While auctions for classic and vintage cars are the norm across the world - especially in western countries, the auction format for selling cars to the public is a very rare occurrence in India. While most buyers prefer to sell personally or via the classic car network that is booming in the country or via private dealers, Astaguru, an aution house in Mumbai will soon host India's first ever classic and vintage car auction. The auction will be held online and will consist of 10 cars or 10 'lots' as it is called in auction terminology and will take place online from November 20 (10:00 AM) to November 21 (8:30 PM), 2018 via the Astaguru website.
Astaguru has ensured that India's first classic and vintage car auction consists of a wide cross section of cars, from affordable (relatively) Indian classics like a 1960 Hindustan Ambassador Mark 1 to a 1963 Fiat 1100 Super Select to thoroughbred classics of international repute such as a 1936 Chrysler Airstream or a 1947 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith. Private collectors in Mumbai, who have put them up for sale via the Astaguru auction house, currently own all the cars. Also amongst the cars up for auction are some evergreen classics such as a 1969 Volkswagen Beetle and a Mercedes-Benz 170S.
Other cars that are up for auction include a 1957 Studebaker Commander, a 51 Chevrolet Styleline Deleuxe and a 1956 Dodge Kingsway. And finally, one of the most interesting cars that is being offered on sale amongst the lot is a 1937 Morris 8 Sedan. While the Morris 8 in general - although cute in its own right - is not a consequential car, the one on sale here has some real provenance as it is once said to be owned by none other than M F Hussain.
While the concept of an online (or offline) classic car auction is a great one and as a classic car owner and enthusiast, I do hope more such events take place, as expected, prices on most of these cars are astronomical. While there are cars around the world of a similar vintage that do attract a similar price point, the fact that some cars in particular are listed at nearly twice their actual value is a bit of a put-off. While the auction method is a great - and more importantly transparent - way of getting new classic cars owners into the community, one has to wonder if an inflation of prices is the right way to look at it. That said, as with everything, where there is a demand, there is always a supply and there is no dearth of people around the country who are willing to pay a premium on convenience, provenance, peace of mind and of course, quality.