A colleague of mine once said that cars are for driving, not wrapping in cotton wool only to be discovered decades later in a barn with just 100 miles on the clock. I agree; a moving car takes on a whole new persona to one standing still – the lines of the car, often so meticulously designed with the aid of a wind tunnel, really come into their own when you see a car fly past you on a motorway or at a track day event.
So it was interesting to see The Telegraph picking up on something I had noticed gaining popularity as an idea for some time; the crazy idea (surely?) that classic cars are an investment.
I first pondered on the idea of classic cars being an investment while watching The Classic Car Show (Channel 5) a few months back. The show, which features Quentin Wilson ably supported by his car-loving sidekick, Jodie Kidd, seemed to have a section each week dedicated to the best classic cars to buy, with the endgame being to make a profit.
The Hagerty Price Guide assessed the prices of 23 classic car models from all walks of life and came to the conclusion that their prices had risen by, on average, more than 30% in just six months. Overall, Hagerty found that classic car prices have risen by around 8.4% during 2015 so far.
So what is behind this change in the way classics are being purchased, surely it can’t all be down to Quentin Wilson? Well, no. As markets like China and Russia become more open to Western imports and information, so the desire and ability to buy up some wonderful classic automobiles from around the world has changed from being just a desire, to a real possibility.
Add to that the fact that classic cars are exempt from capital gains tax in the UK (a tax on the profit you make when selling one of your assets) and you start to see that it makes sense as an investment.
Those of us who are into our classic VWs have known for sometime that classic Campervans have been rising at quite a rate over the past 15 years or more. One specialist air-cooled garage told me that they suspect that this has been, in part, due to there being more stay-at-home families shunning the expensive holiday abroad for UK-based holidays. Let’s face it, if you’ve got young kids, a Campervan might be hugely persuasive in getting them to calmly agree to Devon instead of Spain!
So there may also be other reasons out there for the steady price-rise for sought after classics.
Having owned a classic car myself (at the lower end of the spectrum with a Beetle) I can safely say that any idea of a profit or investment in my wallet-draining obsession was laughable; I averages about £800 a year on just keeping it on the road. But then I wasn’t storing it in a barn for investment purposes, I wanted to enjoy driving (and fixing) my Beetle – and there’s the rub; is it right to lock these cars away as just another investment, depriving an enthusiast the opportunity to drive the car in question? Not in my book.
As a footnote, the car that has seen the biggest increase might come as a surprise to some, as it’s the Fiat Dino. The 2000 Spider sits on top of the list with a 45% increase and the Fiat Dino 2000 Coupe sits in second place with a rise of 43%.
Incidentally the Campervan does feature on the list with an average price rise from around £28,100 in 2014 to £36,750 in 2015. And while it may be no surprise to see Lamborghini feature heavily on the list, the wonderful Jensen FF Standard Coupe may be more of a surprise, though good luck getting spare parts if you need them. If you’re on more of a budget, then maybe take a look at the Ford Lotus Cortina.
As far as classic car prices go, the only way is up.
Images: betterparts.org, retrorides.com, vwcampervanblog.com, candyappleweddings.co.uk, deviantart.net.
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