Paul Campbell, Manor Classic Cars
How has the 2017 market fared?
Better than many had anticipated. The recipe hasn’t changed in that the very best cars will always find new homes and end-user hobbyists (the mainstay of what we do) will continue to buy and enjoy classic motor cars. However, inferior cars, or cars with questionable maintenance records and history, are failing to capture the imagination.
Are you selling to British buyers, or ones further away?
For us in North Yorkshire, we’re trying to develop and build our local custom as it’s so much simpler to service. However, ease of travel by train or road sees us visited by many UK buyers. More recently, we have sold an unusual Bristol to Germany, and now that we’re stocking a selection of motorcycles we’re seeing a steady enquiry stream from further overseas. Two classic bikes are currently under offer pending shipping to Texas and Sydney respectively.
Are they investors or enthusiasts?
For whatever reason, my experience is that the investor crowd are still finding greater confidence buying under the hammer at auction, so retail remains 75-80 per cent the domain of the privateer enthusiast. I don’t know if it’s the cut and thrust or bragging rights of ‘winning’ at auction, but for the cars we stock and the service we offer we’re comfortable with the status quo.
How clued-up are customers?
Investors are sometimes not experienced in classic car ownership (and many haven’t driven cars like E-types before), but they do of course appreciate the cars. Who doesn’t? However, if you’re buying with your head rather than your heart, building an emotional attachment to the car you’re bidding for or buying is different to the retired oil refinery worker who waited 35 years to own the TR6 he recently bought from us – and he’s absolutely made-up with it.
What’s growing in popularity and what’s falling out of favour?
British sports cars seem to remain a safe haven. Even earlier cars from the 1930s and 1940s like MG TCs have proven popular and we’ve been asked to source two more since retailing our 1947 TC recently. Larger classics, those harder to store safely or to fettle, seem to stall a little, as satisfying as a car such as a Bentley Turbo R is to drive.
‘The investor crowd prefers to buy at auction’