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The BBC's Graham Satchell
"For one night only the multi-million pound rocker has become a second-hand car salesman"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 6 June, 2001, 05:56 GMT 06:56 UK
Elton cleans up at car sale
Elton's cars
Part-time love? Sir Elton is keeping eight of his cars
Rock legend Sir Elton John is 2m richer after auctioning his collection of luxury cars.

The 54-year-old pop star made twice the estimated price on his fleet of 20 vehicles from the sale at Christie's in central London.

Sir Elton decided to get rid of the cars because he says he never gets a chance to drive them.

Speaking from Atlanta in the United States after the sale, the singer said: "When the bidding kept on going up and up way above the estimates, I was both thrilled and surprised.

I hope that all the new owners enjoy these cars as much as I did

Sir Elton John
"There's obviously a lot of money to be made from second-hand cars.

"It's great to know that the people who have bought my cars place such high value on them, and that the care that has been put into looking after them over the years has been well worth it.

"I hope that all the new owners enjoy these cars as much as I did."

Auctioneer Dermott Chichester said the cars were sold to private collectors, music industry figures and entrepreneurs.

Expensive coffee

More than 300 people packed the auction room with many buyers putting in bids via agents and Christie's staff with mobile phones.

One mystery buyer from the music industry paid 244,000 for Sir Elton's Bentley Convertible and 1965 E Type Jaguar.

I'm sure my wife will calm down if I tell her I bought it for her

Buyer Lawrence Cohen
Lawrence Cohen, 52, from Hertfordshire, said his wife Maggie had no idea he had spent 223,750 on a 1973 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI after saying he was popping out for coffee.

The car, valued at 110,000, is fitted with a 36-speaker stereo system which cost 28,000 alone.

This is so powerful that it once blew out the rear window, after which the glass in the car had to be reinforced.

'Back-seat driver'

Mr Cohen said: "I'm sure my wife will calm down if I tell her I bought it for her.

"Every time we go out driving she says I'm one hell of a back-seat driver.

"Now I'm going to put her in the front seat and talk to her over the intercom and prove what a back-seat driver I can be."

Elton and car
Goodbye yellow brick road - the singer has been collecting cars for 30 years
The businessman, who also owns a Range Rover and an army jeep, added: "I'm a real fan of Sir Elton, I play his records all the time.

"What he has done to that car is so special and I will keep it like that in his honour."

The most expensive car in the collection - a 1993 Jaguar XJ220 with a 213mph top speed and only 852 miles on the clock - sold for 234,750.

The auction room was told how Sir Elton's chauffeur refused to drive the car after he "twitched it" on a flyover and was scared by its power.

A 1978 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Coupe, known as "The Beast" because it roared like an animal, went for 80,750.

The car is painted in black, red and yellow, the colours of Sir Elton's favourite Watford Football Club.

Court action

On Wednesday the singer is challenging a High Court ruling made against him in a multi-million pound battle over touring costs.

His lawyers are to ask original trial judge Mr Justice Ferris to grant leave to appeal against his original decision on Wednesday.

If this fails the argument can be taken to the Court of Appeal.

In April the judge dismissed Sir Elton's 14m claim against his former management company, leaving an estimated 8m legal bill for the star.

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See also:

05 Jun 01 | Showbiz
Sir Elton fights High Court ruling
18 Apr 01 | Showbiz
Sir Elton to sell classic cars
11 Apr 01 | Showbiz
Sir Elton may fight court ruling
30 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Sir Elton: Man of means
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