The annual Silverstone Classic historic racing extravaganza takes places this weekend. As ever, Silverstone Auctions is holding a two-day sale during the event and an incredibly diverse selection of cars is on offer.
All of them are awesome in their own way, but inevitably some are more awesome than others. Here, in no particular order, are the ones we think are most awesome.
1990 Audi Quattro 20v We all know the Quattro’s legend – created for rallying, destroyed the opposition, launched a four-wheel-drive revolution, etc. The road-going version basked in the rally car’s glory, despite the fact it was a mixed bag dynamically. Sure it was devastatingly fast across country in any weather but its handling was a bit blunt, tending towards massive understeer. Later 20v versions like this one were more luxurious and refined, more of a relaxed GT. Drive it as such and the handling makes sense. This one is an absolute peach with 65,000 miles and a bulging history file. These are still very usable cars and we’d love to blast across Europe in this. Sold for £51,188
1995 Ford Escort RS Cosworth Motorsport This writer grew up in the Nineties and was absolutely obsessed with the Escort Cosworth. I loved the styling, the noise, the fact it wasn’t all that expensive – to buy, if not insure. If may not have achieved that much in the WRC – it was far more successful in national-level rallying – but that didn’t matter. It was still the coolest thing on four wheels. This is a rare Motorsport version with a bigger turbo and stripped of creature comforts including, crucially, the sunroof. Essentially it was a ready-made race car that just needed a rollcage adding. That makes this one, still in road-going spec, a very rare thing. It has very low mileage and is in fantastic condition. Sold for £68,063
1988 Ford Sierra RS500 Group A touring car The 500hp RS500 dominated the BTCC in the late Eighties. Four-time champion driver Andy Rouse’s Rouse Sport outfit built the best cars and this is one of his. It was raced to four BTCC podium finishes by Guy Edwards in ’88 before going to Asia. It then spent many years racing in New Zealand until retirement in ’97. More recently, it was exhumed and completely rebuilt for historic racing – the engine now churns out a whopping 540hp. It’s ready to rock and more than capable of being a front runner in any historic race series that caters for these cars. Sold for £168,000
1999 Honda NSX Type-S It’s a cliche – albeit perfectly accurate – to call the NSX an everyday supercar. But that can obscure the fact it’s aluminium spaceframe chassis, searing VTEC engine and Ayrton Senna-honed handling forced the likes of Porsche, Lotus and Ferrari to seriously buck their ideas up. The Type-S is a JDM model of which just 248 were built, featuring racier suspension. The interior was upgraded, too, with carbon-kevlar seats and an alcantara steering wheel – it’s the NSX equivalent of a 911 GT3 Touring. This one was imported from Japan in 2017, has good history and looks stunning. Sold for £81,000
2012 Ferrari 458 Challenge Built for the one-make 458 Challenge Trofeo race series, this is a serious bit of kit that lapped Ferrari’s Fiorano test track just 0.2secs slower than the Enzo-based FXX. It has proper aero, full race-spec suspension and brakes and 560hp. Yet they are quite friendly to drive as these things go and are ideal for less experienced drivers who want to improve their skills. This particular one has done a lot of racing in the UK, winning GT Cup and Britcar races in 2017. Model experts FF Corse have looked after it, updating it with a later aero package, as well. There are few ways of having more fun on a track. Sold for £112,000
1973 Ford Escort Mexico The Mexico was the ‘warm hatch’ of the early Seventies Escort range. Its 1.6-litre engine produced a modest 88hp, but it was light, chuckable and had a motorsport-grade ‘Type 49’ bodyshell. It was immensely popular and launched a great many racing careers. Genuine, standard Mexicos are now incredibly rare – those that haven’t rusted into oblivion or been wrapped round a tree were turned into race cars or modified well beyond the original spec. This is one of the few standard survivors and could well be the best one in the world. Which takes the sting out of the estimate a bit. Sold for £44,800
1973 Triumph Dolomite Sprint Believe or not, the Dolly Sprint was widely regarded as one of the finest sports saloons of the Seventies, up there with the BMW 2002 tii. It was an effective racer, too. This one is a genuine period racer that contested the brutal Spa 24 Hours touring car race in ’74 and ’75, entered by Butch Racing Team. It continued to compete in touring races until ’81. It hasn’t raced since but is still in full working order and the original yellow livery is thought to be under the current colour scheme. It’ll likely be fully rebuilt to period Group 1 spec, making it eligible for a number of historic race series and the Goodwood Member’s Meeting – an investment that’ll probably triple the sale price. Still available for £19,500
1994 Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evo 2 ‘Bianco Perlato’ The ultimate version of the most successful and coolest of all Group A rally cars. It only has 215hp, but its ultra-wide stance gives it massive grip and pin-point handling – it’ll still embarass plenty of supercars on a knarly road. This is one of just 365 special edition Bianco Perlato cars, finished off with Martini stripes for extra cool points. It’s not in concours condition, but its been very well looked after by noted specialists – £10,000 of rectification work was done recently. One to actually use rather than squirrel away. Sold for £63,563
1985 MG Metro 6R4 Austin Rover’s Group B rally car arrived too late and with too little power to make an impact on the WRC. After Group B was banned, though, it found a home in British national rallying and rallycross, where it became an absolute legend. The bonkers styling, spiky handling and soaring V6 engine noise made the 6R4 hugely entertaining to watch. Properly developed, it was immensely fast, as well. Buy one from the factory and it would arrive in ‘kit’ form, needing some minor assembly – a neat way of avoiding Type Approval. This could well be the only one in the world still in as-delivered condition. It only has 7 miles on the clock. The original owner kept it on stands at home, then it spent 6 years in the Donington Park museum. Whether or not it should be put to work or left as is will cause much debate. Sold for £230,000
1965 Ford Lotus Cortina This is one of the most significant cars in Ford’s history as it won the 1965 European Touring Car Championship in the hands of Sir John Whitmore, winning 8 of the 9 races. It was originally built in ’64 by Alan Mann Racing, winning races in the ETCC. For the ’65 season, it was updated with a new rear suspension set-up and re-registered. It was retired at the end of the year and went on a promotional tour. Sir John then acquired the car in ’67 and kept hold of it 28 years. It was then bought by an American who kept it in completely original condition. We think it should left like that, even though it couldn’t be raced as is. You’d be invited to do demo runs at all the best events anyway, and spend years pouring over the gigantic history file. Sold for £218,500
1985 Renault 5 Turbo 2 Evolution This bonkers, mid-engined pocket rocket was developed for Group B rallying. It may only have had a 1.4-litre engine, but with a dustbin-sized turbo it could produce as much as 350hp. Being RWD put it at a disadvantage, but ultra-nimble handling meant it often beat the 4WD opposition on sealed-surface rallies like the Tour de Corse. This Evo road car is the homolgation model for the ultimate Maxi rally car, getting a raft of updates to the engine, suspension and aero. Original road cars are incredibly rare – this one has been fully authenticated. It spent most of its life in France, being used sparingly and maintained properly. It must be hilariously good fun to bomb around in. Sold for £81,000
Images via Silverstone Auctions
By Graham King