Cracking start to the year​

Aston Martin V8 Volante

Classicmobilia E’News Issue 110 February 2020

Dear Classic Car Enthusiast,

What a cracking start to the year! What’s more, it looks like 2020 will continue to be a good one.

Some marvellous events like Retromobile were a total sell-out, even though the available hall space has increased from previous years. We relished some wonderfully-presented stands, with mouth-watering cars being displayed: it was a treat for any car enthusiast.

For the hard-nosed ones, though, the biggest question was: did anything sell at the show?

Well, we are not quite sure, there are rumours on both accounts, but a lot of after-show sales must have taken place, as always. Is Paris becoming a social event for the big players and a dream day out for us enthusiasts?

With more great events planned for the coming months, if it continues like this, the year looks like a potentially memorable one.

With a clash of the big auction boys in Paris, it was somewhat of an eye opener to see what was selling and what was struggling. Again and again, we saw some disappointing motorcars going over the block and some low prices being reserved. A large number of ‘no reserve’ cars were offered just to pull in the crowd. “Did it work?” I hear you ask. The sales results looked promising, but be aware that there is always a little bit of smoke and mirrors.

Let’s just reflect on the evolvement of auction houses and the background, and how it all started.

Many years ago, there was just a handful of auctions taking place on two levels: the traders’ auction, where people sold cars through auction as they were not good enough to be offered to retail; and then the “shown at auction”, then still classed as a “traders auction”, but for… grownups. Cars were purchased by traders, a few quid thrown at the purchase to make it look good, to be then sold off in the showroom.

Today, the number of auction houses has grown substantially, the amount of cars entered into the auction scene has multiplied, and the sale days have become public auctions, advertised everywhere and (until recently) attended to by large numbers. More and more on-line auctions are taking place (a dangerous trend) and people are getting their fingers burnt in the process. As we always say… “Buyer beware”.

Reporting on such auctions should be detailed more realistically. Only recently, a low-production-number car price was questioned by the buyer, as the last three of the same kind sold at auction for around 50% less. Unfortunately, the buyer had not attended the auctions to witness the very poor condition of those cars. The customer, you see, is not always right.

We predict that in the future will still be auctions, but more online options, to keep the overheads and costs down.

If you have any concerns or questions about buying, selling or restoring, do let us know. We are real people who attend real auctions, with real experience at your service.

Happy motoring


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