It has been something of a Crested Eagle few days with a new custodian for DGY 755 learning its extensive history, a log book for a TD18.82 appearing on Ebay spotted by Chris Taylor with a previously unknown registration and owner and also a mention on www.zwischengas.com of my first Alvis, a TF19.82 6 light. This car was being auctioned in Geneva in 1977 (long after I parted with it for £200 or so). As usual with archive stuff, one thing led to another.
The Christie’s auction at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1977 was when £1 = 4.2 Swiss francs. 44 cars with a total value of around one million Swiss francs were offered. Automobile Review editor and Graber enthusiast Roger Gloor reported on the auction in full, “Geneva auction was not a sale!”, because so few cars were actually sold including the two Alvis. What is fascinating are the relative values, or rather bids, made for the cars, and of course, the values forty years later. Here’s is a small selection converted to GBP:
|Bentley 4 1/4 Liter Sports Tourer (Vanden Plas) sold||£ 11,667|
|Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster sold||£ 6,190|
|Armstrong-Siddeley Star Sapphire 4 L sold||£ 1,619|
|Lancia Flaminia Coupe (Pininfarina) sold||£ 952|
|Rolls-Royce 20/25 HP Sport (4 door) not sold||£ 7,143|
|Jaguar 3 1/2 Liters Mk V Convertible (4 seats) not sold||£ 4,524|
|Bentley 4 1/4 liter Sports saloon (Park Ward) not sold||£ 3,810|
|Shelby Cobra GT 500 KR Convertible (V8, 7 L) not sold||£ 3,095|
|Alvis 4.3 liter 4-door sports saloon not sold||£ 2,857|
|Ford Thunderbird Cabriolet (V8, 4,8 L) not sold||£ 2,262|
|Jaguar XK 150 Coupe 2 + 2 (3,4 L) not sold||£ 2,262|
|Alvis Crested Eagle Series TF 20’HP (4 door) not sold||£ 1,905|
|Facel-Vega HK 500 (Coupe 2 + 2, V8, 6.3 L) not sold||£ 1,905|
|Triumph TR 3A Roadster (2 L) not sold||£ 1,667|
To put these in context I looked at Classic cars magazine of March 1977, page 10, to see the asking prices at Robbins of Putney: Bentleys – Mark VI £3,950, S2 Continental 4 door £7,950, 2-door £12,500 Concours 1964 Flying Spur £24,000.
By happy coincidence, in the same issue is a piece by George Bishop and his Alvis ownership of DON 313, now the RAC’s 4.3 short chassis tourer which after engine problems he sold on to that infamous northern specialist who pops up time after time. Worth a read…
….and of course a look at the AOC Calendar of the same date shows:
1936 3.5-litre Special, attractive pointed tail body. Mechanically rebuilt. Used successfully in VSCC event, with road equipment, ready for season. Offers around £3,000.
TA 21 Saloon, unused for some time, partly restored, in good running order. Wings off, but ready for fitting. Tow away. First £100.
1954 Alvis Grey Lady TC100 complete but partly dismantled. Towable. Offers around £180.
1963 TD 21 light blue, 5-speed manual. New braking system, exhaust, tyres, battery, carpets, etc. New MoT. One previous owner, £875 o.n.o.
1964 TE 21. Wire wheels. 5-speed box. Radio. Superb condition throughout, low mileage, £950
Few pre-war cars were on offer.
New cars reviewed in Classic Cars included the Alfetta GT at £3,800 the Saab 99 Turbo at £5000 and the Cortina 2000E Ghia at £3,273.
I was driving the firm’s 2000E at the time in Jamaica (a horrid example) and bought a new Triumph Spitfire on return to the UK, about £1,700 I seem to remember, having been persuaded by the Triumph dealer in Reigate that a second-hand Stag was not a good choice. I had hoped my Graber’s restoration would be complete by then, but it was a further two years before I collected it.