MARKET WATCH, November week 3

Ferrari 275GTB among the fallers

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More than a third of the fallers in our latest Price Guide Movers update (Classic Cars, latest issue) are Ferraris, with declines ranging from 4.3-17% since our last update. Although two of them belong in the troubled modern classic sector, the rest are of the highly collectable variety, including 250 Europa, 250 Pinin Farina – in Coupé and Cabriolet forms – and the 275GTB. The four-cam 275 GTB/4 has suffered slightly more, dropping 8.3% to between £1.65m and £2.2m, depending on condition and history. The two-cam, steel-bodied cars have fared slightly better, slipping 5.6% to £0.95-1.7m in equivalent condition.

Our observations are consistent with the general softening of the £100k+ market, particularly for models that are easy to find via the dealers or auctions. Exceptional cars with significant histories – the sort that might come up for sale rarely or maybe once in a generation – still have heavyweight collectors fighting for them.

To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

Modified Morris Minors are hot

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Recent sales of Morris Minors reveal that the right blend of modifications can increase values, rather than diminish them in the way that they would with so many classics.

The problem with most modifications applied to classic cars is that they are a highly personal choice. The priorities and taste of one owner around upgrades to performance, suspension, comfort/luxuries and cosmetic appearance are unlikely to coincide with anyone else’s, making the car hard to sell on in the future. And buyers who are receptive to the idea of improvements tend to prefer to start with a standard, original car and make their own choices about what to change, and importantly, what not to. Then there’s the increasing army of buyers who will only consider a car that fits their ideal of period perfection, even if that does make it less user-friendly.

But for some cars, the Minor included, there’s such a strong culture of usability around them that a well-chosen package of upgrades, focused on sensible performance, braking, cooling, suspension and transmission improvements, will make them an easier sell. Most recently we’ve seen a Convertible make nearly £9000 and a Traveller take a shade over £11k, both with 1.3-litre engines among a short list of popular changes. Significantly, they both looked largely standard, and where they didn’t – seats and wheels – the changes could be easily reversed. Of course the smart modifier always keeps the original parts so that they can be sold with the car if needed.

To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

We want this Chevrolet Corvette

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The fact that this Corvette has been in long-term ownership is a good start - while it doesn’t guarantee careful use and maintenance, they often go together. And the way this econd-generation 1966 Roadster looks and drives seems to back that up. It’s had only light use over the 20 years that the dealer has owned it, and it’s been maintained in his workshop.

So the Tuxedo Black bodywork and contrasting red interior are smart, as is the under-bonnet area, and it drives well, the two-spped automatic shifting smoothly and the 327 cubic inch V8 pulling strongly throughout. It’s hard not to fall for this car, as our road tester found when he went to check it over. You can read the rest of his report, and three other cars for sale that we test, in the latest issue of Classic Cars.

To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

Mercedes G-Wagen

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Given how expensive classic Range Rovers have become, the possibility of a Mercedes G-Wagen for less than £10k looks tempting, but as we found out when we spoke to the various specialists, the wrong car can be anything but a bargain.

They told us that the more rewarding examples start around £15k, with prices driven by condition rather than specification, of which there’s been a bewildering choice over the G-Wagen’s never-ending lifespan. The best examples of beautifully preserved or properly restored cars top out around £40k, which still represents a bargain compared to the cost of making a bad car good. If you’re tempted by these rugged Tonka toys, have a look at the detailed buyer’s guide in the current issue, it could well save you from an expensive mistake.

To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

MARKET WATCH, November week 1

Ford Capri MkI prices soar

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Prices for the V6 versions are chasing Triumph TR4 money, particularly the well-appointed 3000E, like the eye-popping Le Mans Green example above that Brightwells sold recently. It’s all down to two simple factors – scarcity of good examples that avoided being crashed, scrapped by corrosion or modified, and a new generation of well-funded enthusiasts who lusted after fast Fords rather than tweed-cap sports cars back in their youth.

We’ve seen the 3000E jump 25% since our last update, placing those rough project cars at nearly £4k, tidy, usable cars at double that and the best at £17-25k. Following in its wake is the 3000GT, up 11% to just over £3k, £6.5k and £14-20k in equivalent condition.

As ever when a single car beats is auction estimates, owners of 3000Es will be trying to tell us and the world that theirs must now be worth the same £29,920 as that exceptional Le Mans Green example above. But a single high sale merely contributes to our ongoing pricing knowledge, it doesn’t redefine it in one go. To find out how much it contributes we’ll have to wait for a few more sales, and we may not have to wait too long – stellar results tend to tease cars onto the market as more owners are tempted to try their luck. For the latest price updates on more that 1200 classics, you can buy the latest issue of Classic Cars.

The Porsche 911 Turbo to buy now

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Prices of the 996-generation Turbos are slipping, so you have a choice of waiting for them to become better value still, or moving as soon as you can afford one because trying to predict the bottom of the market is a risky game. Even the professional share dealers don’t attempt to buy at the trough and sell at the peak, because it’s almost impossible to get right. Same with cars, so the question with the 430bhp Porsche 911 Turbo of the 996 generation shouldn’t be how much cheaper will they get, but do I think the current prices make them affordable and good value to me.

The rough stuff is circa £24k, with good cars around £35k and £45-55k buying the best. Their decline has more to do with how over-heated the market for modern classic 911s became than any deficiency of the Turbo 996, because it’s a spectacular car to drive and not as scary to own as the regular 996 models. Its engine is effectively a water-cooled version of the old air-cooled flat six, rather than the fragile all-new water-cooled design created for the 996 and Boxster. For the latest price updates on more that 1200 classics, produced in collaboration with Hagerty classic car insurance, you can buy the latest issue of Classic Cars.

We want this Land Rover Series 1

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This 1951 Series 1 is an attractive blend of patina and restoration. On our test drive in the current issue it felt mechanically fresh, one of the best we’ve tried, but there are no receipts to confirm what restoration work has been done.

Straight panels with good, consistent gaps appear to have had a recent repaint in a satin finish and there is some evidence of older paint beneath the new coating. Apart from the engine and its ancillaries, most of the major mechanical components have been cosmetically restored and most of the underside is protected with black underbody seal. As the rest of our test and evaluation shows, this one is well worth a look if you’re in the market for a smart early Land Rover to drive. It’s one of four classics for sale tested in the latest issue. To buy a copy, click here.

MARKET WATCH, October week 3

BMW M635 CSi takes a dip

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The overheated modern classic sector is showing more signs of cooling off in the £20-50k range, once you discount those auction-headline results for cars with tiny mileage, perfect originality and service history from new. Because that’s not what most of us buys – there just aren’t enough to go round – so we shop for cars that have worn their substantial mileages well, and/or have enjoyed well-executed remedial works along the way.

So the sort of M635 CSi you’re likely to find for sale out there has taken a 14% tumble since our last update, with prices now starting at £7500 for something in rough condition and the good stuff beginning around £14k. The best is now in the £20-27.5k range and I expect the gap between the best and worst to widen significantly as it becomes more of a buyer’s market. Why buy a money pit when for a fraction of the restoration cost you can buy something near-perfect?

To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

Citroën BX GTi hots up

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Despite increased prices, these Marcello Gandini-styled, growing family-sized hot hatches are still a good buy. Although survivors are much rarer than the iconic Peugeot 205 GTI they’re unlikely to ever challenge them for value supremacy, but as buyers choose to pluck them from obscurity they’re likely to keep on moving.

So we’ve seen prices up by 40% since our last Price Guide update, making those project cars £550 and usable examples more like £1000. That still makes the best examples make a lot of sense at £2.25-3.5k, depending on how perfect, though scarcity of the best on the market may make a viable fixer-upper your only option if you’re in a hurry to buy. It’s easy to see the best making £5k before too long.

To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

We want this Alvis RD21 drophead coupé

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This drophead coupé has had lots spent on it, drives well and wears a flattering colour combination to suit its elegant good looks. So we had to take a closer look. It’s up for £75k, which fell into perspective when we discovered that it has benefitted from £41k of work, including body and paint, wiring, new chrome and more.

On our test drive it performed faultlessly with slick changes through the three-speed automatic gearbox, and the work appeared to have been done to a good standard, though there’s more to be done for the perfectionist owner.

You’ll find more details in the latest issue, where the Alvis is one of four cars for sale tested and evaluated.

Citroën 2CVs are moving up

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Prices are up, problems can be well hidden, so paying the right sum for the right car is vital.

Yes, there’s more at stake these days when buying a 2CV. Time was when they were cheap enough to take a punt on, but even tatty drivers can cost £3-6k and the best restored examples can be £15k.

It’s easy to be charmed into buying a scruffy patina car in the belief that all it needs is new and easy-to-replace exterior panels. The real challenges lie much deeper, particularly in areas like the bulkhead and chassis. Those easily replaced wings and doors also allow vendors to dress up project car as one already restored.

The buying guide in our latest issue will take the gamble out of buying one of these French charmers. You can buy a copy here.




MARKET WATCH, October week 1

Jaguar XJ-S manuals leap

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It’s one of four Jaguars to make a move in the latest issue’s roundup of the biggest 73 market winners and losers. While there’s always a ready market for superb, low-mileage and historied XJ-Ss, it’s the pre-HE models built before 1981 that are catching the eye of collectors for their earlier purity – yes, you read that correctly, the car that was controversial at launch in 1975 – and particularly the 352 manual versions.

Most XJ-S enthusiasts will argue that these cosseting grand tourers suit the more popular automatic gearbox, and there’s so much power and torque from that 5.3-litre V12 that they do have a point. But that ignores the age-old market prejudice in favour of a manual transmission on any car with performance claims.

So it’s no surprise to see these models up 92% since our last update, making project cars £4k, tidy, usable examples £8.5k and the smartest cars anywhere from £17.5k to £25k depending on condition. To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

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As we predicted in our Aston Martins to Buy Now feature in the September 2015 issue, these twin-supercharged Nineties bruisers have hotted up. Since our last price update, prices have jumped 56% for the 550bhp Vantage models, making £125k the entry price for something usable but needing – inevitably expensive – work. The best cars are now £185k to £250k.

The 600bhp V600 has moved even faster, up 63% to a £165k entry price, with the best now costing £240k to £325k. The reason? Apart from the fact that their Seventies/Eighties predecessors have soared is the fact that these were the last Astons that were completely hand built and in small numbers. And their once-controversial styling no longer looks too modern thanks to what came afterwards. To find more market analysis and details of the latest market climbers and fallers, check out the latest issue.

We want this Lamborghini Countach

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This 1987 5000QV has had lots of money spent on it – £30k since it was imported into the UK from America in 2016. Some of that involved replacing US-spec items like the side marker lights with European equivalents. A combination of the workmanship and its near-35,000 miles means that it drove just as it should on our test drive and stood up well to scrutiny, aside from some minor evidence of wear.

The dealer is asking £289k and its lefthand drive layout either makes it perfect for that dream road trip over the Alps and down to Italy, or to sell into Europe when you’re done having your fun with that 5.2-litre quad cam V12 and show-stopping scissor doors. But would you ever tire of it? To see our full report on this and three other cars for sale tested, check out the latest issue


MARKET WATCH September 2018, week 5

We asked six market experts to tip the cars that are behind the market, but are likely to move up so are best bought now. The current issue features the top 30 of their choices, from £5k-10m. Here are six more.

BMW is undervalued

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Emanuele Collo, Kidston SA
‘It’s such great fun…entertaining, thrilling, engaging, a handful. And no longer easy to find. Fast even by modern standards but with this combination of old and new in the driving experience that gives it a lot more character than a brand-new M-car.’

‘Roadsters are a lot easier to find, but the coupé might be the better investment. It came from an era when BMW’s sports-roadster, the Z1, was just an oddity, so this made a huge splash. The replacement, the Z4, was less so - it could never repeat the surprise of the Z3M, which was quite similar to the first Audi RS4 in the impact it made. And I think the Z3M is already ageing better than the Z4M.’ To read our experts’ tips on the Hot 30 cars to buy now, check out the latest issue

Lancia Aurelia is sure to move

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Maarten ten Holder, RM Sotheby’s
‘Yes, you might need to spend a bit more for a good one, but they are still out there for less. Beware, though - they were cheap for quite a long time and they’re pretty much hand-made cars that need skillfull restoration. Something like £75k to £140k covers most of them but you could end up spending a lot on a bad one.’

‘Those with most investment potential - Mille Miglia-eligible but with the later De Dion rear end, so that’s fourth series cars of 1954 and ’55. Earlier ones are lighter, purer with less power; later fifth and sixth series are a little more luxurious and flashy.’ To read our experts’ tips on the Hot 30 cars to buy now, check out the latest issue

The Porsche 962 is behind the market

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Edward Bridger-Stille, Historics at Brooklands
‘I've always wanted to drive a Group C Le Mans car. I'm quite sure I would kill myself by the first corner however, but to drive one of these magnificent beasts, designed purely to go as fast as possible for 24 hours only with no allowances made for driver comforts or indeed anything else apart from a massive engine strapped to some wheels, would be the biggest thrill. I would obviously also require a full team of mechanics and a co-driver. I'm thinking Derek Bell...

Edward pushed this a bit, claiming that a few 962s built by the likes of Kremer, Dauer and Vern Schuppan escaped onto the road and therefore made it a valid choice. It seems quite a few privateer versions were built, sometimes with Porsche factory-supplied bits attached to a DIY tub. Schuppan certainly got Reynard to produce 5 or 6 rather ugly road versions with 935-type engines. I’d be quite surprised if you could buy one for £250k. To read our experts’ tips on the Hot 30 cars to buy now, check out the latest issue

This Jaguar is a steal

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Stephen Halstead, JBR Capital
‘Posters of the XJ220 may not have been on as many bedroom walls as the Ferrari F40, but this is a serious supercar that appears heavily undervalued and has been for some years. The car’s story is interesting – originally 350 were to be produced but the decline of the market in the early 90s, an increase in asking price from £360k to £410k (about £880k in today’s money) and the loss of a promised V12 powerplant in favour of a V6 turned a lot of buyers off, leading to just 281 hitting the road.

In spite of its poor initial reception, the XJ220 was in a class of its own. Let’s not forget, this was the fastest production car in the world, with the potential to reach 217mph (compared to the F40s 199mph). Yes, it’s a big beast (7 feet 3 inches wide and 16 feet long!) and this isn’t a car for knocking around London’s restricted roads but it’s a very useable, driveable car on road and on the racetrack.

Only now are values starting to match its original 1992 asking price of £420k but for many years it could barely knock the £150k barrier, only starting its rise in 2015 as it topped £320k. Surviving cars are in the hands of true enthusiasts and collectors, so very few appear on the market. Comparing it to its direct competitors, there were 337 Porsche 959s and a whopping 1,311 Ferrari F40s produced, and these are both cars that have skyrocketed in recent years, so the XJ220 is a car I’d love to see in my garage.’ To read our experts’ tips on the Hot 30 cars to buy now, check out the latest issue

The Aston to chase

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Maarten ten Holder, RM Sotheby’s
‘What’s the difference between this and a 250SWB? They’re both very famous competition GTs, shortened versions of existing road cars and an important part of one of motorsport’s golden ages. But a genuine 250SWB is now beyond £10m because of its association with the 250GTO, while the Aston is a £3m car. It will never catch the 250SWB but it has the potential to go up, especially if there’s good period competition history, or celebrity ownership.’ To read our experts’ tips on the Hot 30 cars to buy now, check out the latest issue

Only two wheels, but…

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Edward Bridger-Stille, Historics at Brooklands
‘Got to have a bike in there somewhere, something meaty with an exhaust note to die for. The Vincent Rapide will blow those cobwebs away like nothing else on earth!’ To read our experts’ tips on the Hot 30 cars to buy now, check out the latest issue

MARKET WATCH, September 2018, week 3

Lancia Flaminia drops hard

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The Lancia Flaminia Zagato Sport looks better value every day and examples are now nearly 20% cheaper than our last price guide update. That puts entry level at around £145k for a restoration project, with tidy cars more like £180k and the best now in £260-340k territory.

But according to Emanuele Collo who works for collector car specialist dealer Kidston SA, there are many good reasons why he sees them heading up, drawing similarities with a Ferrari 250 GT short wheelbase and other low-production numbers exotic GTs. It's one of several exciting cars that he tips to buy in our Hot 30 feature, in the latest issue of Classic Cars.
 

Great Ferraris get cheaper

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Some model have recovered from the slide, but not all. Most of the people we speak to in the market agree that investors have largely stepped away from buying classic cars, sensing that the days of easy wins are over. That left a lots of Ferraris looking overpriced after their turbocharged gains of recent years, and the remaining buyers, those who want the cars for what they are, have a more grounded view of what they're prepared to pay.

So we see the handsome and understated 365GTC sliding 8.3% since our last price guide update. Now you'll pay £325-550k, depending on the usual factors of condition, history and originality. Those may be the same old words that have long driven desirability, but in a buyers' market they become ever more important.

The price guide update is part of 43 pages of market analysis, tips and buying advice in the latest issue of Classic Cars.

We want this Porsche 911 Turbo

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Full service history, modest mileage and great condition stand out with this 1987 Turbo, so it looks attractive at £75k, and that's before you consider the tough black on black colour scheme. On chrome-era classics we'd consider pretty much any car with 100k miles on the odometer to be tired and ready for substantial refurbishment, but this is a 911, and one that has plenty of evidence of being properly looked after. So it's as taut and fresh as a 45k-miler and will continue to feel the same with a further 50k under the wheels.

It's the very durability, user-friendliness and excitement of air-cooled 911s that encouraged owners to keep on using them as daily drivers, long after rival performance cars were consigned to weekend plaything status, comprehensive rebuilds or broken-and-won't-sped-the-money-fixing-it limbo. So they tend to end up with huge mileages and scruffy cosmetics. This one appears to have led a charmed life, and looks as smart as it drives.

If you're tempted by one of these Eighties icons, or any of its period rivals, this car has to be worth a look. It's one of four cars for sale that we test and evaluate in the latest issue of Classic Cars.

Buy a Triumph TR4-6 well

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With prices on the move, now is the time to strike. But move carefully, because a history of low values has meant that lots of the cars out there have only ever had amateurish restorations, or deceitfully cosmetic makeovers in the past. It's tempting to think that the inherent simplicity and excellent parts supply for the TR4-6 series means that restoration holds no fears, but a comprehensive rebuild will easily burn far more money than the price of a genuinely good example. Fine if you enjoy the restoration journey; not if you just want a great TR to drive. And that's despite the current upward price trend.

Research for the buying guide in the latest issue of Classic Cars shows that the best TR5s are £75k and decent examples command £35-50k. A combination of early styling inherited from the TR4 and the sweet, fuel-injected straight six destined for the TR6 and low build numbers keeps the TR5 at the top of the tree.

Fortunately, TR4s come in at £15-32k and TR6s at £14-35k, while the carburettor-fed TR250 for the American market can be bought for £12-25k. To put those price ranges into perspective, our detailed buying guide in the latest issue of Classic Cars reveals that a high-quality body restoration alone can cost £25k on these cars. It also explains how to check the condition and authenticity of a TR before you part with your cash.

MARKET WATCH, September 2018 week 1

Ferrari F40s on the rebound

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The F40 is one of 13 Ferraris in the top 66 market winners tabulated in the current issue of Classic Cars magazine.

After riding the investor-driven wave of classic price inflation it suffered when the belief system in never-ending market growth with profits for all evaporated, leaving over-priced cars with seasoned and cynical enthusiasts unwilling to keep them afloat.

Once vendors faced up to the new reality and adjusted prices accordingly, hugely desirable Ferraris like the F40 had no trouble finding buyers again, ironically leading to another push on prices. So we see the F40 up a hefty 18% in our latest Price Guide update, placing entry-level condition, mileage and service history cars at £750k, usable examples at £800k and the really good ones between £900k and £1m.

Most of the rest of the Ferrari growth is concentrated on those with the Colombo-designed 3-litre V12, from the 250GTE to the 250GTO, though examples from the Seventies and Eighties do sneak onto our chart. Otherwise, more numerous modern classic-era Ferraris that enjoyed so much growth when their predecessors became prohibitively valuable are conspicuous by their absence.

Mercedes SLs see new interest

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An overall wave of buying interest in Mercedes SLs is lifting values of all classic generations, right up to the hitherto bargain R129 models built from 1989 to 2001.

Inevitably it’s the ultimate iteration that’s being chased hardest by the money, with the V12-engined 600SL/SL600 jumping 33% in our latest Price Guide update. But don’t be put off, even these are £3.5k to £20k depending on condition and the highly-satisfying 500SL/SL500 tracking at 3/5 of those prices.

They’re effectively being pulled along by the growth of their predecessors, the square-rigged R107 generation built from 1974 to 1989. Despite their time-marked Seventies styling they struggled to be seen as classics for a surprisingly long time and prices were locked in bargain secondhand territory. Well that’s changed and buyers are keen to get into any variant, from the Seventies originals to the improved and more rust-resistant late Eighties examples, and powered by any engine size from 3-litre straight six to 5.6-litre V8.

Whichever generation best suits your taste and budget, the caveat is the same – arm yourself with buying knowledge, or the phone number of an expert inspector, as protection from inadvertently bankrolling a financially suicidal restoration project.

We want this Alpine A110

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These pretty and hugely-fun French sports cars don’t come up for sale often in the UK, so we couldn’t resist taking this one for a bit of a blast.

It’s strong money for one of these, but this is an exceptionally well-sorted example with an unusual amount of service history to back up the quality of maintenance and restoration that it’s had.

The paper trail also backs up the well-chosen upgrades that the car’s seen throughout its life, which was born in 1964 with the 66bhp 1108cc Renault straight four before gaining a 115bhp 1300S-spec engine and a package of works competition car improvements.

So it drives like a demented go-kart and looks great wherever you peer. It’s one of four cars for sale that we test and evaluate in the the latest issue of the magazine.

MARKET WATCH August 2018, week 3

Jaguars take a tumble

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Selected XK140 and 150 models fall from favour, according to the Price Guide update in our latest issue.

Of the 21 biggest fallers since our last update, four of them are Jaguars and they're all XK models that have previously enjoyed consistent market appeal and growth, with occasional surges. What's surprising is the sight of price regression in the midst of a much-celebrated anniversary year – it's 70 years since the XK120 was launched – because the 60th anniversary led to strong growth as enthusiasts snapped up cars to take part in the various events that made a fuss of them.

The models that have slipped are all what have considered to be ultimates in terms of performance and driving/touring usability, such as the XK140 drophead coupé – a happy combination of reasonably early styling with more interior space than the original XK120 and a more civilised hood than the bare-bones roadster. And it's the XK140 dhc that has lost the most, down a thumping 20%. By comparison the big-engined 3.8-litre versions of the final XK150 model in S and SE spec have fared better, losing just 6-7% since our last update.

It's further evidence of a shift in appeal from best-developed is best to earliest and purest is best that has driven XK120 price growth. More details on the latest issue here.

Classic Cars Price Guide Quarterly is created in collaboration with classic car insurance specialist Hagerty.

Aston becomes a canny buy

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But is it too early to buy a DB7 Vantage? They're part of a group of modern classics that sit a little uncomfortably in the gulf between nostalgia-driven appeal, the most recent era for which is the Eighties, and depreciating secondhand desirables. After appearing to bottom out as secondhand exotics, DB7s have seen some growth, only to have their trajectory deflected by the downward pressure of DB9 prices.

The best-historied and lowest-mileage DB7s have suffered least, but with so many  on the market (our market guru Quentin Willson mentioned 200 for sale in his Hot Buys section in the latest issue) buyers can afford to be picky with what they chase and cheeky with their offers. More details on the latest issue here.

We want this Lancia Flaminia

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The older restoration of this Zagato-bodied Sport still looks great, despite being completed in the early Nineties. There are a few minor paint crack and swirl marks but the overall presence of of an extremely sharp car.

Zagato only bodied 344 Flaminia Sports and this is an early enough example to have the desirable covered headlamps. Our tester found that its handling, ride, brakes and steering all felt consistent with a well-restored and properly maintained car, while the V6, three-carburettor engine seemed in fine health.

Its £335k asking price sits just under the top condition/dealer figure in the latest issue's Price Guide Quarterly. If you're in the market for something unusual and thoroughly rewarding to own, this has to be worth a look. More details on the latest issue here.

Buy a Lancia Delta well

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Despite strong price growth for the most collectable editions, there's still good value to be found in the Integrale model sequence.

The Integrale buying guide in our latest issue shows that you need to budget at least £40/45k for an excellent Evo 1/Evo 2, the ultimate developments of one of the most tactile and exciting hot hatches built. For the best you're looking at £65/90-130k respectively.

But don't despair, entry level for a usable 8-valve car is £15k with £25k buying a properly sharp example. And good 16-valve cars are £20-30k.

So, you can afford on, but what about running it? There are some gaps in parts availability, particularly panels, which can make life challenging if you buy a car needing any, and there are some weaknesses, such as gearboxes that aren't nearly as robust as those punchy twin-cam engines. Armed with our buying guide you should be able to avoid the troubled cars out there and end up with something that makes you grin every time you twirl the steering wheel at a challenging bend. More details on the latest issue here.

MARKET WATCH August 2018, week 1

Porsches stage a comeback

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After some years on the slip, selected Porsches are moving up again, according to the Price Guide update in our latest issue. Of the top 66 growers this month, 10 of them are Porsches, mainly 911s but with one front-engined model for good measure.

The fastest movers are the 993-generation (last of the air-cooled) RS and Clubsport, 924S and 925 Le Mans edition, each up 18%. It's a familiar pattern that the most hardcore and/or rare editions of a model grow earliest and fastest, but these trailblazers are closely followed by the more numerous 930-generation 3.3 Turbo (Eighties), up 14%, and mainstream Carrera 3.2, also from the impact-bumper Eighties generation, which is up 15%.

Even the relatively humble Seventies 911 2.7 is up 5.3%, thanks to the rush of interest in the model following a starring role in Scandinavian TV drama The Bridge and the publicity around the sale of that car at the Bonhams Festival of Speed auction. The £141.5k result hardly sets a precedent for regular examples that haven't benefited from small screen stardom, but it's bound to have a halo effect. Witness the premium attracted by any 1967/8 Mustang Fastback, Ford Capri 3.0S or Jaguar Mk2.

It all means that my hope of 911 prices continuing their slide back to that irresistible £10-18k price bracket seem dashed. More details on the latest issue here.

The Classic Cars Price Guide Quarterly is created in collaboration with classic car insurance specialist Hagerty.

Consul Capri moves out of the shadows

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Could a strong auction result signal a change in appeal for this overlooked Ford? When one makes £22.5k at auction, it certainly had the attention of our auction scourer, Russ Smith. As he points out in this issue's Market Analysis, this was a failure by Ford standards, with just 19,000 of them finding buyers, and like most affordable classics, the market hasn't shown much excitement for them.

But this is a rare GT model with one-family ownership and verifiable 21.6k miles. A few minor and reversible modifications aside, this car ticked all the right boxes for an exceptional sale result, especially against the current trend for buyers of everyday classics being happy to spend over the odds on the best examples. So that's the counter argument.

On balance, we see this as the new price for the best of the best, with less-perfect examples remaining in proportion to that. More details on the latest issue here.

We want this MG Magnette

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Well, here's another family classic advertised at a price once reserved for dashing sports cars. We like its combination of fine condition and useful upgrades that improve its driver appeal. That condition is testament to the quality of the restoration, completed 18 years ago and is reassurance that there's unlikely to be any hidden rot.

The modifications were done to to make it a more effective and user-friendly machine for historic road rallying without detracting much from its period charm. You couldn't buy, restore and upgrade one of these for anything like the near £20k asking price, and you get something ready for action from day one.

The Magnette is one of four cars for sale that we test and evaluate in the latest issue. More details on the latest issue here.

MARKET WATCH July, week 3

Biggest market fallers revealed

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The latest round of cars to slip in value sees a continuation of the Ferrari downward trend with a mixture of chrome era models – Daytona and Dino – down 4.3% and 3.8%, and modern classics – F355, 456GT and 550 Maranello – down 6.3, 4.8 and 4.5%.

The biggest drop comes from the Porsche 996 Turbo at 20%, but you're still looking at £24-55k for these, depending on condition. There have been casualties away from the typically volatile makes, with the evergreen Mercedes 220SEb coupé and cabrio losing 4.8 and 11% respectively. That brings rough examples of these elegant cabrios down to £25k, with usable cars at £40k and the best territory being £60-80k. These lower-powered models have previously been swept along in the wake of the more collectable 300SE versions, but more buyers are now holding out for the ultimate versions of models rather than accept the next best thing.

For more market advice and buying tips, have a look at the latest issue.

Triumph Heralds and Vitesses surge

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We've already seen Triumph Herald and Vitesse convertibles pick up in value, and now it's the turn of the saloons – more evidence in the growing appreciation for Fifties and Sixties family classics. So, apart from the Herald 13/60 convertible, up 7.1%, the rest of the models have moved by a hefty 20-26%.

With only a small premium for the Vitesse MkII and 2-litre MkI over the 1600, the value differences are all about condition. Project cars are around £1k and usable cars needing work are £2-2.4k. The really smart cars are £4.5-5k and the best are £7-7.5, so they're still accessible by current standards.

For more market advice and buying tips, have a look at the latest issue.

We want this Aston Martin DB4

     

 

 

This Series V DB4 was restored as far back as 2005, but its was done by one of the best specialists – RS Williams – and it still looks excellent. RSW has made a name for itself adding effective upgrades and this car has the 320bhp 4.7-litre Vantage-specification engine, up from 3.7 litres and 240bhp. There's also a Harvey-Bailey handling kit and the colour was changed from the original Fiesta red.

When we tested it for the latest issue of Classic Cars it was as impressive to drive as it was to look at, with enough ability to embarrass modern performance machinery. Imagine blatting down to the Goodwood Revival in it.

For more market advice and buying tips, have a look at the latest issue.

Time to buy a BMW E34

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It doesn't seem long since the E34 (1988-96) generation of BMW 5 Series was still a regular sight a a daily driver – they were so well made that 300,000 miles without major work was easy – but abruptly most of the well-use examples have gone beyond economic repair, leaving more cossetted examples as a precious commodity.

That the M5 (pictured) has long since bounced back from depreciation is no surprise, but enthusiasm for everything from a mint, low mileage 518i, via the 520/525/535i sixes to the 530 or 540 V8 has outstripped supply. So you can pay up to £6k for the four cylinder cars and £10k for the best six cylinder ones, with the 540i manual being the most desirable of the non Msport cars at up top £25k.

Project examples of those car be £6-7k with the best now £40-50k. They're all fine handling, beautifully refined and well made, but there are some weaknesses and gaps in spares availability that could puncture the E34 experience – from hidden corrosion to the scarcity of the electronic dampers on top models – so we've put together a buying guide in the latest issue. Happy hunting!

For more market advice and buying tips, have a look at the latest issue.

MARKET WATCH, July 2018, week 1

Latest market winners revealed

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Biggest gains are seen from Alfa, BMW, Porsche and Triumph in the latest issue's Price Guide Movers update. Of the 53 models that have shown growth, Alfas make regular appearances, with the GTV 2000 up 5.4%, SZ-1 up 7.1%, 1750/2000 Berlina up 9.1% and Giulia Ti/Super up 25%. But it's the Alfasud that comes out top, with the Sprint up 29% and saloon/Ti models gaining 43%. But fear not, they're still relatively affordable, with usable cars starting at £2000 and excellent examples costsing £4250-6950, depending on just how good they are.

The smaller-engined models of BMW's '02 range 1600/1602/1502 are a close second, up 38% to £3000 and £6500-9000 in equivalent condition.

Despite a general cooling off of what was generally accepted as an overheated Porsche 911 market, the early 2.0 litre cars are on the move again, upwards. With a 33% gain you're looking at £65k for a rough car needing a lot of work, £100k for something usable and £150-200k for the real sharp stuff.

Triumph's winners have been the Herald convertible and Vitesse range, up 23 and 21% respectively. So Vitesse 1600 and 2000s start at aaround £1k for a project car, doubling for something usable and £4.5-7k for the smartest cars. It's a similar story for Herald 1200 convertibles, but the nicest examples are more expensive, at £5-8k.

For more buying and market advice, including Quentin Willson's Hot Tips, try the latest issue of Classic Cars.

Citroën SMs on the slide?

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Recent sales suggest that prices are slipping after several years of growth. It's too early to see a price reduction in our price guide, but there are signs that Citroën SMs are selling for less than they have been recently. It's exemplified by Historics at Brooklands selling a particularly good example for £34k against a market-realistic £38-44k estimate.

If you've seen your dream of owning one of these beguiling French GTs power out of reach, a little patience may just see them slip back into budget.

For more buying and market advice, including Quentin Willson's Hot Tips, try the latest issue of Classic Cars.

We want this Lotus Elite

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These Seventies throwbacks are rare in this condition. This 1978 Lotus Elite Series 1 is in smart shape inside and out, with only minor blemishes to detract, and drove well on our test drive with its twin-cam 16-valve engine pulling strongly and independent suspension offering sophisticated ride.

It has just 44,600 on the odometer and there are plenty of receipts in the service history folder to suggest that it's been well looked after by its four owners.

For a whiff under £8k there can't be many cooler ways to relive the wild and wedgy Seventies. It's one of four cars for sale that we test drive in the current issue of Classic Cars.

MARKET WATCH June 2018 week 3

Biggest market fallers revealed

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Ferraris, a Ford and two Maseratis are the latest to slide. Ten out of the top 16 market fallers are Ferrari this month, with drops ranging from 2.5% for the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona to 14% for the 166 MM Barchetta. Alas, bargain hunters, you'll still pay £320-575k and £2.85-6m respectively.

The cooling of Ferrari prices is following an investor led gold rush, but those more interested in profit than the cars themselves aren't the buying force they were a couple of years ago. That leaves enthusiasts who are still willing to buy the right car at the right price, and all of the Ferraris that have lost value in the Price Guide Movers update in the latest issue of Classic Cars are intrinsically desirable. Like the Lusso, a car that's dropped  7.1% so that you'll pay £850k-1.3m, depending on quality of the restoration, originality and provenance.

For more buying tips and market advice, including Quentin Willson's Hot tips, check out the latest issue of Classic Cars.

MGB GTs make their move

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These stylish hatchbacks have come out of the Roadster’s shadow at last. It seems that forever the GT was the bargain route to B ownership, with smart examples of even the chrome bumper cars being buyable for a couple of thousand, if you were in the right place at the right time.

Recently we've seen a 1970 example make £10k at auction, and that was an older restoration,  a plastic bumper 1977 car sold for £4.7k and a lovely, original 1973 car took £20k. To some extent, the MGB GT is reflecting the trend for most of the upward market activity being concentrated at the affordable end of the price guides. But, Aas with Jaguar E-types, it's also clear that coupés are no longer the poor relation to their roadster sisters as they're increasingly appreciated for their own style and added practicality.

For more buying tips and market advice, including Quentin Willson's Hot tips, check out the latest issue of Classic Cars.

We want this Ferrari 308GTBi

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Fresh from a body and interior restoration 12 months ago, this 1982 GTBi seems ready to enjoy. It's reassuring that the body was done a while ago because any residual rust or deficiencies in the paintwork would have betrayed themselves by now.

There's a good file of service history that shows this 46,500-mile car has been properly looked after , although it will be due its next cambelt change before too long. If they're well looked after and the bodies are rust-free these cars can be affordable to run by Ferrari standards, and even in modest 214bhp GTBi form, a delight to drive.

The only snag is finding the £99.9k asking price.

For more buying tips and market advice, including Quentin Willson's Hot tips, check out the latest issue of Classic Cars.

Buy a Maserati Quattroporte V?

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Good examples of this handsome and indecently rapid saloon will never be any cheaper so now's a good time to make a move while there are still well-maintained and lightly used examples to choose from. While £10k tends to limit your choice to high-mileage (75k+) cars, £15k should net you something will fewer than 50k miles but a 4.7 with similar mileage is more like £25k. Top of the tree is the Sport GT S, with prices in the £28-35k range accordingly.

Of course, fear of expensive repair bills have driven prices down to these tempting levels. Bills like £3km for new timing variators and £1800 for a part of Skyhook dampers are certainly sobering, but you can arm yourself with all of the essential check for deal-breaking problems and either walk away form afflicted cars, or budget accordingly. It's all spelled out in our in depth buying guide in the current issue of Classic Cars.

For more buying tips and market advice, including Quentin Willson's Hot tips, check out the latest issue of Classic Cars.

 

MARKET WATCH June 2018 week 1

Ferrari 512TRs shed the pounds

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While one result doesn't make a trend, it can sum up one. The Ferrari 512TR that made just over £92k in the Artcurial Paris sale was a 60,000km example with good service history and as Russ Smith writes in this issue's Chasing Cars section, a similar car would have made £120k not so long ago.

It's part of a current trend for for decline in prices achieved for its more numerous Testarossa predecessor, but the 512TR is falling harder. Seventies and Eighties Ferrari saw some of the steepest growth in the classic car market, so it's unsurprising that they're seeing significant decline. That said, overall prices for 512TRs in various levels of condition and mileage are only down 4.1% since our last update. Other models in the current issue's Price Guide Movers table have dropped up to 14%.

To find more market tips and buying advice you can buy the latest issue here

Latest market winners revealed

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Despite ongoing and steady declines seen at the top of the market, classics in the low to mid range continue to show anything from solidity to galloping gains according to this issue's roundup of Price Guide Movers.

With a jump of 66% since our last update, the Lotus Carlton now starts at £10k for a rough car needing lots of expensive work, with £17k being needed for a good driver and £26-39k for mint examples, depending on levels of perfection. That's not even the biggest of the 66 top climbers this month, with a top ten encompassing models as diverse as the Porsche 924 and Daimler Majestic Major.

To find more market tips and buying advice you can buy the latest issue here

We want this Pontiac Firebird

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Exposure to all of those American cop shows and road race caper films in the Seventies means that cars like this big, brash Firebird always turn my head. It's a colourful alternative to the demure European grand tourers that I normally fall for.

This 1978 example, which we test in the current issue, is packing an earlier engine from a Pontiac GTO, so there's 300bhp to enjoy from its 6.5 litres and it's huge fun to deploy. We were also impressed with its overall condition, but, although the history file is large, it doesn't contain evidence of more recent servicing because it's been maintained by the owner's garage business. However, the way it drives and looks  suggests that it's been well looked-after. This Trans-Am is one of four cars for sale that we test and evaluate in the latest issue.

To find more market tips and buying advice you can buy the latest issue here

MARKET WATCH MAY 2018 part 2

Biggest market fallers revealed

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Nineties BMWs, Mercedes and Porsches take a tumble in the latest round of updates to Classic Cars' Price Guide Quarterly. Models including the E46-generation BMW M3 and MS CSP, Mercedes CLK-GTR and 993-generation Porsche Turbo and Turbo S were among the fastest-growing classics of the recent price boom but we're now seeing falls of between 4 and 17%. Even the 996-generation 911 Carrera has taken a 15% tumble, undoing some of the growth it enjoyed from its status as the most affordable 911 .

It's the BMW CSL that heads the slide though, falling 17% to an entry price of £37k for a rough example, £41k for something smart and £45-50k for mint-concours examples. A regular M3 has only dropped 4%, meaning £6k, £11k, £18k and £24k in equivalent condition.

For the full Price Guide Quarterly update, check out the latest issue.

MG Metro Turbos have their day

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MG Metro Turbos are making a late bid to join the 1980s hot hatch party. Just as the darling of the genre, Peugeot's 205 GTI 1.9, has fallen from its peak, the underdog MG is finding new friends. With just 32 of them road registered, appreciation has come rather late to these pocket rockets, so limited availability has meant buyers have been prepared to spend £5-7k on the right car. So they're still good value compared to a 205 or Golf GTi MkI.

If the price trend continues we can expect to see more dormant cars enjoying refurbishment, though comprehensive restoration is a long way off being cost-effective. For more buying tips and market analysis, buy the latest issue.

We want this Austin-Healey 3000

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An original interior is one of many good reasons to want this 1965 Austin-Healey 3000 MkIII. It was restored in the early 2000s – plenty of time for any shortcomings in the work to betray themselves – but it remains in superb condition and drives very well.

The MkIII evolution of the Big Healey was another step towards a more civilised touring character away from the more raw feel of the earlier cars, and this is a Phase II version so benefits from longer suspension travel and less tendency to ground the exhaust. But don't think that any of that dilutes the 'Healey appeal – it's still an invigorating machine to hustle along the road.

This 'Healey is one of four cars for sale tested in the latest issue of Classic Cars. To buy a copy click here.

Buy a Ford Capri MkII/III well

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With prices up it's more important than ever to buy a Capri with care. In my university years and for the subsequent couple of decades, Ford's ageing street warrior was a cheap way to go fast, or at least look fast in style, depending on which model you picked up. So MkII and MkIII examples could be bought and enjoyed with abandon. Now good ones ones demand a proper financial commitment, so the stakes are higher.

Back then, £1500 bought a very smart example; now that's project car money for a four-cylinder car and you'll have to find the same again for a V6. Good four-cylinder cars start at £5k with six-cylinder cars more like £7k and you can add £10k to those figures for pristine cars; rare and desirable 3.0S and 280 models easily top £20k in similar condition.

Our expert buying guide reveals the key gaps in parts availability and essential checks to avoid your Capri Seventies/Eighties dream turning into a 2018 nightmare.

 

MARKET WATCH May 2018 part 1

Latest market winners revealed

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236 classics became more expensive in the latest update of Classic Cars magazine's Price Guide Quarterly. Most of the activity was spread thinly across the full spectrum of makes and models, though there was some clustering within Sixties Aston Martins and Seventies Lamborghinis.

But nothing hugely expensive and exotic is troubling the top of the growth charts at the moment, with the upper 20 being locked out by assorted Vauxhalls, Volkswagens, Volvos, with the odd MG, Rover, Rochdale or Mercedes for variety.

Riding the new wave of interest in Fifties to Seventies saloons is the Volvo 123GT, up 60% overall. So entry level is now £3000 for a rough/project car, rising to £6500 for a tidy example that would benefit from some work. Really sharp examples are more like £13,500 with concours-quality cars making as much as £20,000. These hot Volvos represent an ideal combination of family-friendly accommodation with classic rally-friendly performance, so there's more than one crowd chasing a small resource.

E-type values pass their peak

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Less-than-perfect examples must now be priced to sell as the buyers increasingly reserve their cash for properly restored examples, or much rarer unrestored originals. So far this has manifested itself in more middle-condition E-types failing to sell at auction, but sellers are currently in denial so advertised prices have yet to catch up with the market reality.

With so many free options for advertising classic cars for sale, it's easier for sellers to hold out for months or more in the hope of finding a buyer. But there's always someone who needs the cash sooner than they pretend, so now's the time to make a bold offer.

We want this Aston DB7 V12

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Low mileage and main dealer service history made this 2002 Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante worth a look. The combination of pretty bodywork designed by Ian Callum and that 414bhp V12 (0.60mph in 5 sec and 165mph top end) is a compelling argument, but full Aston dealer service history over its 13,095-mile life makes this one a rare find.

It's one of four cars for sale that we test drive in the latest issue of Classic Cars, and we had to be extra picky during our evaluation to find anything to criticise. Even the little-worn tyres have been replaced with fresh Yokahamas, revealing a fastidious approach to maintenance. And it drove as well as it looked, with impressive heave underpinned with the taut feel of a barely worn car. Perfect to enjoy summer, when it eventually arrives.

MARKET WATCH April 2018 part 3

Not all Porsches have stalled

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Exceptional 911s can still push ahead while average examples are languishing, particularly with vendors who still believe that this year's price is last year plus 10%.

So we recently saw a 1992 Carrera RS – that's the 964 generation – sell for £280k, a 47% premium over our top condition price. But look in more detail and you find a sub-18,000-mile example with the paperwork to back it up.

After only enjoying relatively modest growth in the Porsche price boom of recent years, the first 911 Turbos – the purer 3.0-litre cars built from 1975-77 – have had a fresh surge, up 20%.
That makes entry level £55k for a rough example, £80k for a good car and £120-150k for the superb through to the ultimate in perfection.

The market has been unusually slow in recognizing how special and rare these cars are. I try not to think about when they were stalled at £25k.

For market insight, buying advice and more, buy the latest issue here

Top classics to restore in 2018

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Choose the right classic needing work and the value of the finished car can cover the improvement costs. The trick is to choose the right model with the right sort of work necessary.

For example, pay around £50k for a cosmetically tired but regularly used Ferrari 308 GTB and you'll have headroom to improve the paint, trim and details and end up with a car that could comfortably recoup your costs if you ever want to sell it later. The Ferrari specialist that we spoke to reckoned £5-7k would bring tired suspension, brakes and interior up to scratch, £3-4k should cover a fair amount of bodywork and paint and even a full engine rebuild should be possible within a £7-15k range.

Our Top Ten Cars to Restore in 2018 feature in the current issue of Classic Cars gives expert advice on a broad range of makes, from Triumph to Mercedes-Benz, guiding you through the best models to choose and the condition that makes a cost-effective starting point.

For market insight, buying advice and more, buy the latest issue here

We want this Jensen C-V8

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We like the non-conformist appeal of this 5.9-litre grand tourer. It's one of 500 built and is a 1963 MkII, powered by the 5.9-litre Chrysler V8 coupled to a three-speed Torqueflite automatic gearbox. At nearly £4000 new it was Aston Martin DB4 money. That and its controversial styling made it the preserve of the few, and ensures standout wherever you take one now.

This car spent a big chunk of its life in museums before being returned to the road, but that doesn't mean it's escaped the wear, tear and ageing of a 55-year-old car. It's in what the Americans call 'driver condition', meaning it's presentable but lacks either the timewarp-original or freshly-restored-and-perfect condition that car show enthusiasts pursue. Glassfibre-bodied cars like this can give a false sense of security against rust, but underneath there's a hefty tubular chassis that can rot like any other. Fortunately this one appeared sound, with evidence of welding repairs where needed.

It's also driver condition in the literal sense, everything from the lusty V8 to the suspension feeling fresh and taut on our test drive. Our tester seemed reluctant to bring it back to the dealer.

The Jensen is one of four cars for sale that we test and evaluate in the current issue of Classic Cars. For market insight, buying advice and more, buy the latest issue here

MARKET WATCH April 2018 part 2

The biggest market fallers revealed

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Eighties supercars and homologation specials fell the hardest in a continuing trend of correction after prices became over-hyped. Long-term owners shouldn’t be too distraught, with the latest round of price erosion falling between 5.8% and 6.6%, depending on model.

The top five fallers in the chart of price guide winners and losers in the current issue of Classic Cars is covered by Ferrari Testarossa and 512 TR, Porsche 959 and Peugeot 205 T16. And Alfa 6C 1750 Gran Sport Zagato. So in the case of that Eighties poster child, the Testarossa, only the best now make £100k, with the rest worth £37.5-75k, depending on condition.

Unsurprisingly, the rest of the fallers chart includes a couple of Porsche 911s and more Ferraris, but Bentleys and an Aston Martin also make an appearance.

Click here to buy this issue

Land Rover Series 2s play catchup

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Increased collectability of Series 1s is dragging Series 2s in their wake. It wasn’t so long ago that £27k was the preserve of Series 1s in top condition, with up to £40k being paid for the earlier 80 inch wheelbase cars built from 1948-53.

Now we’re starting to see some examples of the Series 2  and 2a make £27k as the earlier cars are pushed ever higher.

It’s a pattern we’ve seen elsewhere – when the market decided that the Jaguar E-type was most desirable in its original Series 1 3.8-litre form, all of the money chased those, until they became so expensive that many E-type fanciers had to look at the next best thing – a later model.

But successive model don’t always follow the same pattern. Witness Ford Capri MkIII 280 Brooklands model being worth 30% more than the MkI 3000GT. Sometimes the last of the line, most highly refined and specified model retains its premium long after its departed the secondhand car classifieds and slipped into classic status.

Click here to buy this issue

We want this low-mileage Bentley Turbo R

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When we spotted this ex-Sheik, 32,000-mile Turbo R for sale we had to drive and appraise it. It was sold new to Sheik Maktoum of Dubai for use in London, covering 16,000 miles over 12 years before the next owner took it on, adding a further 16,000 and a lot more receipts to the service history folder.

The largely unmarked condition inside and out matches the low mileage and we’re told that a carburettor rebuild has cured the reluctance to rev smoothly that we experienced on the day of our test. Other than a thump from the suspension it drove as these cars should – with a remarkable combination of refinement, urge and ability to tackle corners. The R stands for roadholding, transforming the handling of the Turbo model that it’s based on.

Its £18k asking price is at the top of our Price Guide, so seems about right given the condition, mileage and service history.

This Turbo R is one of four cars for sale that we test in the current issue of Classic Cars.

Click here to buy this issue

Should you buy a bargain Triumph Herald or Vitesse?

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Usable cars can be found for £3k, but is that a false economy? That buys you tidy Herald, perhaps restored with a mix of parts from various models, so could provide years of inexpensive and stylish classic motoring.

For the more desirable Herald convertible or coupé in good condition you need to find another £2-7k and Vitesse in equivalent condition are more like £6.5-12.5k. If only the best will do, be prepared to spend £10k and £15k on a Herald or Vitesse respectively.

While parts availability is still good for maintaining these cars, and much of it inexpensive, restoration parts such as body panels are becoming hard to find and therefore expensive. Because demand has fallen, the aftermarket can no longer justify making more.

So the tidy and inexpensive Herald or Vitesse still makes sense as a bargain classic to drive and enjoy, but if you want perfection you’re better off spending what it takes to buy a superb car in the first place. To find out how, read the detailed buying guide in the current issue of Classic Cars.

Click here to buy this issue

MARKET WATCH April 2018

Latest market winners revealed

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53 classics became more expensive this month with the top ten locked out by cars of the chrome and curves era. The price guide winners and losers table in the latest issue of Classic Cars is topped by the Sunbeam Harrington GT, up 45%. These pretty, Sunbeam-approved coupé conversions of the Alpine sports car were were only built from 1961-63, totalling 400 examples of both A- and B-series versions.

Those gains move rough/restoration project examples up to £4k, usable ones to £9.5k and the best commanding £18.5-29k.

The convertible Alpine Aeries III and V is also up 32 and 42% respectively, meaning that you'll now pay £2.25-25k, depending on model and condition. Overall, the Alpines come out at half to two-thirds of Harrington prices.

Even with these latest moves, both open and closed versions remain good value at the moment.

Mini Cooper S speeds up

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Badge hierarchy is turning upside down with the latest price moves of these Sixties road burners. The previously favoured 1275S – the ultimate Cooper – is now being overtaken by the prices of the rarer 1071S and 970S, which can top £40k in perfect condition and backed up with convincing provenance. Don't rely on correct spec and matching V5 and chassis number to verify authenticity before handing over your cash.

At the rate values are going, we wouldn't be surprised if their price graphs cross over with those of the declining Ferrari 308 GTB before too long. How times and tastes change.

We want this time-warp Jaguar Mk2

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We loved road-testing this one-owner, unrestored Mk2 that's for sale in our latest issue. Apart from an older repaint in the correct Opalescent Silver Blue (that's light metallic blue in non-Jaguar speak), this 32,000 mile gem appears to be otherwise original.

Inside and out it stood up very well during our evaluation, and it drove as well as it looked, with a feeling of taut togetherness that few dismantled and restored cars manage to achieve. Jaguar fanciers like their Mk2s with the manual overdrive gearbox, which it has, the largest 3.8-litre capacity engine and chrome wire wheels. This one is a 3.4 delivering uncanny refinement and urge and we prefer the understated original steel wheels lifted by chrome hubcaps and rimbellisher wheel trims.

The £59k asking price reflects the scarcity of such low-mileage, original Mk2s. One in similar condition but restored, with multiple former owners and average miles would make just over half this.

This Jaguar Mk2 is one of four Ads on Test in the current issue of Classic Cars, including a Bentley Turbo R, Morgan 4/4 and Jensen CV8.

 

MARKET WATCH March 2018 part 2

BMW 2002 Turbos boosted

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The latest roundup of price guide winners and losers in Classic Cars magazine is topped by BMW’s 1970s road rocket. With prices up by a thumping 54%, entry level is £30k for a rough project car while tidy, usable examples are more like £48k and the best are £70-100k, depending on just how good they really are. One enthusiastic bidder even stumped up £105k for one at the January RM auction in Arizona.

As one of the standout models from a marque that's continuing to gain classic kudos, this isn't surprising, especially when you consider that just 1672 of these turbo pioneers were built. That's not far north of Porsche 911 Carrera RS2.7 built numbers, and we all know what they're worth.

Ferrari 206 GT Dinos lose their shine

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After becoming overheated by the Ferrari investor rush, Dinos have slipped significantly. The latest roundup of price guide winners and losers in the current issue of Classic Cars magazine reveals further downward movement of 4.4%, meaning that rough examples are £240k, for driveable ones add another £60k and the best £395-430k.

A three-owner 1969 example recent sold for £305k, making us wonder whether there's further downward movement to come from these alloy-bodied, short-chassis darlings of the investor-collector market. But one sale doesn't make a trend – we'll need to see that number repeated a few more times before we can confirm that price as the new reality.

For those lucky enough to own one already, a sunny day out on some particularly twisted roads should be enough to drive any price loss worries out of mind.

We want this Riley special

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We were smitten by this Riley Kestrel 12/6-based Grebe replica when we tested it. It's one of four cars for sale that we evaluate in the latest issue of the magazine. It was built in the Seventies to plug a Riley Grebe-sized gap in motoring history – none of the originals survive – and has seen regular competitive action since, so it's a well-honed car, which explains why our tester had such fun driving it.

This sporting Riley has had £25k spent on it over the past couple of years, so everything from the engine to the suspension seems fit and ready to be enjoyed. At £76,500 it represents good value.

Should you buy a Porsche 928?

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Buyers are chasing these previously unloved super grand tourers, so prices are climbing. All of the old clichés about the big, comfortable and sophisticated 928 not being a proper enthusiast's Porsche are being swept aside by a new type of owner who appreciates their effortless mile-munching ability and near-timeless style.

So the £4k that would have bought a 928 to drive a few years ago now merely lands you a project car. Double that and you should be able to find an S2 that's on the road, albeit with a list of potentially expensive jobs. You're better off paying around £15k for a good pre-S4 example, and decent examples of S4s are £25-30k, more if you want full service history or modest mileage.

Tempted? Our price guide in the current issue of the magazine will help you avoid the pitfalls inherent in buying any exotic, once expensive car that has suffered decades of low values. Buy well and the experience will be hugely satisfying.

MARKET WATCH March 2018

Aston V8 projects in vogue

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After decades festering in barns and garages, deemed uneconomical to repair, restoration project Aston Martin V8s are being dragged blinking into the daylight and snapped up by hungry buyers. Even though they're still uneconomical to repair.

With top examples selling for £80-120k, and specialist restorations costing £100-200k, sometimes more, a £30k barn find makes no financial sense. The fact that buyers are prepared to pay more – the most recent examples went for £48k and £66k – show how these commanding Seventies and Eighties grand tourers are stirring passions previously reserved for their six-cylinder ancestors.

The latest Price Guide Movers update in the current issue of the magazine reveals numbers up 20%, so if one remains at the top of your classic dreams, now's the time to find one. But unless you relish the challenge of saving a derelict one, your money will go a lot further buying a really good one in the first place.

Porsche 356 slips back

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Few makes saw such rapid price gains as Porsche and Ferrari in the general classic car market boom of recent years, but 356s, particularly the more numerous B- and C-generation models, have recently dropped 10%, which on top of the general price slide of rear-engined Porsches has taken values back to 2015 levels.

That means that rough B roadsters can now be found from £46k, with good examples anywhere from £67-105k, depending on condition, and the best for £135k. Even the coveted pre-A cars built from 1951-55 are down 5% as the Porsche market accepts the new realism.

So far we'd call it a healthy readjustment.

We want this Jaguar E-type

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This 1969 Jaguar E-type roadster is one of four classics for sale that we evaluate in the latest issue of Classic Cars, and it stood up to scrutiny very well. It's an ex-Florida car, converted to righthand drive and restored after coming back to the UK. Most E-types here are ex-USA because most went there new, and the climate in many, but not all, States was more car-friendly than our damp and seasonally salty island.

Reassuringly, the restoration was completed four years ago – plenty of time for any shortcomings to reveal themselves – but this example still looks excellent and drives with the supple and purposeful stride that an E-type should.

Although the heat has gone out of the E-type market for now, prices don't appear to have suffered much either, based on the data we track for our quarterly price guide, so this example seems good value, particularly compared to an equivalent roadster in 3.8-litre covered-headlight Series 1 guise. Those may be prettier, but the Series 2 drives better and was still one of the best-looking cars of its age.