The collector vehicle market showed great resilience during 2022 despite global events. Indeed, Mercedes-Benz’s decision to part with one of its two 300SLR ‘Uhlenhaut’ Coupes recalibrated many people’s perception as to the value (potential or otherwise) of the world’s rarest and most historically important motorcars. By selling for €135 million in May, the fabled ‘Silver Arrow’ Fixed Head became the first four-wheeler to publicly change hands for a nine figure sum. Although, to put that figure into context Cristiano Ronaldo is said to have not long rejected a £173 million offer to join the Saudi Arabian football team Al-Nassr!
With the richest one percent typically being recession proof, it is perhaps unsurprising that the strongest growth area of the collector vehicle market in 2022 has been the seven-figure (and over) price bracket. While, at the other end of the spectrum (sub-£30,000) online auctions now eclipse their physical counterparts in terms of the volume and value of collector vehicles sold.
Interest in so-called ‘Youngtimer’ classics remains on the up with the prices recently paid for a 2003 BMW M3 CSL (€325,625) and 1987 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC AMG 6.0 ‘Wide Body’ ($720,000) being unthinkable a few years ago. Event eligibility remains a key criteria for older vehicles and demand for acknowledged pre-WW2 greats is still robust as proven by the $9,905,000 and $10,345,000 achieved respectively for a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Spezial Roadster and 1937 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante during the August Monterey auctions.
The collector vehicle market is expanding year on year. For example, some $304 million worth of collector vehicles were offered for sale in America during November 2022 with 59% changing hands at an average price of $60,000. Go back forty-eight months and those figures were $62.5 million, 69% and $34,000 correspondingly.
In 2022 - its first full year operating as an Employee Ownership Trust - H&H Classics has sold 1,145 collector vehicles (500 cars, 645 motorcycles) for in excess of £20,000,000. The overall sale rate was a healthy 73% with the value of motorcars and motorcycles despatched to new owners increasing by 130% and 150% in comparison to 2021.
The collector vehicle market is now over sixty years old and better established than many ‘alternative asset’ classes. H&H Classics will celebrate its thirtieth anniversary in 2023, proof if any were needed of its experience within the field. Prices for certain ages and types will fall next year but others will rise. As an analogue diversion in an increasingly digital world, a collector motorcar or motorcycle takes quite some beating!
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