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
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.