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