Should I invest in a classic car?

Are classic cars likely to give you a return on your money? Les Roberts finds out...

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Les Roberts: If you’ve money to invest, you’ve probably considered stocks and shares or property - but have you ever considered classic cars?

We’re here at Silverstone Auctions to find out what are the best classic cars to invest in, what sort of things affect the price of a classic car, and the things you should look out for when buying a classic…

Are classic cars being seen as investments?

LR: Classic car auction work in much the same way as normal car auctions, but instead of looking for a daily driver, you can probably consider your purchase to be more of a savings account.

Paul Campbell (Auction Manager at Silverstone Auctions): There’s no doubt that in our marketplace that cars are an investment.

A lot of financial advisors in City firms now are looking at classic cars for investor’s portfolios in the same way they have property in the past, and there are several agencies that track the market and certain marques, and the success of that has been very good.

If you look at Ferrari prices or Aston Martin as examples, it is simple to track what sort of values cars are realising.

Ludovic Parayre (A vendor at Silverstone Auction): Today you have both [types of buyer]…still have a lot of enthusiasts, but with the classic car market being so buoyant and so strong everybody is turning out to be a little bit of an investor. You have people who invest and purchase thinking and planning that the car value will go ahead.

What are the best classic cars to invest in?

PC: It could be fashion – the next celebrity to be seen in a red Jaguar E-Type? Who knows, suddenly that will become de rigueur to have a red Jaguar E-Type in central London or something like that.

There’s no doubt that the centenary year for Aston Martin has pushed in the last 12 months Aston Martin prices into new territory. There are certain Jaguars that are coming back – the E-Type slumped a little bit in its 50th anniversary but now two years later it’s a timeless design and a wonderful car and it’s always had a home, and the prices of them are starting to come back strong.

It’ll be interesting to see what the next shift will be, but as I say it’s subject to fashion as anything else, the front pages of the newspapers tomorrow could change what we’re doing for the next six months.

What should you look for if you want a classic?

LR: So we’ve seen that classic cars can make for a great investment, but what things should you consider when buying one?

PC: I would always suggest – and it’s different for everybody’s pocket – but I would always suggest you buy the best you can afford. A car can be restored but a history file can never be repeated, so it’s always important to spend time looking at the documents.

Buy on heritage, buy on pedigree, and then you’ve got some security in your investment, because that’s never going to change.

LP:  I think it’s like everything in life, no purchase should be carried out without doing some due diligence…you need to understand what you’re buying and in the case of a car you need to understand the strength and the weaknesses of the car you’re looking at.

So, do some research beforehand and on the day you know obviously what to look for and you know what will make the purchase one to consider, or what not to consider.

LR: It was interesting to hear that as more and more people invest in classic cars, they’re beginning to be seen as something of a currency.

Investing in classic cars isn’t easy, but if you do your research, know what you’re looking for - and importantly, get in ahead of the market – you could find yourself with a very shrewd investment.

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