Elton John’s Aston Martin and Rowan Atkinson’s Lancia Thema star in Race Retro auction

Distinguished good taste marks out the auction lots from two well-known Brits at the upcoming Race Retro sale

A stunning Aston Martin V8 Vantage V550 and a pair of iconic sports saloons are among the most interesting lots in the upcoming Silverstone Auctions sale at Race Retro later this month.

The former, dressed in a coat of deep black paintwork and featuring the rare manual gearbox option, was bought new by Elton John in May 1997, and has covered fewer than 9000 miles since.

It’s in stunning condition as a result and has a service book marked with 19 stamps, including £7600-worth of servicing as recently as 2017. That should mean it’s good to go for its potential buyer, though we’re struck by just how well the old Vantage has aged - while often overlooked in context of later DB7s, DB9s and more recent Vantages, these 90s models are among the definitive Aston Martin shapes.

£190,000-£240,000 should secure it if the estimate proves accurate, which doesn’t seem too bad, putting it in the ballpark of a modern Vanquish. The buyer of each aforementioned sports saloon will no doubt pay less, but they too will own cars with a well-known previous owner.

The 1989 Lancia Thema 8.32 and 1993 Mercedes-Benz 500E up for sale with Silverstone Auctions are both being sold by actor, racer and previous evo contributor Rowan Atkinson, and it’s hard to imagine a pair of more tasteful sports saloons for Rowan to have thundered around in.

The 500E had long been a favourite of Atkinson’s, the actor having bought one new back in the 1990s, so this particular example was purchased in 2015 to rekindle those memories. It features Rowan’s preferred cloth upholstery, reads 80,500km on its odometer, and is listed with no reserve.

As is the Thema. It too trades leather seats for something grippier - velour in this case - is left-hand drive, and has 150mph potential courtesy of its Ferrari-derived 2.9-litre V8. While the engine wasn’t identical to the unit originally found in the back of the 308 - it uses a cross-plane rather than flat-plane crank for one - it lent the 8.32 a healthy turn of pace and a kudos alien to other Themas of the day.

Celebrity-owned vehicles aren’t the only Race Retro auction highlights however. In addition to the competition car auction - at which an ex-Ari Vatanen Subaru Legacy RS, Rob Gravett’s 1990 BTCC-winning Sierra RS500 and Colin McRae’s 1999 Ford Focus WRC will be offered - the classic car auction has much else to offer.

Among the more unique lots are a recently-recommissioned 1981 Porsche 924 Turbo expected to make £18k-£24k, a matching-numbers Mk1 Escort Mexico with a £30k-£35k estimate, and a trio of Lotus Elans - a 1965 S2 in British racing green, a 1966 S3 Coupe in yellow, and a 1968 S3 in white, with upper estimates of £32k, £25k and £35k.

More modern metal on hand includes a low-miles 1996 Ford Escort RS Cosworth - a car with enduring appeal for fast Ford fans and with a £45k-£50k estimate - a 2004 Honda NSX (£70k-£80k estimate) and an example of the increasingly desirable Porsche 928 GTS, hailing from 1995 and set to make £28k-£32k.

There’s plenty more to catch the eye, but two in particular get our attention. There’s another celebrity owner associated with the first, with singer Jay Kay having commissioned a 1964 Austin Mini Countryman with looks and performance inspired by the Cooper S of the era. Described as a car used by Jay for running around near his holiday home it’s had plenty of work done and could reach £15k-£20k.

The last is a pristine example of one of the all-time great hot hatchbacks: A 1988 Peugeot 205 1.9 GTi. Pre-cat and without power steering it’s about as desirable as GTis get, and combined with a recent £7000 recommissioning, it’s a clue as to why it might achieve as much as £18k-£24k at auction. That sound you can hear is 1.9 GTi-owning evo deputy editor Adam Towler rubbing his hands together with glee...

The 2018 Race Retro Classic Car Sale, hosted by Silverstone Auctions, takes place at the Race Retro show on February 24 - you can view a full lot list here, with the Competition Car Sale taking place a day before and accessed here.


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