How to pick a winning classic car marque

One of the main problems with buying a new car is that once you turn the key in the ignition, your brand new motor starts to lose value rapidly.

Daimler DB18 Winston Churchill
With Ferrari you pay a high price for consistency, but Daimler could be one to back for a strong profit

So, for the savvy shopper, classic cars are the way to go when it comes to making some sort of a return on your purchase. Unlike new models, vintage cars tend to hold their value as time passes, providing they receive the right love and attention.

In fact, classic cars are actually the top performing collectible market, showing 395% growth over the 10-year period to third quarter 2012, according to a recent report from Knight Frank.

But which marque to choose when considering potential future profits?

Ferrari and Porsche are two dependable options. Driven by reputation and superlative quality, many models released by either brand will hold their value well, even making significant increases depending on the trends of the time.

But, according to Dietrich Hatlapa, the man behind the HAGI index, which measures classic car values, "simply because a model or marque has performed well in the past, it does not mean it will continue to advance at the same rate in the future.

"Often, there can be better opportunities among models that have underperformed. This market is highly segmented and affected by changing tastes and fashions."

So it could be time to speculate. Classic car enthusiast Alan Boulding of Legal & General, like many collectibles experts, is looking towards China and India for a potential boom.

"We haven't yet seen big Chinese or Indian money coming into the market as we have with fine wines, so a speculator might go for the marques that have some historical connection in the East such as Daimler or Lanchester, but which are still very modestly priced over here," he says.

But if the idea of a Daimler or a Lanchester doesn't set your world alight, Boulding suggests something a little sportier:

"A car from the Sixties does offer something quite unique. These are from a golden period with sufficiently advanced engineering that they still keep up with modern traffic but are entirely mechanical and free of electronics, making them easy to repair."

Paul Fraser. 

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