A Bentley once owned by the late disgraced stockbroker Rene Rivkin — and now by a former Gold Coast vice king — could be sold for as little as 1c under a radical new auction system.
The Azure convertible was part of Rivkin's luxury car collection auctioned off as part of a fire sale before his suicide in 2005.
It was snapped up for $281,000 by former Fitzgerald Inquiry figure Ron “The Pom” Kingsnorth, who in the 1980s owned one of the Gold Coast's most notorious brothels, the Geisha Bathhouse.
British-born Mr Kingsnorth, once an associate of infamous London gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray, says he is “a bad boy who's gone straight” and is now out of the vice trade.
Now in his 70s, he has married “a nice young Ukrainian wife,” Olga, and is involved in property development.
He said he had decided to get into the “reverse auction” business as a sideline, and to raise money for charity.
Unlike traditional auctions where the highest bid wins, goods sold at reverse auction are knocked down to the lowest unique bidder — the person with the lowest bid no one else has chosen.
Last year, a $350,000 Broadbeach high-rise unit was sold at reverse auction for $62.92.
Promoters make their money by charging a bid fee — in the case of the Bentley, $9 (or three bids for $20).
The maroon convertible — which cost more than $700,000 when new and can go from 0-100km/h in six seconds — will be auctioned online for between 1 and $6000, to whoever makes the lowest unique bid.
But if the auction is a success, Mr Kingsnorth stands to make hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Mr Kingsnorth said he was abused as a child in East London and was donating part of the auction proceeds to the Abused Child Trust.
He said that if the auction works, he plans to sell luxury homes and boats using the same method. People can bid for the Bentley online.