Keith Riddington from Classicmobilia is a recognized specialist and dealer with a focus on Aston Martin vehicles. In his market column he gives an insight into his current perception of the classic car market.


This has been an interestingly busy month, spent mostly in Europe, seeing how our counterparts are getting on, inspecting a few classic cars on the way, discussing the market, how they see it and how we can build the Brexit bridge back up again.

There is no doubt that The Zoute Grand Prix is a great event, but the auction on the beach at Knokke was how an auction should be conducted: simply put, if you feed and water the bidders, they will put their hands up. We like to convey a balanced view, though: the surroundings were impressive, to say the least, the lots were interesting, but the cars being offered at auction with little supporting documentation are a big shame. And then they wonder why the cars do not sell well!

Discussing the auction world with a few clients who are looking to part with the odd classic car, it transpires that they thought the service given was lacking and disappointing, leaving them feeling unwanted, facing a ‘take it or leave it’ attitude. This is a shame as it gives the classic car world a feeling of general poor service, when we know fully well that the long-established dealer network is trying hard to live up to the old gentleman reputation we are known for.

The question that is always asked is: “why buy from auction?” Well, the cars seem to be good value! Or are they? The problem is that what you see may not be what you get! The other concern is how the public is alerted to an underperforming/over-performing car at auction, as the press only reports on results, no matter how good or bad the car was.

What happens to the car that does not sell? Unfortunately, the car is tarnished, as the results of the auction will be published and then the car is only worth the highest bid on the day. Would that make all similar cars the same value? Because of all of the above, we still see many more good cars being sold under the radar without being advertised, which is not helping the real perception of the market, but it keeps people guessing.

In the last few months, we have been asked more and more to check out build records for original specification and original colours; we have also carried out more pre-purchase inspections than ever. The whole buying concept is undergoing change: it is far better to have a classic car checked over, but punters now are looking for all matching numbers and colours; not that long ago, this was not important and changing an engine was normal practice.

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