Drop tops sizzle at Shannons Melbourne summer sale
• Superb Sunbeam Tiger V8 roadster
• Four great Mercedes-Benz convertibles
• Seven drop-tops with ‘no reserve’
With plenty of Summer sunshine ahead Shannons is offering 16 great open-topped models at its February 18 Melbourne Summer Classic Auction to suit classic and more modern tastes.
Pride of place goes to a red and factory right hand drive 1965 Sunbeam Tiger Mk1 Roadster that was restored in the UK in the 1990s and comes to auction in ready-to-enjoy condition.
Surfing the wave of success enjoyed by the AC Cobra, the Tiger turned the pretty, but innocuous Sunbeam Alpine into a muscle car thanks to the Ford 260-ci V8 and matching four-speed Top Loader transmission that was dropped into its beefed-up chassis.
The Cobra's creator, legendary Texan Carroll Shelby, was heavily involved in developing the initial Tiger prototype and with a top speed of around 200km/h and 0-100km/h achievable well under nine seconds, it was a serious performance sports car in its day.
The well-maintained Tiger being auctioned came to Australia at the end of 2012 after being used regularly for club-level competition in the UK. It was purchased as the best-driving example he’d tried by its current Australian owner, who has maintained it meticulously since.
Offered with an extensive history file that includes its engine rebuild, this rare and stirring Sunbeam is expected to sell in the $70,000 - $80,000 range – a fraction of what you would pay for a similar Anglo-American AC Cobra.
Four great Mercedes-Benz sports roadsters are also on offer in the auction, topped by a beautiful 1986 model 560SL convertible in ‘nothing to spend’ condition and a low kilometre 1993 SL500 that Shannons say is one of the best R129 models they have seen come to auction.
Presented in Smoke Silver with Claret leather and factory hard and soft tops, the Australian-delivered 560SL is fitted with the rare rear jump seat option and is offered in immaculate condition, inside and out.
With values of these classic type R107 Mercedes-Benz convertibles rising, it is expected to sell in the $80,000-$90,000 range.
The silver R129 series SL500 in the auction is also in exceptional condition and has covered a documented 80,000km since new. Offered with both electric soft and lift-off hard tops, it is in lovely condition throughout and is expected to bring $30,000-$36,000.
The two other AMG-enhanced Mercedes-Benz ‘sports’ in the auction are an extremely rare special order and Lanes-delivered 1982 AMG 380SL ($35,000-$45,000), while a three-owner 2001 model SLK32 AMG Convertible – one of just 28 examples sold in Australia and with just 110,000km on its odometer – is expected to sell for $20,000 - $25,000.
Evergreen British classics include an immaculate, restored and ready-to-enjoy 1960 Austin-Healey ‘Bug Eye’ Sprite ($32,000-$38,000), a nicely-restored 1954 MG TF 1250 Roadster ($38,000-$46,000), an early MkI MGB fresh from an eight-year documented restoration (‘no reserve’, $15,000-$20,000) and a 1964 MG Midget roadster in driver-level condition (‘no reserve’, $10,000-$15,000).
A more down-to-earth open-top experience can be found in a Westfield Clubman that was hand-built on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula and completed in 2002.
Powered by a Toyota 4AG twin-cam 1600cc fuel-injected four-cylinder engine, mated to a five-speed gearbox, it is fitted with twin aero screens and a tonneau cover for year-round open air enjoyment and is expected to sell with ‘no reserve’ in the $14,000 - $18,000 range.
For Jaguar fanciers, there is a rare and stylish, low kilometre 1983 Jaguar XJS-C 3.6 Cabriolet with 5-speed manual transmission ($25,000-$30,000) and a two-owner 1990 Jaguar XJS V12 Convertible offered with ‘no reserve’ ($30,000-$35,000).
But if you want as true ‘wind everywhere’ experience and the perfect beachside holiday runabout, it’s hard to go past the cute and cult collectable Moke Californian in the auction that has had the same owner since 2004.
Described by Shannons as one of the nicest examples they have seen, this increasingly desirable classic is expected to bring $20,000-$30,000.