The classic motoring investment bubble

In recent years, classic car values have exploded. Like quite literally, exploded. Whether it’s a rusty but rare Ferrari 250 found in a French barn, or a workhorse Ford Sierra Estate, the market has been going only one way for as long as I can remember.

Classics DrivenOnly two years ago, you could find bargain classics in the classifieds or auction sites, and a lot of them. £2000 in your back pocket would have bought you quite a tidy classic, and as it turns out the potential for quite a tidy profit, too.

With classic supercars going for more and more absurd sums of money at auction, it makes complete sense that the whole classic car scene would follow suit and offer real rewards to those with the space for an extra set of wheels.

But increasingly, I am seeing noise and reading content on social media that claims the bubble has burst, and we’ve reached the top of the mountain as far as classic car values go. more worringly, perhaps is that these articles also claim that we’re on our way back down the other side now. ‘We’ being classic motorists, of course.

Classics DrivenWith even the most modest of classic Ford Escorts making well over £10,000 in the right condition, and Mk1 RS models regularly changing hands for Ferrari money, there’s no getting away from the fact that values have gone crazy, and it’s hard to see how they can continue that trend.

But there’s a reason for the hikes in prices; the generation who grew up with such cars has suddenly got to the age where people have the money to plough into an appreciating classic investment.

I have seen nothing to suggest those prices are on the way down, and while on first reading such claims I was ready to argue that it was the billion pound classic market that would get hit first, that side of things looks as strong as ever, too.

Classics drivenA quick glance at the number of cars smashing their reserves at recent high profile motoring auctions shows a Ferrari 365 Daytona to be ever more out of my reach as things stand.

Perhaps more alarmingly, though is that a 1200cc Vauxhall Viva sold the other day for a slither under £10,000. I thought I’d be in for a sniff with my maximum bid of £1500.

To add some rationale to my finger in the air, I would say that classic motoring is as high profile, accessible, and desirable as it has ever been. And given the escalation of technology in new cars that is putting us further and further from the driving experience, it’s not hard to see why.

Classics DrivenIf you’ve just managed to persuade the other half that it would be a good idea to buy a classic car, because “they’re never coming down in value”, I’d stick to your claim, and push ahead with your plans. Because while “never” might seem bold, it feels very real, somehow.

For the latest classic motoring discussion and content, follow Paul Woodford on Twitter @PaulWoodford84 as well as @ClassicsDriven.