Classic car auctions in 2019 - calendar and guide

Classic car auctions in 2019 - calendar and guide

Looking to dip your toe into the classic car market but not sure where to start? Or maybe you’re keen to experience the gavel-waving thrill of an auction house?

The UK is home to a surprising number of classic car auctions across the length and breadth of the country, but what can you expect if you head along to one this year?

To make sure you know what to expect and help you plan the year ahead, here’s our complete guide to classic car auctions.

Forthcoming classic car auctions 2019 calendar


2HistoricsAscot Racecourse, Ascot
7Dukes Auctions, Classic Cars and AutomobiliaOnline
20H&H Auctions, Classic Car AuctionImperial War Museum, Duxford
21DVCA Auctions, Spring AuctionHenstridge Airfield, Somerset
23Matthewson’s AuctionThornton-le-Dale, North Yorkshire
23/24CCA Auctions, Classic Car & Restoration ShowNEC, Birmingham


2Coys Auction, Spring ClassicsRoyal Horticultural Society, London
7Bonhams, Goodwood Member’s MeetingGoodwood, Chichester
20ACA April AuctionThe Cattlemarket, Kings Lynn
21Baron’s, Spring ClassicSandown Park
23Matthewson’s AuctionThornton-le-Dale, North Yorkshire


11Silverstone Auctions, British MarquesHeythrop Park, Chipping Norton
18Coys AuctionChiswick House, London
19Bonhams, Aston Martin Works SaleNew Bond Street, London
25CCA AuctionsWarwickshire Events Centre, Leamington Spa


1Matthewson’s AuctionThornton-le-Dale, North Yorkshire
2Bonhams Greenwich Concours D’EleganceGreenwich, London
4Barons British Heritage Classic & Sports CarsSandown Park Race Course, Esher
15ACA June AuctionThe Cattlemarket, Kings Lynn
19H&H Auctions, Classic Car AuctionImperial War Museum, Duxford


5Bonhams, Goodwood Festival of Speed SaleNew Bond Street, London
6Matthewson’s AuctionThornton-le-Dale, North Yorkshire
11DVCA Auctions, Summer AuctionHenstridge Airfield, Somerset
13Historics, Brooklands Motor Museum July SaleBrooklands Motor Museum, Weybridge
16Barons Summer ClassicSandown Park Race Course, Esher
27/28Silverstone Classic SaleWing Building, Silverstone Circuit


3CCA AuctionsWarwickshire Events Centre, Leamington Spa
17Matthewson’s AuctionThornton-le-Dale, North Yorkshire
24ACA August AuctionThe Cattlemarket, Kings Lynn


7Bonhams, Beaulieu SaleNational Motor Museum, Beaulieu
14Bonhams, Goodwood RevivalNew Bond Street, London
21Matthewson’s AuctionThornton-le-Dale, North Yorkshire
21Silverstone Auctions, A sale of FerrarisDallas Burston Polo Club, Stoneythorpe Estate, Southam
21Historics, Brooklands Motor Museum September SaleBrooklands Motor Museum, Weybridge


5CCA AuctionsWarwickshire Events Centre, Leamington Spa
16H&H Auctions, Classic Car AuctionImperial War Museum, Duxford
24DVCA Auctions, AuctionHenstridge Airfield, Somerset


1Bonhams London to Brighton Run SaleNew Bond Street, London
2ACA November AuctionThe Cattlemarket, Kings Lynn
2Matthewson’s AuctionThornton-le-Dale, North Yorkshire
5RM Sotheby’s London AuctionBattersea Evolution, London
9/10Silverstone Auctions, NEC Classic Motor Show SaleNEC, Birmingham


7CCA AuctionsWarwickshire Events Centre, Leamington Spa
7Bonhams, Bond Street SaleNew Bond Street, London
14Matthewson’s AuctionThornton-le-Dale, North Yorkshire

Guide contents


How do I buy a classic car at auction?

Before heading to an auction, it’s always a good idea to do some research into both the auction itself and the cars on sale by checking through the catalogue on the auction house’s website.

But don’t just take the description at face value. Dig a little deeper into any vehicles that interest you, checking the valuation and any other vehicle history online you can come across. This could end up saving you thousands.

Make sure you pre-register for an auction to avoid the lengthy registration lines on arrival and if you’re not an expert then try and bring along a friend who might know a little more about classic cars than you.

When inspecting cars at an auction, don’t open any doors or bonnets without a specialist present because you don’t want to be blamed for any damage, and check if the owner is present in case you want to ask any specific questions.

In the sale, set yourself a maximum price you’re willing to pay and don’t go over it. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of an auction, but that short-term adrenaline rush could ultimately leave you out of pocket by several thousands of pounds.

If your bid is successful, you’ll have to pay a deposit (typically around 10% of the price) to the rostrum clerk before paying the full amount at the cashier’s office – as well as any other auction house fees – before you can take the vehicle home.

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Can I buy over the phone at a classic car auction?

Most likely yes, although this depends on the auction house in question. Most will accept bids over the phone or online, so check with the auctioneers beforehand to see if you can buy from the comfort of your own home.

Should I buy a classic car privately or at auction?

If you’re thinking about buying at auction the chances are you’re excited about the whole atmosphere of the auction house. However, if the thought of a car auction sounds stressful, you might prefer a private seller.

There’s no doubt that auctions can often throw up some great classic car bargains, but remember you have every chance of overpaying at auction if you don’t know what you’re doing, so do some research before bidding.

Remember too that cars at auction are sold “as seen”, giving you very little fall-back if the vehicle isn’t actually in as good a condition as you first thought.

It’s a good idea to head along to a few classic car auctions before you intend to buy for the first time to get a feel for the auction house, any sales techniques on show, and to get comfortable with the environment.

Can I drive a car home after auction?


Can you actually drive your brand-new vintage Ferrari home? Not necessarily. To legally drive on the UK’s roads, you’ll need to have valid tax and insurance, and it’s unlikely you’ll have this for a car you’ve bought at auction.

However, there is a way to drive it home and stay legal as many auction houses provide special insurance services for the day, which let you tax and insure the vehicle there and then and allow you to drive it home.

Alternatively, you can pay a transporting company to take your car home for you. The auction house should have details of companies who are licensed and insured to take your prized motor from auction house to home.

How do I insure a classic car?

Classic cars aren’t used like every day motors, so aren’t insured in quite the same way, either. If you’ve got a classic car, you’ll need to take out dedicated classic car insurance to ensure you’re properly covered.

The RAC’s Classic Car Insurance, provided in partnership with classic car expert Hagerty Insurance, gives you tailored cover that suits the specific needs of classic owners, reflecting the fact these models are often expensive and used infrequently.

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How do I sell my classic car at auction?

Firstly, do your homework so you know which auction house is best placed to get you the best price. Contact the auctioneers and talk to them before deciding which house to choose.

Before auction day, you’ll also need to prepare your car for the sale, making sure it’s clean, serviced and with a valid MOT – as this will show buyers the quality has been independently verified by a mechanic.

Some auction houses will arrange to pick up your vehicle and take it to the sale, meaning you don’t have to be there yourself, but you may wish to attend to watch over the sale and answer any questions potential buyers may have.

If the auction is a success and your car is sold, you’ll be notified by the auctioneers (if you’re not in attendance) and receive payment within a few weeks. If not, your vehicle will be returned to you or ready to collect.

How much does it cost to auction a car?

It might be an easier way to ensure a sale, but if you’re trying to sell your classic car at an auction house you’ll typically pay out around 5% (plus VAT) to the auction house as commission, as well as an entry fee (around £100 to £150).

Auctions, however, generally tend to offer a quicker route to a sale than listing privately, which could offset any fee you might have to pay the auction house.

How do I find out how much my car is worth?


If you’re selling your car, whether you do it privately or at an auction, it’s always a good idea to know its market valuation so you can tell the auction house what your reserve price is (i.e. the bare minimum you’ll sell for).

If you’re unsure of how to come up with a price or need a valuation you can trust, take advantage of the RAC free car valuation tool, where you simply enter a few details like registration and mileage and receive a valuation in seconds.  

Should I sell my classic car privately or at an auction?

Much like buying, it depends on your circumstances. Some sellers will find the auction process much quicker and more straightforward than dealing with private buyers online, which can see a lot of back-and-forth.

Some will prefer selling via auction because of the potential to make more money if their vehicle gets caught up in a bidding war, while others simply enjoy the drama of the auctioneer’s gavel.

Can I take my family to a classic car auction?

It might not sound as exciting as a trip to the local theme park, but classic car auctions can be a great family day out and the kids often love the fast-paced, dramatic atmosphere.

It’s likely little ones will have to be accompanied at all times in the actual auction, although many events are held at some great family-friendly attractions like Beaulieu and the Imperial War Museum at Duxford.

^For 1 nominated vehicle when added to Extra or Complete cover. New customers only. Ends 08/12/23. *New, single vehicle-based cover. £7.95 a month for Basic cover.

^For 1 nominated vehicle when added to Extra or Complete cover. New customers only. Ends 08/12/23. *New, single vehicle-based cover. £7.95 a month for Basic cover.