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Andrew Martin: Fire up the Quattro

Keith Murray and Andrew Martin: Life on Mars.
Keith Murray and Andrew Martin: Life on Mars.

A number of years ago a gypsy lady forced me to have my palm read in a hotel reception, then sold me about a mile and a half of lace for luck.

While I grudged the cash (although it was money well spent), her ability to read my future was uncanny. I can still quote one of her prophecies: “I see you behind the wheel of a sports car”.

I’ve also had my tea leaves read and, again, this reading accurately predicted aspects of my future.

This means reading the future easy peasy. Yes? Well, no. I have to admit that I find the current state of the classic car market difficult to read, so I decided to get some help.

Keith Murray and Andrew Martin: Life on Mars.

I called Keith Murray of Morris Leslie Auctions saying I was on my way, put the kettle on, and use loose leaf tea. I was hoping for some insight into what would be smart classic car buys in 2022.

For me the Audi Quattro 20V is one of the rising stars of the market. I’ve driven the white car sold at the H & H auction in October 2019 for £84k, and it’s a great drive with only 32k miles on it’s digital odometer.

In the Quattro.

But I thought that was a lot of money back then. Not so. A lower mileage example, also in white, sold at auction in August 2021 for, wait for it, £163k. Keith agrees, and he’s got one in his next sale.

It’s done 222k miles, so I expected a tired tatty car. Wrong. This car still steers and handles perfectly, with no creaks or rattles.

The value of “living memory”

It’s a delight to push hard into corners, and watch the USS Enterprise inspired bar chart graphics rise as I allow the revs to climb before moving the long throw gear lever to change up.

There’s a little wear around the gearstick gaiter, that’s the only sign of wear inside. The paint was done by a skilled artisan near Banchory in 2017, and it’s still stunning.

A side view.

Why are Quattros making all the money? Well, in part because they’re good, very good.

But as Keith points out the market is all about “living memory”. Buyers are now purchasing the full-scale equivalent of the Dinkys they may have owned, or the cars they lusted after, but couldn’t afford, when in their youth.

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We then mused on the halo effect from film or TV, as we recreate a “Life on Mars” pose with the Quattro. Certainly, DCI Gene Hunt has helped Quattro values. And investing in “Bonds” has been very lucrative over the medium term.

By Bonds I mean James Bonds. Aston Martin classic products have enjoyed spectacular appreciation over the years on the back of being that iconic spy pool car. But don’t shake your Martinis.

Lotus Esprit.

I put it to you that the Bond car on the rise now is the one from my living memory at the Odeon. The Lotus Esprit, as driven in S1 and Turbo forms by safari jacket wearing Roger Moore.

Keeping the white theme, a 1996 Turbo Esprit sold for £37 520 at an end of year auction, against a fair estimate of £28k-£36k. All Esprits values were seen to shoot up in 2021. Astons, well, they may have had their day.

Nothing finer than a Morris Minor

Keith continues by telling me that Harry Potter saved the Ford Anglia. That’s not a plot line, it’s an observation on the market. He’s right. Look at the results from the ACA sale on 30th January when a nice Anglia sold for £6696, against an estimate of £4-6k.

Keith then points to an Anglia competitor with no celluloid association, which, as a result, can be a bargain just now.

“Nothing finer than a Morris Minor,” says Keith.

In the Morris Minor.

Minutes later it starts on the button, the free revving engine spins like a Singer (sewing machine not Vogue) as the green machine follows in the Quattro’s wheels.

At an estimate of £2-3k what’s not to like about this chunky slice of nostalgia on wheels?

At the same ACA sale, the 1990 Volvo 740 driven by Idris Elba in the critically‑acclaimed BBC psychological crime drama Luther was sold.

First broadcast in 2010, this series helped turn Idris Elba into an internationally famous star for his portrayal of DCI John Luther.

Luther’s Volvo.

The Volvo was sold in the same condition as it was when it appeared on TV, including missing bits of body trim and wheel-trims, plus a front wing in grey primer.

Ordinarily, these might be regarded as negative points, but in the case of this 740 GL, they provide extra authenticity.

Inside, the car still had its prop two‑way communications radio fitted, as well as a blue light on top of the dashboard.

Sold with an MOT to January 2023 for £4104. And with the odds shortening on Idris Elba to be the next 007, the buyer just might have a Bond car!

My advice? Buy a Quattro, Esprit, Volvo or the Minor, and enjoy the experience. Your money should be safe…but if you meet a gypsy lady in a hotel, get as much lace for luck as you can afford. You won’t regret either purchase.

  • The Audi Quattro and Morris Minor are both for sale at the Morris Leslie on-line car auction on 19th February 2022.

Andrew Martin: The tractor test Christmas special

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