How to buy/sell a classic Mini at auction

When you think of buying a classic Mini, the days of scouring through local free ads for a bargain are sadly long gone. There are the usual online marketplaces, but have you ever been tempted to have a bid on an auction?

For many, general car auctions still conjure up images of wheeler dealers offloading unloved old trade-ins, and it’s all a bit risky unless you’re in the know. But then again, classic car auctions are a different proposition altogether, and they’re increasingly more mainstream thanks to accessible live streams and TV programmes such as Bangers and Cash.

On the right day it seems like you can still pick up a bargain. Now well into classic car status, we’re seeing a steady tide of Minis go under the hammer, rather than listed as traditional classified adverts.

So is this the best place to go shopping for your next Mini, and how would you go about if you’ve got a classic Mini to sell? It all looks quite fun, so we spoke to James Gregory at Manor Park Classics in Cheshire to see how it works.

Selling your classic Mini at auction

James is keen to show how approachable it can be to get involved with classic car auctions. “We try to make the buying and selling process very simple for both the buyer and the seller,” he says.

“For the seller it all starts with initial contact either by phone, email or just coming to our purpose-built building here in Cheshire, where we store the cars and run the auction every six weeks."

“Firstly we agree the reserve price on the car, the minimum sale price, which is a conversation with the vendor and not just our opinion. This is based on previous results and recognised market values. From there we bring the car into our premises and write an honest and open write-up on it, take a large selection of photographs and even do a video of the vehicle on the road driving, if it’s road legal.”

In the last sale, Manor Park Classics had 13 Minis in total, of which 11 sold. “We like Minis and very much seek them out as we have a big respect and love for them,” James continues.

“Our aim is to increase the desire for others to own a Mini, especially the younger generation who may have missed them the first-time around.” For further publicity, Manor Park Classics then contact relevant car clubs and forums, advertise the cars on social media and in many magazines and motoring papers, so it’s the full package.

There’s also a full video of the sale room ahead of each auction, so buyers can have a look at everything on offer.

The cost of the service? For the seller it comes to 6% of the sale price, including VAT, which is apparently quite standard across the industry. If the car fails to sell there is no charge.

Buying a classic Mini at auction

If you’re familiar with eBay auctions, buying from a classic car auction is no more difficult. It’s probably more exciting a process though, especially if you’re able to bid in person.

James explains how to browse the upcoming classics: “We clean each car prior to the sale, and come auction week all the vehicles are set up on display like a showroom.

"We have three days of general viewing and typically in excess of 500 people coming to view, but we space the cars out to avoid any damage.”

Then it's sale day, where there are often over 600 people to bid in person, many thousands viewing on the live web stream and a large number of people doing telephone bids too.

Obviously this large audience is for all of the classic car and motorbike lots, rather than solely for the Minis, but it gives an idea of how popular classic car auctions have become.

And there’s plenty happening across the country throughout the month - it’s a big industry.

“We offer a large selection of vehicles each sale - usually over 100 cars and 50 bikes,” James confirms. “This is growing as we are making our building even larger soon by putting in a mezzanine floor. In our last sale in February, we sold more 90% of vehicles offered.

“Recently we had a Cooper S heading to Australia for £40,000, just showing how the Mini following is very much worldwide, and it’s growing too. We had another Mini exported to New York a few sales ago - there are not many cars that have that sort of following.

"We have a Mini expert in-house who knows all of the different models and specs, which really helps.”

The difference between bidding on a classic Mini at auction such as Manor Park and buying in a traditional sense, is that the winning buyer has fees to pay.

So if you do go bid-crazy on an original MkI Mini Cooper, remember these extra costs are not included.This is 12.5% plus VAT (15% inc), which seems to be an industry average.


So you’ve made it this far, won the auction and bought yourself a ‘new’ Mini project. What next? “After the sale we take care of all the paperwork with DVLA,” says James, “so both the seller and the buyer don’t have to worry about all that.

“We are also happy to keep the car in our building for a couple of weeks, until the buyer is ready to collect. We make it as easy as possible for all.”  

Hopefully that helps if you’ve been looking at the various classic auction sites and have always been a bit apprehensive.

Thanks again to James at Manor Park Classics for his help and advice, plus the pics. The next auction is coming up on Saturday 13 April, and you can check out the listings booked in so far at

Previous Results

Here's a selection of classic Minis and Sprites that have recently gone under the hammer...


Stephen Colbran

March 2024