Classics World


This month Andrew wants to talk about classic car values and where they’re heading.


There are various different views on where classic car values are heading, but as everyone is entitled to my opinion, this is how I see it. New cars are increasing­ly a pain in the bum to use. The latest Golf (surely just an ordinary car?) has touch screen controls, but to what end? Nonsense like lane departure warning and correction, auto braking and self parking are for people who can’t drive, simple as that. To my mind the height of car technology was ABS braking, plus maybe traction control, automatic air conditioni­ng, power steering and cruise control. More than that you do not need.

Then we have the sorry spectre of car companies flushing away their heritage with cars like the Chinese-built Lotus SUV, frontwheel drive Renault-engined Mercedes and British built diesel powered hulking SUVs with a leaping cat logo that are about as much of a Jaguar as my kettle. Worst of all is BMW. They only make one half-decent looking car in the shape of the 5 Series, but that’s due for replacemen­t with something that probably looks like a Toyota with Bugs Bunny teeth. The XM as we knew it was a fairly unattracti­ve Citroën from 30 or so years ago, but you need to log onto BMW’s website and use the 360° function to fully appreciate the terriblene­ss of their new XM. This monster is a cross between Kryten from Red Dwarf, a Kenworth truck from the front and an Imperial Stormtroop­er from the back. In black with the tasteful gold detailing it looks like a JPS Capri has been stirred in as well. It has monstrous power, weighs 2700kg and will flatten anyone it hits, assuming the captain guiding it can even see the three or four foot high child that runs out into the road. We really do not need cars like that and many will, like me, find it offensive.

That’s one reason old cars are becoming increasing­ly desirable and expensive. The other is of course nostalgia. I look at the cars I recall from my youth, the Mk1 Escort Mexico, a JPS Capri, the original 911 Turbo, Mini 1275GT (well all 1960s and 1970s Minis), the last three generation­s of Cortina, the original Sierra, 18/22 Princess, BMC 1100 and Morris Marina... Don’t laugh at the last one – there was time not that long ago when I would have derided these, and next year marks 40 years since I owned a Black Tulip 1971 1.3 Deluxe Coupé bought for 20 quid, but the Marina Coupé shape has improved over time. It’s quite pretty. It’s also small, the 1275 engine lively and good on fuel, the seats squashy and the ride on the 13in wheels and tall 145 tyres decent enough. With skinny pillars the vision is excellent, the interior plain and easy to fathom out. This describes not just the Marina, but countless old cars like it – the Viva, Chevette, Mirafiori, Golf, Audi 80, Cortina and Escort, Sunny and Bluebird. Buy a good one and you can easily drive it around, while servicing and diligent cleaning and rustproofi­ng will cost buttons compared to the PCP payments on some ghastly new Peugeot.

Need something newer and more motorway friendly? There is a range of workaday Sierras and Cavaliers, long legged and comfortabl­e old Carltons and Senators, even a Rover 820i if there are any left. A late 1980s 2.0i Carlton is a superb old bus.

What are the classic car losers though? It’s going to be the stuff that’s of little interest to either The Youth or the moneyed collectors. Morris Minors are lovely old things, but to drive every day? No thanks, and not whilst there is a BMC 11000 or 1300 for the same price. As for humdrum pre-war stuff, I cannot think of anyone my age or younger who would want a Morris Sidevalve Dicky Seat 20bhp 30/60 Open Sports apart from a museum. Even the post war Consuls, Cambridges and Hunters are going to suffer in time, and even more so such rarities as an Austin 3 Litre.

Even in more rarified zones we are now seeing massive readjustme­nts in values. 3.8 and early 4.2 E-Types are quite steady, but the hangers-on – the 2+2, Series 2 and V12s – are seeing big drops because the moneyed types who want an E-Type are ignoring the later ones. Me? I’d have a V12 automatic in maroon with chrome XJ steel wheels over any other E-Type, but for some strange reason not everybody agrees with me there.

Finally we have the cars that were desirable new but which really fell out of bed once production ended. The Jensen Intercepto­r, Triumph Stag and Reliant Scimitar are just three cars that nobody wanted in the 1980s for reasons of horrific fuel economy, reliabilit­y, electrical faults and chassis rot. And whilst they had a bit of a resurgence a few years ago, the investors and the kids just don’t want to know. And that my friends is why a magnificen­t car like the Stag can be worth half as much as a Mini 1275GT and the best Intercepto­r in the world is half the value of a 22B Subaru Impreza. It’s why an unrestored 19,000 mile 1965 Cooper S can be advertised for £65K. Food for thought!

 ?? ??
 ?? ?? Andrew is not a fan of the BMW XM. We must say we are with him there.
Andrew is not a fan of the BMW XM. We must say we are with him there.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia