MARKET WATCH March 20, 2019

Escorts charge ahead, again

1 escorts.jpg

As reported in our Price Guide Movers update in the latest issue of Classic Cars, Ford Escorts have grown by 4.8-54%, depending on model. Enduring favourites, the Mexico MkI and RS2000 MkII, have seen solid growth of 7.2% and 4.8% respectively, placing them either side of the 6% average market growth we’ve seen for the past 12 months and behind the 10% for Fords overall.

Twin Cams and RS1600/1800s aside, these are already among the more expensive Escort variants with rough Mexico MkIs making £10k and buyers paying £16-32k for usable examples depending on how good or perfect their requirements. RS2000 MkIIs start at £5k, with usable-best examples falling in the £8.3-22k range.

That’s left plenty of headroom for the less-fancied models, and MkII Sports have soaked up lots of new attention, growing 25% to £3k, £6k, £11k and £22k for our rough, good, mint and concours ratings. But it’s the basic Escort MkIs that have seen the most spectacular rise, leaping 54% to £2k, £3.5k, £7k and £10k respectively. It’s driven by a renewed market enthusiasm for once-commonplace family saloons, but also by the fact that sporting Escorts have become too expensive for some buyers hit by a rush of Escort nostalgia. But where once, when these cars were 10-20 years old, the basic models were only prized as a starting point for a Mexico or RS2000 look-a-like, they’re now valued as period-perfect examples of the cars that were street furniture in the Seventies and Eighties. For 29 pages of buying tips and advice, including Quentin Willson’s annual Smart Buys special feature, have a look at the latest issue of Classic Cars.

BMW M3 CSLs go into reverse

Press-pic_BMW-M3-CSL-E46_P0036795.jpg

When the market got the hots for modern classics, BMW’s third-generation M3 was a prime candidate for strong growth. After the underwhelming E36 generation, the E46 built from 2000-06 was a return to form established by the original Eighties E30. The CSL, built in limited numbers during 2003, went one louder, and as its name suggests, a little lighter. Power for the rev-happy straight six was up from 343bhp to 360bhp and it had 110kg less to push thanks to an aluminium bonnet, carbonfibre roof and lightweight bucket seats, among other things. So not only was it harder, faster and sharper than the already thrilling M3, it was a scarce commodity – just 553 righthand drive/830 lhd CSLs built out of the total of 85k regular E46 M3s. A collector’s darling then, and prices duly rocketed.

But they zoomed too close to the sun and the next wave of buyers isn’t willing to keep fuelling prices, as our latest Price Guide Movers update reveals in the current issue of Classic Cars. A 10% drop pushes rough examples down to £32.5k with tidy, usable cars now £36.5k and the smartest and best maintained cars falling in the £40-45k range. We expect limited-build modern classics like the CSL to be more resilient to the cooling trend than more numerous models, and even some of those appear to have already bottomed out – witness the gentle return to growth of the Eighties Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2. Great cars, but only the most creative vendor would be cheeky enough to put ‘rare’ in their advert. For 29 pages of buying tips and advice, including Quentin Willson’s annual Smart Buys special feature, have a look at the latest issue of Classic Cars.

We want this Austin-Healey 100

3 healey.jpg

The NUE registration is a clue that this is one of the very early 100s, produced at Longbridge and supplied by the Donald Healey Motor Co. Built on 17 August 1953 and registered three days later, it’s thought to be the 120th down the production line and the Heritage Certificate shows that it was supplied with 5.50 tyres on 16-inch wheels and a low (20amp)-output dynamo plus a different distributor from standard. That might be because it was intended to be raced, like many early ’Healeys.

The current owner has meticulously researched its early history and found competition results starting with the 1954 Ryhdymwyn hillclimb, along with several Klemantaski photographs of the car racing when it was a lighter colour, probably Healey Blue. It overturned at the 1955 Oulton Park International causing the driver, Gerry Corlett, to retire from racing.

It was restored in the mid-Seventies and painted red, then restored again in 1990-91 at a cost of £29k. It’s now in that settled-in state, not patinated but the initial shine has come off, as the owner has toured it extensively and it’s the better for it.

To read the rest of this Ads on test article, part of 29 pages of buying tips and advice, including Quentin Willson’s annual Smart Buys special feature, buy the latest issue