The Investment Case for Classic Cars

McLaren F1 orange Side profile studioWords by Raj Hunjan

Over the last decade cars like the 60’s Ferrari 250 GTO and 90’s McLaren F1 have increased in value by millions of pounds. The value of a 250 GTO back in 2003 was estimated at around £6 million. In October 2013 a 1963 250 GTO changed hands for £32 million. This is an astronomical sale price when you compare it to the $18,500 it was sold for when it was new in 1963 (£85,000 in today’s money). Likewise a McLaren F1 sold in August 2013 for over £5 million, multiples of its original £540,000 price back in 1995. It is true that both are ultra rare, the 250 GTO is one of 39 in total and the F1 is one of 64 road cars, however it’s not just these exclusive cars that are seeing massive gains in value.

Other sports cars that have seen substantial increases in their value over the last ten years include:
• BMW M3 E30 (£20,000)
• Porsche 911 RS 964 (£80,000)
• Ferrari Dino 246 GT (£200,000)
• Aston Martin DB5 (£350,000)
• Mercedes 300SL Gullwing (£1,000,000)
The approximate January 2014 prices are shown in brackets. All of the above cars have seen price increases in excess of 100% over the last five years alone.

Lancaster Insurance Classic Car Show NEC (45 of 250) Mercedes 300SL front light closeupWhat is driving this increase in value of the greatest sportscar icons? There are several major factors that are causing these price increases. Firstly, there is a finite supply of the most iconic historic cars which coupled with the below leads to price increases:
• Aspiring owners that have dreamed of owning these iconic cars for a long time are now able to buy these cars.
• Greater awareness of classic cars globally has led to more demand from emerging economies.
• Financial difficulties across the world over the last five years have led wealthy individuals to reassess what they view as assets and many have started acquiring alternatives like classic cars, which they can also enjoy regardless of how much they are worth.
This appreciation in values of some of the best sports cars led to several investment funds appearing, which were designed to give financial investors exposure to this trend. One of the funds that set up in September 2012 is The Classic Car Fund, which is a Swiss managed fund legally domiciled in St Vincent and Grenadines. The minimum amount you can invest in the fund is €10,000. The fund is valued every three months and is subject to; a 5% subscription charge, annual 2% management fee and 3 year lock in period before you can withdraw any funds you have invested.

These charges and restrictions may put off many investors. Also due to the nature of the assets, cars in long term storage, it does not generate regular income in the way that company shares, government bonds and property do. The value of the cars held by these investment funds can also be extremely subjective, as they are particularly rare and unique cars and their value may be based on their race history and provenance which is difficult to accurately price. This can lead to difficulty in finding the true value of the investment fund until the cars are actually sold and the proceeds received.

The very existence of classic car investment funds clearly demonstrates that classic cars can indeed be viewed as an alternative asset to more traditional investments. It is possible to invest in classic cars directly, by buying the cars yourself and either storing in your own garage or at a storage specialist. Investing in cars directly is the route that many people choose and one that can have big advantages over the fund route:
Ferrari-Dino-246-GT-1969-1974-Investment• No minimum investment amount and there are cars for all budgets
• You won’t have to pay management fees, but obviously you are
responsible for other ongoing costs like insurance and maintenance
• You will directly own the car(s) so you are able to enjoy them
• You will have full control of the sale and purchase of car(s)

And finally, any capital gains from the eventual sale of your cars would not be subject to tax in the UK, unlike a classic car investment fund.

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Goodwood Festival of Speed 2014

If you didn’t get a chance to take in the action at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed (or even if you did!), it is well worth taking some time to watch this YouTube playlist set up by Goodwood Road & Racing which shows all the best bits from Britain’s biggest annual hill climb & motorsport event.

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Historic Race Car Nirvana

Race Retro 2014 Classic Motorsport Ford RS200 rally car front viewWe attended Race Retro for the first time this year and the historic motorsport show did not disappoint! It seemed that everywhere we looked there were some of the most exciting race cars in existence.

Race Retro 2014 Classic Motorsport Fiat Abarth 1000 frontIt was great walking round the halls and finding an absolute gem of a Group B rally car sitting on a trade stand. TWR seemed to be building up a Le Man racer on their stand, components strewn all over the place. To see the inner workings of a 24 hour endurance legend was a real highlight. Our full gallery of images is here.

Race Retro 2014 Classic Motorsport TWR Jaguar racer engine block v12

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Racing Cars for the Road

“Everyone calls us crazy, but I don’t think so at all”
“We own racing cars, so we may as well use them in our daily lives, it’s only natural.”
“But… I guess we are a little crazy.”

Mr A – owner of a road legal Jaguar XJ220 LM that raced in Le Mans 24 hours in 1993 and 1995. He uses his LM racer on the road and track in Japan. The Jaguar is a a 550bhp, V6 twin turbo, mid engined racer capable of over 195mph.

Mazda 787B Porsche 962C Jaguar XJ220LM rear Le Mans' Luke Huxham

“When I sleep, I never dream. I live my dreams, full throttle on the highway.” Mr A, XJ220LM owner

Jaguar XJ220LM front highway Le Mans' Luke Huxham

In this video, produced by Maiham Media and Motorhead magazine, three Japanese collectors share their Le Mans machines.

Mazda 787B Porsche 962C Jaguar XJ220LM Le Mans' Luke Huxham

Donning a pair of Sparco race gloves and buckling in to an ex Le Mans car is the stuff of dreams, but for these three car maniacs, its a reality on a regular basis. The footage shows a Porsche 962C being chased by the XJ220LM on the road, which provides a huge rush to both drivers.

Porsche 962C street version driver Le Mans' Luke Huxham

The Porsche 962C, owned by Takeshi Moroi, is a road legal 962C made by former works driver Vern Schuppen and has 620bhp that can propel the car to over 215mph. Just like the XJ220LM, the turbo charged mid engined setup is extremely lively to drive at anywhere near full throttle, demonstrated by the sound of the turbos spooling on and off boost. On the road, in traffic, they must really challenge the drivers.

Porsche 962C Jaguar XJ220LM street side Le Mans' Luke Huxham

“Circuit or street, I just enjoy driving” Takeshi Moroi, Porsche 962C owner

Mazda 787B Porsche 962C Le Mans' Luke Huxham

The third car is another genuine Le Mans car that has a life after its 1989 race where it finished 9th overall. It is a Mazda 767B that has a four rotary engine, normally aspirated, but still manages to produce 630bhp. The owner believes that it is better suited to track running only, unlike the other two cars in the video.

Mazda 787B Le Mans' Luke Huxham

“Real racing machines were built for the track, that is where they belong.” Senji Hoshino, Mazda 767B owner

Mazda 787B front side Le Mans' Luke Huxham

The video is filmed in 4k, which is 2160 pixels wide, very high quality and best viewed in Chrome. This video perfectly demonstrates the beauty, sound and presence of the cars on the road and circuit. The owners are true car maniacs, passionate about their prized Le Mans racers.

Porsche 962C Jaguar XJ220LM street front Le Mans' Luke Huxham

Director : Ko-Hey Takada |
Cinematographer / Editor : Luke Huxham |
GFX / Animation : Edward Khoma |


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Nissan GTR Nismo pushes the envelope

Nissan GTR Nismo nurburgring record 7'08'67

The much anticipated Nismo version of the supercar slayer GTR has broken cover. Headlines are 600hp, 100kg of additional downforce (at 186mph) and a Nurburgring time of 7 minutes 8 seconds.

Nissan GTR Nismo Edition 2014 White background front

Just 12 minutes before the close of the testing session at the Nurburgring on 30 September 2013 a ground breaking lap time was set for the GTR. Nissan entrusted the new Nismo GTR to four drivers (Sébastien Buemi, Armin Hahne, Tetsuya Tanaka, Michael Krumm), each given the challenge of driving the car faster than any other road version GTR before.

Nissan GTR Nismo Edition 2013 nurburgring record michael krumm 7 minutes 8 seconds

Krumm went last, his first lap was 7:10. On his next lap, Krumm crossed the finish line at 7:08.679 – posting the record for the fastest-ever time for a factory GT-R on the Nürburgring. Krumm credits the Nissan GT-R NISMO’s prowess in handling as its strength on the race track and the road.

Nissan GTR Nismo Edition 2014 White dials with red detailing closeup

“For a car to be fun you need a good ratio between the power and the grip in the corners,” he says. “The Nissan GT-R Nismo can be really fast with respect to its power because its balance is superb. That balance is a very important factor in the driving enjoyment.” In the end, Krumm’s run in the Nissan GT-R Nismo* lapped the Nürburgring 10 seconds faster than the previous Nissan GT-R best – 7:18 recorded in October 2012. A full video of Krumm’s run is below.

Engine – now rated at 600hp and 481 lb ft. Changes include upgraded fuel pump, individual cylinder ignition timing control and turbos borrowed from the Nissan GTR GT3 racers.

Nissan GTR Nismo Edition 2014 White uprated engine details

Chassis – tuned for agility, road-holding and handling finesse, without compromising refinement. Changes include custom-developed Bilstein DampTronic dampers, unique Dunlop tyres (Front: 255/40R20; rear 285/35R20), uprated front wishbone links and a hollow rear anti-roll bar that raises roll stiffness while reducing weight.

Nissan GTR Nismo Edition 2014 White wheel brake duct caliper detail

The Nismo GTR will be available in Japan in February 2014, US and Europe will have to wait till later in the year.

Nissan GTR Nismo Edition 2014 White uprated bilstein suspension

The 2014 model GTR has also been announced, no major changes, it is getting difficult to improve on such a complete package. On the mechanical side, it features revised suspension geometry for better road holding, fine tuned brake setup and enhanced steering assistance at low speeds. In terms of styling the changes include, interior upgrades to fit and finish, a new trim option called pale ivory, revised front and rear LED lights. There is also an optional carbon rear spoiler that is half the weight of the standard item.

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Ken Block: Gymkhana 6 The Obstacle Course

Ken Block Gymkhana 6 Six JCB DriftKen Block continues his Gymkhana series of videos by constructing an obstacle course that includes a wrecking ball, ramps, punch bags and JCBs. The car control he demonstrates is incredible, and whats new about this video is that it looks as though it was filmed on his first attempt, previous videos always have tyre tracks from previous runs. The slow motion footage is stunning and this Gymkhana video is worth a watch.

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Gran Turismo 6 – The Real Driving Simulator

Gran Turismo 6 Ford GT40 mk1 1966The Gran Turismo franchise is releasing one final version of the game on the PlayStation 3, and it will stretch the performance of the platform to the limit. One of the features that is getting drivers excited is the possibility of recreating your favourite road routes, using GPS coordinates collected by you using your smartphone. From the GT6 website.

Course Maker

This feature, available at a later stage through an update, will allow you to create your own custom tracks that can be driven in the game. Additionally, in another update we will add the possibility to generate a track by capturing the GPS coordinate data of a mobile app while you are driving that course. This GPS-generated tracks will be available in the game as playable content.

Due out on December 6th, this game will feature over 1200 cars (see official list here). The number of track locations will also increase, with two new UK additions, the famous Goodwood Hill Climb and Brands Hatch (details here).

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BMW M235i on track in the UK

BMW M235i launch red rear at speed (1280x853)Following on from our M235i story, here is a followup video of the M235i being driven at Thruxton race circuit. Andy Priaulx, triple championship winning DTM racing driver for BMW is the star, alongside the new BMW that will hit 0-60mph in 4.8 seconds.

From the video, it looks as though the car handles extremely well at high speed.

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BMW M235i Coupe – modern day E30 M3

BMW M235i launch red front motion (1280x853)While the M3 becomes the M4 and marches closer to supercar performance and pricing, some would argue that it has lost the link to the heritage of the M3, a lightweight, compact and adjustable rear wheel drive car. The original BMW M3 from the 80s started the historic lineage, and with the announcement of the M235i, this is where the lineage continues.

BMW M235i launch red rear at speed (1280x853)

Following on from the 1M, the M235i is a 326bhp, 3.0 litre straight six twin turbo, rear wheel drive performance machine. As the 1M and M135i proved, there is still a large market for compact M performance cars. 0-60mph will arrive in 4.8 seconds with the ZF 8 speed automatic and Launch Control activated. A six speed manual is also available which is claimed to do the same sprint in 5 seconds dead. Despite these super quick headline performance figures, the car is claimed to return 34.9mpg and emit just 179 g/km of carbon.

BMW M235i launch red engine closeup (1280x853)

Differences from the standard 2 series coupe include M styling to the exterior to improve aerodynamic effectiveness, revised suspension, braking and variable sport steering to ensure it feels more connected to the road and track.

The M235i will come with 18 inch alloys wheels with 225/40 R18 at the front and 245/35 R18 at the rear. 19 inch forged wheels are also available as an option. Most will likely be specced with the larger 19 inch wheels, the fact that they are forged wheels may negate the handling difference between the two sizes.

BMW M235i launch red front light and wheel closeup (1280x853)

Interestingly, the performance on the track is held back due to the lack of a limited slip differential, presumably to create a clear distinction between the M-Performance cars (M235i, M135i) and the M-Power cars (M3, M4, M5, M6). It is possible to specify a M Performance Limited Slip Differential and even retrofit to existing cars, so it is possible to raise the bar in handling performance for enthusiastic drivers. The car is expected in the UK with a price of around £40,000 in March 2014. We think it will follow on from the success of the M135i and be a big seller amongst enthusiasts.

 Words by Raj Hunjan


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Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Review

Alfa Romeo 4C UK  2014 Red mountain pass speed (1280x851)

The Alfa Romeo 4C will be delivered to the first customers who placed orders (back in 2012) at the start of 2014. The 4C had really grabbed the headlines, dubbed as the saviour of the Alfa Romeo brand. And even though the concept has been around for several years now, the car still looks stunning and will be a big hit among current and new sports cars owners. The original price of £38,000 has crept up to £45,000 in the UK, but that can be forgiven for the specification of the final product. Alfa are expecting to produce 3,500 cars a year, there is around a 12 month waiting list already.

Alfa Romeo 4C UK  2014 Red rear low sunset (1280x852)

Most of the details of the concept car have been retained, most importantly that superlight weight figure of 925kg. This figure is truly magnificent, considering it complies with all current safety regulations. This has been achieved largely by the use of building the car around a carbon fibre tub, weighing just 65kg. The body panels are constructed from SMC (Sheet Moulding Composite), a lightweight plastic, while the adoption of 15% thinner glass for the windows also helps to keep weight (and the centre of gravity low). The car has a classic 40:60 weight distribution front:rear.

Alfa Romeo 4C UK  2014 Red carbon tub detail view x ray look through (1280x851)

Performance is startling, 0-60 in around 4.5s, and a top speed of 160mph+. As expected the car is propelled by a aluminium 1.75 litre turbo charged unit which produces 240hp at 6,000rpm and 258 lb ft at 2,100rpm. This car is effortlessly fast, due to 80% of its torque being available from just 1,800 rpm. The engine is remarkable, in this lightweight platform it can deliver all that performance and return a combined fuel consumption of 41.5mpg and emit a low 157g/km of Carbon Dioxide, which will keep the running costs low and boost the residual value of this car.

Alfa Romeo 4C UK  2014 Red front low static (1280x852)

A 6 speed twin dry clutch auto gearbox is an ideal match for the engine (130ms shift speed at its quickest with the paddles), allowing the driver to really focus on the road and get the most from this mini supercar. Performance on the track is extremely impressive, the weight of the unassisted steering is well judged and the brakes are more than capable of intense track work. The car has been fitted with double wishbone suspension up front, attached directly to the carbon monocoque, while the rear is a slightly compromised McPherson setup. The brakes utilise a aluminium/cast iron hybrid construction complete with ventilated and cross-drilled 305mm front/292mm rear clamped by Brembo callipers.

Alfa Romeo 4C UK  2014 Red cornering track speed (1280x852)

This car handles like a Lotus Elise, but with the power of a Porsche Cayman, and most importantly the stunning looks of a Alfa Romeo. This makes it a very attractive in the market place.

Words by Raj Hunjan

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