We hear so much about economic gloom and the current climate that I find myself bored to taking alcohol. I was always told in what I remember of geography lessons, that the climate in the British Isles was temperate and would always remain so.
However, let me get to the point. The present economic situation has led us to a protracted period of low inflation, low interest and low returns. There has never been a better time to look outside the usual investments to see a sound, reliable and significant return.
Classic Cars have never been so popular. There are ever increasing opportunities to enjoy them. Specialist clubs are there in support of the Austin Allegro right through to the rarefied air of Facel Vega or Gordon Keeble. There is every available option to becoming a Classic Car owner; you do not by any means need to be a motoring enthusiast. Typical of all investments there are high or low returns which are clearly linked to high or low risks. For maximum return, information and knowledge are high on the list of requirements.
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However the first fundamental decision to make is how much investment are you prepared or able to make. If for example you feel it might be worth reinvesting £200k then a beautiful 1937 Jaguar SS100 can be had, with enough left over to fill the tank to get you home. This car would be enormous fun to drive, reliable enough to tour through Europe, with bags of class to go with it. Investment potential? This vehicle could easily double in five years. At the other end of the scale a VW Golf GTI Mark 1 or a handy Porsche 924 can be snapped up in reasonable order for £1800 a piece. Their return on investment would be sound but steady. There is, of course, a huge raft of opportunity between these examples. A very useable Rolls Royce Shadow Mk1 can be found in rust free condition for £5k, a truly lovely thing. Put on your grey suit, brush your hair and sell yourself to weddings! Oh and by the way the car cannot lose money.
Perhaps the greatest returns are to be found in the restoration projects. This needs a very cool head and top class advice. You need to begin at least with a sound judge of character. The restorer or sub- contractors that you are bound to need must be honest, a rare commodity in the modern world. If you want a long lasting and valuable investment at the end of it you must be in control of the project. If this level of involvement interests you, research is the key.
You need to find the restorer local to you that you are happy with. Then you need to get your level of knowledge up to a point where you are well versed in the versions of car and model that you are looking for. Some are much easier than others.
An early Land Rover actually makes a relatively easy restoration whereas an Austin Champ could easily cost you twice its eventual value. Middle-aged rotten Jaguars are also to be avoided unless they are of a particularly rare model. An XJ6 two-door coupé would be worth the angst.
A boring but nevertheless worthwhile investment is to buy to store. You buy the investment and store it in its concours condition and wait until you feel the market is right to realise your profits. In order to do this you must either have or rent ideal storage space. Having the thing correctly insured should go without saying.
I believe the preferred option is to buy to use and benefit in many ways. The car can work for you and be a source of leisure and pleasure. I was driving through the Yorkshire Dales recently and came up behind a well preserved but elderly gentleman in a Triumph TR5, hood down in the sun. He was driving really well, complete with pipe and flat cap, his day looked idyllic. Mine on the other hand was turning into a chaotic struggle to be on time for a meeting. My car, modern, efficient, air conditioned and way faster than a TR5, will never be capable of doing what his was doing for him……
Please contact George Robinson, c/o The Vintage Magazine email: email@example.com
We would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to Taylors of Chichester for providing the photographs of the Bentley and Rolls Royce.
Biography of George Robinson:-
He has been competing at Ko-Karting since 1968, and was in the British Team in 1974.
He won three French Championships, and had the most podium finishes of any driver up to the year 2000 in the 24-hour ‘Le Mans’ race and was Second on the occasion on his ‘comeback’ race.
George Robinson has been a freelance journalist since 1983 writing for specialist automotive magazines, and is now the Motoring Correspondent for The Vintage Magazine.