got the well-documented history file including a ‘Ford Safety’ recall note, copies of the DVLA paperwork from first registration to current date, and a parking ticket – the new owner best hope has been paid – dated 2nd June 1990 and issued by Surrey Constabulary.
It also comes with a period ‘International Driving Permit’ for its affluent former owner.
Peugeot 205 GTI – hot hatch, scalding price
You’ll struggle to find a Peugeot 205 GTI with mileage as low as this one… or a price tag as high
As you can see from the interior shot, this Peugeot 205 GTI is a car that’s had little use in the last 29 years. Pictured right before it went under the hammer on Sunday afternoon
Silverstone Auctions couldn’t confirm it, but we’re pretty sure the £38,480 paid for this 1988 Peugeot 205 GTI is a new world record – especially as one that sold for £7,000 less last year took the crown back then.
And the little 205’s near £40,000 sale price is a clear sign of how competitive the classic car market has become.
Granted that this is the sought-after 1.9-litre version of Peugeot’s much-loved hot hatch with just 5,726 miles on the odometer, but it’s still almost double the price of what classic car valuation tools are estimating for ‘concours’ condition examples.
Everything is as it was from the showroom – a 128bhp engine, Alpine White paintwork, red ‘Quattro’ velour and grey leather seating, lightweight Speedline alloy wheels and no sunroof (which was a notorious spot for leaks) – parfait!
Proving just how much it has appreciated in the last 29 years, Silverstone Auctions confirmed it was offered by Peugeot as a prize in association with Grattan, the catalogue clothing retailer and won by a lady from Ipswich. However, she didn’t have a driving licence, which lead to a local newspaper running the headline: ‘Winner of £10,000 car cannot drive’. Let’s hope the new owner has the relevant paperwork to get behind the wheel today.
More than £50,000 for a seven-year-old Ford Focus
This Ford Focus RS500 has increased in valued by £2,600 each year since 2010, though it has barely turned a wheel. It was originally delivered to Switzerland, so the steering wheel isn’t even on the correct side of the car
You read that correctly, someone has genuinely paid £54,000 for a 2010 Ford Focus.
Yes, it’s a limited edition RS 500 model. Yes, it has covered just 128 miles. But that’s a massive £18,250 more than it cost new seven years ago. It means this car has increased in value by £2,600 every year since it came off the assembly line. The steering wheel is even on the wrong side of the car (the left), as this one was originally delivered to Switzerland. And don’t forget, it’s a Ford Focus.
Low-mileage Lotus Carlton costs almost as much as a new 911
Too fast for the UK roads: That was the Daily Mail’s verdict on the Lotus Carlton when it arrived on the market in 1990
The low-mileage Lotus Carlton sold over the weekend even has its original tyres fitted. It sold for £72,000
Just 284 Lotus Carltons were made for UK customers, and this is number 28, with just 4,500 miles on the clock.
The collaboration between Lotus and Vauxhall’s take on an executive saloon was hugely controversial. Renowned for its brutal performance even today, back when the car first arrived on the market in 1990 the Daily Mail said the 176mph top speed was ‘too fast for British roads’.
This is a 1991 model finished in the obligatory Imperial Green paint that’s absolutely blemish free. That’s because it has spent a good portion of its life in dry storage. It was even sold on the set of original tyres, which the auctioneer suggested were changed if the new owner wanted to drive it away after handing over £72,000 for the keys.
Capri sum: This 280 Brooklands beat last year’s record
It was verified by Ford specialists that this car has never been repaired or resprayed – you can’t get more original than that
The £55,125 fee paid over the weekend eclipses the record figure of £54,000 paid for a Capri 280 Brooklands set last March
Just last year, a 936-mile Brooklands smashed the world record fee paid for a Ford Capri with a £54,000 selling price. That figure was eclipsed again this weekend, with this E-reg 280 Brooklands model ringing in at £55,125.
Silverstone Auctions declared it’s ‘the best Capri Brooklands we have ever seen’.
The 1987 model has been owned by the previous keeper for eight years and has a total of 14,680 miles on the clock. Its history can’t be disputed – it has every MoT and tax disc ever issued for it and a full dealer service history, including an ‘immaculately presented and extremely comprehensive’ A4 binder full of documentation and receipts. The condition is deemed ‘exceptional’ – not bad for a car that has never been repaired or resprayed in 30 years.
MORE CARS THAT SOLD FOR MONUMENTAL MONEY
Unwarranted miles and non-original wheels, yet still £75,000
1981 Renault 5 Turbo – £74,250
This is believed to be the first 5 Turbo delivered new to Switzerland, where it stayed for 25 years before being sold to Spain and most recently the UK. Overall, the car is in super condition and there’s just 65,941kms (40,973 miles) on the clock. However, these miles are unwarranted and the wheels aren’t original – though the genuine wheels are included in the sale but need refurbishing. Despite these points, it still sold for a stacked £74,250.
Safir Engineering owner Peter Thorp make his own GT40 range
1989 Safir GT40 – £225,600
In the aftermath of the GT40s Le Mans success in the ’60s, it was almost impossible to get your hands on one of the limited-run road cars. One person who gave up waiting was Peter Thorp of Safir Engineering – so he decided to build his own from GT40 spares. This is a MkV model – one of just 40 made – that’s covered 7,800 miles since leaving the Safir workshop in 1989. Because it would get so hot at the wheel, this one comes with a removable roof – ideal for listening to the 5.3-litre V8 engine at full throttle.
This Ferrari was owned by Elton John between 1973 and 1975
1972 Ferrari 274 GTB/4 – £551,250
This isn’t any normal 274 GTB/4 Daytona – this one has been in the ownership of none other than Sir Elton John. It’s one of only 158 genuine right-hand drive vehicles supplied and was bought by the singer in 1973 off the back of his single success and release of his famed album ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’. He couldn’t have been that fond of it, though, as he sold it two years later. Even without the famed link, this is an outstanding V12 Ferrari with a power output of 352bhp, capable of 175mph.
One of few right-hand drive 3.0 CSL models to come to the UK
1973 BMW 3.0 CSL – £137,250
That £137,250 is a UK record fee paid for a 3.0 CSL – though it’s a worthy figure considering the rarity of this example. This 1973 edition is a genuine, right-hand drive, UK-specification model, of which just 151 cars were imported in 1973. During its time it has been in single family ownership for 30 years and had an extended period in dry storage, hence the incredible condition. It lined up alongside two BMWs owned by Jamiroquai front-man Jay Kay on the day – you can read about the cars he sold here.
This Escort Mexico is an excellent version of the iconic rally car
1973 Ford Escort Mexico – £34,312
First generation Escorts are worth big money these days, and this Mk1 Mexico proved no different.
This one has been owned by Ford enthusiasts through the years and underwent an ‘exacting’ restoration in 2002. Finished in vibrant Sebring Red with a Black Beta cloth interior, it’s in wonderful condition and is a nod to the rally cars of the generation.