PH BLOG: BOOM AND BUST?
Why Chris Harris reckons £324K for a 993 GT2 proves the investors are snapping up classic driver's cars
Key word that last one - investment - what we're seeing here is cars being purchased purely for capital gain, or at the very least, capital stability. You can plonk a GT2 in your garage and it'll cost you, at most, £1,000 to keep it fresh and healthy. A static Veyron would swallow ten times that sum. This explains why the GT2 went for more than an as-new 959 - a car which is notoriously expensive to keep in running order.
When significant cars become four-wheeled investment, erm, vehicles, the normal rules of supply and demand are swamped and you have what henceforth should be called the DB6 factor. Why? Because at the same auction a DB6 sold for £151,200. Nice things, DB6s - but over a £150K for one? Not on your nelly.
We reach this point because the DB4s and DB5s, the Astons that everyone actually wants, have moved into a another price category and those people arriving at the game a little too late, or with shallower pockets, are being advised that the next big thing will be the DB6. This could be unsound advice.
This is the car equivalent of the Peter Principle - the notion that people within organisations are promoted to their level of incompetence, ie, the point at which they're punching above their weight.
Which begs the question: is a Ferrari Dino worth £224,000? According to the sales results, yes it is. But despite having flared arches and Campagnolo rims, it's a V6 Ferrari of which several thousand were produced. Four years ago these cars were barely £100K, now they're appreciating at a rate that has many people referring back to the late 80s, when Japan forced a wild increase in values, only to falter and lead an even faster decline.
Judging the facts as they are, not just yet. In a world of stock market instability, property price crashes and increasing taxation, the motor car is perhaps the perfect investment: liquid, transportable, perhaps even enjoyable. And our increasingly wealthy friends in India and China haven't started collecting on any great scale yet. When the first Chinese billionaire decides he wants an example of every lightweight Porsche, expect that 993 GT2 price to climb even further.
If the general market trend looks good, some of the anomalous sums paid for cars do worry me. The fifth E-Type ever built got nowhere near its £120K estimate, whereas minutes earlier someone had bid £42,000 for a foul Aston Virage Volante, the worst possible use of VW Scirocco rear lights imaginable. I know, I know. A car is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it, but there are signs that people are hoovering up the wrong cars for the wrong money.
Other favourites? My soft-top Mercedes affliction was not helped by the RHD 280SE 3.5 cab, to my eyes worth every penny of the £134,400 it fetched. On the decapotable front, I'm a complete sucker for a roofless DS, so whereas every one of my car mates thinks I'm mad for saying it, if I had the bunce I'd own one for £126,000.
Is £397K cheap for a Miura? It's all monopoly money to me, but in a world that values a Dino at £224K, that looks like a steal. Daytonas are on the march too, one fetched £319,200, which is around three times what they were worth eight years ago.
Full results list here.
Pictures: RM Auctions (Simon Clay/Tim Scott/Tom Wood)