Classic car sector holding up well and looking steady

Roger Lippiatt with his Austin A40 from 1960 at Redhill Classic car meet

Roger Lippiatt with his Austin A40 from 1960 - Credit: MARK ATHERTON

Paul Jolly, classic car specialist and valuer:

The classic car market had a few ups and downs prior to Brexit echoing the general uncertainty but there are great signs of renewed confidence and a general uplift in activity.

One of the best ways to see what is happening is to watch the classic car auctions, of which there are now many.

In particular, Historics of Brooklands who are now in their tenth year, hold four large events throughout the year, many of these at Ascot racecourse.

Each sale averages around 180 cars and is always well attended.

Typically, they achieve a 65 per cent sale rate whereas the more exclusive classic car auctioneers Bonhams tend to achieve nearer 90 per cent.

However, Historics have recently been achieving close to 80 per cent or more for their ‘Everyman Classics’ which are more representative of the classic car market with a total sales value of over £4.5m at the last sale.

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The message is clear that this sector is holding up well and looking steady.

In point of fact, classic cars have outstripped most conventional investments including property, shares, gold, wine for the last 30 years.

Why is this? Well for one thing, the car in your garage is a highly portable asset you can enjoy and is tangible plus it gives great personal pride of ownership and a smile factor no other investment can.

Another interesting fact is that there are no taxable gains here. HMRC regards second hand cars as ‘wasting assets’ and as such are exempt from tax.  

Are you ready to join the club?

Not all old cars are worth investing in and the general rule is that if it was special in its day, then it may well be a true classic now.

Safe bets include the MGB, and any Triumph sports car, Jaguar E Type and old Land Rovers.

Then there is the ‘my dad had one of those’ phenomenon which also applies, so even Fords and Austins of the 1960s and 1970s are enjoying a surge in popularity.

Go for the sporty variants such as the Mini Cooper S or Capri 3 litre and the money goes up big time. Even the VW Golf GTI is now hot property.

I bumped into a lovely family with young children, all piled into a beige Austin Maxi recently in Dartmouth. They all loved their old car yet in its day, it was quite unloved.

Top tip for the day: It is quite possible to buy a classic Mercedes SL convertible with a sound history, year's MOT and cheap insurance, all for under £20,000.

Summer’s coming. Have fun out there.