Vintage is officially fashionable, and that includes the motor industry, as we discover…
Post-referendum a lot of industries have been impacted within the UK, and even across the world as a result – the housing market is experiencing a tumultuous few months, some retailers are suffering and tourism’s taken a hit. But, one sector still riding high is the classic car market.
The value increased 17% in 2015 – more than for other luxury assets including watches, jewellery, stamps, art and wine, according to the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index, and, although this year there’s been talk about sales ‘cooling off’ after such a success the previous year, purchases are still being made – this July statistics from the US showed that classic car sales were up to their highest level since December.
So, while we might be hesitant to put our money into savings accounts with minimal interest rates, investing in a classic car could still be worth a venture.
“At present there is so much more interest in classic cars, as they have become more collectable and valuable” explains Tony Hansford of H Engineering Motorsport in Tunbridge Wells. “Classic cars have now become a great investment as they do not lose their value.”
A recent report by insurer James Footman found that one in five people polled were considering buying a classic car, and 51% of those who had bought a classic car in the past year, did so because of a lack of trust or confidence in their other investments.
Those in the industry have also seen a change in the type of buyer – now, the vehicles aren’t just being bought and preserved by collectors, they’re being snapped up by investors too.
“Since I started out, the interest in classic cars has changed,” explains Simon Dunford who owns Classic Jaguar Racing in Wittersham. “Now, with the stock market in the state it’s in, the big money has moved into motor vehicles, and it’s investors rather than enthusiasts buying them.”
Even car companies themselves have realised the value in a classic, with some manufacturers releasing limited edition remakes of classics in order to feed the nostalgic demand. In 2014, Jaguar announced it was to make six lightweight E-Types to the original specification – and with a price tag of £1.2million each, they became the most expensive Jaguars ever made. Then, earlier this year the company revealed they would be building nine XKSS’s, and each is expected to be worth more than a million when they hit the roads next year.
While classic Jaguars are some of the most sought-after and in demand cars available today, Simon, who began working on and restoring them in 1990 has seen a general increase in demand for classic vehicles.
“I mostly work with Jaguars because I know them very well, and they are worth a lot of money,” he explains. “But, all very expensive cars are desirable – at the moment we have a 1970s – 80s renaissance with people in their 40s and 50s looking to relive their youth, so they’re driving up the value of cars and bikes of that era.”
And what about the next generations? The James Footman report discovered that younger collectors and are on the rise, with 16% of 25 to 34 year olds owning a classic car already, so what will the youth of today be investing in as tomorrow’s classics? Tony, whose projects have included working on F1 cars, believes that some of today’s supercars will be future investments.
“The cars I believe that would make great future classics would be Bugatti, McLaren and any of today’s supercars,” he says.
Now’s a good time to be a classic car enthusiast – so if something with wheels is more appealing than an ISA, it could be time to clear some space in the garage and invest.
“At present I would personally recommend investing in Ferrari, Porsche and E- Type Jaguars,” suggests Tony. Or, if you’re looking for something that’ll be a future investment, then Simon says: “All cars or bikes made in limited numbers or anything that has crazy low miles with good solid history will be safe buy as it will be rare one day.”
And, if you don’t have tens of thousands, or even millions to splash out on a vehicle – could you, and should you, still search for a classic?
“The market is so high now it’s not a place to think your money is always guaranteed to make a good return,” advises Simon. “Having said that, anything old and cheap is always worth a punt.”