Cars as cash cows

ALWYN VILJOEN asks what ve­hi­cles can be­come in­vest­ments

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

LET’S say you won big on the Lotto — where would you in­vest the money so that the cap­i­tal sum gives you a good re­turn over the years plus qual­ity of life onto the bar­gain?

The in­vest­ment gu­rus are these days all against in­vest­ing in prop­erty if your fam­ily don’t live in the build­ing. It’s just too dif­fi­cult to get rid of bad ten­ants.

Art can do it for you, but you have to keep the paint­ing or stat­ues in stor­age for the re­main­der of your life while you wait for the artist to die be­fore the val­ues will ap­pre­ci­ate.

Race­horses? All the ex­perts who try to flog a nag will tell you horses are a sure way to make a small for­tune. What they don’t tell you is you have to start with a very big for­tune.

A case can, how­ever, be made to in­vest in metal-clad horse­power — es­pe­cially look­ing at the prices rare cars fetched at Good­ing and Com­pany’s auc­tion at Peb­ble Beach last month.

Best of all, you don’t have to wait a life­time for the cars to ap­pre­ci­ate. Half a life­time will do.

A 1981 Toy­ota Land Cruiser FJ43, for ex­am­ple, fetched over R2,5 mil­lion ($176 000), with the orig­i­nal six-cylin­der en­gine.

The FJ43 is a slightly longer ver­sion of the leg­endary Toy­ota FJ40 we all know but is less fre­quently seen than Ben­gal tigers in the Kruger Park. The owner in­formed Good­ing and Com­pany the Cruiser was used in South Amer­ica by an en­ergy com­pany for most of its life and it is said to have been well main­tained at Toy­ota deal­er­ships.

It was then pur­chased by a Toy­ota en­thu­si­ast who used it as a daily drive for years.

The truck was ac­quired sev­eral years ago by the con­signor and was re­stored ear­lier this year by The FJ Com­pany.

The FJ43 was stripped, re­stored and up­graded with a host of fea­tures, such as a new alu­minum ra­di­a­tor, cus­tom roll cage and soft top, leather seats, Old Man Emu sus­pen­sion, a fivespeed gear­box, and LED head­lights.

Look for minty fresh rareness

So which cars on shop floors to­day may yet go on to prove as good an in­vest­ment as the 1981 FJ43 Land Cruiser? When in­vest­ing in metal on wheels, there are two key­words and one mar­ket truth to re­mem­ber.

The key­words are “rare” and “mint con­di­tion”.

Rare is easy, for rust killed most of the 1980s cars within a decade.

Mint-con­di­tion old cars are a lot harder, again thanks to rust.

In sunny SA, all this can work in the in­vestor’s favour. A 1970s bay win­dow VW combi, worth about R20k lo­cally, now sells for over R210 000 in the UK.

Even af­ter ex­port costs, there is a good profit mar­gin here.

But be­ware the fick­le­ness of the buy­ers when in­vest­ing in new cars, for there is no rhyme nor rea­son to what is in de­mand, or not.

A Honda S2000, a clas­sic car in all as­pects is, for ex­am­ple, cur­rently cool­ing in av­er­age val­ues, but prices for a mint Dai­hatsu Copen, a cute toy car, are still within 50% of their new prices of R190k.

This lesser-spot­ted 1981 Land Cruiser FJ43 fetched over R2,5 mil­lion at the recent Peb­ble Beach auc­tion held by Good­ing and Com­pany.

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