Investment | 23 August, 2017

Classic Cars, An Exquisite Investment (I)

Javier Rubio Business Development Director

At some time in our lives, we have most certainly stopped in the street to take a serious look at a car that for some reason has caught our eye. It is often a colour, a design or simply the person driving it, which whisks us off to that imaginary world where we dream we are driving that same car or we at least have one parked in our garage.

Since motor vehicles were invented, automobile lovers have devoted themselves to collecting cars that have been landmarks of their times.

Usually these collectors have their own investment criteria depending on the kind of car that arouses their interest; generally speaking, however, we can summarise five collection categories:

  1. High end vehicles: Automobiles that can range from sports cars to luxury saloon cars that, in their times, were status symbols, such as: Rolls Royce, Bugatti, Ferrari or Lamborghini, amongst others.
  2. Racing cars: All those vehicles that competed in races and rallies of acknowledged worldwide prestige. For example, Formula 1 or WRC rally cars.
  3. Rarities: High-performance vehicles but not successful when launched and the sales figures for which were often considered a failure. Example: The BMW Z8, the DeLorean, the Ferrari 246 Dino or the Porsche 968.
  4. Celebrity vehicles: Cars that have been used by actors, singers, top sportsmen and women, royal families, etc. Example: The Aston Martin in the James Bond film series or James Dean’s Porsche 550 A Spyder.
  5. Symbols of their time: All those models that had a great social impact when they first came onto the market. Good examples of this phenomenon are: The Volkswagen Beetle or the Volkswagen Kombithe Fiat 500 or the Ford Mustang, all of which go for more reasonable prices than those above.

In addition to these five criteria, collectors add others when deciding on their investments and they pay close attention to other factors, such as: Serial numbers, the general state of repair of the vehicle’s exterior, interior and engine or they may even go as far as identifying whether all the vehicle parts are originals.

Every year, there are a number of important international events for collectors, such as the Gooding car auction at Pebble Beach (USA), Bonhams in London (UK) or the  Concorso D’Eleganza Villa d’Este at Lake Como (ITA).  Exhibitions of this kind bring together automobile fans, sector specialists and collectors from all around the world.

Over the last 5 years, we have seen an increase in the figures invested in classic cars and the arrival of new institutional collectors, such as the new museums of the world’s most important manufacturers as well as specialised investment funds.  In general, the trend in prices and market liquidity have remained stable for the majority of models and there has been an uptrend in blue-chip or spectacular collectibles and Ferraris.