BH Auction: The Art Of Car Buying

It’s Japan month on Speedhunters, so we’ve thrown sleep in the trash bin and scrolled through our collective phone contacts and Instagram discover pages, and fired up Google Translate to talk to all of our friend’s via Line app. The result? Dino is sick of me asking him questions and Mark’s exported so many images in the past couple of weeks that his computer now sounds like the Starship Enterprise.

At Tokyo Auto Salon, the honourable people at BH Auction had some rather fantastic race cars going under the hammer. Kohey Takada kindly arranged access for Mark and I before the sale took place; we only had about 15-minutes to walk around whilst the vehicles were being placed, but the result was a handful of images and a thought-provoking chat.


Looking at the cars on offer, what you quickly realise is that BH really is a car auction for car people, by car people. For me, this felt more like pieces of art were being prepared for auction. This is Japan, of course, so the cars are given space and, going back to what I was saying about the recent RWB meet, less is more.


Going to a car auction is the nuts. My first taste of buying cars in this way was near where I grew up. Leominster Car Auctions was a weekly treat back in 1999, and I remember going along one night with my friend who won a Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo for the princely sum of £300. That’s about $395 for our readers over on the other side of the pond. It was a manual model, too. Bloody Nora, the ’90s were mad – a Z32 for less than the monthly payment on my F80 M3!


But if the 1990s were fairly loony, then 2020 is positively off its head. Car prices are wild these days and that’s for many reasons, one of which is that back in the ’90s, cars weren’t particularly cool. If you were into anything automotive you were a bit of a geek. Chances are, if you’re reading Speedhunters and have got this far into my ramble, then you’re a bit of a geek, too.


I’ve got so much time for the geeks, the drivers and the people who would still be building and driving cars if the internet stopped tomorrow. I’ll be honest, though, I am bored of seeing people buy cars to show off. Flex culture really turns me off certain types of cars, and that’s why seeing the vehicles on offer by BH Auction is an absolute breath of fresh air.


Take the 880hp Ferrari F1 car that Gerhard Berger piloted back in 1987 – I can understand why someone would want to own this piece of history. Likewise, I can also get my head around why this car has real value; you get to look at something that has an incredible story, and, because of this, it also serves as a museum piece. If this ’87 F1 car ever comes back out to race, it’s a bonus.


Last year’s BH Auction was a sight to behold, but seeing cars like this ’95 BMW 320ST that raced at the Nürburgring and Spa 24-hour races, before they went up for sale, was really quite special. Look inside – things were more simple back in the ’90s.


That’s the thing, BH produce car auctions with real class. Their way of doing things really is art meets car buying. Although we were only in the space for a quarter of an hour, those 15 minutes left us with lots of questions.

Was it better when cars weren’t ‘cool’? Should people who buy fantastic road cars and never drive them be taken outside and shot? Will Mark let me sleep next time we go to Japan?

I don’t have the right answer to any of these questions, mainly because this is a subjective topic.


What I do know for sure as the sun will rise in Japan and set somewhere else, are these two things:

1. BH Auction is always a pleasure to witness; you simply do not know what to expect.

2. You, the Speedhunters reader, is never shy about showing your point of view in the comments section. Go on, be my guest and get stuck in below…

The results of the sales are available in full over at BH Auction.

Ben Chandler
Instagram: ben_scenemedia

Photography by Mark Riccioni
Instagram: mark_scenemedia
Twitter: markriccioni



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cars are cool? why do so many people keep flipping me off in traffic then idk...


It's you, not the car.


Definitely agree with you on flex culture. Cant go on youtube without seeing a video titled 'I bought a wrecked supercar' or 'big turbo a90 supra' or 'I bought a JDM legend'....


You're not wrong there, and to add to the pile there's the endless stream of anti-lag two-stepping Supras and flame spitting everything on highways that passes for car culture on Instagram. It's a weird time.


Because that's what get's views unfortunately. Video's must be daily/weekly to keep subs entertained otherwise the channel drops off. They're all copying each other and the content lacks because of it.

I personally love project binky. You get updates from time to time. But the content is brilliant.


It certainly gets views, but it makes me wonder what the point is. Feels like they're competing to waste as much of other people's time as possible if the content doesn't have any intrinsic value beyond that it's new every two days. It certainly contributes to the speed-building rush around modifying a car as fast as possible that seems to emerge with any car that has e-fame attached to it.

I'd rather wait longer periods for better content, but I get that I'm not in the majority there and the larger proportion of viewers to these channels and accounts are likely just on the cusp of entering car ownership, where everything is new and cool, and competing with your friends is still important. I haven't heard of Project Binky; might have to take a look.


It's an interesting point for sure. Every media outlet is guilty of clickbait - and it's not a trait exclusive to web/social, hell it's what magazine covers are for.

But, the culture of XYZ gets views = therefore only XYZ content should be produced irritates the hell out of me, and of course it's prolific on YouTube & Instagram because you have a fraction of a second to get someone's attention. Plus, algorithms can make or break your channel, so you feel somewhat at the mercy of what you 'should' be doing rather than what you want to.

My 2p on that culture is, while certain topics, buzz words & cars will gain wild views... content creators *shudders* have a responsibility to dictate what they want to put out there along with the quality and standard of it. If someone branding themselves this way uses the excuse 'well the other stuff doesn't perform as well' to me that just lacks integrity. But there lies a bigger topic of discussion; are people doing this for the genuine passion of cars, or because they've seen certain high-profile accounts make money and gain status from it and want in on the action.

All i know is, when the zombie apocalypse hits - or when cars are completely ousted and a distant memory - i'd much sooner be known for making half decent stuff i was proud of even in 20-years time than to look back on a cringe culture where i sold my soul for a quick bit of cash.


Magazines were always niche products with very specific target market. Now that we have the ability to reach incredibly big mass of people trough social media the content is being dumbed down to the level of the audience. So instead of doing in-depth real things creators are doing just the surface because average viewer couldn't grasp more anyway. Not sure if the social media algorithms make things better or worse. Maybe better in helping to find similar content that you like.

I get mad when writers on this site for example ask forgiveness for being too technical. Cars are machines and if you don't have any idea how they work better educate yourself or just go surfing.


Couldn't agree more!

If you bought a specific car magazine it was because you had an active interest in that specific automotive subculture. You bought that magazine because the level of information on specific builds was very detailed and full on geek. Even more 'mainstream' magazines like Max Power in the UK still provided more tech details on builds than current content creators do. Now social media allows people to become 'expert' with very little investment of time in research and learning. You can just go on Instagram and YouTube and get all the information you require to become an expert in the latest automotive fad.

However, I do believe a lot of this is down to generational differences. I'm 30 and honed my passion for cars through Gran Turismo and Gran Turismo 2. I'm pretty sure most people my generation know a great deal about cars because of those videogames and the required (theoretical) mechanical knowledge required to make sure you had the best car. We were too young to even learn to drive but we all knew the difference a lightened flywheel or driveshaft made to the car.

And I am convinced that this is true because of the generational shift with regard to tuning houses. Everyone now has at least heard of Liberty Walk/Pandem, Spoon or even HKS. However, I suspect there won't be many people under a certain age that will know of companies like Tommy Kaira, Mine's or even Autech; unless they are geeks, that is.

Maybe us 'older' guys are just not up to speed with the times but I much prefer the automotive world of my youth where it wasn't a competition as to who had the most stanced car, the highest horsepower or the widest bodykit. I miss the days were it was about people building the best possible car they could to make it as fun and as fast to drive to them, without feeling like they needed to prove anything to the rest of the world.


I'm around the same age and also started on Gran Turismo 2, along with a healthy interest in anything with wheels inherited from my old man.

I'd add more to the thread but I think you guys and Mark have already nailed it. What I do try to do is help newcomers ease into the scene without lecturing them on what they "should" be doing, but also encouraging them to create for its own value and not for social media clout, because while the initial thrill of likes and shares is nice, it doesn't last as long as the hollow feeling of making something that doesn't resonate with you. You'll feel like you're driving and spending on someone else's car, all the time.

Naveed Yousufzai

The point is views=money lol.


Not a lot of money though, certainly not enough to fund a JZA80 Supra in 90% of cases hahah


Could you do a follow up and post the prices that these cars sold for? Please!


go check out the link on the story yourself

Naveed Yousufzai

Mark the magician and Ben the poet. Speedhunters' 2020 iconic duo. What an epic event!


Race cars don't need headlights, because the track is always Lit.


Most races are not held at night, usually only endurance events, like 24 hrs of Daytona or LeMans, these cars have headlights, There's some lighting at tracks like these but the whole track is not lit.


Only 15 minutes, that's hella weak. Still with that few of cars, you should have got a close up and text on every one. So this is just an exclusive car show for rich buyers. I took an AC Cobra replica to an auction once, was not impressed. They take 10 % off the top and it's frequently an impulse buy. I would venture to guess that there's more infrequent driving buyers that go to auctions than other venues. I don't think the base of the car culture has changed that much, just more people have joined up. You Tube is just a high profile fraction of the total. The internet (communication age) has made everything more accessible which is a good thing.


If you want additional information or pics on each car, the BH Auction website has some brilliant studio detail shots & detailed car info (in both Japanese and English) here:


are the prices on the BH website the final prices? some deals look too good to be true....


The 432R that sold recently, sublime! I'm amazed I hadn't heard of them before given the stature of the cars they had on offer this time around, the S20 engines etc too, jesus. Wish I had enough money!


I don't have any money but I would come just to see the cool cars
Then maybe I'll come again with my saved up money to buy my dream car


I haven't been this amazed with the photos on this website probably since Paddy's 918 shoot. Really stunning work.


Hey guys ! I was at the BH auction last year, and this E36 was already there. Sad to see that she's still here.
But strange also to see that last year there was much many cars engaged. Small sales this time ?


Wow! Some really great cars here! My favorite is the Porsche 935. Oh, and I have one thing to say about the photography; The photos that are here are excellent, very good angles, high quality, but there is one thing wrong. I have noticed a pattern after reading Speedhunters for over a year, and that is that whenever you take photos of cars at a car meet or something, you always skip the newer exotic cars. I know that you all aren't as into those things as some other people are, and really, it's OK most of the time, because a lot of the supercars you're skipping are just the usual purple Aventadors. But when I could SEE a Koenigsegg Jesko in the photo here, and you guys didn't even take a photo of it, much less say anything about it, that made me conduct a quick Google search of 'Koenigsegg Jesko' so I could be satisfied. But I wasn't really. The official pictures are always so fake. I like to see cars in their natural environment, see the contrast between them and the cars next to them, like you guys here do. And I greatly appreciate that. Thank you for all that you do. If there is anything I can do to help anytime, let me know. And, by the way, there is hope for the younger generation: I'm 14.




The instant gratification culture enabled by the speed and ease of which creators/publishers are able to reach their audience is to blame. When I receive my favorite car magazine (yes, I still subscribe to those) the information is often out of date. I have already seen the auction results, event coverage, and build updates (often from the same magazine's website). That said, most of the daily content available is not up to the standard of the magazine's print coverage. The issue seems to be compounded by it costing little or nothing to create/host/publish said content.

My hope is that the people doing it for little or nothing and creating low quality content will die out before Speedhunters and other outlets taking the time to delivery high quality coverage.


I used to like car auctions, now I loathe them. All these cars I wanted as a kid, I may just never be able to afford them now. Makes you question why you are a car guy sometimes.


Keep your eyes open. I recently bought a Z32 for $900. Sure it's a fixer upper but I was working at Nissan when they first came out and fell in love. They were around $30,000 and I was making $10 an hour.