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Petrolheads’ dream as classic car museum and cafe opens in Nottinghamshire

Car fanatics will be revved up by a nostalgic collection of classic motors in the heart of rural Nottinghamshire. The Car Crowd is a petrolheads’ dream – and even offers a stake in some of the iconic cars.

A barn, down a country lane in the village Edingley – between Farnsfield and Southwell – is home to eight vehicles, from cult hot hatches to lusted over sportier numbers. One of the latest acquisitions appearing soon will be 1980s supercar, a £200,000 red Ferrari Testarossa.

Any car lover is welcome to visit the coffee shop and mini museum and marvel over the motors, which are set to grow and grow. Founder David Spikett created the Car Crowd to give fellow car enthusiasts the chance to part-own a classic car.

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He’d come across the ‘fractional investment’ car concept in America in 2019 where he was working in financial services. The 39-year-old said: “I have been a massive fan of cars all my life. It’s in my blood. I’ve always collected cars privately but as a career I’ve been in financial services.

“The thought of having a fractional part of one and still benefitting from the appreciation of that car but also feeling like I still owned something and had a part in my passion was a really nice concept. I came back to the UK and realized no one was doing it here and thought with my financial services background and car knowledge it might be a good marriage.”

With the endorsement of his “very supportive” wife Kirsty, he quit his job and launched the Car Crowd, thereby unlocking the opportunity for people to invest in something they loved. Investors who have a share for as little as £8 in a Mini Cooper can visit, sit in the vehicle, and enjoy the emotions it evokes – but they can’t take it out for a drive.

It’s like having a share in a racehorse, said David. “You might benefit from the winnings but you don’t get to ride it. People benefit from having a stake in the car, and, as that car goes up in value, so too does their stake in that vehicle.

“But they can’t come along and take it out for a weekend because any mileage that goes onto the car is effectively going to depreciate the asset and, therefore, won’t give you such a big return on investment so we keep them here .

“They’re very well maintained and driven every quarter for a small period just to make sure everything’s ticking over but they don’t do more than 100 miles a year to make sure the appreciation is maximized for the return of the investors.”

Some of the classic cars

“It’s unlocking and opening up these cars that would be in underground garages otherwise so more people can get to enjoy them. The premise is like a petrolhead-owned museum, rather than a rich lord or sheik owning the cars – actually you own part of them.”

Investment, regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, has already reaped rewards for some of the part-owners when they agreed to sell a Clio V6 to a classic car collector for £38,000. David said: “The gross return was 32 percent in a year – it’s a lot better than you get with a savings account or an ISA. It’s not just a passion-based investment, it has the potential for some really good returns and the shareholders are in control.”

The current collection showcases a rare £250,000 Spyker C8 Spyder, one of only eight right-hand drive convertibles. Also on display are a Sierra Cosworth (the very car that appeared on Top Gear), a Renault 5 GT Turbo, Peugeot 205 GTi, Vauxhall Nova, Mini Cooper and a Renault Megane R26.R.

Given the value of the motors, security is ultra-tight. Protection includes two alarm systems, internal and external CCTV, bollards, panic buttons, a smoke-filled grenade if the alarm sounds and 24-hour monitoring.

Inside the Car Crowd Cafe

Under ambitious plans David, a father-of-two, hopes to eventually grow the collection to 100 vehicles and relocate to a bigger site in East Bridgford, launching in spring 2024. “We will have much more opportunity to create a real purpose-built destination,” he said.

During his teenage years he and his dad had a computer spreadsheet, collating information about makes and models, how much they sold for and how prices changed. “What it shows is the cars that get to about 22 to 26 years old tend to appreciate really quickly.

“It’s just that nostalgia effect of your dad had one, your mum had one or it was your first car or the one your friend had and you wanted, or a poster car or a movie car or something like that which evokes a memory or personal connection with the vehicle.Then you get a spike in valuation if it was a rare car, a numbered one or one that was very dangerous like the Porsche Widowmaker.

“There’s a Lotus Carlton we’re just procured because there were less than 1,000 ever made. It was associated with gangsters and driving very fast down the M1, a police chase getaway vehicle type car so in popular culture it became a really popular type of car and it is those types of iconic car that really go up.”

The majority of investors are UK-based but a number live in Greece, Australia, the Netherlands and Germany. “You get people who buy one share for nostalgia and other people that use this as a serious alternative investment and put ten per cent in every car and spread their risk across the portfolio of cars we have. They will probably never come here – they just do it as an investment. We do the legwork – they get the appreciation.”

The Car Crowd Cafe is open Thursday to Sunday from 9am to 3.30pm and specialist themed evenings events are planned. Visitors can have a cup of specialty Outpost coffee and a snack (cake or sausage rolls from local businesses) during their trip.

Barista Phil Henley recently moved to Stapleford with his wife and family after 16 years in Australia. He said: “I was intrigued. I came down and loved it. It’s a cool vibe and that’s what attracted me to this place. Mine and David’s vision was aligned.

“It’s not a bad thing I don’t know much about cars as I can see it from a newcomer’s point of view. I am very excited about it. If anyone wants to come in and talk coffee and cars they’re very welcome. “

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