Last week The Australian exclusively revealed there are serious questions about the provenance of the 1989 Mobil 1 Racing Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 being auctioned online by Gold Coast-based Lloyds Auctions.
With one week to go in the auction of the world’s largest Peter Brock car collection, fans of the Australian racing legend have bid more than $4 million for race and rally cars supposedly owned or driven by the King of the Mountain.
The Ford Sierra Cosworth has attracted a bid of $555,000 but half a million dollars is cheap for a Ford raced by the Holden-mad Brock at Bathurst.
Brock’s former co-driver in the Sierra, Andrew Miedecke, said: “I know for absolute sure it was not a Brock race car. It is concerning that the auction and promotional material (lead people to infer) the car is a Brock Mobil race car.”
Andrew, a Port Macquarie Ford dealer, owns one of only two Brock Sierras in existence. British collector Rupert Kent bought the other in 2016. Andrew believes the car in the auction is probably one he built from parts he had lying around and displayed at his Ford dealership.
“It had never started or even been to a track until after I sold it. It was never raced by the Brock team or Brock himself,” he said.
A former two-time world motorcycle champion, the late Barry Sheene, crashed the third Mobil Sierra in testing in 1989. It was rebuilt and then crushed to avoid paying import duty in 1990.
“The video on the auction website very strongly infers that the car in the auction was a Brock car,” Miedecke says.
The Australian contacted Lloyds for comment but the company did not reply.
“Lloyds Auctions sells these cars under standard auction conditions that offer no warranties or cooling-off period,” a disclaimer on the website reads.
But Miedecke says: “There is a very strong moral issue here, if not a legal one.”
But sex and movie stars and Peter Brock sell cars.
Which brings us to the November 16 auction (in Hollywood, of course) featuring Marilyn Monroe’s 1956 Ford Thunderbird (estimate: $400,000-$600,000 or 10 times a non-Marilyn model). For younger readers, Marilyn Monroe was a highly intelligent woman from a dysfunctional, impoverished background who played dumb blondes in very successful movies but was in fact a second wave feminist.
She got her first car back from the repo gang by posing for nude pics for $50. The originals of those are now selling for $7 mill. There’s an investment idea for you.
US appraiser Patrick Smith says be careful about buying cars claiming to have been owned by Marilyn. “So many cars are listed online claiming to have some connection to the late film star that you’d be forgiven for thinking she was a car nut like Steve McQueen,” he says.
This is because, as a movie star, she was constantly shot for promotional photos sitting in cars. That has translated these cars, in auction language, to Marilyn Monroe’s own cars.
Smith gives the example of her being photographed in a red MG TD owned by 20th Century Fox, driven by Cary Grant (another old movie person) in a film, sold to Debbie Reynolds (another — never mind) who taught her daughter Carrie (Star Wars) to drive in it. Described as Marilyn Monroe’s MG in a 2011 auction, the car brought over $300k against an estimate of $30k.
The auction site says of the ’56 T-Bird: “Soon after buying the Thunderbird, Monroe married the celebrated playwright Arthur Miller. Monroe owned this gorgeous vehicle for six years until generously giving it as an 18th birthday gift to John Strasberg, the son of director and her acting coach Lee Strasberg and his wife Paula.” Smith says there is no evidence Marilyn owned a Thunderbird but hubby Miller did.
At Bonhams Festival of Speed auction in July, a 1977 Porker 911S coupe sold to a fan of Scandi noir The Bridge heroine, no social skills at all, Saga Noren for $256k, or five times fair value. In fact, Sofia Helin (who plays Saga, who owned the car in the series) introduced the Porker at Goodwood.
Of course, you can buy love from Paul McCartney (Paul was a member of The Beatles, who were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960). It would have just cost you $330k for a 1965 Morris Mini Cooper S DeVille (non-McCartney version $70k) at last month’s Worldwide Auctioneers Auburn auction.
The next best thing to sex, movie stars, Paul McCartney, Saga Noren and Peter Brock is racing or rallying history.
At Artcurial’s Le Mans auction a 1991 Toyota Celica brought $195k (you can buy a 1991 Celica in Australia for $4k). Admittedly it was a factory-owned ST165 rally car with 220kw and could top 220km/h sideways through the gravel. Carlos Sainz (former world rally champion, who is bigger than The Beatles in Spain) took second in the 1991 Acropolis Rally in this car. This was bought cheaply with 90s rally car values just taking off and giving you guaranteed entry into historic rallies around the world and other places.
One you can’t buy yet is my idol, the late Possum Bourne’s 1994 Asia Pacific Rally Championship-winning 1993 Subaru Impreza 555. The current owner, Kiwi Robbie McLean, bought the car in Italy and it’s now worth $5.4 mill. The Subi will highlight November’s Adelaide Motorsport Festival.
Your Weekend Australian Rally Team drivers, Michael McMichael and I, suggested to Robbie that he would get more publicity out of the WART team competing in the Subi but said he wished we’d asked him earlier as he had promised Alister McRae, British rally champion and brother of Colin, he could drive it up Gouger Street on the opening night.