MARKET WATCH, October 2017

Jaguar E-type sales unpredictable

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The recent round of auction sales that included several Jaguar E-types underlined why one sale doesn't establish a trend. Whenever there's a notably high or low result for a particular model, in relation to its condition, we always look for further evidence of a shift in values before rewriting the Classic Cars price guide.

The sale of four E-types at Silverstone Auctions' Salon Privé sale in August might have suggested a drastic fall off in interest in Jaguar's ever-popular sports GT, but when Bonhams sold all four of its E-types at the Goodwood Revival sale in September we knew that the normal balance was maintained. As well as buyers being picky about condition (barn-find projects and perfect preservations or restorations sell easiest) and model variant, there's always the factor of the auction dynamic on the day. With the right ambience and enough competitive buyers, cars can do better than they deserve; without, good cars can struggle.

The results of those two sales, and much more data beyond shows that the most desirable Series 1 (covered headlamp) cars have grown between 4% (Series 1 4.2 coupé) and 10% (Series 1 3.8 roadster), but the biggest gains have been seen by the Series 1.5 and Series 2 roadsters, up 11%. They're still a long way behind the covered headlamp cars, but as those become more expensive, buyers have been inevitably looking at the next best thing.

For details of all the latest growers and fallers, check out the expanded Price Guide Quarterly in the current issue of Classic Cars magazine.

Ford Anglias in vogue

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After spending much of its life tracking the values of Morris Minors, the Ford Anglia has started attracting much larger figures. Until recently, figures ranging from sub £1000 project cars to £6k concours examples have been typical for the 105E, despite the hype surrounding its appearance in the first Harry Potter film.

Recent auction results of £8.6k and 15k reflect how hard it is to find low-mileage or nicely restored examples. Only future sales will tell us if these represent a blip or a real trend.

Price guide winners and losers

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We've added 159 new entries to our expanded Price Guide Quarterly and the latest update is in the current issue of Classic Cars magazine. Most of the recent additions are at the more modern end of the classic car spectrum, models that have turned from old car depreciation into classic appreciation.

The top 54 climbers range from a modest 1.3% growth for the Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire 346, where good examples make £9500 and the best are £12,500, to the Volvo T5-R and 850R which have grown 50% to £5k and £7.5k in equivalent condition. Those cars hint at the overall picture for the classic market, where the more valuable and collectible cars are static or have fallen back to 2014 levels, while affordable and middle-market cars are continuing to trade keenly, bringing inevitable upward pressure on prices for good examples of the right models.

But there are always exceptions, like the BMW 507, up 20% to £1.5m in concours condition, and the alloy Ferrari 275 GTB up 13% to £2.25m.

The list of biggest fallers is dominated by models that have enjoyed vivid gains until recently, particularly Ferraris, like the Testarossa, down 7%. Hardly cause for despair among owners then.

Buy an Austin-Healey the expert way

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Austin-Healeys rarely feature in our monthly roundup of the biggest climbers and fallers in the classic market – their modus operandi seems to be an alternating pattern of falling behind the general market growth, followed by period of gentle catch up. They're never particularly in or out of fashion, but their handsome curves and rugged driving characteristics give them evergreen appeal. But professional restoration costs can top £100k, twice what you'd pay for a superb 100, 3000 MkII BN7 or 3000 MkIII, the three most desirable mainstream 'Healeys (the 100M and particularly the 100S are in a league of their own). So the buying guide in the latest issue of Classic Cars magazine could save you from sleepwalking into a disproportionately expensive project.

We want this

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I've yet to own a TVR powered by one of its own engines, and for less than £15k this 1999 Cerbera Speed Six that we test in the latest issue of Classic Cars is looking mighty tempting. The history file suggests that this one has been well maintained over its 33k miles, and reassuringly there's a bill for replacement of the rust-prone chassis outriggers – a job that's pretty much inevitable on TVRs of any era unless they've been regularly wax-protected from new or rarely seen a wet road. For anyone jaded by how bloated modern performance cars have sacrificed pure feel for technological intervention, this generation of TVRs is the perfect antidote.