The Wheels of Finance

With values rocketing, a classic car is the ultimate mid-life-crises purchase that you can plausibly pass off as a decent investment 

Article by Marion Graham Photo by Andy Barnham

In March 2014, MP Steve Webb was derided for suggesting that newly introduced changes to pension rules would give pensioners the freedom to spend their savings on a Lamborghini, should they wish. Yet with bank interest rates at an all time low, is that really such a bad idea? Private bank Coutts recently reported that values of some classic cars have risen by 257 per cent in the last decade, so investing in a vintage Jaguar or Aston could be a sound investment.

So how do you go about making your first big purchase? James Knight, Group Motoring Director at Bonhams, says, “You have to do your research and decide what you want. But also think about all the other costs. You need to buy the car, insure it, store it and have it restored. In addition to savings, you could invest in the classic car market and have your own vintage investment piece. You don’t need limitless funds to get started”.

Despite that whopping rise in value of some classic cars, this kind of increase won’t apply to just any old car from any manufacturer. An Austin Maestro isn’t going to rocket to £70,000 in the next five years. This massive surge in price is usually only reserved for certain brands and the right kind of cars from those manufacturers. You’ll need to aquire high-end wheels from the likes of Maserati, Bentley, Aston Martin and Jaguar in order to make a serious profit.

If a car has been owned by someone famous, or played a starring role in TV or films – Keith Richards’ Ferrari Dino or James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 – then it’s likely to push the value up even higher. A car used in professional motorsport is also likely to get a high price at auction. Last year, a Swiss Grand Prix winning 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R Formula One racing single-seater fetched a record breaking £19,601,500.

There’s no exact science to this sort of investment and you may just have to take a lucky punt. At some point in a car’s life, it may be at a low enough value for you to part with your cash. If you buy at the right time, the value will take off soon after.  One such example is the standard [non-S] version of the Aston Vanquish. Anyone who invested their money into one of these around 2008 or 2009 would have purchased it at its lowest value. It’s now starting to creep up in value, much to the delight of owners.

So, the next time you’re down the pub and a friend offers to sell you a rusting, dusty old car from his garage or garden shed, have a think before you turn them down. Despite their poor condition, so-called ‘barn finds’ can go for big money – even if it means the buyer is going to have to keep on spending to bring the car up to nearly new condition. An Aston Martin DB5 that had sat in a barn for nearly 30 years recently sold for £320,700 – the owner had paid £1,500 for it in 1972.

If you’re ambitions are more modest, Riddle have picked five worthwhile purchases currently available for under £10,000:

1. Ford Fiesta XRi £4,500
There aren’t many good ones left, as the historic racing community has picked up on them. Restoration quality has improved.

2. Bentley Turbo R £6,700
Remarkable performance and luxury. The sub-20 mpg might hurt, but as a Sunday and Bank Holiday car very few will beat it.

3. Jaguar XJS £1,400
A car that has been overlooked for years. Costly to run, but sublime to drive. HE spec means better quality and economy.

4. Peugeot 205 GTi £1,995
Values for the MK1 VW Golf have sky-rocketed in recent years, so if you’re looking for affordable driving thrills choose the 205 GTi

5. Porsche 968 £6250
The most usable of the classic water cooled Porsches. If you’re lucky, you’ll get the 968 Club Sport for under £10,000… riddle_stop 2

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