Oom Louis' Barkly Barn Clean And Ready To Show MR

South Africa’s classic car market is on the world map, with collectors in some two dozen countries now keeping eyes on local sales for rare buys.
Joff van Reenen, Director and Lead Auctioneer of Creative Rides in Johannesburg, says the company’s recent debut online-only auction of the Louis Coetzer Estate Barkly East barn find collection has highlighted the international market momentum gained by four years of hybrid live-stream auctions began in 2020, which has unequivocally brought SA classics onto the global stage.

“For decades the local collector car market operated in isolation, because we’re so geographically distant from the major markets in the northern hemisphere." But the company online reach has continued to push on global market doors for local sellers since the start of the decade, and with the latest auction even our expectations were surpassed by the scale of international attention garnered for this sale.

During the 10-day auction period, a total of 2 958 bids were placed on just over 200 lots comprising approximately 150 barn find cars and spares lots. Creative Rides CEO Kevin Derrick says this inaugural online-only auction was the third chapter of the Louis Coetzer Estate collection that the company had taken to market. “We were astounded by the response from the international market. We knew local buyers would be immensely attracted to these lost barn finds from such an iconic collector, but the level of global interest exceeded our expectations."
The auction itself was a huge success – so much that it had to extend the bidding period at the end of the sale because competition for the lots was so fierce.

The most hotly contested lots were:

  • A 1960s Mercedes Benz 220SE Fintail, which achieved the highest price with a hammer fall of R101 000 (5.133,59€);
  • A 1960s GMC 4000 Flatbed Truck, which fetched R81 750 (4.155,16€);
  • A 1960s Chevrolet Impala 327 V8, which sold for R85 750 (4.358,47€);
  • A 1970s Chevrolet Nova Convertible that made R61 750 (3.138,61€); and
  • A 1970s Chevrolet Nova 4-door sedan that fetched R54 500 (2.770,11€).

These were all project cars that haven’t been moved in decades and bidding on all of them was exceptionally competitive. Collectors also showed keen interest in Oom Louis (Coetzer’s) Mercedes collection – even those without engines.

Van Reenen says collector cars are often the very high value end of this market. “It’s therefore necessary for us to get South African classic cars onto the international stage, and the way to do that is through technology."

On the last day of the auction itself, more than 30 bids per second were being received five minutes before closing, which triggered a ‘soft closing’ extension that carried the auction time over to 10.15pm.

Derrick says after the massive success of the debut Coetzer Lost Barn Find Collection online-only auction, Creative Rides will be featuring these sales regularly going forward.


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