The Elkhart auctions (Indiana, USA) in last October were a small revolution. We saw for the first time reproductions of classic cars selling at full collector’s price. Indeed, RM Sotheby’s organized an auction offering three prestigious continuation cars of Jaguar models (by Jaguar itself) – an XKSS, a D-Type and an E-Type Lightweight. Jaguar decided to put these cars back into production to their original specifications in 2015 (with the E-Type Lightweight). In March 2016, nine XKSS (which had never been completed due to the Browns Lane factory fire) were built. And in 2018, Jaguar launched the construction of 25 type D.
Continuation cars by the original manufacturers have special value
Since these cars were built, there has been a lot of speculation about their value in the classic car market. For reproductions made by independent artisans, the prices are generally much lower than the original models. But these Jaguars are of a different species, having been built in the same location and by the same manufacturer as the originals. And they sold at a high price, the E-Type for $ 1.7 million, the XKSS for $ 2 million, and the D-Type for $ 1.3 million.
These auction results show that reproductions by original manufacturers have special value in the eyes of the market. They are most faithful to their original condition, being new or very recent. And, at the same time, they have the same rarity as their elders. Let us add that in the case of these Jaguars they also have a particular history, since they correspond to “end of series” unfinished due to the circumstances.
Bentley in the wake of Jaguar?
A number of automobile producers are now considering the very particular niche of continuation cars. After Jaguar, Bentley has hence recently announced the construction of a dozen reproductions of its Blower, built in its factory in 1929-1930.
A prototype was produced, requiring 40,000 hours of work. Based on the original design drawings and tooling, this car is an exact reproduction of the Bentley Blower chassis HB 3403 (SM engine 3902, registration UU 5872) with every component laser scanned. 1846 pieces had to be made by hand. It has the best engine ever for this model, with aluminum pistons, overhead camshaft, four valves per cylinder, dual ignition, magnesium crankcase and an Amherst Villiers supercharger. The car will undergo “an extensive test and durability program” (Bentley off.) – including a “top speed” race before the construction of the 12 cars begins.
As with the Jaguar continuations cars, all Blowers have already been pre-sold.
When will we see continuation of mainstream cars?
The reproduction of such prestigious cars is of historical interest. But for the majority of collectors, these industrial adventures are inaccessible dreams. Will manufacturers of mainstream cars will consider turning in the reproduction of vintage cars … Some have already taken the step of restoration, refurbishing some of their old models. But continuation cars are another story … When will see the Citroen DS21, the Mustang series 1 or the Alfa GTV 1750 in our dealers’ shops? We could then choose between new cars from different eras – and combine our passion for vintage with the reliability constraints of the modern world…