The first in a series of quarterly market reports from Tim Gascoigne, Auction Manager for Barons’ Classic Car Auctioneers (www.barons-auctions.com ).
2016 – a brief review
2016 was a testing year for many classic car auctions houses, and for the market in general. The combination of Brexit and the dip in general economic confidence surrounding many political events in the middle of the year had a real effect on the market, and sales slowed dramatically.
However, once this cleared buyers seemed to be making up for lost time in the last quarter of the year, and most auction houses – Barons included – saw very strong sales to finish 2016. This upturn meant that many in the classic car industry were feeling optimistic for 2017.
By the end of the year, barn finds were consistently strong, pre-1950 cars were in something of a falling market, and the ‘modern classic sector’ looked promising.
Q1 – the Barons’ perspective
Barons had a strong start to 2017 with a very good February sale, following on from our excellent end to 2016 with our December sale, showing that the upturn in the market has continued.
In Q1 2017, original cars in very good condition continue to sell as well as ever, as shown by the Fiat Dino Spider we sold at Sandown Park in February for £83,600 (£23,000 over the top end of the guide price).
Barn finds have also continued to perform well, as shown by the 1956 Mercedes 190SL restoration project, which sold for over top estimate. German marques seem to be attracting lots of interest at the moment, especially German modern classics, with four BMWs, nine Mercedes, and four Porsches all finding new homes at our first sale of the year.
Q1 – general market overview
The classic car market continued to be strong across the board, showing that renewed economic confidence, low interest rates, and good old fashioned enthusiasm is continuing to keep it buoyant.
Most of the main auction houses saw sales results of between 70% to 90%, so a serious number of cars are being sold. This covers vehicles right across the spectrum, from starter classics and projects, right up to top-end cars fetching hundreds of thousands of pounds.
What was hot in Q1 2017?
Series 1 Range Rovers (particularly 3-door models), Porsche 944s (particularly Turbos) and Aston Martin DB7s all delivered strong results.
Q1 – bargains to be had
Some modern classics seem to be very cheap at the moment, as they are in the value slump that almost all cars have when they are 15 to 20 years old. You can pick up things like a Mercedes 500CL V8 Coupe or a BMW 3 series convertible for less than £4k, which is a lot of car for the money.
Convertibles always pick up at this time of year, especially if there is a nice week or two of sunshine in March or April. Useable convertibles like Mercedes SLs and Triumph TRs are very likely to sell well in Q2.