DERV: LOST ITS VERVE?
Are diesel classics dying out? Or were they never very popular in the first place?
‘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.’