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.