THEY were the status symbols of the boom, but now fleets of luxury cars will go under the hammer later this month in what is believed to be the biggest car liquidation auction to take place here.
More than 250 cars will be sold without a reserve as liquidator Paul McCann of Grant Thornton sells off the assets of EP Mooney, which closed last November after almost four decades in business.
The total lot has a retail value of more than €3m. However, it is expected that many will be sold for a lot less than their estimate.
The highlight of the auction is a 07 Jaguar XK Coupe. While it comes with a retail estimate of €60,000, car aficionados could get it for a lot less.
Other sought-after lots include a BMW 316i and several Volvo C70 convertibles.
Lots also include a range of 4x4s, five and seven-seaters as well as vans and makes such as Nissan, Ford, Volkswagen, Renault, Peugeot, Honda, Hyundai and Suzuki.
Kieron Gammell, managing director of E-Auctions which is overseeing the sale, said it was unfortunate that EP Mooney had been forced to close but the liquidator now needs to sell its remaining assets.
"In these recessionary times one person's downfall ultimately means opportunities for other people. If anyone has some money left over after Christmas, they should get good value for money. There are no reserves and everything must be sold," he added.
Mr Gammell said altogether, the cars have a "ballpark" value of over €3m, but could sell for much less.
He said he was expecting a lot of interest in the auction which takes place on January 16.
The auction is not going to make a major dent in the debts of EP Mooney which closed late last year €22m in the red. The firm, which employed 95 people, had been in difficulty for several years.
Speaking at the time, chief executive Paraic Mooney said the industry was in "meltdown" due to the massive reduction in credit available to customers and businesses as well as changes to the VRT system and the weakness of sterling making UK imports more attractive.
A year ago Mr Mooney made a public appeal to Taoiseach Brian Cowen to throw the sector a lifeline and introduce a car scrappage scheme with the hope of boosting new car sales.
The auction will be held at the EP Mooney showrooms on the Naas Road in Dublin. A full catalogue is available at www.e-auctions.ie