Hong Kong’s First Major Classic Car Auction
Posted on May 31, 2016
Hong Kong is a fascinating place, at the confluent of the West, with its past as a British territory, and the East as a Chinese island. Far from the picturesque rural landscapes the country brings to mind, it is a vibrant city which embodies the ‘new’ China, with a growing middle class and the super-rich who are hungry for luxury items.
RL Neo Classics is a recently established car auction house in Hong Kong which hopes to capitalise on this luxury market and cater to Asia’s appetite for classic cars that are seen as profitable investment opportunities.
Their first auction, which was publicised as the first major classic car auction in Hong Kong, took place on June 11, 2016, offering models from the 1950s onwards and aimed at younger collectors who may have been looking at purchasing their first classic car, with estimated sales prices ranging from HK $300,000 (NZ $55,000) to HK $4 million (NZ $720,000).
There were many remarkable cars for sale, such as the ultra rare 1994 Chevrolet Corvette C4. Corvettes have always been a favourite with classic car collectors, but the C4 is really considered special. Its sleek design was a clean break from the previous generations of Corvettes, with a new chassis and emphasis on comfort and ease of handling.
The specific vehicle displayed for auction was, literally, royalty, as it came from the private collection of a royal family in Asia.
It is also unusual in that it was converted to a right-hand drive by Italian Ferrari Coach builder Pininfarina with no expense spared, and with only 6,400 km (4,000 miles) on the odometer, it still has many years ahead of it. It also has a past as a racing car, as it won the Hong Kong Chater Road concourse.
This Corvette was described as an “entry level” classic car in the catalogue to encourage first-time buyers, and sold for HK $300,000 (NZ $55,000).
A 1977 Maserati Khamsin was another highlight.
Poetically named after a violent, hot wind blowing through the Egyptian desert 50 days a year, the Khamsin, those Maseratis were designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro.
Only 430 of them were ever produced, including 335 with five-speed gearboxes and 95 right-hand drive, so Khamsins coming to the market is always a special occasion. They are classic grand touring cars and with a top speed of 272 km/h (170 mph), they will satisfy any adrenalin junkie. What really differentiates Khamsins from other sports cars, however, is a large glass rear hatch, which gave it exceptional visibility.
With only 491 km (307 miles) on the speedometer, this particular model is considered nearly new and was promoted in the auction catalogue as “a time-capsule”.
A Mercedes 190SL Roadster was also for sale at the auction. A two-door luxury roadster produced between 1955 and 1963, it was built on the success of the 300SL, combining that car’s beautiful lines and ‘gull wing’ doors with a more affordable price and easier-to-maintain mechanics.
The model sold at this auction had been extensively refurbished and was in excellent condition. It was converted to a right-hand-drive car with manual gear, which makes it even more collectible. Coming with its original hard top, it is the perfect car if you fancy a drive with your hair flowing in the wind.
If you are looking for a car to express your social status, then the Ferrari 308GTB is for you.
Commercially successful as soon as it launched, the 2-seater sports car saved Ferrari and laid the foundations of the company’s growth. Designed by Pininfarina, the 308 used elements from the Daytona, the Berlinetta Boxer and the Dino into a truly unique body shape. Unlike other sports car, the emphasis was on making it lightweight, leading to the decision of building it with a body entirely made of glass-reinforced plastic.
This Ferrari was advertised as an ‘inexpensive’ classic car for sale and its value had remained strong throughout the year. Its price range at the auction was between HK $830,000 (NZ $148,000) and HK $980,000 (NZ $175,000).
From one sports car to another, the iconic Porsche 964 RS under auction was sure to draw attention. A limited edition of the 964 only manufactured between 1992 and 1994, it was a lighter, sported-up version. Without any form of sounds deadening, driving this car will give you a true sense of how powerful it exactly is as you enjoy every purr and roar.
The value of the Porsche 964 RS has increased significantly over time and it is seen as a safe investment. It is a favourite among classic car collectors as it is a reliable machine relatively inexpensive to maintain.
The car under auction is in a vibrant ‘Rubystone’ red and is in concourse condition, with less than 15,000 km (10 miles) on the clock.
By the mid 50s, Mercedes-Benz was facing a problem: the 300SL was very successful in its niche, but its high price tag made it reachable only for a few. The Mercedes-Benz 230SL W113 ‘Pagoda’ was Mercedes’ solution to reach a wider audience by producing a more affordable yet still highly comfortable car.
In 1960, the 220SL was the first step towards this new model. Based on the fintail W111 sedan platform, it used a shortened chassis, technology from the W112, an improved fuel-injected 2.3 litre inline-6 engine and a hardtop roof which, with its distinctive shape, gave it its pagoda nickname.
Put under auction for an estimated price sales of HK $630,000 (NZ $112,000) to HK $850,000 (NZ $151,000), it achieved HK $650,000 (NZ $116,000). Another safe investment opportunity is in the 1996 Aston Martin DB7 offered for sale. Aston Martins are intrinsically British and have a glorious history in the motoring world. The DB7 was produced between 1994 and 2004 and was Aston Martin’s highest production vehicle ever. Listed with a sales price range of HK $320,000 (NZ $57,000) to HK $400,000 (NZ $71,500), it nearly achieved its top estimate and was sold for HK $390,000 (NZ $69,500).
Are you thinking about starting a classic car collection? Why not read our great guide on What to Know Before Buying Your First Classic Car on our New Zealand’s website?