EURO BUYERS FUEL BRITISH CAR BOOM
Industry experts say the buoyant continental market is pushing up prices of UK classics
Classic dealers on the continent are reporting a surge in sales for British sports cars.
Specialists based in the Netherlands and Germany say that an increasingly healthy continental market for classics is pushing up prices for MGs, Triumphs, Jaguars and other two-seaters, with modern classics and more affordable offerings seeing the biggest increase in demand among customers.
Edwin Hartendorp, director of British car specialist Hartendorp, says the market is healthier than it was three years ago and he believes it will continue to grow.
He says: ‘It’s a similar situation to what’s happening on the UK market at the moment – while the banks aren’t offering much interest, people are looking at other places to put their money, and a classic car is something that’s far more enjoyable.
‘Cars like the Jaguar XJ- S, for instance, are doing really well at the moment. But if you want real proof of the appetite for British classics on the continental market, look at what’s happened to the Aston Martin DB7. In the Netherlands and Germany you could pick them up for between ¤25-30k (£22-27k) three years ago, but now you’d be struggling to get them for much under ¤50k (£43k). There’s a lot of demand for them now.’
Wilco Beijer, director of Netherlandsbased classic specialist Imparts, says that while there has been a surge in interest in pre-1970 Alfa Romeos – with German and Dutch traders sourcing cars from Italy to cope with demand – there is also an increasingly healthy market for British classics, and particularly sports cars.
‘Triumphs are very popular – particularly the TR models – with buyers, but we’re fifinding the MGB is increasingly fifinding its feet on the market here,’ Beijer says.
‘It’s a very easy car to sell, but the diffifificulty lies in sourcing the good ones.’
Martin de Vries, organiser of the British Cars & Lifestyle show, reports that the current state of the continental classic car market is very healthy. ‘The market in Europe – and Holland in particular – is still very strong for these cars,’ he says.
‘The only real change is that buyers are more fussy now about whether the car is left-hand-drive or right-hand drive, which makes selling cars sourced from the UK market a little trickier than it used to be. A generation ago buyers weren’t as bothered by that sort of thing.’
Henny Kennis, manager of the Netherlands’ Retrolegends business, regularly visits the UK to source classics to sell on the continental market, and also says that demand for British cars is booming. ‘I’ve found that interest in the Italian classics – particularly the sports cars like Ferraris – isn’t as strong as it has been, but there’s still a very healthy appetite for British cars,’ he says.
‘Buyers are always asking for Bristols and Jensens, so they have a fairly stable market, and cars like Jaguar E-types/XKs and MGAs are always quick to sell. But the one that’s proving increasingly popular is the MGB.’
The Triumph TR6 is one of the British sports cars cited as being increasingly popular on the continental market.