It was early on Friday morning, I was perusing some of Silverstone Auctions’ lots out of curiosity ahead of the opening day at Race Retro – the historic motorsport event that takes place in Coventry in the UK’s midlands – and a car caught my eye.
That car was a black Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500, and it was simply divine.
Its immaculately polished black bodywork glistened beautifully under the spotlights, standing out from the crowd, and you couldn’t help but feel a huge wave of nostalgia crash over you. This was the poster car of the late 1980s and early 1990s and it’s easy to see why.
But even with that in mind, I’m not sure anybody could foresee what would happen later that day.
The RS500 had a price guide of £150,000 to £180,000 (around $180,500 to $216,600). Even that seemed like a huge amount of money to part with for a Ford Sierra, but once you start to delve into some of the details, it became easier to understand why the value was being pitched into that ballpark.
Naturally, the RS500 is a rare car, it wouldn’t attract that kind of value otherwise, but this one in particular had only travelled 5192 miles. Add to that all the love, care and attention it has received since the owner purchased it, you can start to believe that £150,000 isn’t that bad value – especially when considering that historic and classic car values are certainly on the rise.
£150,000 would have been a record sale for an RS500 had it actually sold for that, but the end result was a lot different.
The bidding began, and it felt like it would never stop. It quickly surpassed £150,000 and then kept rising.
£160,000, £200,000, £300,000 and then £400,000.
But it didn’t end there. The bidding war between an online bidder in Dubai and an individual at the show continued for a while longer.
These two individuals clearly didn’t care about the price. It was all about the fact they were desperate to get an RS500, almost at any cost.
It felt like an epic battle, swaying from one side to the next, with the bids going up and up, all the way until it reached an eye-watering £596,250 (around $717,600).
It didn’t just beat the previous record for an RS500 sale, which was £132,750 (around $159,800), it smashed it completely out of the water.
It quickly became the talk of Race Retro.
Jaws dropped. Nobody could believe that an RS500 was really worth that much, but these two people clearly have different ideas.
But the happiest man of all? Well, it wasn’t the winning bidder, that’s for sure.
The biggest smile of the day went to the auctioneer. He was beaming like a Cheshire cat that had just got the cream. And who can blame him?