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