April 2015 – It has been quite a while since we posted on the health of the classic car market and things have really moved on a great deal since then. Three years ago classic cars could have been considered a niche interest but they are now definitely mainstream with the media reporting on rising values, auctions and events daily. Interest has exploded and the market is truly buoyant.

Much has been made of the performance of classic car values when compared to the stock markets, housing and other tangible assets and classic cars have outperformed them all since the recession. It is worth noting that these gains have principally been seen and recorded in the collector car market and as a business that regularly deals with Mercedes 300SL’s we are familiar with that marketplace. The good news is that while the top end of the market has found a level of price stability that is out of the reach of many, the middle market is now performing very well.

There are now a number of organisations tracking classic car values in the same way that share prices are tracked. We have referred to the HAGI Index in the past but this almost exclusively monitors the values of high value cars. More recently Hagerty – the global classic car insurance giant – has introduced a market rating system for North America that tracks the health of the market. As of April 2015 this indicated an expanding market in North America – we hope to see a similar UK/ Europe index very soon – but talk of the classic car “bubble” bursting would seem to be far from the reality.

At Hilton & Moss we have seen strong interest in Mercedes’ middle market classics such as the 190SL and the Pagoda roofed SL. These cars are not easy or cheap to restore and our expertise in this area has fuelled a strong demand for restoration work on these models. For the best of these cars prices have in some cases more than doubled in the last 3 years which has tempted a lot of owners to sell their cars at auction. We would always advise caution when buying any classic Mercedes at auction as it requires an expert eye and inspection to ascertain what work needs to be done to them to bring them up to tip-top condition. A word of warning – there are a lot of cars being shipped from from the US and other foreign markets that are catching buyers out and for many of these cars beauty is often only skin deep…. If you need an inspection or advice on buying a Mercedes at auction please get in touch with Parry Chana.

With a bouyant middle-market and the growth in interest in eighties classics market experts are predicting that  sub-£50,000 cars will become increasing popular and see values rise. The increasing use of finance is also driving increased interest in this sector and our funding partner Classic and Sports Finance are reporting strong interest in all sectors.

In summary, the market is experiencing stability at the top end with the best cars commanding the best prices. There is growth in the middle-and-lower segments with the newfound potential in eighties cars and the sub-£50,000 sector. Well restored examples of all cars are desirable at all levels.

 

We’ll bring you regular market updates throughout the year.