The time has come to begin an ordered, thoughtful and considered collection.
The classic car market has recently fallen in some areas and deservedly so. Driven, if you will excuse the pun, by an oversaturation of the market with “classic car specialists” attempting to sell various average vehicles for “all the money” has seemingly killed an element of the love and consequently the impetus seen previously.
Understandably, we now see a number of publications questioning whether or not cars in general are still a sound investment. Well the answer is no, “cars” are not a sound investment. Some cars however may be and what is set out below is our house view on where “cars” stop and investments begin. This is not quite as mercenary as it sounds, and our rationale will shine some light onto our thinking.
With all of these vehicles, provenance is key. The more the better and this provenance will contain all the things that we grow to love about the thing we exchanged for money.
We have therefore assumed each of these cars to have low mileage and low owners in relation to other similar vehicles on the market, with excellent service history to back this up and as many stories to articulate their histories as is reasonably and authentically provable. We have also assumed that we are dealing in a UK-delivered car which are always more desirable in the UK-market.
Budget: £100k – 3 Cars:
The three cars we have picked are modern classics. This is what the future market will demand due to the 1990s nostalgia that will play a large part in people’s choice of classic car in 10 years’ time or so. Therefore these cars are good to invest in now and to keep for the next 10 years.
- 1. Aston Martin DB9 with Manual Gearbox: Although not considered a classic, it is certainly becoming a modern classic. With the manual gearbox quickly disappearing from modern cars, driving enthusiasts will always fondly remember the times where a sports car always included a large N/A engine (often V12) with a manual gearbox behind it. This recipe, linked with the rarity of the manual DB9s; and the very stable price curve of Aston Martins before it, has led me to believe that these cars are a brilliant investment.
- 2. Lotus Esprit S4S: The iconic British supercar in its best form. The S4S is often praised as the best Esprit ever made, Lotus had developed their original 4-cylinder Turbo engine up to 300hp and had ironed out all the niggles in the process meaning this Esprit is also the most reliable. With the good looks of the very rare Sport 300 (now commanding £100k) the S4S had the same power but was more road-orientated rather than the track car that the Sport 300 was. With the S1 Esprit now near the £100k mark, I feel as though all of the other Giugiaro-designed Esprits will be left in its shadow as second-best; the S4S is a completely different experience to its Giugiaro counterparts in both the aesthetics and drive. Only 340 made worldwide, it is an undervalued supercar and surely has to be the next Lotus to go.
- 3. Renault Clio Williams: The original hot-hatch formula in a very good-looking package. We know how simple-but-fun cars can appeal so much to people, as the recent white Escort RS2000 auction result proves. The Clio Williams reflects my statement above (regarding 1990s nostalgia) in the highest regard, a dream car for many teenagers in the 90s but also one of the best handling FWD cars to grace the road.
£15,000 will buy the best possible example, and in this case especially, only the best will suffice.
Budget: £1mil – 5 Cars:
Here we have moved away from the 90s and broadened our chronological reach.
The prices here are mostly approximations due to the rarity of the cars listed, especially UK-delivered versions but the principle remains.
- 1. Iso Grifo: In numerous cases with 1960s and 1970s classic cars, it is the lesser known ones that are most likely to go up in value next. The Iso Grifo is one of quite a few Italian cars of the time to adopt an American V8 for its powerplant. The market has warmed very much to the Grifo in recent years as many buyers have begun to realise that these achingly beautiful cars are brilliant in their own way. Often denigrated previously for their American engines which were perceived to cheapen the car; the huge amount of power and torque however is sure to provide a fantastic drive whilst detracting nothing from the aesthetic. The Grifo, especially a manual example, is a very good investment.
- 2. Maserati Khamsin: The Khamsin is one of the cars that was “missed” by the general surge of price of 60s and 70s Italian cars. It is unmistakably 1970s in its design with straight edged wings sloping to a “wedge” shape. One of Marcello Gandini’s most beautiful creations, a 50/50 weight distribution and powerful 320hp V8 mean it handles well and is fast too. With only 23 originally delivered to the UK, it is difficult to understand why the price is still as low as it is.
- 3. Aston Martin DBS with Manual Gearbox: For the same reasons as the Manual DB9 mentioned previously but with added desirability. Wider body, lower, more powerful and more modern; the DBS is every part of the DB9 but better. Quantum Silver is most likely the best colour to choose investment-wise as it is the Bond colour; and we’ve seen how popular Bond cars can be. It is a sure-fire future classic and Aston Martin are unlikely to produce another car like it.
- 4. Bentley Continental T Mulliner: The Continental R when released in 1991 was not only one of the most expensive cars in the world, but it was the first Bentley in almost 60 years to not be twinned with a Rolls-Royce counterpart and therefore started off the Bentley revival. The T Mulliner version was the ultimate incarnation of the Continental R and just over 20 were produced. Judging by the way most earlier 2-door Bentleys have gone/are going pricewise, we can see the superb T Mulliner being up there with them very soon.
- 5. Morgan Aero GT: The Aero represented a massive leap forward for Morgan as it was their first entirely new model since 1936, and very advanced at its release in 2001. It was produced continuously in various different bodystyles until 2018. The final 8 cars were the GT, based on the Series 5 car but advanced further aerodynamically and dynamically. Each car was specified under guidance of the ‘Special Projects’ team and built throughout 2018, with the final car being finished in October. Each had a fantastic 6-speed manual gearbox coupled with a 4.8 litre N/A BMW V8, a weight of just 1150kg, and special handcrafted aerodynamic features with carbon-fibre hardtop. Since production, each car has remained in private hands.
But we would estimate a value of £220,000+
With approximately £40,000 left over, you will need to buy the best possible example of an Early Porsche 928 with Manual Gearbox. These cars have an innovative, and beautiful design; they are relatively rare and much more desirable with a manual gearbox. An effortless, 1970s, grand-tourer, originally intended to replace the 911.