Hagerty International's John Mayhead rounds up the top movers in the classic market, according to the insurer's valuation guide.
Twelve months ago a lot of people in the classic car world were expecting a ‘correction’ to a market that was frankly going crazy. At the top end, auction prices were going through the roof. Bonhams alone broke nearly a dozen marque records in 2013, and at Goodwood in July sold a Mercedes-Benz W196 Grand Prix car for £19.6m, smashing the highest figure ever achieved at a public auction.
Last year the values of really special vehicles continued their upward trend. At the very top, Bonhams broke its own record by selling a Ferrari 250GTO for £22.85m. Elsewhere, the story has been the same – collectors are still more than willing to part with huge sums of money for the right car, while investors are fuelling a mid-market, in which the values of some models more than doubled over the past 12 months. Even at the lower end, enthusiasts are seeing their cars rise in value as more people are attracted to classic ownership.
Keeping tabs on such a highly charged market is not easy, but specialist insurer Hagerty International says its online price guide is as good as it gets. Auction and private sales data – combined with insured values and input from dealers and owners’ clubs – is manually analysed and the resulting guide of over 1300 different models updated quarterly.
We’ve been given a sneak preview of the top five cars that experienced the greatest increase in value in 2014.
Over £100,000: Lamborghini Countach LP400SValue in 2013: £105,000Value now: £229,000Increase: 118%
Cars of the 1980s have suddenly increased dramatically in value, thanks to a new generation of buyers entering a stage of their life where the vehicles of their youth are now attainable pursuits. The poster-boy Countach leads this pack. Pristine examples command even more than these figures suggest: a low-mileage right-hand-drive LP500S sold at Brooklands for £337,000 in June, doubling its pre-sale upper estimate.
£70,000 to £100,000: Ferrari 308GTS SpyderValue in 2013: £24,000Value now: £72,000Increase: 200%
Another '80s classic that has suddenly picked up in price is the Ferrari 308. Values were flat for many years, but have suddenly increased with top of the range glassfibre (Vetroresina) models now selling for well in excess of £100,000.
£40,000 to £69,999: Porsche 911E 2.4Value in 2013: £23,775Value now: £51,700Increase: 118%
All classic 911s have rocketed in value in recent years. The early pre-'73 short-wheelbase models are seen by many as the purest in design terms, and even the smaller 2- and 2.4-litre-engined examples are now very collectable. The popularity of the 911 has also pulled up the values of other classic Porsches, especially the front-engined 944 and 928.
£20,000 to £39,999: BMW E30 M3Value in 2013: £10,450Value now: £24,000Increase: 130%
The E30 model range emerged as serious classic proposition in 2014, with the superb M3 leading the pack in terms of value. Great handling, powerful engines and iconic looks all add to the appeal – as does a decent ride and legendary reliability, which appeal to those new to classic ownership. These cars are on the rise – Hagerty predicts that values of top examples will continue to rise significantly in 2015.
Under £19,999: Ford Capri 1300 MkIValue in 2013: £2950Value now: £10,700Increase: 262%
The sharpest rise in our group is reserved not for an unobtainable supercar, but for a standard daily driver that would have been seen all over Britain’s roads in the early 1970s. The Capri’s fastback profile created an exotic contrast with the other mass-produced cars of the era, and the design is now regarded as a true classic. Unloved for many years, huge numbers were left to rot and good examples are now highly sought-after.
All values refer to an ‘excellent’ car, almost entirely original and capable of winning a local car show prize.