RV8 auction and vehicle export system in Japan
Very nearly all RV8s returning to the UK or going to Australia are sold at auction in Japan. Here Chris Watkins of HS Imports, the leading UK RV8 reimporter, describes the auction and export system in Japan. Gavin Brown, who runs the MG Car Centre down in Launceston Tasmania, adds a few comments.

The RV8s do look a little sad as they pass through the auction. Here Woodcote Green 0644 is held for its auction slot in Tokyo on 26th September 2002.

Auction house report
The Japanese auction houses complete a report on each car sold. This report is available inside each car at the auction, as are the keys so we can start up the car and test electrics, clutch and other functions.

Auction condition report for Woodcote Green 0644 showing the detailed information recorded by the auction house, including grades in the top right-hand corner. See the note below for an explanation of the grading by Chris Watkins of HS Imports.

For translations of the various Japanese terms used on the auction condition reports, see our useful RV8 auction report translations webpage.

As Chris Watkins of HS Imports, the leading RV8 reimporter in the UK, mentions in a note he prepared for the V8 Register on the auction and export system in Japan, "the report will tell us the mileage (in Km), with a question mark boldly inserted should there be reason to doubt the odometer. It will also tell us whether there is a service history or not. We cannot see the books before buying the car but at least we know they exist. HS Imports will only buy cars with a service history and we translate it into English for the customer. By the way we can also translate existing members' service books if they would like us to do that for them - but we only translate the relevant information, not the entire book! Most importantly the auction report gives the grade of the car".

Grading of the cars
"So Zero, R or A will mean the car has had an accident repair. It might still be a good car of course, and the report shows each panel replaced and lists repairs done. Grades 1, 2 and 3 are perhaps worse than these as they will have damage (scratches and dents) which have not been repaired. Grade 4 is a good, clean straight used car, with Grade 5 meaning "as new". Grade 4A or 4.5 is therefore "excellent", while 4B is worthy of a grade 4 but does have some blemishes, usually filler".

See the link below to our note on "dirty seats" for an explanation of the implications of this comment on the auction sheets.

"The difficulty for the UK buyer of a "fresh RV8 import" is how to check the quality of the car. Checking this auction report (if the car came from an auction) is one way but you cannot rely on the report. It should be available if you are buying the car from the actual importer. It is not always possible to keep track of these bits of paper if the car passes through several hands before it reaches a UK forecourt - if it is not available, a full vehicle inspection is advisable"

Woodcote Green 0644 heads for the hammer and then for export to the UK or Australia.

Specialist RV8 reimporters
There are a number of well established RV8 reimporters in the UK and importers in Australia who obtain RV8s from Japan and prepare and register them in the UK or Australia so they comply with local vehicle regulations. The specialist RV8 reimporters who have been recommended by V8 Register members are set out in a listing called RV8 Reimporters & Traders. Several agents in Japan offer a specialist service of locating and buying RV8s to order in Japan and handling the export formalities and shipping arrangements for V8 enthusiasts outside Japan.

Why is Woodcote Green 0644 such a special RV8?
We had known for some time that VIN 0644 was the change point for the later gearbox, the R380, generally regarded as a much better box. Gavin Brown spotted this car in the auction particulars he receives and emailed details to the V8 Registrar with the news. Shortly after we received a photo of the car from our former correspondent in Tokyo - an example of the effectiveness of the V8 Register network! It will be interesting to see where this RV8 appears next - probably Australia!
Many of the RV8 auction reports have the note "seats worn and dirty" which is puzzling as many of the RV8s at auctions in Japan tend to be low mileage vehicles.

Other useful notes

What to pay for an RV8

RV8 price trends

RV8 import trends

RAWS impact on Australian RV8 imports

Reassurance with RV8 reimports

RV8 auction system in Japan

RV8 auction news from Tokyo

"Dirty seats" on RV8 auction reports

Understanding RV8 auction reports

Copyright reserved by the V8 Register of the MG Car Club, PO Box 251, Abingdon-on-Thames, Oxfordshire OX14 1FF