OVER­SEAS BUY­ERS IN WEAK POUND FRENZY

For­eign in­vestors home in on ‘cheap’ UK clas­sics as Brexit woes kick in

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - News - David Brown

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.’

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