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Bargains abound as entire Stondon Museum collection is sold off

A huge and eclectic collection, including cars, busses, fire engines, planes and a gyro-copter, that had formed the Stondon Museum was sold at no reserve at a specially arranged Brightwells auction on 10 June.

The impressive collection had been gathered over 25 years by John Saunders and his son Chris. They opened their museum in 1994 and sadly decided to close it on 6 April 2015.

As long-term museum exhibits, the majority of the vehicles required some degree of recommissioning, so there were plenty of projects on offer. Many were snapped up at relatively low prices, including the Rover Metro Scout concept car that went for just under £4,000.  

The Scout was created by Automotive Development Consultants (ADC) as a potential replacement for the Rover Metro. With a taller roof, higher rear hatch and taller side windows it may have looked strange in the 1990s, but it would fit right in alongside the latest small crossover cars now.

The Scout never made it into production, and this car, originally registered in 1990, is believed to have been bought in 1994 by Chris Saunders. It went on show in the museum in 1997, with just 1,290 miles on its clock.

Another rarely seen motor went for even less. The 1973 Ford Escort Nimbus camper that admittedly had seen better days, sold for £3,400. Based on a Mk1 8cwt van, the Nimbus was a camper created by Torrington-based C&W Conversions from 1972.

Stronger money was made by some cars, including one of just eight DeTomaso Deauvilles believed to remain in the UK. The Deauville was created in 1970 as a Jaguar XJ6 rival and, fitted with the same Ford Cleveland 5.7 V8 as the Pantera, it was capable of sprinting to 60mph in just over seven seconds. The 1978 saloon on offer was in regular use until 2001, clocking up 27,000 miles, before being added to the Stondon collection in 2003.

A 1950 Ford V8 Pilot Woody also proved popular, eventually selling for just over £23,000. The matching numbers Ford was a recent addition to the museum; it had good paint and wooden panels, and a nicely patinated original interior.  

Another popular lot was a series 2 Aston Martin Lagonda that made close to £19,000. Although in need of a fair amount of recommissioning, the five-owner, 20,000-mile classic looks a worthwhile project. Cars in top condition have sold at auction recently for twice this price.

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By Claire Evans

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