What is it with ‘non-classic’ people? Often I hear them utter the phrase ‘I can’t afford to buy a classic’ or ‘my wife doesn’t think it’s sensible, financially’. Is this the truth?
It appears the reality of classic values rising hasn’t yet percolated to the wider public. With regular production saloons produced in many thousands of units during the 1960s and 1970s being offered in good nick for £5000 and upwards, or the first wave of genuinely classic sports cars starting at £7k in decent nick we’re talking about good Midgets, MGBs and Jensen-Healeys, there’s never been a better time to sink some cash into an appreciating asset, rather than continue to line the bankers pockets. Let’s face it, after the latest round of scandal, tangible assets are going to prove a better bet than any monetary ‘product’ for the foreseeable future.
So what should you be looking for? You need to think like a dealer and only buy cars of the best history and condition. Body, interior and chrome need to be as good as you can find, because, while mechanical issues are relatively easily and cheaply sorted, the other aspects of a car can cause you to do the cake if you get in too deep. Choose cars with as good a spec as possible too, so for an early pre-standard-overdrive MGB, when offered two cars of the same condition, choose the one with the overdrive gearbox. Accepted mods such as wire wheels, or bigger engines of the same type (eg an Oselli overbored B-series) are fine. Mutant cars are always worth less, but if you can find a car with a few nasty mods, then return the car to standard, this can be an easy way of covering your purchase price, having some fun and then moving the car on quickly.
What are the drawbacks of this approach? You’ll be competing with the myriad classic dealers. Many more are springing up as having some fun with old cars can prove profitable if bought with caution and all your witsabout you.