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Health check: why the classic car market is booming

After six happy years, Kevin Harris, 55, sells his Porsche 944 S2 Cabriolet. He is promoting the car, which was registered in 1990 and has run 179,000 miles, for £ 9995. “I’ve always wanted a 944 and when it came up I bought it on the spur of the moment,” he said. “I have £ 30,000 to spend and plan to replace it with an Austin-Healey 3000 – another car I’ve always wanted.”

Harris is one of many thousands of Britons who will buy or sell a classic car this year. The sector is one of the few to thrive during the pandemic. Dealers, auctioneers and analysts report consistently good sales and rising prices for the most popular models.

Last month, the Leonard Collection with 38 rare Porsches was auctioned for £ 7.5 million by the online auction house Collecting Cars, the highlight being a Carrera GT that went for £ 765,000 – a new European auction record.

Those in the classic car sector believe that the nation’s appetite for old cars is fueled by a combination of pent-up demand as people are released from lockdown. a desire to reward yourself after the rigors of the past 15 months; the spread of online auctions where the request can be satisfied at the push of a button; and an increase in the disposable wealth of many people – up to a total of £ 100 billion, the Bank of England estimates.

John Mayhead, editor of the Hagerty UK Price Guide, said: “Last summer the UK market for vintage and collector’s cars saw a significant upward trend after the initial ban was lifted. This has continued, but not to the same extent, this year and things are still brisk. “

Hagty’s Classic Index shows the changing prices of 50 popular classic cars. The annual price change is + 1.5%, but + 2.0% in the first three months of this year.

“This number shows that despite the bad weather and restrictions, enthusiasts are still buying,” Mayhead said.

“Significant quarterly increases were seen in the Alfa Romeo 1750 GTV (up 8.4% to £ 33,075), the DeLorean DMC-12 (up 8.8% to £ 33,000) and the Ford Sierra RS Cosworth (up 15% to £ 55,850) recorded.

“The Sierra indicates an increasing demand for homologation vehicles that people remember from their youth.”

Another area of ​​the market that is increasingly active is in sought-after cars from the 1980s and 1990s. Hagty’s classic car insurance division reported that nearly a third of the offers made in April were for vehicles from that period.

“The difference between this boom and the past is that enthusiasts, not speculators, are the power in the market,” Mayhead said. “They buy the cars they love and remember since childhood instead of buying them as commodities. Because of this, we don’t think the market will overheat. “

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