Brand-new 34-year-old hatchback brings $79K at Silverstone auction

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1980 Talbot Lotus Sunbeam doubles pre-auction estimate | Silvertone Auctions
1980 Talbot Lotus Sunbeam doubles pre-auction estimate | Silvertone Auctions
1980 Talbot Lotus Sunbeam doubles pre-auction estimate | Silvertone Auctions

Ever wonder what a “brand new” 34-year-old car might be worth?

Well, just such a car sold last week at Silverstone Auctions’ Classic Motor Show sale in England, and it sold for twice its pre-auction estimate.

The car was a 1980 Talbot Lotus Sunbeam, sort of the British version of the Dodge Omni Shelby GLH of the mid-‘80s on this side of the pond.

Chrysler owned Talbot and commissioned Lotus to get the Sunbeam hatchback ready for Group 4 rallying, where the Ford Escort RS was the dominant vehicle. Lotus replaced the standard 1.6-liter engine with its own 16-valve, 2.2-liter unit linked to a five-speed ZF transmission.

The rally version came with a two-tone, black-and-silver paint scheme with Marchal lights mounted atop the front bumper and riding “double four-spoke” cast-alloy wheels.

The car offered at the Silverstone Auction was never registered, simply put away for future use, though it was driven nearly 200 miles. It was found in a collection in Italy and earlier this year got fresh belts, fluids and filters.

Royal family's Jaguar tops sales at Silverstone auction
Royal family’s Jaguar tops sales at Silverstone auction

The pre-auction estimate was in the 24,000 to 28,000 (pounds) price range, or $37,500 to $44,000. It sold for $79,225.

Overall, the auction did more than $7 million in sales, with an 81 percent sell through.

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The top sale of the event was a 1994 Jaguar XJ220 formerly owned by the Royal Family of Brunei. The buyer, from Singapore, paid $387,000 (prices include buyer’s premium).

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.