I’VE long been fascinated by classic car auctions and we are fortunate to have some top-notch ones in this neck of the woods.
I can never afford to buy anything, of course, other than the odd bit of automobilia for a few pounds, but I find it compulsive viewing when the old cars and vans come under the hammer.
While the drool-inducing classic Jags, Mercs, Healeys and so on have me fawning over them like some star-struck groupie at a rock concert, there is often a greater fascination to be had down in the under-card where the oddities lurk.
There are several such weirdies at most sales and the winter auction staged by Dorset Vintage and Classic Auctions was no exception.
Ever heard of a Mathis? The only one I knew was Johnny, an American crooner who topped the charts with ‘When a child is born’, but it was also a species of car, created by one Emile Mathis, who also sounds like a singer from the 1950s.
Anyway, this one ran a car dealership in the Alsace region of pre-World War One Germany. He branched out into car production and brought out the first Mathis model in 1910. After the war boundary changes put Alsace into France and the company continued to build reliable cars until 1936 when Matford was formed from a marketing tie-up between Mathis and Ford.
A very rare pale grey 1931 Mathis TY Drophead Coupé was among the lots at the recent DVCA sale. It had been part of a deceased estate and had been in dry storage for some time. It needed plenty of work and was expected to sell for between £7,000 and £9,000, but disappointingly it did not find a buyer.
Another from the sale’s curiosity corner was a custom-built wedding car, built in 1990. A pretty little vehicle with a slight look of a Ford Model T about it, the car had a 1600cc Ford Capri engine and gearbox and had been specially made as a bride carrier, although it was never used as such.
It would certainly make an eye-catching vehicle to transport a bride to the church on her big day but it sold for only £1,650, a long way below its £4,500-£5,500 estimate. It was bought by a dealer so it may yet turn up bedecked with ribbons and fulfilling the role for which it was created.