Motoring memories go under the hammer near Honiton

PUBLISHED: 15:01 13 April 2014

Tony Strong at the wheel of his beloved 1964 Alvis TE21 drophead convertible. The rare car - one of only 95 made –- sold for more than £35,000, and was the pride of the weekend'’s car and auto memorabilia auction, held at Luppitt, near Honiton. Photo: Paul Strange.

Tony Strong at the wheel of his beloved 1964 Alvis TE21 drophead convertible. The rare car - one of only 95 made –- sold for more than £35,000, and was the pride of the weekend'’s car and auto memorabilia auction, held at Luppitt, near Honiton. Photo: Paul Strange.

Archant

A RARE 1960s Alvis has sold for more than £35,000 at a recent auction near Honiton.

More of Tony Strong’'s car collection, sold at auction at the weekend, including (left) a 1969 Triumph TR5 and a 1966 MGB roadster. A 1960 Humber Hawk estate is in the background. Photo: Paul Strange. More of Tony Strong’'s car collection, sold at auction at the weekend, including (left) a 1969 Triumph TR5 and a 1966 MGB roadster. A 1960 Humber Hawk estate is in the background. Photo: Paul Strange.

The beautiful 3-litre sports convertible – one of only 95 ever made – took pride of place at an extraordinary collection of 18 cars and more than 2,000 lots of automobilia, collected by retired businessman Tony Strong.

Now in his eighties and unable to drive many of the vehicles, Tony is emigrating from his farm at Luppitt to live with his family in New Zealand.

He wanted to sell his collection while still able to have some input in the sale. He also wanted to see the items pass into good hands.

“It’s heartbreaking, and not the easiest of days,” he said, prior to the sale of his 18 cars and more than 2,000 lots of Dinky, Corgi and Matchbox models, car badges, mascots, picnic baskets, enamel signs, tools and car spares.

More of Tony Strong'’s car collection, sold at auction at the weekend, including (right) a 1970 MGB GT and a Wolsely 1500. Photo: Paul Strange More of Tony Strong'’s car collection, sold at auction at the weekend, including (right) a 1970 MGB GT and a Wolsely 1500. Photo: Paul Strange

“There’s a lot of emotion. None of this was really for sale. It’s my hobby. I was drawn to motoring. And there isn’t a single vehicle here that I didn’t want.”

It took Tony 12 long years to buy the 1964 Alvis three litre TE21 convertible.

“I knew where it was,” he said. “I kept trying to get it. It was owned by a man who put it into a showroom in Knowle, near Budleigh. That’s where I first saw it and tried to buy it.

“Then it disappeared and turned up in storage in Starcross. We got it sorted, and eventually it came my way.

There were many diecast models at the auction, including this Dinky Austin A40 van. Photo: Paul Strange. There were many diecast models at the auction, including this Dinky Austin A40 van. Photo: Paul Strange.

“But by then I’d lost a lot of the use of my legs. Alvis used to make tanks. The engine and the gearbox are basically a tank. The throw on the clutch is so hard for me. And my knee and my spine won’t take it. It’s quite military really, and I’m not a soldier anymore.”

The two-day auction went well.

Tony’s daughter Krista said that the sale drew motoring enthusiasts from around the country – ‘some wonderful human beings’ – and that many of them understood what the collection represented.

“If someone takes it on that really loves it, that’s all it’s ever been about for Dad,” she said. “Money has always been second.”

Car badges from around the world, plus assorted auto memorabilia at the auction. Photo: Paul Strange. Car badges from around the world, plus assorted auto memorabilia at the auction. Photo: Paul Strange.

Tony and his wife are off to New Zealand soon to join Krista and her family.

“It’s a new chapter,” said Tony. “I’m looking forward to it.”

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