Returning to the MotorMartin news desk the other day I was greeted by the very latest COYS catalogue for their forthcoming auction and what a joy flicking through this weighty listings was. Filled to bursting with amazing photography, superbly researched information and accurate accounts of the vehicles and their expected prices, this was a guide that was extremely interesting and ever so difficult to put down. A massive thanks then to COYS for sending the catalogue along to the Towers and for their generous invite to Blenheim, I’ll see you there people.

And so, MotorMartin is extremely pleased to announce that COYS will be returning to the magnificent surroundings of Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and one of England’s greatest palaces, with a sensational line-up of over 140 motor cars being offered at auction on July 2nd. And in MotorMartin’s opinion, sensational doesn’t even cover it.


In addition, COYS will also host their traditional and prestigious summer Concours d’Elegance of rare and unusual motor cars making even more of a reason to attend.

Chris Routledge, CEO of COYS, shared with MotorMartin that: “COYS auction at Blenheim Palace is one of the most well established classic car sales in the British auction calendar. This year we return to the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill with a combination of more than 140 classic and sports cars, including a car used by none other than Churchill himself, two Minis with unparalleled history and much more.” A quick glance through the extremely well produced catalogue will confirm the breadth and depth of the fantastic classics on offer.

“We will also auction a very special lot donated by the First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff, which we will auction to raise funds for The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.”

It has been confirmed to MotorMartin that the auction will feature a wide selection of important and historic cars including a 1939 Daimler DB18 Drophead used by Churchill, a 1973 Rolls Corniche – ex-Tiny Rowland and Sydney Dowse, the 1959 “John Bolster” Morris Mini Minor, the 1978/79 British Touring Car Championship winning Mini 1275GT Clubman Saloon driven by Richard Longman, a 1921 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost London to Edinburgh Style Tourer and a 1924 Bentley 3/4.5 litre.

COYS have generously made the following information available to MotorMartin regarding some of the extra special vehicles available on July 2nd, starting with the incredible Daimler shown below. These next 6 vehicles demand extra attention and will be extremely popular on the day of the sale with a desirability reflected in the guide prices. Best start saving.

1939 Daimler DB18 Drophead used by Churchill (£230,000 – £260,000)


The production of the Daimler DB18 Drophead Coupés started in 1939, but was soon halted when war broke out. The factory was demolished during the Blitz of 1940 and only eight of the twenty three planned cars were built, five of those eight chassis were destroyed during the attack, leaving only three cars. Chassis 49531 is one of those three cars, and the only surviving example. Daimler used it over a 10-year period from 1940 to 1950 for various special occasions and was notably loaned to Sir Winston Churchill to assist with his political campaigns in 1944 and 1949. The Daimler would be fitted with a load speaker system and Churchill would sit on the rear deck to address the crowds as he was driven through various cities. More recently, it has been the subject of a comprehensive €140,000 restoration.

1973 Rolls Corniche – ex-Tiny Rowland and Sydney Dowse (£40,000-£50,000)


This car was first registered in London, on 28 September 1973, to the infamous British businessman Roland “Tiny” Rowland, who was at the time Chairman of international conglomerate Lonrho, the car was driven to and from work every day by Tiny himself. He retained ownership until July 1999 when it passed to Sidney Dowse whose escape from the Stalag Luft III, a WW2 prisoner-of-war camp, gained him worldwide fame, later portrayed in Steve Mcqueen’s ‘The Great Escape’. Under the current owner the car underwent a programme of renewal and renovation.

1959 “John Bolster” Morris Mini Minor – 1960 Goodwood Members Meeting (£45,000-£55,000)


The Mini Minor is one of the very early press cars which was loaned to John Bolster, Autosport’s legendary technical editor, to road test for 1 year. He raced it at Goodwood Member’s Meeting in 1960 as well as several other well-known press car races. He loved the little Mini so much that even before the 1 year road test came to an end, he bought it from the British Motor Corporation. He kept it for his personal use and eventually used it to follow the Monte Carlo Rally. After many years of ownership John Bolster sold the Mini to the present owner who is a specialist Mini tuner and restorer. The car retains its original number plates, suspension, interior trim, wood-rim steering wheel and the longer corner bumpers front and rear. It is also featured in James Rupert’s book ‘Mini: The Complete Story’ as well as in features and adverts in Autosport between 1959 and 1960. This is a very rare opportunity to own a piece of motoring history previously owned by one of the most colourful characters in racing and motor sport journalism.

1978 Ex-Richard Longman Touring Car Mini 1275GT Clubman (£130,000-£160,000)


In 1978 with financial backing from British Leyland and Patrick Motors, racing driver Richard Longman modified and prepared this car to enter it into the British Touring Car Championships. It was entered in all 12 races and won its class in 11 of those races and retired once. As a result Richard Longman took the honours and won the Championship in fine style. In the 1979 season, Longman took 10 class wins over the 12 races and won the championship once again in this car. It is not an overstatement to say this car was at the epicentre of a golden period for the Mini in motorsport.

1921 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost London to Edinburgh Style Tourer (£340,000 – £390,000)


The London to Edinburgh open tourer was arguably one of the most desirable and iconic coachwork designs on the Silver Ghost chassis, with its sleek lines and very attractive appearance. This example was extensively restored by Silver Ghost expert Jonathan Harley, listed in his excellent book The Silver Ghost. The coachwork was replaced with a beautifully proportioned London to Edinburgh style body, finished in light grey and trimmed in black button leather. The mechanical aspects were also completed to the highest standard, ensuring the car drives exactly as it should. It is a pleasure to drive and beautifully prepared. This superbly finished Silver Ghost really has to be seen to be appreciated.

1924 Bentley 3/4.5 Litre (£320,000-£370,000)


This touring 3/4.5 litre Bentley, presented in Bentley Racing Green is quite simply magnificent. Whilst holding all of the features that brought this car to early fame and fortune, this particular car also has the modern upgrades to make it into a useable and manageable car in any situation. Excellent in condition, both mechanically and aesthetically, what better time to acquire this most classic of British Sports cars.

COYS are also keen to point out that a longstanding feature in their Blenheim Palace auction is the ‘Jaguar Legend’ section, which this year includes a 1962 E-Type Series 1 3.8 Roadster (£120,000- £140,000), a 1953 XK140 SE Drophead Coupe (£90,000 – £100,000), a rare two-door 1977 XJC (£18,000-£25,000), a 1935 SS1 Sports Tourer (£65,000-£70,000) and a 1953 XK120 SE Drophead Coupe restoration project (£27,000-£32,000), amongst others. 

And not only that, for Ferrari collectors, fifteen examples are going under the hammer, a 1972 Ferrari Dino 246GT, Coachwork by Scaglietti, Design by Pininfarina (£250,000- £300,000), a 1982 Ferrari 512 BBi Coachwork by Pininfarina (£230,000 – £260,000), a 1989 Ferrari Testarossa (£60,000-£70,000) and a 2004 Ferrari 575 Maranello (£80,000 – £90,000). 

Other important lots include a 1962 Bentley S2 Continental Coupe (£240,000 – £295,000), a 2001 Lamborghini Diablo GT (£475,000 – £525,000), a 1919 Sigma 10 HP Tourer (£15,000 – £18,000), a 1967 Aston Martin DB6 (£280,000 – £325,000), a 1935 Derby Bentley 3.5 Litre Owen Sedanca by Gurney Nutting (£175,000 – £195,000) and a 1990 Lamborghini Countach Anniversary (£370,000 – £390,000). As you can see, this is a sale that truly compliments both Blenheim Palace and COYS themselves. A special venue, some extremely special cars and all organised by a very special company.

Finally, MotorMartin has been informed that a very special lot has been donated by the First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sir Philip jones KCB ADC, which will be auctioned to raise funds for The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity: an exclusive opportunity for up to six people to visit one of Her Majesty’s warships moored alongside at Portsmouth or Devonport.

The details for this incredible day are as follows. Even if you cannot make the sale, MotorMartin certainly recommends that you take some time out to explore the amazing vehicles displayed through the web link below.

Auction details

Venue:             Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, OX20 1PP, UK

          Saturday 2nd July 2016

       Friday 1st July from 12:00hs to 18:00hs

Saturday 2nd July from 10:00hs until the auction starts at 13:00hs

Full catalogue available at

Where will you go?

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