Britain’s momentous and historic exit from the European Union, after 43 years, will undoubtedly bring a short period of instability and uncertainty in global markets. However, now is not the time for these impacts to be politicized or sensationalized. Instead, here, we shall continue focusing on classic and vintage motoring. I suggest that, while the world reorganizes itself, we enjoy our hobby even more and continue looking at our cars from an investment point of view.
We should think about how lucky some of us are in this country to have invested our money in our own classic cars and land (i.e. tangible assets) rather than in stocks, global share markets, or foreign-currency accounts. We should think about how lucky we are to be a small nation, located far enough away from the rest of the world: a location that enables us to be calm and methodical. Yes, our location allows us to be smarter investors, because we have cooler heads, and a cooler head enables us to capitalize on world matters. hundreds more who lose far more money than they make.
As someone who’s been in the game for many years, I’d like to share the most important rules I’ve learned over the years of buying and selling collectible vehicles. 1. Once you realize you can’t come out ahead, don’t throw good money after bad at a collector car. Sometimes, you’re better off counting your losses and starting over. 2. Always get a thorough pre-purchase inspection performed by an expert before buying — and by an ‘expert’, I mean a marque specialist, and not just an outfit that mainly specializes in modern cars. 3. If you’re buying as an investment, get a proper valuation by a proper specialist, and don’t hesitate to pay for the right advice — it will cost about $100. Do not try to save on this amount — remember how much money you’re about to invest in your vehicle. 4. Let genuine passion be your guide; don’t buy a car just because it seems like a great deal. 5. Time is money. Making a profit on a collectible car is relative to the time and money you spend on it. 6. You can have investment vehicles and you can have weekend race toys — ideally, don’t try to combine them. 7. Never forget that, as in all markets, car values move up and down at random times. Predicting these swings is more of an art than a science.
8. Understand that buying a rare, low-mileage car for investment purposes means that you may not get to drive it very often.
Buying a classic car
This is rather like inviting someone to join your family: it helps if they are of good character, you like them, and you enjoy spending time with them. And if they can earn their keep, so much the better. They probably won’t, of course. It’s true that some classics have proved to be excellent investments. However, as with property, shares, or gold, the best time to buy is when a car is undervalued or price rises may be expected, and that demands both extensive knowledge and foresight.
In any case, buying a classic car for speculative reasons is like buying a beautiful painting and keeping it in a bank vault. Cars are designed to move, and will deteriorate if they are left stationary. Driving a classic and maintaining it in a fit state to be driven are the chief pleasures of ownership, but, before you take the plunge, you need to ask yourself a few questions. The most obvious is what sort of car you want; yet, more important is what you want to do with it. Romantic weekends will be few and far between if you buy something scary, uncomfortable, or unreliable; family excursions will be impossible in a sporty two-seater; and the pleasures of summer motoring in a convertible will soon be forgotten in the colder, wetter weeks of the year.
All-year-round use is also much harder if the car requires frequent maintenance. Older cars demand more attention, but even a 1960s classic will need servicing every few thousand miles. If that matches your annual mileage, this shouldn’t be too onerous, but bear in mind that a V12 engine will always be more expensive to service than a fourcylinder and that obtaining essential parts for rare or exotic machines can be costly and time-consuming.
Access to a dry, secure, and reasonably accessible garage is almost essential, as on-street parking is tough on classics, and many insurers will expect them to be garaged at night.
Another inescapable cost of ownership is insurance: with an annual mileage limit, say 3000 to 5000 miles (4828 to 8046km), the premium on a popular classic will typically be a few hundred dollars. An agreed-value policy is a good idea, so that, if the worst happens, the payout will reflect the car’s value as a classic not as scrap metal — hence the importance of getting a proper valuation from the right sources for your classic car and getting your insurer to accept that valuation as true, because classic cars should be seen as investments not depreciating assets.
Safe driving … until next month!
Even in today’s world of modern technology, and with an automotive production process that’s rich in electronics, when it comes down to the nitty gritty inside an engine, not a lot has changed when it comes to rebuilding them. Whether it’s a classic or a 2016 car fresh off the dealer’s lot, once you get all the external mumbo jumbo off the engine, it’s the same principle as it has been for 100 years. There’s a block in which a crank drives the pistons, valves are opened and closed by a camshaft(s), and an oiling system to keep it all running. Simple, right? Many people might therefore attempt to complete a full rebuild in their garage — but some things are best left to the professionals, who have the correct equipment. With this in mind, we talked to a few automotive machinists and engine builders in the Auckland area, and asked about the steps involved between stripping and reassembling an engine.
46 Taonui Street, Palmerston North motormachinists.com