Is the Classic Car Market Slowing Down?

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We provide fire extinguishers for a lot of different sections of the motorsport world and one of them is the classic and historic car market. People naturally want to make sure they have the best chance of minimising damage if a fire does break out, even during normal road driving.

We also supply race spec extinguisher systems that are compulsory for historic racing, so we know a thing or two about classic cars. One thing has been certain for a long time: buy a classic and you will make some money. However, we have been reading recently that the market may be slowing down.

2018

A report from last year suggested that out of all the classic car models that were studied only 52% had actually increased in value that year. Now this comes from a market that was able to make the bold claim of prices growing by 192% in a decade – more than fine wines and art! So, it does seem like something is happening.

Did It Peak?

The numbers suggest the growth peaked in 2015 and has been slowing since 2017. The last Hagerty Price Guide showed the market had almost stalled completely. However, these things do go up and down so the word ‘peak’ is perhaps a little strong. For all we know, prices could well jump higher than 2015 next year.

Winners and Losers

Some of the models that seem to be losing out are the stunning Lagonda series Aston Martins, which is very surprising. Some Ferraris that were thought to be a sure thing are also suffering; the mighty Testarossa (see below) is one such model, as is the brilliantly 80s 308 GTB. In more recent years, the MK III Ford Capri saw a big rise but that too has slowed down along with the Mini Cooper.

However, there is one winner that we could have all predicted but most of us never acted on and that is the MK I Mazda MX5. 89-94 1.6 models have seen an 8.5% growth over the last year, which is pretty amazing. The photo above is a British Racing Green beauty from 1990.

Anything British post 1994 has a lower powered engine so is best avoided. This cracking little car seems to be bucking the trend, perhaps because it’s so much fun to drive or maybe it’s just growing into a real classic and people are getting interested.

Whatever is happening is irrelevant for many people, ourselves included. We love classic cars and it really isn’t about the money. If anything, a drop in prices might be a good thing, and many cars that have been whisked away into temperature monitored storage might be sold and come out to play again, so we can all enjoy them!

Ferrari 512B testarossa Car

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Budget Classic Cars

Budget Classic Cars - Image 1Image source

There is no doubt the classic and historic car market is still growing – is it ever going to slow down? As interest rates remain flat, it seems buying even the most budget of classics is almost a sure fire way of turning over a few quid in just a handful of years. However, along with this seemingly fun and easy way to make money comes a whole host of warnings about buying a bad car, driver safety and more.

Under £10K!

Since the really valuable classics are all but unaffordable for anyone other than the super-rich, the minor classics and newer cars are gathering interest but can still be got for under £10,000.

For example, we saw a 1978 Alfa Romeo Alfasud 1.3 Super on sales for under £8,000. While rust is eating its way through most of these little Italian crackers, this one seemed clean and would make for a great modern classic. The best thing was it only had 15,000 miles on the clock!

Budget Classic Cars - Image 2Image source

If you find yourself yearning for a British classic, then the Triumph Dolomite Sprint could be for you. We saw a 1980 model with a 2.0 litre 16 valve engine in yellow for under £8,000. This was the one that did 0-60 in under 8.5 seconds which really wasn’t bad at all for the time. Again, rust and rot are issues for these cars but get a well kept one and you could have a lot of fun!

And what about a Sierra? We found a 1984 XR4i for under £10K. Now this might seem a lot for a Sierra if you are old enough to remember driving one, but this was the 2.8 litre 16v version with 160bhp and 0-60 in 7.8 seconds. It may not be a Cosworth but it’s a great value alternative and as time goes on it will become very rare!

Take Care

While we can all get carried away with the idea of owning something from our childhood (or just something that might make some money at some point!) buying classic or historic cars can be tricky. Doing years’ worth of research is important, knowing which bits rust and the difference between original parts and replacement can make all the difference.

We have a lot of customers who come to us to for a fire extinguisher system or a handheld unit for their classics. These cars are old and things can go wrong. A small electrical fire could easily get out of hand and the materials used back in the 70s and 80s were certainly not as fireproof as what we use today.

If you are thinking about buying a classic or already have one, drop us a line to find out more about how we can help protect you and your car against fire.

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Here Comes the Sun!

Driving a classic convertible car on a sunny day

It’s here… no wait, it’s gone again… now it’s back! This spring may be a bit fickle but the summer is on the way and for many classic car owners that means it’s time to whip off the covers and get out on the road. But as the classic car market gets more and more valuable, have you thought about fire protection?

The Joys of Driving in the Summer

One of the best things about driving a classic car in the summer is the fact the roads aren’t literally shooting mucky salt and water directly into the wheel arches and every other possibly gap in the chassis. It means you can drive and enjoy your car without wincing when you go through a puddle.

Dry roads also bring a smile to most performance classic owners – it’s a time for just a touch more throttle and to really enjoy how good some cars handle, even considering their ages.

Too Hot

The downside to summer driving with classics is sometimes it just gets too hot and some cars do have a habit of overheating. This is fine if you have time to let it cool or a good collection of other owner’s club drivers to help out, but it can be a pain.

Another Year

While summer is certainly welcome, it also marks another year to the age of every classic car on the road. With that comes more responsibility to maintain these cars for future generations. Having a good fire extinguisher system becomes more important than ever.

In many cases, classic cars are not in the least bit fire resistant and can go up in flames very quickly. They are, by their nature, also prone to breakdowns and other issues, some of which can potentially cause fires too.

Handheld fire extinguishersAt FEV, we have worked with 1000s of classic car owners, from people who take part in historic racing to private owners who just want some extra peace of mind when driving. Our systems can be installed in keeping with the car – they do not have to be obvious – and they can prove invaluable in the event of an issue.

Having a good handheld fire extinguisher on board can also be useful if a fellow owner has a problem and is unable to put the fire out.

While we would never suggest tackling a fire alone, one of our systems can be a great first defence and potentially save the car before fire takes hold.

If you are about to get your car out of winter storage, get in touch with us now to discuss how we might be able to fit or provide a suitable fire extinguisher system for road use or racing.

Couple driving on beautiful road at sunset

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Why Do I Need Fire Extinguisher in My Car?

This is a question a lot of people think about and there are many different answers, all of which depend on what sort of driving you are doing, what sort of car you have and how much you care about safety.

Racing

Handheld fire extinguishers imageOK, so there is one time you simply have to have a fire extinguisher in your car and that is if you are doing any kind of racing. All motorsport in the UK is governed by the MSA and if you are competing in any kind of official competition then you will have to have a MSA spec fire suppression system in your car. There is no getting around this and nor should there be. If you are going to be driving at speed in a time trial or with other cars around you then you need to be able to deal with a fire in the event of one.

Historic and Classic Cars

So with the obvious racing stuff out the way, what other situations may you feel you should have a fire extinguisher on board? Well, a lot of classic car owners opt for putting in a small handheld fire extinguisher in the car. The reason for this can be three-fold.

The first is that as a car lover and enthusiast they may want to just gently push the limits on occasion and having a little bit of extra safety back up is not bad thing. The second is that a classic car is a treasured possession, and one that is likely to be worth a lot of money. To this end having a fire extinguisher in the car could help avoid a small fire turning into a big one and destroying the car forever. Repairing the damage from something small is one thing, and stopping any kind of fire getting out of hand is certainly something a classic car owner wants. The third reason is that old cars do have a habit of not working properly….on occasion. If something like an electrical fault or overheating occurs, a fire extinguisher really helps provide a bit of an insurance policy to avoid a catastrophe.

You Simply Love Your Car!

It may not be a classic, it may not even be that amazing in some people’s eyes but you love your car and you want to do everything to keep it safe. If this is the case, why wouldn’t you have a fire extinguisher in the car? Small hand held units can be subtly fitted in the passenger footwell and are there in the event of anything nasty happening to your beloved motor.

You are into Modding

If you love tuning and modifying your car, then you will know that no matter how good you are at doing it there is always a risk of something not working properly. Aftermarket parts, audio kit, induction kits and even turbos and more full-on mods can all have implications. So having a fire extinguisher in the car could well be that extra level of preparedness that could save a small issue becoming a major fire. You never know, it might come in handy at a meet when someone else’s car has a “bit of an issue” and they will be eternally grateful you thought about fire suppression.

Whatever car you drive, there is never a bad time to put in a fire extinguisher. It doesn’t have to be a full-on plumbed-in race system and we offer some great handheld options, so get in touch to find out more.

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Roger Dudding’s Car Collection

Aston Martin Lagona West London

Many people have mixed feelings about the super-rich, some of them are nice and some are not so nice. However, if you ask car fans how they feel about the car collections some people have created all the other feelings fly out the window in favour of wonder and awe and sometimes a little confusion! Millionaire Roger Dudding’s collection has been in the press lately and it’s a corker!

Mr Lock Up

Roger spent a good portion of his life inventing a queuing system that allocated numbers to people rather than giving out physical objects that can be unhygienic. He also happened to be offered some very cheap garages many years ago that sprung into a huge lock up rental business too.

The Beginning

Roger’s first car was certainly something special; a Jenson Interceptor FF, he also then got a Morris Minor Saloon from his Father which is perhaps a little less impressive but a classic nonetheless. What happened after that was something that led to a collection so large that film and TV producers are constantly in touch to get hold of period cars for a huge range of productions. From Peaky Blinders to Brad Pitt films the list is long and will only get longer as news of this collection spreads further.

Finds

As well as buying his own cars Roger also happens to find them too. Seeing as he owns over £100 million pounds worth of garages and lock ups it stands to reason his team have to clear a fair few out. It is during this cleaning they sometimes stumble across a classic car. A 1939 LG6 Lagonda and a Mk6 Bentley both make it onto this list. However Roger is clearly a nice guy because he had acquired these garages from a trust and went on to not only inform the previous owners but also to pay for the cars too!

Cars

The collection is too big to list but it is worth noting Roger has no fewer than 23 Aston Martin Lagondas. This is a car that carries a bit of a Marmite reputation but it’s clear where Roger’s tastes lie because this little part of the collection is worth over £2 million. Among other cars of note there is a rare AC 428, 10 Jensons, and 1918 Hispano Suiza and a lot of Ferraris.

Bikes

Not only does the collection house a mind blowing number of cars but Roger also collects bikes too with over 50 included in the set. From BSA Rocket Gold Stars and Douglas Dragon Flies as well as quite a few Triumphs, Nortons and two Vincents.

You may not have a classic car collection to rival Roger’s but if you do have a classic and would like more information on how we can sympathetically install a fire extinguisher system, get in touch. It may be for historic racing or just for some peace of mind, either way we have the right system to suit your car and your needs.

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Barn Finds and eBay Treasures

Barn find car wreckThe term “barn find” has certainly become quite a big one in car circles these days. This is, in no small part, down to the way people now share images online. 30 years ago a rare car would be found in a lock up and it would go straight to auction and then a collector. These days, while the process is still the same, the images end up all over the internet and this undoubtly plays into the auctioneers hands as the public interest is sparked. As well as the auction house route there is also the mighty eBay as a location for these gems and on a rare quiet moment we we often have a little look around to see what rare classics have popped up.

Bonkers MK1 Cortina – Click Here

OK so this is perhaps not one we would call a gem but the underlying car is certainly a classic. The MK1 Cortina was always the coolest version of this long running family car. This one, however, have been modified to a certain extent. It is labelled as an 80s survivor but it seems more like something from the original Batman series in the 60s. The fins at the back are horrific and the extra lights are not just for show! The wheels are almost acceptable but really this car’s piece de resistance is the exhaust system; it really is quite special.

AMC Gremlin – Click Here

According to some reports this car was one of the worst American cars of all time. By all accounts the Gremlin was hastily created to beat Ford and GM in the race to release a sub-compact car. The designer basically chopped the back end off of an AMC Hornet and that left this car looking odd to say the least. Apprently it was faster than its competitors which was something but the handling and suspension were so awful we are not sure you would want it to go much faster than standing still. This car doesnt have an engine or running gear so it is certainly not one you can drive away. The advert suggests it could make a great drag car; and why not? Maybe tearing down a 1/4 of mile strip with a V8 shoe horned in might make it a bit better than it was originally…you never know.

RX-7 – Click Here

This one really does qualify as a “find”. The RX-7 is fast becoming a true classic. It might not have the style and heritage of some of the British classic cars but it’s rotary engine and rear wheel drive arrangment makes it a very interesting car. These are being used for drifting a great deal but many people are just getting them up to concourse condition with perhaps some mild modifications to the engine. If the mileage is correct at 33,000 then this car makes the perfect project and could turn a solid profit.

 

Whatever your tastes in cars we are able to offer advice and guidance on the right fire suppression systems for you. We do a lot of work with classic and historic car owners from racing set ups to subtle fire extingsuishers for that extra level of safety. For more information get in touch today.

 

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A Few New Classic Cars

By LemmusOwn work, Public Domain, Link
Here at FEV we love working with classic car owners and supplying various fire suppression systems for either road or track use. The idea helping keep these great cars just a little bit safer is rewarding but we also just love the variation of cars we get to see and hear about. The classic car market is still buoyant and shows very few signs of slowing down but the types of cars that fall into this group is always changing and there are a fair few new kids on the block.

The 80s

Where it was once the preserve of 60s and 70s cars or older we are now seeing various 80s and even 90s cars in the classic car market. Some of these newer cars are still a bit “marmite” but they are all great in their own way and many will get better with time. The Ford Sierra, for example, is a car that seems to be increasing in value and one that many people still don’t look to fondly on. It was certainly a game changer after the last incarnation of the Cortina but for many it was simply not the car Ford had hoped it would be. It initially suffered issues with cross winds as well as claims the self correcting bumpers actually hid crash damage. Later versions were much better and sales did eventually start picking for a car that was dubbed the “salesman’s spaceship”.

These days prices for the rather brilliant Cosworth versions and even the XR4i’s are starting to go up with the former commanding £30,000 in some cases and even a 2.0 litre estate on over 100,000 miles will cost you over £2000!

Another 80s car that is now a classic is the Peugeot 205, although not in its normal form. The 208 GTi was certainly always a desirable car but prices are now looking at topping £20,000 in some cases and there are certainly only going to go one way. Even the less popular 309 GTi’s are making £10,000!

British Style

Most people in this country like at least one Jaguar, a lot of people like many different models but the XJS is not always at the top of the collective wish list. It was, like the Sierra, a bit of a design gamble and followed a very “futuristic” feel throughout. It also suffered somewhat in terms of timing as it was launched during the fuel crisis. That being said the V12 was a great engine and a rare one in all but the most expensive Italian supercars at the time. After a number of years in production there were a lot of different variants and not all really make the classic list but prices for the good ones are moving upwards by all accounts. While the XJS may not quite make the legendary status of the mighty E Type it is a cool car and one that we would very happily work on or drive!

Regardless of whether or not your chosen classic is actually considered a classic by the motoring press and the like we would still welcome it with open arms. Our friendly team will be able to advise and help you choose the best fire suppression system to suit your needs. You may just want to know you have that extra bit of protection a handheld unit provides in case of a small electrical fire. You may, however, want something a little more substantial because you plan to do some events and track days. Whatever you are planning to do with your classic car the team at FEV are able to help make sure you are well prepared for the unlikely event of a fire.

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