Super September: Market Analysis

by John Mayhead
25 September 2017 3 min read
Super September: Market Analysis
Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider Bonhams

We are just in the process of updating the UK Hagerty Price Guide, which will be published online in early October 2017. As well as some new additions, increasing the Guide’s coverage to nearly 2,000 models, there have been some interesting movements in values both up and down.

We’ll publish a full analysis of the new Hagerty Price Guide next month but in the meantime, it is interesting to see many of the trends we’re seeing reflected across the flurry of auctions this month that are now commonly grouped as ‘Super September’.

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Porsche Pain

Results from the Monterey auctions in August raised some concerns over Porsche values, with both early (pre-1969 short wheelbase) and 930 (Turbo) 911s failing to reach market prices. This trend widened at RM Sotheby’s London Sale, where out of a total of sixteen Porsches consigned, only four sold on the night. 12 months on from their astonishing sale of a 1995 911 (993) GT2 for £1.84m, a 1996 GT2 sold this September for £775,625 with commission, although this probably says more about the 2016 sale as an anomaly than it does about a value drop this year. It is also a reminder to those who base their values solely on auction results; Hagerty do not.

Enthusiast Energy

The lower-end enthusiast market seems to be faring well. Buyers are still attracted to fun, stylish classics that can be easily maintained, and few marques fit into this description better than Alfa Romeo. Values of classic Alfa models, from 1950s and ‘60s Giulias all the way through to 1980s Suds and Alfettas, are all increasing in value thanks to a superb supply of spare parts and a thriving owner community. Nowhere was this better illustrated than at the Bonhams Beaulieu sale, where a newly-restored Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider was the centre of much attention. It wasn’t one for the purists: the original engine and wheels had been replaced by later 1750 alternatives, and even the steering wheel was incorrect, but this didn’t put off the punters: it sold for £46,575 including commission against a top estimate of £30,000.

Jaguar Jeopardy

We’ve seen many Jaguar values correct recently, especially early E-Types which had risen faster than the market could bear. This trend was illustrated at Bonhams Goodwood Revival when a Series 1 ‘flat floor’ FHC sold at low estimate for £74,300, a full £100,000 less than the previous top Hagerty Price Guide figure (which has been reduced for this update). Another ‘flat floor’ E-Type, this time a roadster, sold well under estimate at the same sale for £203,100 including commission, and a very early ‘outside bonnet latch’ example made £309,500, again well under low estimate and half of the previous top Hagerty value.

Provenance Power

Cars with excellent provenance, whether race history, celebrity ownership, or something else that marks them out from the norm, are still performing very well. If that provenance provides an entry ticket into one of the top-flight historic racing events such as the Goodwood Revival, Le Mans Classic or Monaco Grand Prix Historique, then prices can really fly. A great example was the Bonhams Revival cover star- an ex Jack Sears Ford Galaxie with British and South African period racing history, and the nice addition of four Goodwood Festival of Speed entry stickers on its side window. With a top estimate of £220,000 it sold for £471,900 with commission. At the other end of the market, RM Sotheby’s sold a LaFerrari Aperta for £7.6m (top estimate £3m). This car was something special though; of the 209-car production run, this was car 210, created especially for Ferrari’s 70th anniversary where it was unveiled. Truly, a very special car.

So, in summary the market continues to correct with certain areas doing well and others less so, and we expect these trends to deepen towards the end of 2017 but do not expect a ‘crash’ in prices. It is true that the classic car market is now proving to be a more difficult place to make money than it has been for a few years, but that is not necessarily a bad thing for enthusiasts. Let us know what you think in the comments.

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  • Hampshire says:

    Dear Hagerty, I read your ‘Jaguar Jeopardy’ with interest however I’d add if pretty much a ‘barn find’ i.e. requiring a complete restoration E’s are still selling for £74K the market isn’t exactly in regression. A well prepared and sorted early E is still half, if not a third, of an Aston with probably better handling, better power to weight and far more fun to drive..albeit this is my opinion. Best, James

  • Northern Ireland says:

    Good news that some of the classic cars being bought and sold as investments are levelling out or reducing in price (not necessarily value, two different things). Like the art market, the ordinary enthusiast should always buy what they like, not what they think will increase in price over time. The value is in the ownership. At my level, this means owning and driving a “classic” that I feel good in and will happily spend that last few minutes gazing at my car before the cover goes on and the garage door closes.

  • Glos says:

    Good to see that some prices coming down. much better to be using the vehicles to their full potential, rather than locking them up in heated compounds. May even mean that I could afford a decent Porsche to use on continental visits.

  • Paris / France says:

    Love this analysis which is something we missed for long … but still suspicious about the LaFerrari Apperta sold @ Maranello ….

  • North Bucks. says:

    It seems to me that 1950’s cars and earlier do not retain their appeal to prospective owners entering the market, who are aged under 50. This is not the case for 60’s and 70’s cars. Also those potential owners aged under 40 are often hanker after “modern” exotic muscle cars. This I believe is starting to have a noticeable effect in the market place.

  • Epsom says:

    Having retired I have now been the owner of a classic for about 12 months, an Alfa romeo S4 Spider 1991. One of the best things I have ever done. I paid towards the top end price (Hagerty price guide) . Since meeting other Classic Alfa owners I am amazed at how much money they are happy to spend on their cars such as £7000 on a good re-spray on a £15000 car. I really don’t think these cars are purchased to make money but for sheer enjoyment and fun. I have covered about 1500 miles in the last 10 months with no issues at all. I think the trend is driven, no pun intended, by a reaction to the very bland modern cloned cars of today.

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