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Fast Fords and Japanese modern classics lead Race Retro sale


Iconic Auctioneers, formerly Silverstone Auctions, kicks off its sales season with its Race Retro event – which, despite the cancellation of the Race Retro show itself due to adverse weather conditions, will still go ahead on February 23-24, 2024, now at the Silverstone Circuit. Competition cars are up for grabs on the Friday, with 52 lots to choose from, while 68 road cars are available the day after, along with 70 items of automobilia.

Last year, the auctioneer scored one of the most talked-about results of the year, with near £600k paid for a 1987 Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth. Along with big prices for other 1980s Fords in its portfolio, it’s no surprise that the Blue Oval entries are large and varied across the road and competition sales, including the Andy Rouse-prepared Ford Sierra RS500 mentioned above. However, Iconic Auctioneers also has a track record in big results for modern classic Japanese performance cars, particularly those formerly owned by rally drivers.

There are notably fewer Ferraris and Porsches among the lots than in previous years, although this may be because the auctioneer’s dedicated Supercar Fest sale is scheduled for a few months’ time, at Sywell Aerodrome, Northamptonshire on May 18. However, there are still plenty of lots to dig into – which ones do you have your eye on?

The road and rally cars of the late Colin McRae always receive plenty of attention, but at this year’s sale the focus is put on the machinery of Britain’s other World Rally Championship-winning driver, Richard Burns. This 1998 Mitsubishi Lancer GSR Evolution V was supplied to Burns in late 1998, and although it is not totally clear whether it was a promotional car or he bought it, it’s believed he was gifted the car for his part in Mitsubishi’s Constructors’ Title win that year.

However, Burns signed for Subaru for 1999, which meant that while the car would remain in his private collection, very few miles were put on it. Indeed, at the time of consignment it wears just 794 miles. The Burns family kept the Mitsubishi until 2020, when the vendor acquired the car. It was then completely recommissioned by Auto Torque to the tune of £16,500. It’s estimated at between £80k and £100k.

Other Mitsubishi highlights include a 1999 Lancer Evo VI Zero Fighter special edition (estimated at £28k-£34k), one of five Monte Carlo special-edition versions of the 2001 Evo VI Tommi Mäkinen with Ralliart-tuned engine and suspension upgrades, plus a helical front differential and a close-ratio gearbox (estimated at £100k-£120k), and a hillclimb championship-winning Evo VI GSR (estimated at £23k-£27k).

Iconic Auctioneers sold Colin McRae’s 1998 Subaru Impreza STi 22B for £480,500 last year – no such provenance for the particular car pictured above, hence its £190k-£220k estimate. Coming from 23-year-long solitary family ownership, this particular example is one of the 399 originally built for the Japanese market (rather than the export models). This car, no. 29, has been in family possession since 2001, and has covered 48,974 miles.

Other Subaru highlights include a 2000 Impreza P1 (estimated at £45k-£55k) and a 1995 Impreza WRX STi 555 Series 2 (estimated at £30k-35k).

In the competition car sale, this 1978 Toyota Celica 2.0 GT is special simply as an example of the breed that’s survived in the UK for so long. However, this car has a special history – it was originally registered to Toyota dealer John Brundle Motors in Kings Lynn in 1978. First used as a showroom demonstrator, it was sold in 1979 but bought back by the dealership in 1980 and converted into a production saloon racer.

It then competed in the Commander’s Cup at the Willhire 24 Hour races at Snetterton in 1980 and 1981, with Brundles John, Robin and future Formula 1 and World Sportscar racing star Martin behind the wheel. It was then sold, and became a regular in UK racing circles. In 2014 the car was restored and then invited to the Goodwood Members’ Meeting. It’s estimated at £50k-£60k.

Other Japanese highlights include a brace of road-going Honda NSXs (including an ex-UK press car Targa estimated at £75k-£85k) and a 1179-mile 2002 Honda S2000 GT (estimated at £32k-£40k).

While a repeat of the £600k RS500 is unlikely, there are two examples of this limited-to-500 homologation to choose from, coming from the same collection. The above car is no. 406 – one of 52 cars finished in Moonstone Blue, fresh from a £25k engine rebuild and having undergone a bare-shell restoration in 2016. Showing 54,320 miles, it’s estimated at £85k-£100k. The other car has been in the owner’s collection for 34 years, reads 60,197 miles and is estimated at £75k-£85k. A bench-tested Ford YBD RS500 engine is also on offer from the same vendor, estimated at £12k-£15k.

Ford Sierra Cosworths make up a good proportion of the competition cars on offer, with two circuit racers (including a Rouse-prepared RS500 estimated at £240k-£280k) plus two rally cars. Other Blue Oval highlights include a 1976 Escort Mk2 RS Mexico (£32k-£38k), the ex-Gerry Marshall/Graham Scarborough Autoplan 1981 Ford Capri 3.0S (estimated at £60k-£70k) and a 2007 Ford Focus World Rally Championship car driven by Matthew Wilson, Gianluigi Galli, Henning Solberg and Valentino Rossi (estimated at £340k-£380k).

The 1972 Alpine A110 1300VC (V85) Berlinette pictured here is an interesting example of the breed. Discovered in a barn-find condition and unused for 20 years, it was put through a full restoration by the vendor. This Alpine is fitted with a rare Gordini 1.3-litre four-cylinder engine with a special cylinder head, Italian Weber carbs and five-speed gearbox. It’s estimated at £60k-£70k.

This 1972 Lola T212 is believed to be the Dorset Racing car that competed in the 1972 World Sportscar Championship and other events. Chassis no. HU34B was largely campaigned by Tony Birchenough that year, with fifth place at Estoril being the major highlight. Since 2005 it’s been in the care of the vendor after a period in Canada in the Baker Car Collection. It has a valid FIA Technical Passport until 2029, and was last raced at the 2022 Le Mans Classic. It’s currently running a Gathercole Race Engines-built Cosworth FVC engine, and is estimated at £150k-£170k.

The 1967 Maserati Sebring Series II pictured above was originally sold new to New York via Bob Grossman Foreign Cars, which would later sell the car to the current owner in 1995. It soon came to the UK, and, six years later, it was treated to a recommissioning by McGrath Maserati. The owner took it with him to Spain in 2012, although the car returned to McGrath for care and maintenance since then. Fitted with its original 4.0-litre engine, it’s estimated at £130k-£160k.

This 1975 Chevron B31 Sports-Prototype is the fifth of six cars built in 1975. Originally finished in red and fitted with a Cosworth DFV engine, it’s now wearing Martini colours and is powered by a rebuilt Anderson Racing Hart 420R engine and J&P Hewland FG400 transaxle. It won the 2013 HSCC Martini Sportscar’s Trophy. It’s estimated at £100k-£120k.

The 1984 Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 shown above is number 176 of 200 built, and first came to the UK from France in 2021. While details on its history prior to this are unclear, it’s been serviced by Williams Crawford and wears 9940 miles. It’s estimated at £235k-£275k.

More details on the Iconic Auctioneers Race Retro sale at Silverstone can be found here.

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