Time: It keeps going, and the effect of it is felt on our classic cars as much as it is on ourselves!
As each year passes, the list of mechanical failures, degradation and theft tell their tale on the availability and price of models. Despite the recent fluctuation in the market, it's invariably true that as numbers go down, the price goes up – a somewhat silver lining for owners.
Many owners are now turning to more extreme forms of preservation for their vehicles. In addition to taking painstaking measures to protect their garages and ensure their suitability at storing their prized assets, common methods of care for a classic such as shrink wrapping are proving increasingly popular.
In overall price, race car classics are at a premium within the market. Key celebrities in our past are reliable indeed in their ability to skyrocket prices, such as the late star Steve McQueen having caused a massive twenty-seven million Dollar price tag on a 1967 Ferrari 275 Spider.
The unique design of older classics is a fascinating throwback to the design ethos of the times. Modern vehicles, despite being just as unique, are calculated to the millimetre for aerodynamics and overall performance.
The opposite is often true with classics, with the jagged edges and interesting curves of many giving us a visceral glimpse of the freedom the designers had to express their vision and reflect on the fashion and culture of the times.
This appeal poses a challenge for the health of the classic car market as time passes. As the younger generations grow older and come into positions and wealth that enable the purchase of classic cars, many will have less connection with the specific histories and reputations of older models.
This, combined with the rise of modern classics – cars as little as 30 years old – means that our favourite, more venerable models will become even more exclusive as time passes.
While it is not our expectation to see the older classics disappear entirely, the combination of changing preference and attrition or decay within the market means the world will see fewer venerable models as the years pass by.
The hope for more
Interestingly, there is always the potential for more to be found. Enthusiasts have long turned a pretty profit from the hunting down of new classics, and stories of special findings are always guaranteed a certain degree of viral fame.
Areas in Europe, in particular, are prone to the discovery of older models. This is evidenced by the large 'graveyard' of classic vehicles in Chatillon created by U.S soldiers who hid their vehicles in the forest due to the unaffordable shipping expense needed to bring them back overseas following deployment in the Second World War.
Although decay of the world's supply of classic cars is an ongoing concern, enthusiasts can still look forward to stories of new findings and efforts of restoration as time passes.
As any classic car owner knows, theft is an ever-present risk and a constant cause for concern. As sure as night follows day, the rise in the overall value of these exclusive vehicles is causing gangs to increasingly take note.
Techniques for theft are as brazen as they are effective, with many criminal groups being bold enough to simply arrive at classic car events with trailers to casually drive away with expensive, prized possessions.
Although modern tracking devices have an excellent recovery rate, it remains a problem as to how an owner can power this on an older model and install it without affecting its value and presentation.
Owners are turning to prevention, not technology, to protect their beloved cars. Improvements in garage security go hand in hand with careful appraisals from security specialists to create storage solutions that are tough to crack for all but the most determined and skilled of criminals.
Provenance – as always, it's hugely important in the value and pedigree of a classic car. Nowadays, an excellent provenance can add eye-watering value to a vehicle, with some single documents estimated as holding as much as fifty thousand Pounds to some.
Specialist insurers are valuable in these cases, and the remarkable and specific skills of professional restorers can prove a boon to the owner who needs their documents to be brought back to as close to original condition as can be achieved.
Ultimately, those fortunate owners of classic vehicles must recognize that a combination of care, maintenance and protection through investment and specialist insurance can ensure their classic prizes remain in good condition and ahead of the general pace of decay common to other vehicles in the market.