This month, we're changing the feel of our regular roundup, with a review of 2021 – the year the motoring world got back to its feet again after more than a year of cancelled or postponed events. It was also a year that saw us queuing at the fuel pumps (thankfully just for a few short days), and one that ushered in potentially pivotal changes in the motoring world – including the upcoming crowning of a new Formula One champion.
Online classic and specialist car auctions have continued to grow in popularity, an upward trend that began during the lockdown conditions of 2020. Collecting Cars, a popular online auction house established three years ago, started their year with a rapid expansion, opening branches in Sydney and Munich and diversifying their offering. They have now sold over £100 million of cars and show no sign of slowing down.
Highlights for Lockton include Salon Privé, with this year marking our first as Gold sponsors of the event. We entertained more than 140 guests, including our owners club partners and sponsored the Club Trophy. Next year promises to be another event to remember and we look forward to seeing you there.
Veloce was another unforgettable event. One of the UK's fastest circuits, a stellar line-up of drivers showcased some of the most valuable, exciting and unique motor cars. Veloce also raised an incredible amount of money for charity – over £500,000 since its inception. Lockton remains very proud to have been a sponsor since the start.
Among many success stories for our business, several stand out. This year, our portal and app became fully operational, meaning that our clients can choose exactly how they want to be looked after. We have combined our traditional and personalised service with a simple and safe way for our clients to manage their portfolio whenever they need to. It also helps us improve our efficiency, leaving our people with more time to focus on service.
Another standout moment was being asked if we could assist with arranging cover for a car being craned onto the deck of an aircraft carrier. We're always up to a challenge and were able to react quickly, with a cost-effective solution. The car in question is itself a fascinating piece of motoring history, and one we're hoping to look at in a bit more detail shortly.
Aston Martin's Bulldog was designed to break the magical 200mph barrier during the late 1970's and its fastidious restoration was undertaken by the team at Classic Motor Cars – who are no strangers to the task of bringing significant cars back to life.
You can see some great photos of the car safely boarding the HMS Prince of Wales here.
Before our review, we have to say farewell to one of the titans of Formula One, with the death of Sir Frank Williams, founder of the Williams Formula One team, at the age of 79. With nine constructor and seven driver titles achieved in its 44-year history, Williams is the second most successful team in the history of the sport. Sir Frank remained with the team until its sale in 2020, stepping down as team principal in 2017 and handing the reigns to daughter Claire.
Despite being paralysed following a car accident in 1986, he continued to run Williams and oversaw the team's most successful period alongside Patrick Head and Adrian Newey.
His passing marks the end of an era when privately-owned teams were able to compete with, and beat, the factory-backed organisations. He was never afraid of taking on those in charge of the sport and had a reputation for plain speaking and taking tough decisions when needed.
The 2021 season was very much reminiscent of Williams' glory days. It featured battles both on the track and away from it, the two best drivers fighting for the title – one, a record breaking eighth, the other, a maiden championship. Both have fought at times aggressively and put the FIA's “let them race” motto to the test. Their respective team principals have disagreed publicly over tactics and strategy. Regulations have been stretched too, and at times beyond, their limits. In short, it has been superb.
The year began with a resurgent Red Bull, which seemed to have matched the pace of the Mercedes. With Max Verstappen behind the wheel, and given that rule changes seemingly favoured the high-rake design, it seemed that Mercedes' seven-year dominance might be broken.
Initial results were less clear-cut, with Hamilton winning the opening round before Verstappen fought back. This set a pattern for the early races, with wins for both drivers before Alpine's Esteban Ocon produced a superb drive in Hungary to take his first win. He was ably assisted by returning double champion Alonso, who produced a stunning defensive drive to keep Hamilton at bay.
Italy saw McLaren's Ricciardo take a win and resulting “Shooey” on the podium, but the pendulum swung back towards Red Bull and Verstappen notably at the US round, traditionally a Mercedes circuit.
Emphatic drives from Hamilton in Brazil and Qatar both closed the gap to Verstappen and reminded us why he has seven world titles.
The clashes between Hamilton and Verstappen, particularly at Silverstone, Monza and Sao Paulo, showed just how hard the drivers have battled this season. It isn't for us to comment on who may have misbehaved, but it's fair to say that both drivers have kept the stewards busy this year.
We also wished a “happy retirement” to another motorsport legend, Valentino Rossi, who completed his final race at the closing round of the 2021 MotoGP season at Valencia. With nine rider titles under his belt, 432 races, 115 race wins, titles in four motorcycle championships and even tests in four wheeled motorsport (notably F1) – Rossi's achievements are truly remarkable.
“The Doctor” attracted fans from around the world in his career of more than thirty years. Having switched to two wheeled motor racing from karts in the early 1990's, he was at his strongest between 2001-2005 when he won five successive titles with Honda and Yamaha.
He will continue to be seen in the MotoGP paddock as he owns and runs his own team, VR46, which will compete in the 2022 season using Ducati machines. He also runs an academy for upcoming young riders.
We, along with many fans, say “Grazie Valentino”.
While a shortage of semiconductor chips has had a knock-on effect on car production, 2021 still saw some eagerly anticipated new cars launched, including three that are arguably the next generation of “Holy Trinity” of hypercarsHere are our picks from a surprisingly busy year:
- Alfa Romeo GTAm – less weight, no back seats and upgrades everywhere it counts
- Porsche Cayman GT4RS – long awaited halo model. We like the induction system which is ducted through the cabin
- Gordon Murray T.50 – could this be the last of its kind? The creator of the mighty McLaren F1 gives us a hypercar very much in its mould and all the more exciting for it. A high revving V12 and a typical focus on saving weight are just part of a very exciting package
- Aston Martin Valkyrie – another hypercar designed by an F1 legend. This time, it's Adrian Newey who, with Aston Martin and Red Bull, has created what promises to be Aston's fastest car ever produced. Who said hybrid cars were unexciting?
- Mercedes AMG Project One – not to be outdone, the seven-time Formula One constructor's champions may have produced the closest a road car has ever come to a F1 machine. The head-to-head between this car, the Aston Martin and GM T.50 promises to be very exciting indeed
- Lotus Emira – previewed at Goodwood's Festival of Speed during the summer. This stunning mid-sized coupe offers either four cylinder or V6 power and has attracted huge interest. With chassis design taken from the legendary Elise, we can expect something special
- Range Rover – the fifth generation continues to stake a claim for the ultimate luxury 4x4. Styling is evolutionary (and that isn't a bad thing in our book) but with a lot of revisions inside and under the skin. A full EV version is also on the way
We could have added the Porsche 911 GT3, Ferrari's 296 GTB, the hot hatchbacks getting hotter still and the numerous EV/SUV models launched – it really has been a bumper year for motoring enthusiasts.
The restomod revolution
Making an old car “newer” is not a new idea. Eagle has been producing Jaguar E Types with modern features for many years and Singer has been making reimagined Porsche 911s for what seems like a very long time too.
, We have seen a lot of iconic cars reborn during 2021. We were lucky enough to see the Kimera 037 for ourselves at Salon Privé, complete with its turbocharged engine and a design that remains faithful to the awe-inspiring original.
It seems that the trend is set to continue, with Tolman Engineering's take on hot hatch royalty. Their Peugeot 205 GTi takes everything that made the original car a master of its sector and tweaks it just enough to keep the car's character intact but improve it.
Other French icons haven't escaped the restomod treatment, with California-based Legende Automobiles creating the Renault 5 “Turbo 3”, based on the wide-arched rear-engined rally hooligan of the early eighties. The car retains its shape and footprint but features a modernised interior including digital instrumentation. Larger wheels bring the car into the current decade, and power is quoted at around 400bhp, although the engine details remain undisclosed.
Some of the stories that started during 2020 have run into this year. Chief among these is the ongoing shortage of semiconductor chips. These are crucial to the production of almost all vehicles, used in everything from safety and mechanical features, through to convenience items such as touchscreens and other comfort features.
The knock-on effect has slowed automobile production globally, with manufacturers closing down factories or shortening working hours intermittently. This has led to extended delivery times for new vehicles, with waiting times of up to two years reported in some cases.
Reduced availability of new cars has led to an increase in second-hand vehicle purchases, with genuinely unprecedented increased values across the board. This is beginning to stabilise in some areas but shows little sign of a return to normal.
Electrification continues to be a growing trend, with record numbers of EVs sold both in the UK and further afield. While there are challenges to be addressed, particularly around the charging network, it seems certain that 2022 will see the numbers continue to rise, and the availability of places to recharge grow.
Many manufacturers announced a move towards fully electric ranges by 2030, including Rolls Royce, Aston Martin and Bentley – who have all confirmed that they will produce EV-only cars by this date.
The Government announced plans for all new-build homes in the UK to have EV chargers included from 2022, in advance of the 2030 target for all new cars sold to be electric.
The polarising subject of electrified classic vehicles also gained pace, with more businesses focusing not only on the traditional craft of restoring old cars but replacing petrol engines with electric motors.
We spent some time with the team at Everrati team at Salon Privé were interested to hear how the team of motoring enthusiasts took a vehicle as iconic as Porsche's 911 and replaced the flat six engine with an electric motor, while crucially avoiding the weight penalty that typically comes with EVs. The team used carbon fibre to offset this increase.
Of course, 2021 marked the year that the UK formally left the EU. While this has created a huge volume of challenges for both business and politicians, the impact on motorists has been largely unnoticed. Initial reports that driving into Europe would be difficult proved to be unfounded and further Brexit negotiations led to the swift removal of the requirement for a green card. Relaxing of Covid rules also meant that more of us could head to our favourite European roads after a year or more away.
On this subject, a further development has meant that non-commercial caravans and trailers up to 3,500kg will also no longer require a green card. The Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) has advised that you should register your trailer or caravan with DVLA and carry the proof when travelling abroad in case you are stopped.
Glenmarch will produce a 2021 review as part of their regular roundup of the auction world, in which we expect to learn that the values of contemporary classics in particular remain strong. By “classic cars” we now refer to vehicles made before 1980.
Some of our own highlights:
- McLaren F1 sold by Gooding and Company during the summer. With less than 400km on the clock since new, the car sold for just under $20.5m (USD), setting a benchmark for the model
- Porsche 928 which starred in “Risky Business” sold for $1.98 million (USD), further cementing the popularity of movie-linked motoring
- McLaren MP4-25A. The first ex-Hamilton car to be sold publicly fetched £4.8 million after it was demonstrated at Silverstone during the GP weekend in July. The car was driven to victory in the 2010 Turkish GP
We are looking forward to 2022 and in particular the reported sale of the Porsche 964 Turbo that featured in the 1995 movie “Bad Boys”. The car has less than 35,000 recorded miles and was seen throughout the film, notably in a chase sequence with an AC Cobra at the climax. Its appearance led many to nickname this generation of the 911 as “The Bad Boys 911 Turbo”. We expect the car to attract much interest and a high sale price when Mecum sell it in Florida in January.
So that was 2021. In the next year, we look forward to the new Formula One rule changes and how they might change the sport, and a return to owners club events where we can meet you all and watch the motoring landscape evolve. The fight for the title of the world's best hypercar is one we are eager to see unfold and we are equally keen to see what new cars are coming during the next twelve months.
We will continue to bring you news from the motoring world next year but for we would like to thank you for all for your support and custom during 2021 and wish you and your families a peaceful Christmas and healthy New Year.