Oldies still hold uni­ver­sal ap­peal

2014 was an­other good year for clas­sic cars but the ma­jor gains of the pre­vi­ous year faded slightly, writes Mark Smyth

Business Day - Motor News - - INFINITI - MO­TOR NEWS RE­PORTER

CLAS­SIC cars were hot prop­erty again in 2014. For many it is about ow­ing an iconic piece of au­to­mo­tive his­tory, while for oth­ers it is about achiev­ing a re­turn on in­vest­ment.

Those who use cars as in­vest­ments had a good year in 2014, ac­cord­ing to the His­toric Au­to­mo­bile Group In­dex (Hagi). The in­dex looks at three spe­cific makes in the form of Fer­rari, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz, but it also looks at all other makes and, in ad­di­tion, com­piles an over­all Hagi Top 50 In­dex.

In terms of the over­all fig­ure, the in­dex grew by 15.84% for 2014, which is not a bad re­turn on in­vest­ment at all in a year where low in­ter­est rates pre­vailed through­out the global econ­omy. How­ever, while it was a good year for the clas­sic car mar­ket, the re­turn was well be­low the 46.75% in­dex growth in 2013 which will have dis­ap­pointed some.

2013 was a re­mark­ably good year, so 2014 most likely marked a re­turn to some form of nor­mal­ity in the mar­ket.

The best per­form­ing in­dex in 2014 was Porsche, which even showed gains in De­cem­ber to re­turn a 32.06% im­prove­ment in val­ues over the year.

Val­ues for Fer­rari mod­els showed a dip in De­cem­ber, but this did lit­tle to dent an­other good year for the Pranc­ing Horse brand, which saw val­ues im­prove by 17.53% for the year. Those look­ing at the Maranello marque as longer-term in­vest­ments will be pleased to know that the Fer­rari in­dex is very much the strong­est with an in­crease of 191.14% over the past five years.

Mercedes-Benz ve­hi­cles also had a good year, but the mar­ket was lit­tle more sub­dued than Porsche and Fer­rari, with the Mercedes in­dex com­ing in un­der the over­all fig­ure with an im­prove­ment of 13.42%.

The year has not started as strongly for the global mar­ket though, but Jan­uary is never a true in­di­ca­tor of any eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment. The over­all in­dex de­clined 1.86% in Jan­uary but this is a fig­ure sim­i­lar to that seen in Septem­ber last year.

Both the Fer­rari and Mercedes in­dices lost ground in Jan­uary but Porsche bucked this trend, ris­ing 4.57% in the first month of the year.

“Ex­ter­nal fac­tors in­clud­ing dra­matic cur­rency move­ments in the euro and pound ster­ling ver­sus the US dollar and Swiss franc have had a ma­jor im­pact in Jan­uary’s mar­ket,” ac­cord­ing to the His­toric Au­to­mo­bile Group.

De­spite de­clines by both Mer- cedes and Fer­rari in Jan­uary, it re­mains a Mercedes-Benz that tops the over­all weighted in­dex with the Mercedes 300SL road­ster (W198 II) show­ing re­turns of 7%. The Fer­rari F40 is sec­ond on the list with re­turns of 6.7% and the once ig­nored Fer­rari 256 Dino re­turn­ing about 5.5%. The Porsche 911 2.7 RS Tour­ing is still the top per­form­ing model from the Stuttgart brand with an in­dex fig­ure of 4.9%.

This year will be an in­ter­est­ing one again for the clas­sic car mar­ket, not least of all in the US, where any new re­la­tion­ship be­tween the US and Cuba could well see a flood of good con­di­tion iconic Amer­i­can clas­sics leav­ing Cuban shores to find homes in the US as well as in the rest of the world.

Euro­pean mar­ques are likely to con­tinue to show some of the strong­est re­turns once more in spite of the poor start to the year for the global in­dices. No doubt many of the prices will also be pushed up when the in­ter­na­tional clas­sic car auc­tion cir­cuit gets un­der way. Ma­jor events at Pebble Beach, Good­wood and Monaco will all be in­di­ca­tors of what the mar­ket is will­ing to pay for some of the most iconic mod­els in au­to­mo­tive his­tory.

Whether we will see some of the records achieved last year be­ing beaten re­mains to be seen, but as col­lec­tors and in­vestors con­tinue to see the value in clas­sic cars for ad­mir­ing, driv­ing or sim­ply as in­vest­ments, you can ex­pect an­other in­ter­est­ing year.

The Mercedes 300SL road­ster, above, still tops the global in­dex. Be­low left: Clas­sic Porsche mod­els showed the strong­est gains in 2014, while Fer­rari, be­low right, is still the best in­vest­ment over a five-year pe­riod.

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