The UK car auction market is growing fast, with vehicles from the 1980s and 1990s proving particularly sought-after.
Such modern classics are driving sales, according to auction platform Car and Classic. In particular, mainstream performance cars that today’s drivers grew up lusting over are in high demand.
Prices for the original Audi Quattro, for example, are on the rise, thanks to its mix of agile handling, reliability and competition kudos.
Retro auction stars
Nonetheless, as the market heats up, many enthusiasts are now looking towards cheaper alternatives.
At £29,500, a Ford Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth might appear expensive in isolation, but it makes for a bargain compared to three-door versions of the fast Ford.
The trend is also evident with the Peugeot 205 GTI. Regarded as one of the greatest hot hatchbacks, auction prices for good examples are reaching £18,000. As a result, the more affordable – but equally dynamic – 309 GTI is attracting attention.
Both the recently discontinued Lotus Elise and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution are noted by Car and Classic as cars to watch, too.
A combination of modern performance and reliability, plus the potential for values to increase, makes them especially desirable.
Total auction sales in the UK were valued at more than £155 million in 2021. However, 95 percent of the 4,216 cars sold last year were valued at less than £100,000 – proof that auctions aren’t all about supercars and concours-winning classics.
Online auctions keep clicking
Tom Wood, CEO of Car and Classic, sees online auctions as the main factor behind growing sales. “The benefits of buying your classic car online are varied and obvious, but using this channel also influences the market in terms of breadth of scope, geographical areas, and choice,” he explains.
“It offers both buyers and sellers an opportunity to change trends by incorporating more ‘humble’, ordinary classics. It becomes a champion of the man on the street, the enthusiast, those who seldom find anything at physical auctions to suit their taste, desires or budget.
“Auctions that were born for the trade may go back to their roots, as the online auction world appeals to the individual instead.”
John Redfern writes for Motoring Research