News in­ves­ti­ga­tion: How the mar­ket stars have fared a year on

Bri­tain’s clas­sic mar­ket has been given a clean bill of health by the price ex­perts – but don’t ex­pect to be mak­ing ma­jor prof­its any time soon

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - Tom Sey­mour

‘The ma­jor­ity of cars aren’t see­ing price rises’ JUSTIN LAZIC, CLAS­SICS CEN­TRAL

Price ex­perts say that the mar­ket for sub-£30k clas­sics is per­form­ing well – de­spite some high­er­priced mod­els now strug­gling to find buy­ers.

De­spite a 1961 E-type 3.8 road­ster Se­ries 1 (pic­tured) set­ting a price record at RM Sotheby’s Lake Como sale last month, mar­ket ex­perts are re­port­ing that some tra­di­tion­ally more ex­pen­sive cars are fail­ing to sell at auc­tion. But that this doesn’t point to an im­pend­ing down­turn for the wider mar­ket.

Hagerty price ex­pert, John May­head, says that some mod­els in the sub-£200k Fer­rari mar­ket in par­tic­u­lar are hav­ing a hard time, with re­cent auc­tions at Sil­ver­stone and His­torics fail­ing to sell 365s, 328s and 456s. How­ever, he said that there had not been a knock-on ef­fect on the sub-£30k en­thu­si­ast sales and they are still ‘pretty vi­brant’, de­spite not record­ing the price rises of pre­vi­ous years.

‘ We don’t see any real bub­ble and there is noth­ing we see that sug­gests that cur­rent val­ues of th­ese cars is grow­ing to a level that is un­sus­tain­able. There will al­ways be head­line cars that make more, for what­ever rea­son, but in gen­eral we feel the cur­rent growth in this area isn’t ex­ces­sive and un­likely to lead to any sort of crash.’

CCW auc­tion an­a­lyst, Richard Hud­son-Evans, said that while the clas­sic car mar­ket has al­ways been cycli­cal, the signs do not point to a mar­ket-wide slump.

He says: ‘The mar­ket is cor­rect­ing, but it’s not crash­ing. Val­ues for Fer­rari and Porsche have been down 2.71 and 7.33 per cent re­spec­tively, but this is due to over­sup­ply in the mar­ket.

‘Sale rates and the num­ber of no-re­serves are good in­di­ca­tors for the health of the mar­ket. We’re still see­ing 90 per cent sale rates at auc­tion and while no-re­serves sug­gest some may be liq­ui­dat­ing col­lec­tions, move­ment in the mar­ket is pos­i­tive. No re­serves boost sale rates and it means there is con­sump­tion.

‘ When you start to see a rush to sell and none of them sell­ing, that’s when you can get into a sit­u­a­tion that will grow like an avalanche, but there are no signs of this hap­pen­ing right now.’

Clas­sics Cen­tral man­ager, Justin Lazic, says that the main driver for high prices on main­stream clas­sics is over­all con­di­tion, but in fact the ma­jor­ity of cars aren’t see­ing price rises.

He says: ‘I’m con­fi­dent the high prices for those heart­land cars will con­tinue to make them the best in­vest­ment for the fore­see­able fu­ture. They will con­tinue to main­tain high val­ues be­cause there’s such a lack of stock.’

Lazic said that there is a par­tic­u­lar lack of stock of cars like Austin-Healey 3000s, Tri­umph TR2s, TR4s and two-door Range Rovers, the sort of ve­hi­cles that are achiev­ing high prices for the best ex­am­ples.

He said: ‘There is still a big gulf be­tween a six out of 10 car and a 10 out of 10 car. There are a lot of ev­ery­day driver style cars that aren’t the ‘ best of breed’ and they are priced at ex­actly where they need to be in the mar­ket.’

‘The knock-on ef­fect of cars like the E-type sell­ing for such a high price is that it will en­cour­age own­ers to prop­erly in­vest in restor­ing their clas­sics when they see the sort of val­ues that can be achieved. That’s great for the restora­tion in­dus­try and it gives some­thing for en­thu­si­asts to aim for with their cars.’

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