February 12th 2015 saw the latest release of the Hagerty UK Price Guide. Over 1,300 classic car prices have been updated and the total number of models increased by over 150 cars. Overall, the mean value of cars in the guide is 25% higher than this time last year, with some cars dramatically outperforming others.
Typically a quiet time in the UK classic car market, the end of 2014 saw a continuation of some of the summer value trends. Although the auction scene revealed few surprises after the Goodwood Revival Sale and Beaulieu, we saw a number of sellers continuing to push up the prices of certain ‘flying’ cars in the middle and top end of the market. These ‘on trend’ cars- especially Jaguar E-Type Series 1, Porsche 911 from inception to 930, all Ferraris, Lamborghini Miura and Countach, Mercedes 300SL, Aston Martin DB2/4,4,5,6, and Fiat Dino- have continued to increase significantly in value, or at least their asking prices have.
Will this trajectory continue? The first indications from 2015 are contradictory. At Scottsdale, we saw 70% of sales in the lower half of the estimate or under. A number of big-ticket cars also did not meet their reserves, notably a Lamborghini Miura, a 1979 Countach, a Ferrari 250 Europa GT, a Ferrari 275 GTB Alloy, a Porsche 911 RSH, and a brace of Mercedes 300SLs- all cars valued at or over $1m. Interestingly, the high bids on these cars were at levels that would probably have seen them sold six months ago, suggesting the smart money wasn’t going to accept such a continuing increase in values.
However, at Retromobile, the results were inconclusive. All the headlines were grabbed by the Baillon Collection, but elsewhere most sales prices were pretty much as expected, with the exception of Aston Martins, which seemed to sell particularly strongly. This suggests that buyers this side of the Atlantic may still be prepared to bear further price increases for the right car. We eagerly await the Silverstone Race Retro and Bonhams Goodwood Members’ Meeting sales to see whether these trends will continue.
In addition to the ‘flyers’, there is another group of cars performing exceptionally well: 1980s cars. At the top of the pack, the Ferrari Testarossa and 308, and the Lamborghini Countach lead the way. The Testarossa has seen a 27% value increase over 12 months and the 308 GTS an astonishing 200% rise. The Countach is not far behind, with a 118% increase (LP400S) over the year.
Below these big hitters are a group of more affordable emerging ‘80s classics which are rapidly increasing in value. The Golf GTi Mk 1, Audi Quattro Turbo and Porsche 924 Carrera Turbo are good examples, having risen by 24%, 30% and 47% respectively over the last 12 months. Indeed, we’ve seen significant rises in all front-engined 1980s Porsches (especially 944 and 928) and other iconic 1980s cars such as the E30 BMWs and RS Fords.
Some areas of the market are not quite so buoyant, especially unremarkable pre- war and 1950s cars. For example, the Ford Zodiac Mk 1, Standard 10 and Austin A40 have all increased by 2% or under. This area of the market seems not to be attracting significant numbers of new owners, which could account for its stability.
Finally, there have been some cars that did not increase as much as expected. The Maserati Merak SS was expected to rise significantly on the back of the Ferrari 246 and 308, but has gained only 13% this year. Given stronger increases in Indy and Bora values, this car still seems undervalued. The Lancia Fulvia Sport Zagato has similarly failed to match other Zagato-bodied contemporaries and has shown little increase this year. When compared with other Italian marques, Lancias seem generally to be undervalued.