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Kingsley Curtis (above) left a collection of cars which sold for nearly £1.3m. Top (clockwise from left): A 1960 Maserati 3500 GT, Aston Martin Volante, 1923 Bentley 3-litre TT and the Gullwing Mercedes

UK: A vintage and classic car collection owned by Kingsley Curtis, the late chairman of refrigeration wholesaler HRP, has been sold for nearly £1.3m.

The collection, comprising 14 motor cars, an invalid carriage and a Victorian hearse, went under the hammer at Goodwood last weekend.

Kingsley, who passed away in September, had built up the collection over the last 50 years. Tim Schofield, head of motoring at auctioneers Bonhams UK said: “The collection is incredibly diverse, featuring high quality examples of each model, most of which have been in Mr. Curtis’s collection for many years.”

Highlight of the auction was a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing which sold for £841,500.

“The majority of Gullwings were delivered to the US,” commented Tim Schofield. “To see one in Europe was incredibly rare, making this particular model, only the third delivered to the UK. With its unusual upright wing-like doors, and exceptional German engineering, it would have been quite a rare sight to see.”

Gullwing-Merc

The rare Gullwing Mercedes sold for £841,500

Other highlights of the auction were a 1960 Maserati 3500 GT, which sold for £135,900, and a 1981 Aston Martin V8 Volante sold for 130,300, a significant improvement on its £60,000-80,000 estimate.

Slightly macabre, the collection also included a Victorian horse-drawn hearse and a horse-drawn invalid carriage.

Kingsley purchased his first classic car, a 1924 Bean 11.9, in 1963, following a chance sighting at the White Cross pub in Richmond. He bought it on the spot.

Later, Kingsley was to insist that he “had a collection of cars rather than (was) a collector of cars.”

All the cars were said to have been bought to be used and not as investments. His personal favourite was said to be the 1923 Bentley 3-litre TT Replica, which, together with a 1920 Rolls-Royce and the Aston Martin V8 Volante, was used for friends’ weddings, an activity he loved. The Bentley, estimated to be worth £240,000-£280,000, was the only vehicle at the auction not to sell.

Victorian-hearse

The Victorian horse-drawn hearse was a macabre presence at the auction

A 1960 Maserati 3500 GT was kept for special occasions such as a trip to Rome. He would sometimes take his daughters to school in the Gullwing Mercedes and enjoyed taking his cars to local fairs and country shows.

A member of most of the owners’ clubs for the cars in his collection, Kingsley hosted numerous club meetings at his home. He was most involved with the local 1066 Classic Car Club and was its chairman for a number of years. The Aston Martin was the main touring car and was used on 1066 Classic Car Club events throughout the UK and Europe.

The Kingsley Curtis Collection comprised:

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, sold for £841,500
1923 Bentley 3-litre TT Replica, not sold
1960 Maserati 3500 GT, sold for £135,900
1981 Aston Martin V8 Volante, sold for £130,300
1923 Rolls-Royce 20hp, sold for £48,300
1992 Ford Escort RS Cosworth, sold for £67,780
1924 La Buire 12A, sold for £9,200
1920 Bean 11.9hp, sold for £6,900
1919 Singer Ten, sold for £7,475
C1880 horse-drawn hearse, sold for £4,312
1964 Ford Anglia Saloon, sold for £6,900
1926 Ford Model T Tudoe Saloon, sold for £6,325
1928 Austin Seven ‘Chummy’ Tourer, sold for £9,775
C1890 horse drawn invalid carriage, sold for £345
1988 Jaguar XJ-S V12 Convertible, sold for 4,600
1959 Austin Healey Sprite Roadster, sold for £10,580

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Kingsley Curtis 1937-2015