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Classic car market posts third consecutive month of growth


Classic car market
A resurgent Mercedes-Benz has pushed the classic car market back into positive territory for 2018

The classic car market enjoyed its third consecutive month of growth in May, new figures from the Historic Auto Group (HAGI) reveal.

The sector rose in value by 2.2% in May compared with the previous month. That’s according to the HAGI Top index, which monitors the values of “exceptional historic automobiles” across a range of marques.

The index is now up 0.3% for the year, after witnessing a worrying opening to 2018 for investors in classic models. Values were down 5.4% as recently as the end of March – the first negative opening to a year since 2010.

Mercedes-Benz classics posted the most significant uptick in the month, rising by 10.9% – its largest monthly gain.

Investors in the German manufacturer will be relieved; Mercs had endured a torrid first four months of the year. Despite May’s strong performance, the marque is up only 2.9% for the year.

Fellow German manufacturer Porsche also saw significant gains, rising by 3.3% in May, although it’s still down 1.3% for the first five months. The values of Ferraris grew by 2.1% in May to 3.1% for the year so far.

Despite the encouraging signs, HAGI is striking a cautious note for investors. “Market volumes and transaction speed are well below peak levels,” HAGI said in a statement.

“Another way of looking at it is that the boom years from 2012 to 2015 were the exception and that market conditions have normalised since then.”

Just how exceptional were those times? The sector posted 25.1% growth in 2014 and 17.6% in 2015.

While the classic car market broadly shows signs of recovery, at the very top, it’s flying. A 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO sold privately for $70m earlier this month – a world record price for a car, new or old.

This summer’s auctions will provide a bellwether for the classic car market. Investment-minded Ford collectors will be paying particularly close attention to the sale of the entire Ford collection of the Netherlands’ Den Hartogh Museum. The museum, which is thought to house the world’s biggest single owner collection of the US marque, is auctioning the lot without reserve on June 23 through Bonhams.

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