Classic experts are predicting a 'slow puncture' for the classic car market as years of rising prices come to an end - but they don't expect a repeat of the late 1980s crash.
Justin Banks, who runs the eponymous classis dealership in Kent, does not believe the market is heading for a crash but he does see price growth coming to an end.
'For the next few months I expect prices to remain exactly where they were last month - we cannot push the market. I think the market will be stable but will not grow at the rate we have experienced over the next year.
'The people declaring an imminent bust are usually those who want to buy a Dino but missed the boat a couple of years ago! The underlying market forces bear no resemblance at all to the crash of the late 1980s.'
Mark Wilkinson, managing partner of Heritage Classic Car Insurance, said that while he could see certain upwards trends continuing - particularly the price rises for 1980s and 1990s models - he believes the overall market will suffer a 'slow puncture' rather than a price crash. He said: 'Coupled with relaxation of the pension regulations and a lack of capital gains tax on cars, it's tempting to think that current growth will continue. However, there are signs of an imminent downturn. Expected increases in interest rates will make non-yielding assets such as classic cars less attractive to investors.'
Wilkinson added that volatility in global markets, including the current situation in China, could lead to falling values. 'Closer to home, recent large-scale sales by high profile collectors could signal a likely downturn,' he said. 'Equally, a scandal involving a supposedly old vehicle sold as original, which turned out to be a high quality replica, could also see prices for certain vehicles plummet - rather like the current Volkswagen diesel situation.
'However, if the global recovery takes a hit, then all bets are off, and it's a case of battening down the hatches and hanging on tight for the long run!'
Keith Riddington, who runs Buckinghamshire-based specialist Classicmobilia, said the number of Ferraris struggling to sell at auction was a sign of a market that is levelling out. He told Classic Car Weekly: 'The state of the market has changed in the last two months. Buyers are taking a different view on acquisitions, and dealers are having to work a lot harder to compete against the many auction houses, then having to justify the car they are selling against the value of an auction car recently sold.'
Riddington's tip for growth is in modern classics. 'I see the 1980s, 1990s and 2000 cars moving so much in the last few months,' he said. 'There's new money on the horizon, and many younger cars are being bought and locked away. Pre-World War II cars are being left behind and the market that did well at the start of the year is stabilising I do not see so much of a downturn, so much as more sensible buying by people with a little bargaining power.'