Classic car auction prices are set to fall as petrol cars are phased out

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Richard Hudson-Evans

Richard Hudson-Evans

As the Judges force the Government to ban the sale of even new petrol cars, classic car auction price falls of unknown depths are very likely in the short term. While I fear a long term collapse in most values and, indeed, most of the market as we know it, may be inevitable – as local authorities are empowered to tax and then ban old cars from even urban areas and fossil fuels are in very real danger of disappearing from what will be a dwindling number of forecourts.

For if the elected politicians prevent you from driving your classic car where you want to go and you are unable to refuel it when you get there, unless you have a motor museum, then there would appear to be little point in enforced ‘static ownership’ of a forever inactive artefact. Maybe only if a collector vehicle can be vandalised with some sort of green-friendly, retro-fit cassette motor, might the continued funding of increasing preservation costs be justified, let alone the provision of precious garage space.

Those owners who lose their nerve first will consign their classics to auction first and be the first to cash in their chips on a no reserve basis and accept what somebody is now prepared to pay for a fossil fuelled classic with the realisation that that the end of the old road is now nigh. Those with few driving years in stock and the will to spend rather than bequeath a few quid may soon be able to land a hitherto unaffordable investor-grade supercar for the yesterday price of a MGB.

There will always be a market for every commodity, of course, however unfashionable. For even with bombs falling in the London blitz, old masters were reportedly being dealt by candlelight on a promise to pay if still alive basis. Although classic car auctions may have to revert to what, historically, all auctions used to be pre-reserves, real auctions, where the object of the exercise always used to be to establish current value through all lots definitely selling for whatever somebody was prepared to pay when the hammer fell on the day.

The new reality may quickly also become a ‘today market’ rather than what a classic car might or might not be worth in the future, which thanks to ‘The Michael Gove Bombshell’ has become even more uncertain than ever before. In the meantime, and unless The Donald is trumped, which is always possible, the climate change denying US will continue their love affair with the gas guzzling automobile and most high value collector vehicles are likely to be air-freighted to a playing field where the goal posts have not been uprooted.

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