Boom­ing mar­ket in classic cars is run­ning out of gas as me­chan­ics lay down tools

The Sunday Post (Inverness) - - News - By Janet Boyle JBOYLE@SUN­DAY­POST.COM

For years, they have been a gilt- edged in­vest­ment op­por­tu­nity on four wheels.

However, ex­perts fear the boom­ing mar­ket in classic cars could be slow­ing to halt be­cause of a dire short­age of old-school me­chan­ics.

Fig­ures from the Queen’s bank, Coutts, sug­gest that the value of the cov­eted cars has flat­lined or even fallen over the past 12 months after soar­ing in re­cent years.

Since 2005 classic cars had proved a bet­ter buy than rare coins and other go- to in­vest­ments for the canny-minded.

But Coutts re­port a price drop of 10.4% in the past year.

Philip Warner, co- founder of the Car and Classic web­site, said: “Prices have tum­bled and that is in part due to the dire short­age of skilled me­chan­ics.

“That makes their fu­ture very un­cer­tain.

“To­day’s gen­er­a­tion ex­pect to fix ev­ery­thing with their iPhone.

“They are schooled to de­pend on com­puter di­ag­nos­tics with­out open­ing the bon­net.

“Sadly, the old grease-mon­key is a dy­ing breed of me­chanic.

“My gen­er­a­tion was able to use a man­ual to strip down a car and put back to­gether again.

“I se­ri­ously doubt the fu­ture of classic cars as we know them.

“At best we might see a more reli­able mod­ern en­gine pow­er­ing a classic chas­sis.”

The retro car con­nois­seur has a collection of 12 old favourites in­clud­ing an S Type jag, reminiscent of the 1960s crime dra­mas.

The most paid-for a car at auc­tion was £22.85 mil­lion for a 1962 Fer­rari 250 GTO Ber­linetta in 2014.

David Mutch, owner of Cly­des­dale Classic Car Restora­tions, says it is a bat­tle to find me­chan­ics and panel beat­ers to keep up with the de­mand from own­ers want­ing cars fixed.

His East Kil­bride firm con­stantly ad­ver­tises for skilled old- school car work­ers as the de­mand from col­lec­tors soars.

David, 56, said: “Find­ing me­chan­ics and panel beat­ers with the right skills is not easy. To­day’s me­chan­ics are trained to work on cars as fast as pos­si­ble.

“We work at a more metic­u­lous pace. My own 1971 MGB Road­ster is ly­ing in a cor­ner wait­ing to be fixed and I don’t know when we will get round to it.

“Our work book is full and we have had to move to larger premises a few times to keep up with cus­tomer de­mand.”

Perth classic car auc­tion­eers Mor­ris Leslie say they are still do­ing a “brisk trade” with their quar­terly auc­tions.

Auc­tion­eer Greg Robert­son said: “We sold a Mercedes Pagoda for £43,000 to an Aus­tralian cus­tomer.”

Mean­while, the Highland Green 1968 Mus­tang driven by Steve McQueen in Bul­litt, which fea­tured one of the movies’ most fa­mous car chases, has been dis­cov­ered in Mex­ico. Fully re­stored, ex­perts think it could sell for a cool $1 mil­lion.

David Mutch says it is a strug­gle to find good me­chan­ics for his car restora­tion business

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