DERV: LOST ITS VERVE?

Are diesel clas­sics dy­ing out? Or were they never very pop­u­lar in the first place?

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - BUYING & SELLING -

‘A small num­ber of mak­ers pro­duced clas­sic diesels, but diesels are a very small seg­ment of the clas­sic mar­ket’

Have re­cent me­dia re­ports on the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of diesel-en­gined cars had an ef­fect on oil-burn­ing clas­sic val­ues? Diesels aren’t ex­actly com­mon clas­sic sale sights, other than Land Rovers, Mercedes-Benz sa­loons and the oc­ca­sional early Ford Tran­sit.

And while they might be more eco­nom­i­cal than their petrol-en­gined sib­lings, any clas­sic diesel tends to be glacially slow and noisy.

A glance down this year’s list of cars sold shows very few oil burn­ers – even Land Rovers tend to be petrolengined ver­sions, which of­fer perkier per­for­mance than the diesel mod­els, and they’re even rarer in the mod­ern clas­sics seg­ment.

One auc­tion­eer said: ‘Diesel clas­sics are never pop­u­lar and will only get less de­sir­able as anti-diesel sen­ti­ment builds. They are just too slow and smelly for most. The only real mar­ket for diesel cars are penny-pinch­ing mo­torists who do a high mileage so that logic doesn’t re­ally ap­ply to the typ­i­cal clas­sic car buyer.’

Barons’ Peter Gas­coigne sees the clas­sic diesel seg­ment be­ing a very small part of the clas­sic mar­ket as un­likely to change: ‘Although there has been a sig­nif­i­cant drop off in the value of mod­ern diesel cars re­cently, this doesn’t seem to have hap­pened in the clas­sic world. There are re­ally only a small num­ber of mak­ers who pro­duced clas­sic diesels – Land Rover, Range Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Citroën and Peu­geot.

‘Early petrol Land Rovers are def­i­nitely more pop­u­lar than the diesel ver­sions, but that has al­ways been the case. If you want a petrol or a diesel ver­sion of a par­tic­u­lar model that’s what you look for, so, in our ex­pe­ri­ence noth­ing seems to have changed.’

The last word goes to Anglia Car Auc­tions’ Rob Ge­orge, who said: ‘Diesel 4x4s con­tinue to sell well, es­pe­cially to the more off-road types. To be frank, we don’t see that many diesel clas­sics, but un­der­stand that col­lec­tors may be put off un­til leg­is­la­tion has been clar­i­fied.

‘How­ever, I sup­pose they are bet­ter than the milk­floats that ev­ery­one seems to want us to drive around in these days.’

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