Mar­ket trends

New Zealand Classic Car - - Local Market Report -

This is prov­ing to be an­other amaz­ing and in­trigu­ing year for the clas­sic car hob­by­ist. We are see­ing more growth in val­ues, but what we are re­ally see­ing growth in is in ac­tiv­ity. En­thu­si­asts and in­vestors alike con­tinue to in­vest in clas­sic cars. En­thu­si­asm for the clas­sic car hobby re­mains undi­min­ished, and talk of cars as an in­vest­ment class is reach­ing new highs.

Prices are ris­ing even when sup­ply out­strips de­mand. We are see­ing the sup­ply of some cars — par­tic­u­larly, Porsche and Fer­rari — ex­plode, with the avail­abil­ity of some mod­els al­most dou­bling. This cer­tainly has seemed to af­fect the prices, which in many cases have dou­bled — just take the Fer­rari Tes­tarossa as an ex­am­ple: their prices have soared in the last year, with some ex­am­ples fetch­ing over £300K on the in­ter­na­tional mar­kets.

Over­all, the clas­sic car mar­ket in New Zealand keeps ad­vanc­ing. One thing is for cer­tain — prices for good-qual­ity cars con­tinue to soar. The pop­u­lar­ity of clas­sic bikes also con­tin­ues to strengthen, as do val­ues for the best bikes. And we’re ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a rekin­dled en­thu­si­asm for beau­ti­ful pre-war cars, and the ev­i­dence of this in the form of in­creased en­quiry lev­els. Will these old girls bounce back on a more per­ma­nent ba­sis? In gen­eral, it’s un­likely, but we feel that the best and most beau­ti­ful are once again find­ing some of their trac­tion in the mar­ket.

One could con­clude that the best ex­am­ples of pretty much any mar­que and model are the real win­ners when it comes to value in­creases. En­thu­si­asts are will­ing to pay top dol­lar for the very best. It’s a sim­ple the­ory, re­ally: own the very best, and you have a good in­vest­ment.

Cars from the ’80s and ’90s are be­ing bought more en­thu­si­as­ti­cally this year by a ‘new’ gen­er­a­tion of buy­ers who are form­ing their au­to­mo­tive habit in this era. Cars of the ’80s and ’90s are af­ford­able clas­sics, and we are notic­ing an in­crease in the num­ber of peo­ple wish­ing to buy cars from this pe­riod. No doubt we are see­ing some port­fo­lio di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion as those who have traded out of more ex­pen­sive clas­sics be­gin to look for op­por­tu­ni­ties on the ground floor.

In­vest­ing in a clas­sic car

Hav­ing sat­is­fied the prac­ti­cal and fi­nan­cial pre­con­di­tions of own­er­ship, your se­ri­ous home­work be­gins. Read as much as you

spec­i­fi­ca­tion, and many will have ben­e­fited from well-known mod­i­fi­ca­tions to mit­i­gate pe­riod flaws or im­prove re­li­a­bil­ity. Few will have been con­verted to run on un­leaded petrol, for ex­am­ple, and some will have been fit­ted with elec­tronic ig­ni­tion, although such con­ve­niences are less ser­vice­able than their me­chan­i­cal pre­de­ces­sors.

As your pref­er­ences nar­row, join the rel­e­vant own­ers’ club or the Vin­tage Car Club. Read the club mag­a­zines, at­tend club gath­er­ings, and speak to ex­pe­ri­enced own­ers. Be­ing en­thu­si­asts by def­i­ni­tion, clubs are in­vari­ably keen to en­cour­age new blood and pass on use­ful knowl­edge.

Read ve­hi­cle mag­a­zines; do not just look at the pho­tos. All knowl­edge is power, and ev­ery­thing you learn will help you as­sess a car’s de­sir­abil­ity. That said, when it does come time for you to view a prospec­tive ve­hi­cle, it will do you no harm to be ac­com­pa­nied by a gen­uinely knowl­edge­able friend or ac­quain­tance. Modern used-car in­spec­tion ser­vices are not help­ful when it comes to clas­sics — re­fer to spe­cial­ist clas­sic car garages.

Don’t be a goose. Do not buy clas­sic cars sight un­seen or from flea mar­ket–type auc­tion­eers — not un­less you re­ally know enough about the car you’re look­ing at, or you are look­ing for a project, as that’s what you are likely to get from such auc­tions in the ma­jor­ity of cases. Re­mem­ber — clas­sics that don’t sell are usu­ally the ones that sur­face at these auc­tions.

A proper test drive and in­spec­tion are vi­tal. Your prior re­search should pre­pare you to look out for model-spe­cific prob­lems or wor­ri­some noises, and the more cars that you ex­am­ine, the more you will be able to dis­tin­guish the usual rat­tles from the sounds of a worn en­gine, driv­e­line, or sus­pen­sion.

Some faults may be reme­died rel­a­tively eas­ily, but sig­nif­i­cant rust sug­gests that the whole car has been poorly main­tained. Alarm bells should cer­tainly sound if you find a ‘ freshly re­stored’ car with shiny ex­te­rior paint and moss on the in­side of the win­dows. Miss­ing trim is an­other no-no; some items are hard to source even for mod­els other­wise well served by spares sup­pli­ers and re­man­u­fac­tur­ers.

What­ever you do, take your time and re­sist the temp­ta­tion to buy the first car you see — in the long-nur­tured ea­ger­ness to ob­tain a dream ma­chine, this com­mon ad­vice is of­ten ig­nored. How­ever, in the world of clas­sic cars you may be cer­tain of two things: first, you will even­tu­ally find a bet­ter ex­am­ple, and, sec­ond, it will be worth wait­ing for.

Safe driv­ing … un­til next month!

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