What happened when Jaguar Land Rover put part of its surprisingly large classic car collection up for sale at a ‘no reserve’ auction
In 2014, someone at Jaguar Land Rover took a big decision. Not to sign off the latest new Jaguar, or commission the start of another, but to buy a load of old cars.
At the time, the collection of dentist James Hull was thought to be Britain’s largest, consisting of 543 cars, of which 130 were Jaguars. It was a good chance to boost the company’s stock of iconic Jags, albeit with over 400 non-Jaguars tagging along.
Nobody knows how much JLR paid for the collection. All that is known is that the asking price was £100 million. It’s doubtful that the company paid that much, but they’ve just recouped a chunk of whatever they did lay out by selling around a hundred of the Hull cars at a no-reserve Brightwells auction at Bicester Heritage.
JLR said that they were mainly selling duplicates in order to refine the collection, and that the bulk of the collection would be retained and ultimately made available to use. “Jaguar Land Rover models will be our focus first, but the others we’ll keep safe, and return to an active life in time,” said a spokesman. Those retained cars include Lord Mountbatten’s Mini Traveller, an ex-Elton John Bentley, an Iso Grifo previously owned by motorcycle and Formula 1 racer Mike Hailwood.
Along with dozens of proletarian British motors, the vehicle types ranged from caravans to motorcycle sidecars, pedal cars and even speedboats. The auction tent was rammed with bidders, all of whom would have noticed the slightly sketchy condition of most of the lots. Many were rare and/or low-milers, but most needed a good bit of work doing. Not ideal for those looking for an instantly useable daily classic, but perfect for the keen restorer wanting a project for those quiet retirement years.
There were five Allegros in the sale, including two Vanden Plas, and a variable-quality array of Leyland Princesses, Austin Ambassadors, Austin 1100/1300s, Metros and Maestros. It was campervan heaven too, with many snail-slow Commer and Bedford bed-haulers on sale. A restored Ford Transit camper made £8624.
Seekers of rare estates were well pleased by the presence of rareties from Humber, Standard and Austin, plus a pair of nice Citroën CX Familiale wagons, one of which went for just £2200.
Everything sold. There weren’t that many bargains, but there will now be a lot more happy old men in sheds and garages.
To see what they all fetched, go here.