Now the third highest performing luxury investment category, with a 190% return*, the classic car market is experiencing a boom as alternative investments – along with coins and whisky – are on the rise.
Shannons Auctions holds four major auctions a year, with over 650 vehicles on offer and has seen a 15% jump in volume from last year.
National auctions & external relations manager, Christophe Boribon, says collector vehicles have soared in value because they’re considered by many as a tangible asset.
“They are something you can actually use, be enjoyed with family and friends and open you up to a community of like-minded vehicle enthusiasts. You can’t do that with shares,” said Mr Boribon.
“There’s also been a new wave of interest in the classics,” he added.
“Recently a cherry red 1997 Porsche 911 (993) Carrera S Coupe sold for $303,000. Built-in limited numbers with worldwide production reaching just 3,714 units, it is one of the rarer 993 models.”
“These cars have become hugely collectible in recent years growing in value by more than 7.5% each year since being launched in 1994.”
“We have seen a number of Australians redirecting the cash they might have spent on overseas trips into the cars market.”
Mark Duckworth, the director of festivals and events at Major Events Gold Coast, which is behind one of the largest classic car gatherings in the country, Cooly Rocks On, agreed.
“Classic cars really maintain their value, or even rise in value over time. In 1969 you could buy a brand-new Dodge Charger Daytona for less than $5,000. This exact car is now worth close to $100,000,” says Mr Duckworth.
“These vehicles quickly become even more valuable if there were only a limited number of that particular model car made, or if the company has shut down,” he adds.
“It’s also often about the memory and attachment to a certain timepiece and era. It could be a motor vehicle or a comic book – people like to capture a memory and hang onto it.”
Shannons Insurance arm is also seeing the strong appetite for classic cars remain steady, particularly some of the Aussie and American muscle varieties.
Business Development Manager Phil Ross says demand for insurance is flat out as people see cars as a safer and more enjoyable market to be involved in.
“There are plenty of car enthusiasts who see vehicles as a better investment than shares. You can’t drive your Woolies shares to Cooly Rocks On in June but you can drive your Hot Rod or Muscle car,” said Mr Ross.
Mr Boribon from Shannons Auctions, says there was the potential for classic car values to slide during the onset of Covid-19, but the opposite actually happened.
“Many experts view part of the collector market as a solid investment, the vehicles that were produced in smaller numbers, special coachwork, or high powered whether from the 1950s or on more modern classics from 2000s, many have seen great growth in recent years.”
“We’re seeing new and different types of buyers – there are the people who don’t have the time to do restorations and want something that’s restored and functional, there are the buyers with emotional attachment to a certain vehicle – but there are also people who love to tinker with their vehicles, adding value, in their garage.”
In the last two years Mr Duckworth said they have seen a big increase in the number of people attracted to classic cars with record numbers attending Cooly Rocks On, Australia’s largest nostalgia festival, held on the Gold Coast each June.
“Our fan base has really grown, there were record crowds last year,” he added.
“Australians have a wonderful connection to the music, and culture of yesteryear. Holden cars, rock’n’roll and trips to the beach remain some of the fondest memories of decades gone by.”
The event attracts nearly 1000 participating classic, hot rod and muscle cars. While the Show ‘N’ Shine display, spanning nearly two kilometres, attracts car enthusiasts from across the country and from overseas.
“It’s amazing to see so many beautiful cars in one space, the attention to detail and the story from the owners makes it so special. From Go Go Mobiles to Mustangs and everything in-between it’s one of the country’s biggest showcases of classic cars.”
“The feeling you get from driving a car can take you back to a certain time in your life. It talks to so many different people about a time of innocence – family holidays during the 1960s, reminding us of simpler times.”
Some of the highest-earning classic cars include:
- Flash and fun: Built in limited numbers with worldwide production reaching just 3,714 units making the cherry red 1997 Porsche 911 (993) Carrera S Coupe one of the rarest 993 models. Sold late last year for $303,000.
- Classic Australian models: Even the traditional Holden Kingswood can fetch about $50,000, a Ford Cortina $70,000 and a Ford Escort around $30,000.
- Vintage four-wheel drives: These cars still pack a punch with something like a simple 1971 Toyota Landcruiser FJ40 worth almost $120,000. The FJ40 was Toyota’s best-selling model in the US between 1961 and 1965 and it solidified the brand’s reputation for building strong, reliable vehicles.