Buy an Aston V8 wisely

Aston Martin V8

You can pay anywhere from £50k to £500k for an Aston Martin V8 now, so I can’t help but wish I’d taken out a meaty loan to buy the smart £40k V8 Vantage that I borrowed for the day a few years ago. Not because I have any interest in playing the classic car investment game but because, as it turns out, that was my last chance to own one.

Then, as now, repair and restoration costs for these cars were very much in the league of those who can afford to buy a brand-new Aston Martin, and that fearful knowledge kept me from making a begging phone call to my bank’s loan department. That £50k starting point really only buys a project car now, something that you could easily spend £100-£200k on, while usable V8s start at more like £80k, with tidy Vantages at £150k.

So, as with so many cars, your money goes a lot further if you buy a decent example in the first place. The detailed buying guide in the latest issue of Classic Cars magazine takes you through six essential steps to avoid buying a bad one, and help you navigate the subtleties of the different variants on the market.

You’ll find 14 pages of buying information in every issue of Classic Cars magazine, including Quentin Willson’s hot tips, Russ Smith’s market analysis, in-depth buying guides and Ads on Test.

 

Phil Bell

Editor, Classic Cars magazine

For more details of the latest issue, visit www.classiccarsmagazine.co.uk

Lamborghini Miuras buck the market

While prices for period rival Ferraris such as the Daytona have fallen back from their market peak, the Miura continues to grow, with the original P400 and its P400S successor up 13% and 11% respectively.

That means you’ll pay £460k-£850k for a P400 (pictured), and £550k-£1m for the P400S, depending on condition. It helps that only 765 of all three types of Miura were built – collectors prize scarcity – compared to just over 1400 365 GTB/4 Daytonas, but it helps that the Miura was a real game changer, defining the basic layout of every supercar since. It also appeals to buyers who see the Daytona, or any Ferrari, as too obvious.

You’ll find 14 pages of buying information in every issue of Classic Cars magazine, including Quentin Willson’s hot tips, Russ Smith’s market analysis, in-depth buying guides and Ads on Test.

Phil Bell

Editor, Classic Cars magazine

For more details of the latest issue, visit www.classiccarsmagazine.co.uk

Testarossas cool off

The plight of the Ferrari Testarossa illustrates a common market phenomenon. Unfashionable classic finds favour when the schoolboys who lusted after them grow up into a serious buying force, prices surge, long-term owners see an unexpected opportunity to cash in and suddenly there’s a flood of cars on the market. The result – a seller’s market becomes a buyer’s market with only the best cars making strong money, or selling at all. Cars with average mileage and condition, and patchy service history, fall back from the peak.

The Testarossa languished around £30k for years, a common price point for supercars in the hinterland between modern and widely accepted classic status. The gold rush pushed them beyond £100k, and at Techno Classica Essen a couple of years ago every other dealer seemed to have one at €170k. Now they have to be placed with much less ambitious auction reserves if vendors want to avoid the cost and humiliation of having to trailer them back home afterwards.

Sometimes, in a rising market, you just have to accept the new price for your dream car and either dig deep or risk missing out on ever owning one. But you also need to be wary of transient microclimates that create flash floods. I’m sure Testarossas will rise again in the long term, but now’s not the time to pay whatever the vendor fancies asking for his newly ‘investment grade’ Ferrari.

Buying advice and market analysis is part of 18 pages of buying information in every issue of Classic Cars magazine, including Quentin Willson’s Smart Buys, Russ Smith’s Market Watch, in-depth buying guides and Ads on Test.

Phil Bell

Editor, Classic Cars magazine

For more details of the latest issue, visit www.classiccarsmagazine.co.uk

Price Guide Movers

The latest round of price increases reminds us that the market isn’t just hungry for younger classics. The top ten climbers is headed by the Porsche 924 Turbo, up 88% to £2k-£15k, depending on condition, and also includes the Renault 17TS/Gordini, Volvo 262C coupé, Ford Escort MkII Ghia and Audi Quattro 20V ranging from 33% to 58% up.

But the headliners also include the Forties Jaguar 3.5-litre, Fifties Sunbeam Alpine and Fifties Daimler Century drophead, all up by more than 50%.

The latest round of fallers, however, is dominated by pre-Seventies cars – but even the biggest slide, for the Mercedes 500K Cabriolet, is only 12%.

The full table of the latest climbers and fallers is revealed in the June issue of Classic Cars magazine.

Buying advice and market analysis is part of 18 pages of buying information in every issue of Classic Cars magazine, including Quentin Willson’s Smart Buys, Russ Smith’s Market Watch, in-depth buying guides and Ads on Test.

Phil Bell

Editor, Classic Cars magazine

For more details of the latest issue, visit www.classiccarsmagazine.co.uk

A Porsche 911 Turbo, please

With exceptional late air-cooled Porsche 911s making headline figures at auctions – by those I mean low-mileage, fully historied examples of the most extreme performance models – the first watercooled Turbos look good value.

The 2003 example that we test in the latest issue of Classic Cars is up for £60k, which is at the upper end of the price spectrum for these. But when you discover that it’s only done just over 28,000 miles from new and is fresh from restoration by Porsche Centre West London as part of the annual Porsche dealership restoration competition, it seems good value. Oh, and I didn’t mention that it gives you 400bhp to play with.

If you’re happy to buy one with 50-70k on the odometer, prices are more like £40k-50k. That’s tremendous performance for the money, with the added reassurance that the Turbo used a variant of the tough Mezger-designed flat six, which is free from the notorious intermediate shaft bearing and cylinder wall failures that can afflict the mainstream watercooled flat sixes.

Buying advice and market analysis is part of 18 pages of buying information in every issue of Classic Cars magazine, including Quentin Willson’s Smart Buys, Russ Smith’s Market Watch, in-depth buying guides and Ads on Test.

Phil Bell

Editor, Classic Cars magazine

For more details of the latest issue, visit www.classiccarsmagazine.co.uk

Buy a Berkeley

With the fad for microcars driving up prices for most, the dashing range of sports cars offered by Berkeley look good value at the moment.

According to the detailed buying guide in the latest issue of Classic Cars magazine, you can find decent examples of the early SA322 model, propelled by a 15bhp Anzani twin-cylinder engine, for around £5k, with the best more like £8k. They’re fun to drive, but for real pace you may prefer the later B95 and 105 models, which packed 692cc Royal Enfield Super Meteor or Constellation motorcycle engines with 40 or 50bhp. In a car weighing just 400kg! You get all of that extra go for £7.5k, rising to £12.5k for the sharpest examples.

Armed with our buying guide to help steer you round some of the tricky parts shortages and the more expensive problems, you can be sure that there’s a Berkeley guaranteed to put a smile on your face every time you pluck it from the garage.

Buying advice and market analysis is part of 18 pages of buying information in every issue of Classic Cars magazine, including Quentin Willson’s Smart Buys, Russ Smith’s Market Watch, in-depth buying guides and Ads on Test.

Phil Bell

Editor, Classic Cars magazine

For more details of the latest issue, visit www.classiccarsmagazine.co.uk

 

 

Price guide winners and losers

The Price Guide Quarterly update in the latest issue of Classic Cars magazine reveals 254 movers. The top ten climbers, each having grown by more than 30%, range from the BMW 2002 Cabriolet up 33% to £15-£20k in top condition, to the Maserati Khamsin (pictured), up 56% to £100-£140k for the best.

The latest fallers look far less drastic, with the Ferrari 365 GTS/4 having dropped 6.7% to £1.85-£2.1m, and Jaguar XK140 drophead coupé down 4.2% to £85-£115k. So none of the losses are large enough to make recent buyers despondent, and neither do they throw up any significant bargains for buyers. What they reaffirm is that there’s a gentle market correction applying to some makes and models, particularly those that have seen strong gains in recent years. All signs of a rational market, then – far more healthy than boom-and-bust cycles.

Buying advice and market analysis is part of 18 pages of buying information in every issue of Classic Cars magazine, including Quentin Willson’s Smart Buys, Russ Smith’s Market Watch, in-depth buying guides and Ads on Test.

Phil Bell

Editor, Classic Cars magazine

For more details of the latest issue, visit www.classiccarsmagazine.co.uk

 

 

Jaguar XK120 Fortunes Changing

Buyers are increasingly favouring purity over practicality with Jaguar XKs. For a long time the greater legroom of the XK140 and the more cossetting roof arrangement of the drophead coupé have kept this model at the top of the XK value tree because buyers were seeking them out for usability; particularly with touring in mind.

But the old world order is changing, with the purer lines and more delicate detailing of the 120 – particularly its slim quarter bumpers, compared to the Armco-like arrangement on the 140 – attracting a premium. The XK120 roadster (pictured) now starts at £52k for a decent example and you can pay £78-£110k for the best. Drophead coupés are now £50k, £75k and £105k in equivalent condition. That’s a jump of 10 and 11 per cent respectively, a sign that these models are enjoying a surge in collectability. Buy now if you’ve always fancied one.

Buying advice and market analysis is part of 18 pages of buying information in every issue of Classic Cars magazine, including Quentin Willson’s Smart Buys, Russ Smith’s Market Watch, in-depth buying guides and Ads on Test.

Phil Bell

Editor, Classic Cars magazine

For more details of the latest issue, visit www.classiccarsmagazine.co.uk

Buy a Jaguar MkI

The original compact Jag comes out of the Mk2’s shadows, with interest and prices growing smartly. The top-spec 3.4 with manual overdrive and chrome wire wheels is now a £25-£30k car, and we’ve seen the best cars make double that. Star performances in the Goodwood Revival St Mary’s Trophy for Fifties saloons has no doubt added some gloss, as have appearances in TV detective drama Endeavour, just as Morse and Bread did for the Mk2.

Perhaps more than most classics, an apparently good-looking MkI can hide the potential for heart- and wallet-breaking repair and restoration bills. The detailed buying guide in the latest issue of Classic Cars magazine steers you round £10-£25k bodyshell rebuilds, £7-£8k retrims and £6k engine rebuilds to help you find the right example at the right money. Take your time, be prepared to walk away from the neglected or badly restored cars and there’s a hugely rewarding swift saloon out there with your name on it.

Buying advice and market analysis is part of 18 pages of buying information in every issue of Classic Cars magazine, including Quentin Willson’s Smart Buys, Russ Smith’s Market Watch, in-depth buying guides and Ads on Test.

Phil Bell

Editor, Classic Cars magazine

For more details of the latest issue, visit www.classiccarsmagazine.co.uk

 

 

Price winners and losers

The top 63 price climbers and top eight fallers are revealed in the latest issue of Classic Cars magazine.

Leading the charge is the disarmingly stylish Mercedes-Benz 300 SE Cabriolet, up by a shocking 88%. So, the entry level for a project needing a £100k-plus restoration is £40k and you can pay £150k for the very best.

The top five climbers reflect a market with broad tastes, although three of them are post-1987 models, underlining the growth in demand for younger classics: the Jaguar XJR-S (pictured) is up 88%, Ferrari’s F50 has risen 56% and the Porsche 911 (993 generation) GT2 shows a 73% increase.

Buying advice and market analysis is part of 18 pages of buying information in every issue of Classic Cars magazine, including Quentin Willson’s Smart Buys, Russ Smith’s Market Watch, in-depth buying guides and Ads on Test.

Phil Bell

Editor, Classic Cars magazine

For more details of the latest issue, visit www.classiccarsmagazine.co.uk

 

 

Mazda’s Time Has Come

Scarcity of good early MX-5s is driving demand. Yes, that's right, a car so successful and therefore so ubiquitous that you assumed it existed in endless supply has been quietly succumbing to rust, neglect or just simply wearing out.

This was the introduction to pure, simple roadster driving pleasure for a generation, and it's now hard to find pristine, low-mileage examples of the pre-1994 cars, hence the growing premium on prices. Now's the time to seek out a good one and keep it that way.

Buying advice and market analysis is part of 18 pages of buying information in every issue of Classic Cars magazine, including Quentin Willson’s Smart Buys, Russ Smith’s Market Watch, in-depth buying guides and Ads on Test.

 

Phil Bell

Editor, Classic Cars magazine

 

For more details of the latest issue, visit www.classiccarsmagazine.co.uk

Ford Pilot To Buy

The Ford Pilot’s handsome and confident American styling and flathead V8 propulsion look extremely attractive at anything from the £6k entry price for something usable through to circa £20k for a faultless example.

But various design flaws and limited parts and specialist network can catch out the unwary. Fortunately, the latest issue of Classic Cars magazine includes an in-depth buying guide to guide you through the challenges, and make buying and owning one as simple and pleasurable as possible.

Imagine the sense of occasion when showing up at anything from a favourite pub to a classic car event in something so distinctive.

Buying advice and market analysis is part of 18 pages of buying information in every issue of Classic Cars magazine, including Quentin Willson’s Smart Buys, Russ Smith’s Market Watch, in-depth buying guides and Ads on Test.

Phil Bell

Editor, Classic Cars magazine

For more details of the latest issue, visit www.classiccarsmagazine.co.uk

 

 

Esprit Turbo Last Chance

After being left for dust in the price acceleration race by rival Ferraris and Porsches, the Lotus Esprit Turbo seems to be on the move, with top auction and dealer examples already tipping over the £20k mark.

That still doesn’t make the Esprit Turbo expensive for such a fast, sharp-handling and dramatic looking car, especially as privately advertised examples can be found for 10 per cent less. In the current market you can have a lot less fun for a lot more money.

Buying advice and market analysis is part of 18 pages of buying information in every issue of Classic Cars magazine, including Quentin Willson’s Smart Buys, Russ Smith’s Market Watch, in-depth buying guides and Ads on Test.

Phil Bell

Editor, Classic Cars magazine

For more details of the latest issue, visit www.classiccarsmagazine.co.uk

It’s Midget and Sprite time!

With the prices of top-condition MG Midgets and equivalent Austin-Healey Sprites lagging behind the market – and particularly their old rival, the Triumph Spitfire – now looks like a good time to buy.

I’ve always found the Midget and Sprite more fun to drive, and also surprisingly accommodating for my 6ft 1in frame. Excellent examples can be bought from £6-£7k, with £11k buying the best. And after that initial investment your ownership costs will be tiny, leaving you with nothing more to worry about than which twiddly B-road you’re going to attack next.

Buying advice and market analysis is part of 18 pages of buying information in every issue of Classic Cars magazine, including Quentin Willson’s Smart Buys, Russ Smith’s Market Watch, in-depth buying guides and Ads on Test.

 

Phil Bell

Editor, Classic Cars magazine

 

For more details of the latest issue, visit www.classiccarsmagazine.co.uk

Style and ingenuity from £2k - Lancia Style!

With prices starting at £2k for a usable saloon or £4k for the equivalent coupé, the Lancia Flavia is looking very tempting right now.

These cars bristle with clever design including aluminium flat-four engines, front-wheel drive and disc brakes, and in coupé and cabriolet forms offer the sort of Pininfarina styling normally reserved for Ferraris.

The best saloons are £10-£15k, coupés £25-£35k and cabrios £30-£40k, which still looks attractive when you consider the alternatives. As the buying guide in the latest issue of Classic Cars magazine reveals, repair costs aren’t disproportionate unless you pay too much for an example with too many faults. Our detailed advice should help you spot the trouble areas so that you can negotiate on the price, or vote with your feet.

Buying advice and market analysis is part of 16 pages of buying information in every issue of Classic Cars magazine, including Quentin Willson’s Smart Buys, Russ Smith’s Market Watch, in-depth buying guides and Ads on Test.

 

Phil Bell

Editor, Classic Cars magazine

 

For more details of the latest issue, visit classiccarsmagazine.co.uk

Jaguar XJ12 Takes Top Spot

Of the 289 movers in the latest update of the Classic Cars magazine Price Guide, just 32 are fallers. The rest are showing growth of anything up to 71%. That chart-topping figure is achieved by the Jaguar XJ12 Coupé, meaning that decent examples now start at £9k and you can pay anywhere from £16-24k depending on how perfect the car is. The six-cylinder version isn’t far behind with figures around 20% lower than the V12 model.

The top five slots are locked out by cars that hitherto have been keeping quiet – Lotus Esprit S2, Triumph Spitfire MkII and original Spitfire 4.

Fallers show no pattern of age or car type, with the Subaru Impreza Turbo and Austin Atlantic coupé topping the chart at -14% and -12% respectively. Now, that pairing would make for a diverse two-car garage.

Buying advice and market analysis is part of 16 pages of buying information in every issue of Classic Cars magazine, including Quentin Willson’s Smart Buys, Russ Smith’s Market Watch, in-depth buying guides and Ads on Test.

Phil Bell

Editor, Classic Cars magazine

For more details of the latest issue, visit www.classiccarsmagazine.co.uk

Range Rovers Rocket!

You’d think my friend who sold his early Range Rover last year for a few hundred pounds would suffer a head-in-the-hands moment at the news that an early example has just sold for £93k. But the big number was for the first production car, built of course in 1970 and with an A-suffix to the chassis number. It was also restored to original condition.

My friend’s car was at the other end of the spectrum with a shortened chassis, hybrid Series 3/Defender bodywork and countless DIY shed-quality modifications that together transformed it into an off-road special. It was one of very many similar conversions that contributed to the rarity of the untouched originals that are so prized today. Without such attrition, I doubt that two door Range Rovers would be attracting anything like the attention and values that they are now.

It also underlines how, as a car matures from loved old classic to collectible piece of significant motoring history, buyers will put ever higher premiums on original specification, fittings and finishes. Conversely, the more that you personalise a car, the more you narrow its market until it only appeals to one person – you.

Buying advice and market analysis is part of 16 pages of buying information in every issue of Classic Cars magazine, including Quentin Willson’s Smart Buys, Russ Smith’s Market Watch, in-depth buying guides and Ads on Test.

 

Phil Bell

Editor, Classic Cars magazine

 

For more details of the latest issue, visit www.classiccarsmagazine.co.uk

 

Honda CR-X

Honda’s sharp-looking and sharp-handling CR-X coupé is a reminder that there was more to fun Eighties motoring than the much-celebrated hot hatch. And with buyers clamouring for all of the predictable Peugeots, VWs, Renaults and Fords, the now scarce Honda makes a very appealing alternative, with good examples starting at around £4k and the very best topping £12k.

Spec ranges from the early 60bhp, twin-carburettor-fed 1.5-litre model through to the sizzling 1.6i V-T (SiR in Japan) with its 150bhp VTEC (variable valve timing) engine, all driving the front wheels.

The challenge is finding the right car and keeping it in top condition thanks to scarcity of survivors and patchy parts supply, so the in-depth buying guide in the latest issue of Classic Cars magazine is a must-read for advice on where to source cars and how to check them for the sort of problems that might taint your ownership.

So a CR-X might not be as easy to own as a Ford or VW, but life would be dull without challenges, right?

Buying advice and market analysis is part of 16 pages of buying information in every issue of Classic Cars magazine, including Quentin Willson’s Smart Buys, Russ Smith’s Market Watch, in-depth buying guides and Ads on Test.

 

Phil Bell

Editor, Classic Cars magazine

 

For more details of the latest issue, visit www.classiccarsmagazine.co.uk

Price Guide Winners and Losers

To illustrate how nuanced the classic car market is right now, the monthly round-up of the top 72 price guide winners and losers in Classic Cars magazine includes everything from the Blower Bentley to the BMW M535i; and late-model Porsches appear at the top of the charts of both winners and losers, depending on model.

Sharing the winner’s top slot are the Bentley Speed Six, Blower Bentley and BMW M535i (E12 generation) with a weighty 99% growth. They’re followed by Porsche 911 Carrera (964 generation) at 70% and its Turbo brother rounding out the top five at 50%.

The losers show much less spectacular figures with even the biggest only managing a 13% fall, meaning that you can now buy a mint Porsche Boxster 2.5 for just £5k. The newer and much more powerful 3.2S has dropped 10%, making mint examples a £9k bargain. If you’ve never tried one of these tactile and practical little gems, now’s the time. While their 911 big brother boasts all of the big numbers, the Boxster is much more fun at sane and legal speeds.

The Lamborghini 400GT (pictured), Porsche 911 Turbo 4 and Carrera (both 993 generation) wound out the top five fallers, losing 6.3, 6.0 and 5.3% respectively. Hardly drastic losses considering how 2016 buyers have shunned the meteoric rises in the classic Porsche market of previous years.

They may have a way to fall yet, but special examples of these later Porsches will surely return to growth long term as a younger generation of enthusiasts seeks excitement in post-chrome-era classics.

Buying advice and market analysis is part of 16 pages of buying information in every issue of Classic Cars magazine, including Quentin Willson’s Smart Buys, Russ Smith’s Market Watch, in-depth buying guides and Ads on Test.
 

Phil Bell,
Editor, Classic Cars magazine

For more details of the latest issue, visit www.classiccarsmagazine.co.uk

 

Peugeot 205 GTI

It doesn’t seem long ago that we were tipping these sharp-looking road terriers as undervalued smart buys. It couldn’t last. First it was the perfect, ultra-low mileage examples that made the headlines – one sold recently for £30k – while inevitably cars with high mileage or needing work were left alone. But we’ve just seen a well-used 1.6 example make £2.4k.

So it seems the market is becoming hungry for them in any condition, in the way that sporting Ford Escort MkIs were chased upwards a decade ago. As history repeats itself, the generation that grew up aspiring to these, or owning them as disposable transport when they were secondhand bargains has the money to buy the best, or restore one to top condition. Faced with the realisation that supplied of perfect, unmodified examples are scarce, they’re prepared to spend ever more on chasing the dream.

But aside from headline-grabbing auction examples, good cars with normal mileages can be bought for a third of the price of a Ford Escort Mexico. For now.

Buying advice and market analysis is part of 16 pages of buying information in every issue of Classic Cars magazine, including Quentin Willson’s Smart Buys, Russ Smith’s Market Watch, in-depth buying guides and Ads on Test.


Phil Bell

Editor, Classic Cars magazine

For more details of the latest issue, visit www.classiccarsmagazine.co.uk