Buying Classics Abroad
Aston Martin DB6
If you’re in the market for a six-figure Aston, you’re probably prepared to go to the ends of the earth to find the right one, and shell out more than a few quid on transport. For long haul transport, most buyers of mega-money classics prefer to use air freight rather than shipping containers. Transport will therefore typically hit the £30,000 mark to fly a car from Australia, says Chris Wainwright of London specialist DD Classics (020 8878 3355), which buys and sells high-value classics such as DB6s from around the world. But that figure pales in comparison to the £300,000 or more it can cost for a full restoration.
Currency fluctuation is the other major factor. ‘So much swings on the strength of the pound,’ says Chris. ‘Eighteen months ago loads of cars were coming from the States, but this year we’re selling a few to Australia.’
Classics of this calibre are no worse off for being left-hand drive, as it broadens the appeal to their increasingly international customer base competing for LHD cars.
A good number of DB6s can be found in the USA – always a popular export market for the British sports car – but if you want the straightsix’s full stable of horses you’ll need to swap the American twincarburettors for the European triple carb arrangement. It’s a common modification that shouldn’t affect resale value if the original parts are kept with the vehicle. ‘In the days when these cars were £50,000, original gearboxes or engines weren’t always kept with the car if they were changed, but these days, now they’ve gone up in value, what you take off you keep,’ says Chris.
It’s a brave buyer who tries to source an overseas DB6 without help. Consulting a dealer or broker is the safer option. ‘Our boss Danny buys from people around the world whom he’s known for 20 years or more,’ says Chris. ‘It’s a relationship of trust that builds up over time.’
That said, don’t feel you need to go look thousands of miles away to find a decent DB6. ‘Personally,’ says Chris, ‘I think there are enough examples both in Europe and Great Britain.’