Auctioneer RL Neo Classics sold four of 21 collectibles at its Cyberport sale on November 12 and 13, and chairman Richard Lee is upbeat about the results.
“The cars were presented so very well and the fact that our … new online bidding platform brought the sale of the lovely  MGB Roadster gives me belief in attracting more international bidders in the future,” he said. The Hong Kong-registered MGB sold for HK$270,000 on a catalogued price from HK$270,000 to HK$300,000.
The auction attracted more than 600 guests – three times the number who attended RL Neo Classics’ last auction at The Repulse Bay in June, where seven of 26 lots were sold. Bidding was “spirited” between three parties in the room and two online for a registered 1958 Mercedes 190 SL, the auctioneer said. The convertible was eventually sold for HK$1.2 million, just within its catalogued estimate of HK$1.15 million to HK$1.3 million. A registered 1990 Honda NSX changed hands for HK$650,000, having been catalogued at HK$650,000-HK$750,000.
However, the opening lot, a yellow registered 1976 Jaguar XJ6C, set an excruciating tone to the evening. Initially offered for HK$50,000, the Australian import found few takers, until British auctioneer Guy Loveridge roused bidding by dropping its price to HK$40,000 and then taking HK$5,000 bids. “I know you’re shy, but we are all friends here,” he told a quiet auditorium. “It’s not where we start, but where we finish.” The XJ6 was sold for HK$45,000 without a reserve, even though the catalogue priced it from HK$100,000 to HK$200,000.
A 1996 Aston Martin DB7 was rejected, just short of the published HK$235,000 to HK$350,000, and fine Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsches were then passed by a thinning audience. Loveridge worked hard, but acknowledged that “some of the ‘super cars’ were less appealing to our audience, and we have learnt from this result. Knowing that we have secured a couple of cars after auction sales – with two to three more in the pipeline. I am confident that our presentation is hitting the right targets and we will, at sale three, bring better results on the hammer”. A Ford Escort RS Cosworth and Peugeot 205 GTI were also sold, after the auction, with two other cars sales pending, a saleroom publicist said.
Elsewhere in the classic car world, a 1936 Rolls Royce Phantom III had to have been the car of the week. Owned by The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels’ (HSH) chairman, Michael Kadoorie, the 7.3-litre limousine was judged best overall entry in Sunday’s Classic Car Club of Hong Kong Chater Road show. Then it was a star attraction at last night’s, at gala dinner to celebrate the hospitality group’s 150th anniversary at The Peninsula hotel. Stunning in grey, the Phantom III was originally owned by British aristocracy, acquired at auction “three or four years ago”, and then restored in Essex by PA Wood, according to classic car expert David McKirdy, who maintains the Kadoorie and HSH fleets. The Phantom III is also gorgeous to drive, he said. “People are used to supercars in Hong Kong, but people look up as the old Phantom passes. It has a lovely feel-good factor.”
Sunday’s Chater Road Show was arguably the best yet, with more than 100 cars squeezed into Central. It was also a fitting tribute to event sponsor BMW, which celebrates its centenary
this year. The show’s organisers “decided that the iconic BMW 3 Series would be the major sponsor cars on display to celebrate 30 years of that model,” said the club’s vice-chairman, Keith Martin. “BMW supplied a brand new M3 30th Anniversary Edition plus a new 3 Series car positioned near their marquee, and also supplied a small 1959-built Isetta, which drew an extremely large crowd of admirers.” The club also supplied 14 BMWs, including Vincent Tao Boon’s gleaming 1975 BMW 2002, and “ranged from 1974 to 1994 – mostly 3 Series, with four exceptions”, Martin said.
There were also 55 other cars on general display and 31 more were judged by a dozen experts in the Concours D ’Elegance. The award winners were for best bodywork: Arthur Lai (1987 Ferrari 328); best interior: Alain Li (1955 Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe); best engine/chassis: Yeung Siu-tim (1994 Honda NSX A2 3.0); best saloon: Terence Ku (1985 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3 16V); best coupe: David Sung (1952 Bentley Mark VI Coupe); best convertible: Frederick Sum (1964 Chevrolet GMC Corvette Stingray); best contemporary classic: Tam Chie-sang (1996 Porsche Targa); best overall: Michael Kadoorie: 1936 Rolls Royce Phantom III.The public voted Michael Wan’s 1974 Alfa Romeo GT 1600 Junior and Yeung Siu-tim’s 1994 Honda NSX A2 3.0 as the most desirable and best-presented cars, while Frederick Sum’s 1990 Z1 won two similar BMW awards
Meanwhile, Gloucester Road has been busy. Lamborghini Hong Kong sold its green HK$8 million Aventador Miura Homage in less than a month. One of only 50 made, it is one of the fastest cars in town, as its 700hp, 6.5-litre engine produces 690Nm at 5,500rpm, tops at 350km/h and tonnes in 2.9 seconds. British Motors is already inviting online order inquiries for the electric Jaguar I-PACE crossover, which was only launched on November 15. (Details at www.jaguar.com.hk). Finally, Hyundai Hong Kong has unveiled its 1.6-litre IONIQ Hybrid (HK$249,000), with a 103hp, 1.6-litre Kappa GDi engine; a 42hp electric motor and a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. The 2016 Red Dot Award-winning saloon looks well-styled and equipped for its price.