Collectors And Investors Go For Number Plates
This 1950s Austin J40 sold for a record $9300 but it's still a cheap way to pick up an eligible Goodwood Revival race car.
The recent sales of a set of numberplates for $745,000 and a pedal car for almost $10,000 have provided strong evidence the classic car market in Australia is finally coming in from the cold.
These two Shannons auction sales on May 22 came shortly before the record-breaking sale of the ex-Bob Morris Holden Torana A9X on May 28 for $715,500, which was sold by Perth collector Peter Briggs through the action house Mossgreen.
Most surprising of all is even though the A9X last month became the most expensive Australian car ever sold at auction, its price wasn’t enough to surpass the amount paid six days earlier for two old bits of government- issue pressed tin.
The pricey plates were for New South Wales and bore the number 29 which, according to Shannons, drew enough to eclipse the previous auction record of $689,000, which was paid for the NSW number 2 plates in 2003.
Number 29, left, was worn in 1915 by a Sydney-based 26HP Minerva.
Long before it sold for a record $745,000, this number plate was worn in 1915 by a Sydney-based 26HP Minerva.
In July 2016, $530,000 was paid for the Victorian plate number 21.
The pedal car mentioned above was a beautifully restored Austin J40 dating from the 1950s.
Similarly well-restored examples of this iconic pedal car have previously sold for between $3000 and $6000, and the $9300 paid for the J40 at the May auction is believed to be a record for this pedal car.
Still, this would have to be the most cost-effective way to get a car that’s eligible to race at the Goodwood Revival in England.
The Settrington Cup is a one-make race for Austin J40s at the September historic motoring festival.
Of course, the race is open only to children, so you’ll have to race vicariously.
But you’ll still be able to say things such as “Sorry, I can’t mow the lawn, I’m preparing the race car for Goodwood”.
If you’ve noticed large numbers of classic car enthusiasts wandering the streets looking bewildered, irritable and listless, it’s not just because they own old English cars.
The other reason is, as you may have noticed, Idle Torque has been AWOL in the previous two editions of Saturday’s WestWHEELS.
Now though, after a two-week sojourn in Wednesday’s WestWHEELS, we’re back in on a Saturday, and should be here for a while.
Also, please don’t write in about that gentle dig at old English cars.
To the contrary, some have been known to be very reliable, and on a sunny day with a tailwind, can travel up to 14km with hardly any maintenance.
How popular any name or initial it contains is: You are more likely to get good money for a registration plate that spells out a name like 5UE than you are with a more unusual name, simply because there is more demand for Sue (or Dave or Mel) than there would be for Hector, Primrose or Zebedee
How valuable the letters and numbers the plate contains are: in terms of numbers, lower numbers with fewer digits tend to be the most valuable when reselling personalised number plates, making BOB 1 more valuable than BOB 379. Sequential numbers (123, 456 etc.) and repeated numbers (444, 88) are more popular than random combinations, and special occasion numbers like 18 and 21 can also boost a number plate’s value a little. In terms of the letters in a number plate, the likelihood of a series of letters being a name or a person’s initials increases the value of the plate, too.
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