Lotus Elan

Current State of the Classic Car Market

PostPost by: trw99 » Fri Oct 14, 2011 2:28 pm

Interesting insert in the current C&SC magazine 'Market Review 2011'. I noted the following remarks from various auction house experts and others from around the world:

The classic car market is booming. Thanks to an explosion of great events there is unprecedented interest in our hobby.
Get past the ?50k mark and sales remain buoyant.
Ferrari's still seem almost bulletproof.
Aston Martin projects are the story of the year.
Bentley Continentals have been strongly on the up.
Mutters from a public becoming increasingly cynical about 'barn finds'.
Why are '60s and '70s Maserati's so cheap?
A rash of new auction houses underlines the appeal of the classic market.
E-Types enjoyed a surge in interest in the run up to the cars 50th birthday, but that wave appears to have already broken before the year is out.
If you focus on the best and leave the rest, the only thing you have to discuss if you decide to sell your classic is the price.
Lamborghini's are hot.
US cars still don't travel, except Cobras.
Look beyond the headlines and the market is not as confident as it was.
The UK is now the best place in the EU to buy due to the weak pound.
The collectible car market in the USA is diverging; the strong gets more, while the weak ones fade.
How long before an original car takes the top honour at Pebble Beach?
'63 23-window Samba fetched ... $217,800!
Restoration costs have risen by 50% in five years (Have they? Tim)
Find best buys on EBay, BringaTrailer for projects, Craigslist for lower-end classics. If your price is right, you'll sell. If not, you won't.
The strength of the Aussie $ has had a big impact on the market.. a steady sale of European classics to the Asian market.
Back in the UK, the latest competition cars in demand are 'grey porridge' pre-'63 saloons, running in the wildly popular new Historic Racing Drivers Club series.
Porsche 356 and 911 will continue to rise because they are solid investments.
I especially liked this one- Unrestored and original cars are something I would steer people towards. So much originality has been lost through amateur restorations over the decades that any car that presents itself as it was built is a true piece of technical art.
What should people buy now? Look at what's rare, has race history, or was featured in a film or TV series. (erm - an Elan then?)

So some interesting points for discussion! I noted no mention of either Japan or the word Elan, very few references to Lotus. I think there is encouragement to be taken from the fact that the classic car hobby is now viewed very differently from its early days in the 1970s. Also I personally like the fact that originality and provenance are seen as being increasingly important.

What are your thoughts?

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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:14 pm

Interesting stuff Tim, and I?ve certainly noticed a softening of prices across the board in the auctions that I?ve been to in the past 4 or 5 months. The Sprint at Brightwells was a good example, selling for ?22k including buyers premium. 6 months ago I?m sure that would have retailed for ?30k plus, as it was a superb example.

There was a bit of hysteria with E Types at the beginning of the year, and a S1, convertible or coupe, couldn?t be found for under ?50k in any condition. Folks started to believe that, as an E is ?100k to ?150k to restore, then that?s what they should be worth. Then naivety didn?t last long, but I?m sure a few folks made a killing in the short term!

The Aussies are certainly stuck with their cars if they want to sell, but can buy quite cheaply. I was stung recently on buying a couple of parts for my Aussie Mini Moke in Sydney, only to realise a few weeks later that the bits were common to all Minis of the 70s and I could have got them here for 10% of the price I paid!

I do find one aspect of market analysis a little distressing though, as they can never resist looking at the market as something to invest in and surely most folks will come unstuck seeing classic cars as an investment rather than something to have fun with.

I recently saw the opposite behaviour to this. I currently have an E Type up at CMC, one of the leading E Type specialists. Next to my car was the most perfect, stunning Mk 10 Jaguar I have ever seen, finished in black with red upholstery. It had just been through a complete nut and bolt restoration, with a bill a long way north of ?100k! It must have been worth all of ?20k, but as it was one family owned from new, they didn?t care?.it was part of their family.

Provenance and originality isn?t just important, it?s everything with classic cars!

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PostPost by: cal44 » Sun Oct 16, 2011 7:10 pm

I am finding general prices down in the States. Special cars...........will always be special and demand high dollars. The folks with the money don't mind paying as evidenced by Steve McQueens 911. I forget what it sold for but I do remember it was a bundle.

I reckon it boils down too if you can afford an extra slice of cheese on you hamburger........

None of this has stopped me from buying my favorite cars because I get them a little cheaper. But, I must also keep in mind to sell mine at a reduced price. Sometimes it is hard to get that through my head.
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PostPost by: nebogipfel » Sun Oct 16, 2011 8:09 pm

Interesting discussion but classic car values have always been a bit of a nebulous thing.

As soon as "investors" start buying cars the whole bubble is bound to burst. I recall one chap in particular back in the 80's who got his fingers very badly burn't.

I always say, and I know it's an old cliche, but a car (or anything else for that matter) is only worth what you can actually get for it at the time of sale.

The only thing fairly certain is that classic cars and indeed most things antique and in finite supply usually represent a good long term investment.

Now, if you ask me what my car is worth to me in terms of pride of ownership and driving pleasure, then that is a very different matter. :wink:

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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:23 pm

Investing in classic cars has a certain attraction in that providing you are not buying and selling on a regular basis (ie a trader) then the profits on sale proceeds do not attract Capital gains Tax (in the UK). The attached HMRC brochure explains it more fully in officialspeak gobbledegook terms.
capital gains tax.PDF
(126.96 KiB) Downloaded 479 times

You will notice that it refers to wasting assets which are goods with a predictable life span of perhaps less than 50 years, cars certainly come under this banner as do fine wines and private cars are mentioned specifically as not attracting CGT.

None of our cars really come into this realm for speculation as the relevant values and increases are too small, but the big value, Bentleys, Ferraris, Astons etc etc only have to rise a few percent over a year to make it a worthwile punt for the well heeled. http://www.hagertypriceguide.com/indexes/http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/investing/article-1716622/Fed-up-with-Isas-Try-alternative-investing.html

The advice on original unrestored cars is a common theme, modifying outside of certain parameters will often lower values of individual cars and affect their future resale value. It's a piece of advice that anyone in a position to communicate to a large group has a duty to impart. We either take the advice or ignore it according to our own specific reasons for owning and running our classic cars.

Kindest regards

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