MARKET WATCH March 6, 2019

Ferrari 308GTBs slip further

1 ferrari.jpg

After five years of spectacular growth, these junior supercars are falling again. Until the recent price corrections, all variants of 308 had seen growth of between 30 and 100% over this timeframe, led by the early, glassfibre-bodied 308GTB and the Bertone-styled 308GT4 2+2. But our most recent Price Guide Movers update, in the April 2019 issue, reveals that all of the Pininfarina-styled 308 variants are now slipping back, with the latest declines ranging from 6.7 to 9.1%.

The 308GTB and targa-topped 308GTS built from 1977-80 have been hardest hit, posting a 9.1% decline. Entry point is now £30k for a rough example, with tidy, usable cars making £42k and the smartest ranging from £56-70k. The rarer and more collectable early glassfibre 308GTBs are experiencing the softest landing, falling just 3.7% to £50k, £75k and £100-130k respectively. For 16 pages of buying tips and advice, including Quentin Willson’s Hot Tips, have a look at the latest issue of Classic Cars.

Aston Martin Virage leaps

Aston Virage.jpg

After years in the doldrums, the Heffernan and Greenley-styled Virage is finally being appreciated as one of the most accessible ways to own the last of the fully handbuilt Aston Martins. With controversial styling and unpredictable handling, the Virage wasn’t seen as a great Aston when new, secondhand or as an emerging classic. But as the Seventies/Eighties V8 models soared in value, it was time to reassess the butterdish Aston. First the Vantage, with or without the various fire-breathing upgrades, joined in the charge, but recently the dynamically-improved V8 Coupé and Volante have moved up, followed in some spectacular style by the once-unloved Virage.

In the Price Guide Movers update in our latest issue, these are among the top climbers, up 35%, bringing a project car to £13k, something usable to £20k and the best to £42-54k. The other models have grown by smaller percentages, but against significantly higher baselines. It’s an example of the entry level car being sucked along in the vacuum as buyers priced out of the higher-spec cars are forced to lower their sights. For 16 pages of buying tips and advice, including Quentin Willson’s Hot Tips, have a look at the latest issue of Classic Cars.

We want this Lotus Esprit

3 espirit.jpg

The naturally aspirated X180 is a slightly overlooked model – Esprits were all turbocharged by 1992 – but this one has survived well, with relatively low mileage and just four owners, the last since 2015.

There are 12 service stamps with the last at 38,232 miles in 2015. Some are from Paul Matty Sports Cars, which sold it for £16,250 in Jan 2006, and some from South West Lotus Centre between 2007 and 2011, plus a bill for another oil change in August 2017.

There were new front calipers in 2007 at 28,568 miles, brakes freed in 2011 and a clutch slave cylinder since, plus various bills for exhausts and a note not to hold down the window switches because the over-ride stops weren’t working. The gearbox was rebuilt in 2005 at 20,405 miles, around the time the car was dyno tested at 162bhp at 5896rpm. Old MoTs confirm the mileage, with 11,251 in October 1994 rising to 39,471 in 2017 and 39,817 at the last test in August last year, with 39,866 showing when we drove it.

To read the rest of this appraisal of a car for sale, one of four that we test in the April issue, you can buy the latest issue

Buy a Ferrari 360 Modena?

Ferrari 360.jpg

Values have dipped again, so it’s worth looking at this millennial rocketship. Prices start around £44k, but you’ll need £60-65k for the sort of well-maintained, sensible-miles cars that should be more painless to own. Manuals add a £5-10k premium over the F1 semi-automatic. If you want the more collectable and hard-focused Challenge Stradale your budget will have to triple at least for a righthand drive example.

While scheduled servicing can be surprisingly affordable with a good, independent specialist, playing maintenance catchup on a neglected example will be a money-burning exercise – a failed timing variator can cost you a £10-20k engine rebuild – so it makes sense to read our buying guide in the latest issue before jumping in. Happy hunting.