James Young bargains from Online Auction
Two rare coachbuilt cars from the 1950s sold online at The Market by Bonhams in January, both bodied by James Young. Each looked like a significant gamble, but they had the potential to repay a lucky buyer very handsomely.
The first to move was a 1954 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn (above) bodied to design C20, an almost full-width shape that looked a lot more modern than the Standard Steel saloons. It had apparently been resting on static display in the Middle East for quite some time, arriving as a non-runner, after which no attempt was made to start it or even turn the engine. All of which says caveat emptor loudly and clearly, except that the rest of the car looks rather good – not spotless, with the odd paint scuff and one door closing less well than it should, but no serious corrosion to be seen and a generally dried-out appearance underneath. Inside, though, both hides and timber had survived the Middle Eastern climate in fine condition. Yet the unknown quantity of the car’s drivetrain (think £20,000 plus for an engine rebuild and add on what you like for transmission, brakes and rear axle) plus the Bonham’s bond payment and NOVA fee to complete the importation process stalled the bidding at £14,158 on an estimate of £20,000 to £30,000. If you know who bought it, we’d love to hear that they got it home, turned it over a few times, added fresh petrol and found themselves with a sound, well-running car…
The second example, a 1952 Bentley R-type coupé by James Young to design C 10 AM is one of about eight survivors and at first glance, looked a safer buy – UK history, garaged for the last decade, engine running quite nicely, some attention to brakes required – but then you got to the part about dropping doors. Sure enough, neither door would close; not an uncommon failing with bodies like this where very large and heavy doors rely on screws gripping in wooden A-posts. Still, for someone who knows how it’s done, not too off-putting. Bidding surpassed the very modest £18,0000 to £25,000 estimate and reached £26,160; still only about a quarter of what this car should be worth in mint condition. One for the capable home restorer, then, or someone with very deep pockets.