In­dus­try ex­perts say the buoy­ant con­ti­nen­tal market is push­ing up prices of UK clas­sics

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - David Simister

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.

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