Old Cars Center Stage at Techno Classica

Full Text in GERMAN: HERE

Shiny chrome, polished metal sheets – colorful or solid, fine black, creamy colored or with natural patina: the valuable collectibles shine admirably in the limelight. The world’s biggest fair of classic vehicles at Essen, Germany, has opened its doors for the 27th time. On approximately 120,000 square meters of exhibition space fans can admire various vehicle brands originating from more than 30 nations. Willing buyers meet a wide variety and those out for window shopping find enough opportunity to do so.

Apart from the obvious purpose for 1,250 car dealers to present their products the fair provides a good platform to 220 classic clubs and groups of interest to introduce themselves.


With high return on investment “oldies” lure investors

The most important meeting and largest trading place of the international classic scene is very well attended. A total of about 190,000 visitors are expected. Not only those collecting cars, can be found among the visitors. In times of nearly sold out estate markets, no interest rates on savings deposits and feared artificial bubbles in the stock markets, those willing to invest crave for yield-strong and secure investment opportunities. A brilliant time to check out Vintage vehicles – demand is still climbing above expectations. Besides the fun factor an old car can bring, investors appreciate the inflation save, yet still tax free and very palpable value.

Memories make hearts beat faster

Many people maintain nostalgic memories of the vehicles they know and appreciate from early childhood. Daddy’s first Mercedes-Benz, the old light-blue “Bully” (VW Bus, Type 2 T2) of granddad or the “duck” (Citroen 2 CV 6) of Aunty Grete. As long as old cars make men’s hearts beat faster – and those of women, too, no concern rises that vintage cars lose their value. In addition, the numbers of vintage cars available decrease each year and a natural scarcity of these goods takes place.

A glance at ever-increasing yields reveals: In 2014 old and treasured cars worth over 152 million dollars were auctioned. The record was scored by a Ferrari 250 GTO of 1962. It changed hands for $ 38.1 million. However, such figures are still rather exceptional. An average of € 15,000 per classic car is spent in Germany. The buyers rather focus on memories and fun than on preserving actual value. (Source: classic-analytics; www.classic-analytics)

For this year, insiders expect another boom for the classic car market. Different types of brands, for example Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and legends such as the “duck” and the “Bulli” are coveted collectibles. A Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing model of 1954-1957 was worth € 350,000 in 2005 and is now estimated at € 1,300,000. (Source: classic-analytics; www.classic-analytics)

How to buy a collector’s item

At the fair oldtimers lovingly restored experience a constant increase in value. But prospective buyers have to be familiar with the market. Dealers, forums, interest clubs and exhibition platforms help to get one started in the quest. The brand of the car is critical – as much as knowledge of authentic vintage feeling & design of the desired car. It is important that the car keeps its old flair even when it is restored. Every detail matters. Buyers want to know whether the vehicle is accident free. It suits buyers best if all parts of the car come in the original version and are still with the car. “Matching Numbers” are very important – the figures on vehicle parts have to match with the model at stake.

Patina raises car’s value

While an old car destined for investment is restored, care is taken that the years of natural patina – that layer that makes it look “worn” – is not completely lost. The interior – for example carpets – are kept in the original make and carefully cleaned. Naturally, signs of years of use remains visible. The fittings, metal parts or soft tops are allowed to keep traces of age to a certain degree, too. Restauration professionals eliminate bumps and dents in the process. Most cars need to be re-varnished. This is usually quite expensive because surface coating mixtures are composed differently today. Know-how, experience and commitment of an expert are required to refurbish old cars and turn them into “jewels”.

On high demand: good documentation of vehicle’s history

Technical perfection is one side of the coin – the documentation of the history of the car is the other. A set of complete papers from the date of production up to the present increases the value. Buyers are interested to know who owned their car, where it has travelled to and what happened to it in the course of the years. The less previous owners there are to a car, the better.

Although it seems a wonderful thing to fulfil one’s dreams it is nevertheless advisable to monitor the markets way in advance and to involve professionals in order to avoid unpleasant surprises and waste a lot of money on “false” investments.

Full Text in GERMAN: HERE

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