You sit and wait, watching eagerly as other lots cross the auction block. You’ve done the sums countless times, have a maximum number in your head, and clear your throat in anticipation as the car that’s piqued your interest is up.
The auction opens, hands eagerly dart up as the bidding increases incrementally. Every so often you raise your bid paddle to stay in the race, playing a game of mental chess with others who desire the car just as much as you. As the number increases, in equal proportion the bidding slows down. However, the auctioneer’s enthusiasm doesn’t waver, as they seek out bids from those still in the running, akin to squeezing the last drops of juice out of a lemon. The room goes quiet as the gavel is raised before swiftly striking the wooden block. SOLD!
This process repeats itself dozens of times throughout the day, but at the recent Silverstone Festival, I came to the Iconic Auctioneers area for the sales of two cars specifically: A delivery-mileage Ford Escort RS Cosworth Group N rally car and, most importantly, the late Colin McRae’s own Subaru Impreza WRX STi 22B.
First, the Escort, which with a mere 703 miles on the odometer looked like the day it was built. Being one of the first 2,500 homologation cars allowed the original buyer to select a motorsport variant, which meant a strengthened shell stripped of all luxuries. The catalogue of Ford Motorsport 909 parts were then fitted, and once complete in 1993, the car was exported to Jakarta, Indonesia. Where it sat. In the early 2000s, the car was sold and shipped to Australia, but again, just parked up.
Fast forward to 2021, when the car again changed hands before being recommissioned to how it sits today.
With a guide price of £160,000-£200,000, it was never going to be cheap, but the Escort failed to meet its reserve price while on the auction block. However, it did sell by negotiation afterwards, but for an undisclosed amount.
Fast forward 24 hours, and with the completion of the motorsport sales selection, it was now the road cars up for auction. One car in particular expecting huge interest and equally huge bids.
By this point, there isn’t much to say about Colin McRae that hasn’t been said already, so for such a revered car to come up for sale prompted a huge amount of speculation and discussion around what it would sell for. A total of 399 22B production cars were sold in Japan (plus 25 export cars including 16 ‘Type-UK’ models for the United Kingdom, modified by Prodrive), but McRae’s was one of three prototypes which bore the 000/400 designation. The other two went to Nicky Grist (McRae’s co-driver) and David Lapworth (Subaru World Rally Team’s former team boss and Prodrive’s long-time technical director, now R&D director). All three of these were JDM-spec models, with km/h speedometers, a 4.44 final drive and other subtle differences.
Having covered under 11,000km since new, the 22B is in exceptional condition, despite Colin’s reputation for being a rather ‘committed’ driver when behind the wheel.
Bidding started at £280,000 and gradually climbed, with the final rounds going to and fro between two phone bidders. By the time it reached £400,000, it had slowed down dramatically, and that game of mental chess was well and truly being played out.
Following a few more bids, the price settled at £430,000 plus fees. The room erupted in cheer. It was a new record for a 22B, but if any example was going to achieve that, it was this one.
It’s the perfect storm – an already sought after model, in excellent condition, with a famous former owner. The previous record sale price for a 22B was achieved last year, when one sold for US$317,555 after fees. By comparison, the ex-McRae 22B sold for the equivalent of US$593,187 after fees. So provenance plays a huge part. But a car like this really is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
All I know is that somewhere out there is a very happy new owner and someone who will always wonder if they’d just gone for that last bid, a very special 22B might be parked in their garage.
Credit : Source Post