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COVID-19 has spread its virus right through the economy, infecting even unlikely pockets like the classic-car market as used-car stocks dry up, overseas holidays get crossed off the list and people with money search for passions create a rare opportunity for rising prices.
Auction house and online market Grays reported recently it had a record February for classic cars, showing more than 1.3 million page views and nearly 200,000 unique visitors.
Leading Australian car auction house Shannons is also receiving more attention and now believes the market is high and aiming higher.
Its national auction manager, Christophe Boribon, told CarsGuide that across the board, prices are up by as high as 15 per cent on only a couple of years ago.
“2020 has seen a shortage of stock in general and that has pushed prices of used vehicles up, with some specific models having more of an increase than others,” he said.
“But it’s not just what we may regard as a typical classic car. For example, the Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series V8 has become hot property and selling used for more than new as buyers recognise that this is the last of the V8s in this vehicle.”
Mr Boribon said smart buyers should know that certain segments are hotter than others.
“Limited production sports cars are ones to watch,” he said.
“A Porsche 911 in good condition has become a rarity on the market. They are now priced up to 15 per cent above what they were two years ago.
“The 1980s and 1990s BMWs are also in hot demand, and especially the M3 and M5 and other lower-volume models.”
Mr Boribon said selected European cars are strong sellers but demand can’t always be satisfied so buyers are looking elsewhere, choosing some other cars from different eras and countries of origin.
“Some are more popular than others. The classic MGs, for example, still command interest and the cars are selling but prices are, generally, staying steady.
“However, if you find a good 1960s Aston Martin, then name your price.
“They are still fetching extremely good money. You’ll pay $1 million to $1.5 million for a good Aston DB5 [the car associated with James Bond] today.
Mr Boribon said that Mercedes models rocketing through the price range included the W111 coupe and ‘pagoda roof’ SLs.
“That part of the market is still travelling extremely strongly,” he said.
It’s not only Europeans. Mr Boribon said low-production Japanese cars are also being snapped up.
“But it’s very important that the buyer picks the right cars, with strong service history and providence, preferably with low kilometres and in original condition with no mods.”
A recent Shannons auction showed the disparity between the prices fetched by cars of a similar vintage and design.
A 1972 Triumph TR6 sold for a modest $26,750 and a TR4 for $25,500, while a Mazda RX-7 found a buyer at $52,000.
Mr Boribon’s comments about demand for Mercedes coupes and convertibles was vindicated by a 1957 190SL selling for $244,500.