by Alina Rylko
RARE vintage cars built by legendary F1 race car driver Jack Brabham and engineer Ron Tauranac were sold at an adrenaline-charged, million-dollar auction at Alstonville on Saturday.
Tauranac, 92, was a surprise guest at the auction, which attracted online audiences through a live broadcast and a crowd of more than 500 to a Willowbank Drive garage.
All were brought to a knife's edge as international and Australian bidders on the phones fought for a slice of iconic Australian motor-racing history.
The hammer fell on a Brabham Formula race car with a Cosworth engine at $240,000, a second Brabham car at $130,000, and a US 1950s Indy car, the Sampson, at $260,000.
"It was an outstanding result," Lloyds senior auctioneer Bill Freeman said.
"The auction was very spirited, full of adrenaline and most people that came to the auction will remember it for the rest of their lives because Mr Tauranac turned up," Mr Freeman said.
"People were crying at the end of the night, emotional after having met the man who built the fastest cars on the planet and seeing his life's work," he said.
From Wollongbar man Brian King's extensive collection, dozens of petrol bowsers and oil cans went under the hammer.
A vintage Coca-Cola neon sign went for $5200, online.
"A lot of the historic and important pieces of motor classica are going to be retained in Australia because there was a lot more Australian buyers than expected," Mr Freeman said.
"It really recognised a truly important collection of motor vehicle history and that, for an auctioneer, is a once-in-a-lifetime event," he said.
A 1947 Kurtis Kraft Offenhauser midget, a 1974 Edmunds VW El Toro Garage car, and a 1985 Chevy-powered Watson also sold at $65,000 and above.
Mr King and his wife were elated at the sale, confirming the sale prices were "on the market" during bidding.
The couple will now downsize and move back to the ACT after 10 years on the Northern Rivers.
"I will be upset when all these cars go," he told The Northern Star prior to the sale, adding he was keeping just two cars "so I will have something to look at".