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Wilson Browne Solicitors, executors to £multi-million bequest

The ‘impossible gift’.

Wilson Browne Solicitors plays important role in the sale of 2 rare and ultra-valuable Ferraris to be auctioned on behalf of RNLI.

Jim Kearns (joint executor) has been pivotal in arranging the sale of two rare Ferraris with a potentially eye-watering, record-breaking value.

Working closely with H&H a respected auction house, Jim was tasked with ensuring that the estate of local businessman Richard Colton was executed in line with his wishes, with the proceeds going to fund the RNLI. The cars are to be auctioned on 14 October 2015 at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, Cambridge.

Jim Kearns comments “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.”

Jim adds, “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.”

Listen to Jim’s radio interview here, starting at 01:26:30

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

Guy Rose, Legacy Manager at the RNLI, 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 10 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, Chair of H&H Classics, which holds sales across Britain, comments: “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.”

Richard Colton was a Northamptonshire-based businessman who had a distinguished career in footwear distribution and who for 40 years collected and actively campaigned sensational classic cars. Described by close friends as “a shy and private man”, he 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 this splendid legacy of 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 – hence H&H was chosen by his executors (including Jim Kearns of Wilson Browne Solicitors) , and indeed this was in line with the wishes he expressed in his Will, which was also dealt with by Wilson Browne Solicitors.

So, the big question is “how much are they worth?” We’ll have to wait for the auction to find out but estimates place the combined value of the 1960 Ferrari 250 GT and 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 as potentially topping £10,000,000.

Initial enquiries relating to Wilson Browne Solicitors’ role in this generous legacy should be directed to Wayne Jenkins, Marketing Director, Wilson Browne Solicitors.

All bidding enquiries should be directed to Damian Jones, Sales Manager at H&H Classics, on +44 (0) 1925 210035, email