SU­PER MAR­KET SWEEP

Feed­back from Essen proves the clas­sic mar­ket is boom­ing – but not ev­ery­one’s happy about it

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

Car-hunters in Europe’s big­gest clas­sic mar­ket are clam­our­ing for US mus­cle, Bri­tish sports cars and 1980s and 1990s of­fer­ings, sell­ers from across the con­ti­nent say.

Risto Paunonen, chair­man of Fin­nish clas­sic dealer Tri­an­gle Mo­tor Com­pany, says there’s a strong con­ti­nen­tal mar­ket – and that means more com­pe­ti­tion for dealer space at shows like Techno-Clas­sica Essen.

‘The old favourites like MGs, Tri­umph TRs and Mercedes Pago­das are very much in favour,’ says Paunonen. ‘How­ever, the real growth area is in 1980s and 1990s cars. Buy­ers want them to be in good, orig­i­nal con­di­tion and seem happy to pay for it – at Essen we had a Jaguar XJ- S in this con­di­tion for sale, and we had a lot of in­ter­est in it.

‘And the mar­ket in Ger­many is very strong at the mo­ment – much stronger than it is in Fin­land.’

Traders spe­cial­is­ing in Amer­i­can clas­sics are also re­port­ing an in­crease in de­mand, par­tic­u­larly from buy­ers based in Ger­many.

Brian Pauli, man­ager of US Car One says: ‘The mar­ket for US cars here is def­i­nitely grow­ing. Ger­man buy­ers love the look and the sound of these cars, but they also rep­re­sent a lot of value for money and the parts are cheap and easy to get hold of.

‘There has been some growth in 1950s and 1960s pick-ups, but the car that’s re­ally been do­ing well over the last year or two is the Mus­tang. Buy­ers can’t get enough of them.’

The down­side of growth in the Ger­man mar­ket – and the re­sult­ing flurry of deal­ers com­pet­ing for real estate at its big­gest clas­sic show – has meant a squeeze on traders fo­cus­ing on af­ford­able clas­sics.

An­ders Nils­son, a Swedish-based trader who has been sell­ing cars at Essen pri­vately for the last three years, says that while the cur­rent strength of the mar­ket is good for buy­ers it means that it’s be­com­ing very dif­fi­cult to find good deals within the show’s main halls.

He says: ‘Essen is in­creas­ingly one big show­room given over to up­perend deal­ers. The smaller deal­ers and pri­vate sell­ers used to be given a fair amount of space in the halls, but with the mar­ket the way it is we tend to get squeezed to the out­side, which a lot of the sell­ers don’t like.’

Deal­ers were fight­ing for space at Techno Clas­sica Essen – and the up­perend firms were win­ning.

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