St. Leonards, Nsw Australia (PressExposure) February 23, 2011 -- The best of British sporting brands, including Aston Martin, Bentley, Bristol, Jaguar and Riley are all crossing the block at Shannons Melbourne Autumn Classic Auction on Monday, March 7.
One of the most fascinating vehicles is a 1931 Bentley 4-Litre that has spent more than 40 years in Australia - the majority in the hands of well-known car dealer and collector Reg Hunt.
The striking Maroon and Black Saloon, with its unique and original aluminium H.J.Mulliner coachwork, was sold from Hunt's collection in 2005 and is offered for the first time since. It is expected to sell in the $150,000-$180,000 range.
When manufactured in 1931, just as Rolls-Royce purchased financially-troubled Bentley, the new four-door 4-Litre saloon brought a number of innovations to the market, including centralised chassis lubrication.
Up to the collapse of Bentley Motors, only 50 of the 4-Litre Bentleys were produced and the car being auctioned is believed to be one of just five in Australia.
However as the majority of Crickleford-built Bentleys have since been converted into Vanden Plas or Le Mans replicas, this vehicle with its original H.J.Mulliner body is even rarer.
Matching the Bentley for British prestige in the auction is a Meteorite Grey 2005 Aston Martin DB9 coupe that was imported privately from England in 2009 and has covered the equivalent of 25,000km since new.
Despite their 74 year age difference, the Aston is expected to sell for similar money to the Bentley in the $150,000-$175,000 range.
In the same exclusive league as the Bentley is a 1978 Bristol 603 S Coupe, finished in Metallic Maroon with Black Connolly hide interior.
Introduced in 1976 and fitted with a 5.9-litre Chrysler V8 engine and automatic transmission in its S (Sport) guise, the 603 replaced the Bristol 411 and was the first major facelift of the hand-built British grand tourer since the introduction of the 406 in the late 1950s. Shannons are quoting a guiding range of $40,000-$48,000 for this rare, well-presented and original car.
There are three interesting Jaguars in the March 7 auction, a handsome 1960 XK 150 3.8 litre Fixed Head Coupe ($45,000-$55,000) and a now-rare, white 1961 Jaguar Mk II 2.4 Manual Saloon ($15,000-$18,000) - both Old English White with chrome wire wheels - and a striking, restored 1948 Mk V 3.5 Saloon finished in Golden Amber with Charcoal leather upholstery ($26,000-$32,000).
The Mk V is in good useable condition and has an interesting history, as it is a former Concours winner and it has sporadically been used as a wedding car.
Two other 'great Britons' in the Melbourne auction are a well-maintained and mechanically-fresh 1951 Riley RME 2.5 Litre Saloon ($10,000-$15,000) and a seldom seem and well-presented 1968 six-cylinder MG 'C' GT Coupe ($14,000-$18,000).
'Little Britons' in the auction with no reserve include a 1948 Ford Prefect Saloon ($4,000-$6,000), a 1951 Morris Minor Convertible (10,000-$15,000), a 1961 Morris Minor Traveller Station Wagon ($12,000-$18,000), a 1964 Vauxhall Victor Super Sedan ($3,000-$5,000), a modified 1965 Morris Mini 'Shorty' coupe ($4,500-$6,500), a 1967 Triumph GT6 Coupe ($12,000-$16,000), an ex-Army 1978 Land-Rover Series 3 ($3,000-$5,000) and a 1988 Rover Mini ($7,000-$9,000).
Shannons National Auction Manager Christophe Boribon said the cross section of British cars in the auction was exceptional.
"It's been a long time since we have had such a great selection of classic British brands for sale," he said, "particularly so many with no reserve price."
Forty-two vehicles - 21 of them offered with no reserve - and 23 items of memorabilia ranging from historic petrol pumps and enamel garage signs to models cars, a child's pedal car and even a Harrod's Picnic Basket Set for four are in the auction at Shannons Melbourne showrooms, 321 Warrigal Road, Cheltenham.
For further auction information, contact: Christophe, Greg or Rodney on (03) 8588 0809, or 13 4646 (Option 5).