The Classic Car Show / Influence Associates
The values of classic cars have rocketed over recent years, but don't think that this is just an anomaly, classic car expert Quentin Willson told us, at the launch of the new big-budget Classic Car Show. It doesn't matter whether you're thinking about a £3,500 MGB or a £200,000 Ferrari, classic cars look set to be a safe investment for years to come, claims Quentin. We spoke to him about what we should be looking out for.
Do you see any ceiling in terms of classic car values?
What's happened with the market – and this is why they are so desirable now – is that tangible assets have taken over from non-tangible assets, so your stocks and shares, your banks, all that stuff – currencies and things – have had such a torrid time recently that people with restless money have gone into either property or cars – classic cars.
Now classic cars have outperformed property over the last five years – who would have thought it? Because there's no tax on the capital gain of classic cars. So you can own a couple over a couple of years, sell them for sometimes huge profits and there is no tax. I think it will continue, simply because, with labour costs to rebuild a classic car, it costs lots and lots and lots.
Which brand new cars do you look at as absolute surefire classics?
You look at the Mercedes SLS – boomph, classic. I had one for two years and I just sold it – and I really shouldn't have! That was a classic the day it was born. The Alfa 4C, all the McLarens – instant classics.
Are there affordable new models you expect to become classics?
Yeah, you look at the new Ford Mustang, which starts at £27,000 – that's an instant classic too. It's hard to say with things like mainstream Vauxhalls and Fords but some Alfa Romeos and things, they will be classics in time – what is stylish, what is desirable, what is made in few numbers. It's the numerical thing which is important.
Is it possible to run a classic on a budget? You talked about £5,000 classics – can you run these on a budget?
Yeah. They demand a bit of tinkering. Because if you take them to your garage, you'll be talking garage labour rates. But if we take an MGB that you could be for £3,500 or less, you've got free road tax, classic car insurance, which is £100 a year, okay it might not be the most economical, but spares for MGBs are cheaper than those for modern cars. It is possible to drive one of these cars, really quite cheaply compared to a normal car, because they're simple to fix, easy to insure, you don't pay road tax, and if it goes wrong, you can usually fix it yourself.
So what do you own at the moment?
There's an old 1973 Rolls Royce Corniche convertible, a 64 Mustang convertible, three Daimler SP250 Darts, a 1959 Mini, a 1990 Mercedes 190D and a 1973 Mercedes 350SL. And my wife says "stop!". But there is so little time and so many cars.