Classic car downturn?


Does an economic downturn mean bad news for classic car enthusiasts? So far the signs are mixed. Through my website at http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/ I've noticed an increase in the number of people offering me cars for sale, which may suggest that people are starting to offload their toys. But coming in the other direction, reading the classic car magazines seems to suggest that those with cash are switching out of shares and buying tangible assets like classic cars.


Both scenarios are part of the same sorry economic story. If you need cash you liquidate your assets and classic cars are often first to go. I sympathise with anyone who's got to face that tough choice - owning a classic is a great experience and the market is going to see a lot of well cared for cars coming up for sale no doubt at prices that barely reflected the investment that has gone into them. I know if I was to sell one of my own cars right now I wouldn't get back what it has cost me over the years.


So I feel a little ambivalent about rich shares traders switching from bonds to - more often than not - Bond's DB5. On the plus side, their investment is helping to keep classic prices fairly buoyant at a time when they would otherwise be on the floor. But I do feel a huge amount of sympathy for those people who have to sell their classic cars so that these people can benefit.


If you can afford to hang on to your classic, please do. You bought it because you love it. And classic prices have generally always remained stable over the long term - with the best cars continuously increasing in value. Alternatively, if you've got money, consider investing in up and coming classics from the 70s and 80s like the Ferrari Boxer and Testarossa and the Lamborghini Countach (have a look at Classic & Sports Cars cover story this month to whet your appetite).


But if you really do have to sell, maybe there is a way to keep your hand in with classic cars. Joining a classic car club or hiring a classic car are both good ways to sample great cars without the upfront investment - or the maintenance costs. With most classic cars travelling less than 4,000 miles a year, hiring a classic or joining a club may work out a cheaper option.

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