'Heinz 57' Crayford Wolseley Hornet soup competition prize set at Barons' Spring Classic

The rare Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback ‘barn find’ restoration project and the Rolls-Royce Phantom V which belonged to the Queen Mother’s ‘stable’ of motor cars sit at the top of the entry list for Barons’ April 21st Sandown Park sale in terms of prestige and price. However, there are some highly desirable and unusual lots for collectors who are big on enthusiasm if smaller on budget.

One charismatic little rarity is the 1966 Crayford Wolseley ‘Heinz 57’ Hornet. Just 57 of these convertibles were built, as unique prizes for the ‘Greatest Glow on Earth’ soup competition, run by Heinz Foods. From the original planning meeting between Crayford’s David McMullan and Jeff Smith and the Heinz directors in a greasy spoon café to the emergency storage of the 57 cars in a nudist colony, the story of the 57 prize cars is fascinating and highly entertaining. The example on offer at Barons now has red paintwork, as opposed to the original winners’ choices of Birch Grey or Toga White, but remains a charming piece of motoring – and Heinz – history. Estimate: £7,000-£9,000.

Equally appealing is the 1935 Austin 7 APD/E Military Tourer, one of just 11 such cars known to exist. The APD model was produced entirely for military use, and featured a rifle cradle. The car in Barons’ sale began life as an APD but was switched during production to an APD/E. It still has holes in the tunnel between the two seats to take a Lee-Enfield. Estimate: £8,500-£10,500.

A bigger, and more recent, Austin comes in the form of the 1951 FL1 Hire Car. A four-door limousine version of the FX3 Hire Car, it boasts a front bench seat but is without the ‘For Hire’ roof sign of the FX3. This particular example has been restored by the vendor and is now in very good condition. Estimate: £5,000-£8,000.

Ford Escorts are always popular in the saleroom, and Barons’ has a cracker for April 21st. The beige 1968 Mk I Escort 11 De Luxe is in absolutely original condition and has covered just 18,000 miles. Estimate: £8,500-£10,000.

Finally, if the ‘barn find’ Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback is a bit of a stretch at £200,000-£400,000, how about the 1961 Mercedes 180 Ponton ‘shed find’? This car is in good condition, in spite of spending the last 15 years unused in a shed. The interior is particularly good, though beneath the dust it is evident that the exterior paintwork is a little faded. With a little more TLC this could be a fabulous family classic. Estimate: £4,000-£6,000.

For information on all the lots in the sale, please visit www.barons-auctions.com, email info@barons-auctions.com or call 08454 30 60 60.

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