OVERSEAS BUYERS IN WEAK POUND FRENZY
Foreign investors home in on ‘cheap’ UK classics as Brexit woes kick in
Overseas buyers are taking advantage of the weak pound to snap up British classic cars – and UK auction houses are keen to make the most of the opportunity.
A number of agents for European buyers were present at H&H Classic’s sale at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, on 21 October where the plunging value of the pound provided the financial incentive to buy. In addition to the bidders in room, H&H also reported strong bidding online and by telephone from all around the world.
A total of £5 million was spent at Duxford with a 1924 Bentley Tourer making a hammer price of just under £300,000 (see also Auction News, page 36), in a sale that also featured 10 Jaguar E-types. H&H declined to reveal what proportion was overseas sales, but H&H Classics managing director Dominic Lyncker says: ‘The current financial situation and relatively easy export-import situation attracts continental European buyers. We have European representatives scouting the markets now for potential buyers.’ Lyncker believes the UK classic market will remain attractive in the short-term for continental European and Japanese buyers. He adds: ‘Lefthand drive cars are slightly lower valued than their right-hand drive equivalents in the UK.’
The attraction of buying classics as an investment has received a further boost by the fact that historic vehicles became joint winners in the latest Frank Knight Luxury Index. This report tracks the performance of 10 ‘investments of passion’ with classic cars and wine both managing 8% returns for the 12 months to the end of the first half of 2016. However, predictions are for classic cars to experience a more challenging period in the near future while investment in fine wines surges ahead.
CCW reported on Barry Bowman’s firm Exclusive Classic Cars earlier this year. The company was making good business with importing Daimlers from Japan. However, since Brexit and the fall in the international value of Sterling, Barry has stopped importing from the East.
‘It’s definitely affected us. I’ve not imported anything from Japan in three months. As the Yen is so strong and the Pound is so low it just doesn’t make it worth our time,’ says Bowman.
‘And it’s not just the price of the car that increases. It’s the cost of expense and the shipping too. Generally, it’s costing 40% more than what it did six months ago.’