Two highly experienced after-dinner speakers entertained guests at H&H’s annual Gala Dinner on the eve of its season-ending Chateau Impney sale.
Newly elected to the board of H&H Classics as a non-executive director, The Right Honourable Sir Greg Knight MP told of his passion for British classic cars, and the vital work he and his colleagues of the All Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicle Group are doing to protect and promote the industry and the hobby as a whole.
Dean Butler, the founder of global optical group Vision Express, related tales from his years in business and spoke of his collection of cars, several of which were sourced by H&H. Diners in the Grand Ballroom were fascinated to hear just what it was like to fly only a few feet above the ground in the rear seat of an RAF Jaguar, and exactly what you say to neighbour astronaut Neil Armstrong when he can’t drive out of his garage due to snow…
The following day it was business as usual, with auctioneers Simon Hope, H&H’s MD, and Julian Royse hammering away items of automobilia, car registrations and classic bikes and cars.
Two lots tied in the position of highest-seller, each achieving £212,800 and beating their upper estimates. Placed just beneath the rostrum, the 1972 Ferrari 365 GTC/4 (1 of just 31 UK cars) attracted much interest in the saleroom and has now joined a notable collection, while the 1927 Bentley 3 Litre Speed Model Tourer was keenly fought over by room and telephone bidders alike before changing hands for the first time in forty-six years.
Other entries achieving significant prices included the ex-Lord Berkeley 1931 Lagonda 2 Litre Low Chassis Speed Model Tourer at £78,400 and the £89,600 commanded by the most successful of the five UK Ferrari F355 Challenge cars built for the 1995 season (which being road legal first owner Alain Li also used on the school run).
Simon Hope, speaking after the event, looked back on another successful 12 months in the company’s 21-year history: “The Chateau Impney Gala Dinner is always a favourite of mine, as it allows us to spend more time with old friends and clients – although I don’t really differentiate between the two.
“Sir Greg Knight’s appointment as non-executive director is tremendous news. He is an industry heavyweight and will bring a wealth of experience to H&H. We have some serious plans for expansion in 2015 and I am confident that with Sir Greg on board, and our association with Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions, these will result in an even better service to the collector.
“We’ve had a good year in 2014, and I’d mention in particular the time-warp 1934 Lagonda M45 T8 Tourer we sold for £123,200 at Duxford in April, another ‘barn-find’ in the shape of the £131,600, 1960 Jaguar XK150S 3.8 FHC at Rockingham, and any one of the Jaguar E-types that have crossed the block, all of which have achieved strong money.
“Next year will be our twenty-second. A highlight will be the 11-12 July Chateau Impney Hill Climb, with which we are delighted to be associated. With the strong team we have in place, the spread of auction venues around the country and our enviable reputation for straight talking and fair dealing, I am certain it will be one of the best.”
H&H Classics’ 2015 auction calendar:
25 February - The Pavilion Gardens, Buxton22 April - Imperial War Museum, Duxford20 June - Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club, Burghley House, Stamford11 July - Chateau Impney Hillclimb, Droitwich Spa29 July - The Pavilion Gardens, Buxton14 October - Imperial War Museum, Duxford18 November - The Pavilion Gardens, Buxton9 December - Chateau Impney Christmas Gala, Droitwich Spa