Not a bad price for a fixer-upper!
A tired-looking Bentley that was expected to fetch just £30,000 at auction ended up selling for an astonishing £700,000.
Described as “one of the finds” of the decades, the 1929 Bentley 4 ½ has spent the past 30 years gathering dust in a garage.
It also needs substantial work before it can go back on the road.
But that didn’t deter the unidentified buyer, who stumped up £695,000 to make the car his.
The vehicle was initially bought by the grandfather of the seller in 1935 and used for family holidays around the UK, even towing a caravan behind.
Taken off the road in 1985, it was parked in a barn in Surrey where it remained until three months ago.
The owners of the car thought it might be worth around £30,000 and didn’t think an auction house like Bonhams would be interested in selling it.
But when specialist Rob Hubbard opened up a barn door to be presented with the vintage vehicle, his eyes lit up.
He described it as “the holy grail” of discoveries because the chassis, engine, axle, gearbox and interior were all original.
The car was offered for sale for the first time in 80 years on Saturday at Bonhams’ Beaulieu sale in Hampshire and had a guide price of £150,000 to £200,000.
But a fierce bidding war broke out in the saleroom and on the phone, resulting in the new buyer paying a staggering £695,000 for it.
This makes it one of the most valuable ever “barn finds” and a bumper figure for a car which needs to be restored.
The new owner, who has not been identified, now has the job of getting the desirable car back on the road.
Mr Hubbard said: “The vendor only recently found the car gathering dust in his grandfathers’ garage, and expected it to be valued at a fraction of the amount we’ve achieved at today’s auction.
"It was an incredible discovery. The chassis, engine, axle, gearbox, steering box numbers are all present and correct, the interior is completely original, in wonderful green leather.
"For a car that’s over 80 years old, it’s truly astounding.”
The Bentley 4 ½ sold on Saturday was one of 665 built between 1927 and 1930.
It was launched as a replacement for the 3 Litre, after demand from customers for a larger model.
They decided to manufacture a car “which will earn the right to be called the leader of all sports cars”.
In classic company literature, Bentley said the 4 ½ was built for “discriminating motorists to whom the joy of motoring lies in fascinating acceleration, high speed and Bentley design”.
When it was launched, Bentley did not give a top speed for the 4 ½, but said it was “not frequently attainable in this country”.
It added: “The fascination of the car lies in the fact that being designed to attain a high maximum speed, the engine might almost be described as idling at 60mph.”