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Auction of late businessman’s rare Ferraris could make £10m for RNLI

The Ferrari 275 GTB/4 and Ferrari 250 GT SWB go under the hammer at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, on Wednesday (October 14).

Jim Kearns, senior partner at Wilson Browne Solicitors, was tasked as joint executor with ensuring that the estate of businessman Richard Colton was executed in line with his wishes, with the proceeds going to fund the RNLI.

Mr Kearns said: “It is a remarkable and generous legacy. All of us at Wilson Browne Solicitors are proud to be part of such an exciting and wonderful bequest and it’s testament to the faith Richard had in us as experts in the field that he not only relied on us for his Will but asked us to ensure that we got the best possible price (as joint executors) so the money could be put to work for the RNLI.”

Money raised from the sale by respected auction house H&H will be used to build a new lifeboat called Richard and Caroline Colton, named after Richard and his late wife.

Mr Kearns said: “The exquisite cars really were the ‘impossible gift’. To leave them to an individual would have incurred 40% inheritance tax meaning that the cars would most likely have to be sold to pay for it.

"Leaving them to a charitable cause as noble as the RNLI means that they get the maximum value.”

Mr Colton had a distinguished career in footwear distribution. He was a partner in Colton Brothers, based at Irchester, and for 40 years collected and actively campaigned sensational classic cars.

He died, aged 83, in March following a sudden illness.

Described by close friends as “a shy and private man”, Mr Colton was known to be somewhat nervous of the sea, which may have added to his great respect for the men and women who risk their lives daily around Britain’s coast.

When deciding on which charity to leave the two classic Ferraris, there was only one choice: the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
 He was also keen that his legacy be sold by a British classic car specialist auction house.

RNLI legacy manager Guy Rose said: “We are deeply grateful and humbled by Mr Colton’s generous gift and his decision to benefit the RNLI in this way.

“Six out of every ten lifeboat launches are only made possible because of gifts left to us in Wills, so they are vital to saving lives at sea. Mr Colton’s generosity will be felt most by our volunteer crews and the people whose lives they save.”

Simon Hope, chairman of H&H Classics, which holds sales across Britain, said: “We are honoured to have been chosen to handle this sale which is of national significance.

"These stunning motor cars have been with Richard Colton for 40 years and meant a very great deal to him so we are absolutely committed to realising the maximum amount for the cars. It promises to be an historic sale.”


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