Majesty – The Ferrari 250 GTO

Petrolicious has come a long way in a short time. They started with nice videos of passion-worthy, but very obtainable cars like the Datsun 510 and early Nissan Skyline. In just over a year, they’ve proved themselves worthy of being trusted to film one of the most valuable cars in the world today – a Ferrari 250 GTO.

Well done, sirs!!

The following is a feast for the eyes and especially for the ears. It’s a nice little history lesson, too, directly from the son of one of Ferrari’s own factory drivers. The driving footage and accompanying soundtrack from just after the 4-minute mark is perhaps some of the most drool-worthy motoring film I’ve ever seen.

A couple of asides….. keep an eye on the windscreen wiper from time to time, and watch how the speed makes it wiggle. Also, is this the most beautiful gearshift housing ever placed in a car?

Put it on full-screen, turn up the sound, and Enjoy. Again and again.

Weekend Reading – Ferrari Dino 308 GT4

[hr]

I posted a Fantasy Friday entry yesterday, featuring the Ferrari Dino 308 GT4.

I should have done some more research before posting, and (as always) I should have done that research at Hemmings.

We have a regular visitor in our midst who just happens to be one of the scribes at Hemmings. His name’s Mark McCourt and he left a comment in yesterday’s FF entry that sent me reading two articles from Hemmings that I’d like to pass on for your perusal this weekend.

Ferrari Dino 308 GT4The first is Hemmings’ look at a 308 GT4, owned by a guy on the left coast of the US. The article gives a great first-hand feel of what it’s like to drive one of these four-seater Fezzas. Here’s an excerpt:

When you toss the 308 GT4 through a lively series of esses, as we got to do around Washington’s Olympic Peninsula during our damp springtime drive, and it just pivots and carves and responds to the subtle deftness of your inputs without a slide or a kickback or an argument, and just goes and does your bidding without a fuss….

And my favourite bit:

Steering is impossible at slow speeds, but impossibly deft at any speed that registers on the speedometer–a subtle indication that cars such as this are meant to be driven, not parked.

It’s a great read.

After you’ve read that one, you might feel satisfied; happy in a new-found appreciation for the red-headed stepchild of the prancing horse family.

If you can cope with a sad ending, check out this follow-up story on the same car – how it died.

It’ll sadden you and if you’re like me, it’ll frustrate you to no end. I hope that’s not the end of the road for this car and I don’t understand why the numbers don’t work in the case of a car like this under those circumstances. Check it out for yourself.

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Fantasy Friday – Ferrari Dino 308 GT4

[hr] [dropcap]L[/dropcap]ife’s too short to never own a mid-engined Italian V8. Gearheads might consider that quote to be agreeable, but getting a mid-engine Italian V8 is not like buying a Corolla. It takes dedication and a commitment to the goals of both acquisition and ownership. It’s not for everyone and on many levels, it shouldn’t really be for anyone.

And yet….. who wouldn’t want one, one day?

There are currently two ways to get into a “reasonably priced” Ferrari in Australia (if your idea of reasonably affordable is to pay from $30K upwards for a 1970’s Italian with an intermittent temper). One is to buy a Mondial, the somewhat unloved four-seater from the early 1980’s. The other is to buy its predecessor – the Ferrari Dino 308 GT4.

FerrariDino2

The Dino badge was first used in honour of Enzo’s deceased son to denote a Ferrari that wasn’t a 12-cylinder car. The prized Dino is the 246, a voluptuous coupe that is sheer beauty from every angle. A restored example was sold at auction here in Oz recently for nearly $300,000.

Ferrari Dino

The 308 GT4 is a very different and much more ‘affordable’ beast.

The 308 GT4 is looked down upon by some because it was the first (and remains the only) regular production Ferrari to be styled by Bertone. Ferrari had always used Pininfarina prior to this car [pullquote-right]Life’s too short to never own an Italian mid-engined V8[/pullquote-right]and they returned to Pininfarina afterwards, but the diversion was seen as unforgivable by some and the 308 GT4’s price has remained stunted ever since.

Aside – Bertone also self-styled the 250 GT in the late 1950’s but they’re rarer than unicorns and priced accordingly on the rare occasions they do pop up for sale.

The other price-suppressor when it comes to the 308 GT4 is that 4 on the end of the badge, denoting it as a four-seater. Ferraris always tend to look best as two-seaters and it takes a special four-seat design to look customarily spectacular with a Ferrari badge. Not many do and the GT4 isn’t one of them.

FerrariDino5

The 308 GT4, as the name suggests, has a 3.0 litre V8 engine, mid-mounted and capable of producing 250hp. Fuel is consumed at a prodigious rate via four – yes, four – 40mm Weber carburettors. They must be fun to tune.

Given that you can get that sort of power from a modern 4-cylinder engine, there really is no rational reason to buy a Ferrari 308 GT4.

But then, it’s a Ferrari. You don’t buy it because it makes sense. You buy it for the sense of occasion it’ll provide every day you climb into it and turn the key.

FerrariDino3

Here’s a short video (6 minutes) that shows just a little of that sense of occasion. The dashboard is classic 70’s and the noise is just sublime.

The Ferrari Dino 308 GT4 shown in this post is currently for sale in South Australia with an asking price of $49,000.

Note: in some markets, you can also buy a 208 GT4, which has a smaller 2.0 litre V8 engine producing around 180hp. I would expect the noise to be just as nice. I have no idea of the price.

FerrariDino1

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Fantasy Friday – Ferrari 246 Dino GTS

Welcome to the first instalment of Fantasy Friday, a momentary brainstorm idea that may or may not be continued in the future.

I spend a LOT of time on various car-selling websites so I thought I’d pick a car from time-to-time to share on here. Any car shown on Fantasy Friday will be a car that’s available for sale at the time of publication (so hopefully a friend can buy it and I can go for a drive!!).

As it came up in comments a few days ago, I thought I’d share this Ferrari 246 Dino that’s coming up for auction by the Australian classic car insurance/auction company, Shannons.

1974-ferrari-dino-246-gts-coupe (3)

There’s no description on this listing as yet, but the photos say enough to suggest that this Dino presents in very good order. Shannons will put a mechanical report on their website closer to the auction date.

There’s no price guide at this point, either. Shannons have sold a few of these cars over the years, however, with most of them going in the high 100,000’s. The most expensive one sold for $220,000 back in 2007.

That was a GT and therefore, a hardtop. This one’s a GTS, meaning it’s a targa top with a removable roof. This is also the first GTS they’ve listed for sale, from what I can tell. The price will be interesting to see.

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Here’s some video to get your aural juices flowing. That V6 engine sure sounds sweet.

The video, which was made by the owner of the car, isn’t the greatest quality but it’s got a great car-guy story behind it and gives you a good feel for riding in the car:

On the plane back from Europe in 2008 I happened to meet a French enthusiast who loved Dinos but didn’t have one. I invited him to go for a ride while he was in Los Angeles and his comments about the car are worth hearing.

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Because I’m a lazy arse and it’s late on a Friday night, here’s a summary about the 246 Dino from the horse’s mouth – Ferrari’s own website….

At about the time that the Dino 206 GT gave way to its successor the 246 GT during 1969, Enzo Ferrari was reaching an agreement with Gianni Agnelli of Fiat to take over the production car side of the Ferrari business. At this time Enzo Ferrari was already over 70 years of age, and apart from securing the long-term future of the production car business, it freed him from the day to day responsibilities of it, and gave him more time to devote to his first love, the racing department.

The Dino 246 GT made its official debut at the Turin Show in November 1969, although the production run had already commenced. A total of 81 examples were completed by the end of the year. Visually the 246 GT was almost identical to the 206 GT that it succeeded, apart from the fuel filler cap being under a flush fitting flap on the left sail panel. In reality there were more differences than initially met the eye. Apart from the increase in engine capacity from 2 litres to 2.4 litres, the engine block material was changed from aluminium to cast iron. Also not apparent from a casual glance was the change to the wheelbase, which was 2280mm on the 206 GT, and 2340mm on the 246 GT, with a corresponding increase in overall length. An increase in diameter of the paired twin exhaust pipes could also be noticed.

During the production period of the 246 GT from 1969 to 1974, there were no major changes to any features, although various smaller items and details did change, leading to the three series of cars referred to as “L”, “M” and “E”. This is apart from the different market versions, and the targa-roof 246 GTS model.

Broadly speaking, series “L” cars were produced in late 1969 and through 1970. They have road wheels with a single knock-off spinner, front quarter bumpers into the grille opening, rear licence plate lights in the quarter bumper ends, an external boot lid release button and head rests mounted on the rear bulkhead. The body material was steel with an aluminium front lid.

Series “M” cars were produced for a short period in the early part of 1971. They had five bolt fixing for the road wheels, an internal rear boot lid release catch, seat-mounted headrests, plus detail changes to the engine and gearbox, whilst the chassis received modification, resulting in an increase of 30mm in the rear track.

The Series “E” cars were produced from early 1971 to the end of production in 1974. They incorporated all the changes to the Series “M” examples, together with further modifications to the engine and gearbox. The windscreen wiper parking arrangement changed from central to right, on left-hand drive cars, whilst right-hand drive examples retained the central parking arrangement. Other visible differences were the repositioning of the door lock barrel from within the scallop to below it. The quarter bumpers finished short of the grille opening, the cooling ducts below the front quarter bumpers changed from plain rectangular openings, to formed circular inlets, and the rear number plate light became a chrome-plated rectangular unit mounted on the rear edge of the boot lid.

A USA market version was introduced at the end of 1971, which can be identified by the vertical instead of flush mounted indicator lights in the nose panel, and rectangular side marker lights cut into the front and rear wings. The 246 GTS model with a black finished removable roof panel was introduced in the spring of 1972 at the Geneva Show. Apart from the removable roof panel, it can be identified by the omission of the rear quarter windows, which were replaced by a plain metal sail panel with three rectangular cabin exhaust air slots. Late in the production run, wider Campagnola wheels of a different design from the standard Cromodora ones, coupled with flared wheel arches, were offered, as were “Daytona” pattern seats, which had a different, more elaborate stitch pattern with thin horizontal bars to the centre, which earned the package the epithet “Chairs and Flares”.

As noted the cars were built on a 2340mm wheelbase chassis, constructed along the same lines as the preceding 206 GT. It was modified twice during the production period, and given factory type reference numbers 607L, 607M and 607E. The Dino even-number chassis numbering sequence, which had started with the 206 GT, continued in use throughout the production run. Servo-assisted ventilated disc brakes, initially Girling on “L” series cars, and then ATE on later models, together with independent suspension of the same layout as the 206 GT were provided. The body shape was virtually identical to the 206 GT apart from the details already mentioned.

The engine was again of 65 degree configuration, with chain-driven twin overhead camshafts per bank, having a total capacity of 2418cc, with a bore and stroke of 92.5mm x 60mm, bearing factory type reference 135 CS. The cylinder block was cast iron, whilst the cylinder heads and various other castings were of a silumin alloy. The engine was transversely mounted in unit with the all-synchromesh five-speed transmission assembly, which was below and to the rear of the engine’s wet sump. It was fitted with a bank of three twin-choke Weber 40 DCN F/7 carburettors on Series “L” and “M” cars, with 40 DCN F/13 models on Series “E” cars, mounted in the centre of the vee, with a distributor and electronic ignition system, to produce a claimed power output of 195 hp.

Despite the evolution of the body style from the sports-racing Dino model, there was virtually no competition career for the Dino road series cars, apart from relatively low key private entries in some national events and rallies. The only major international race appearance was at the Le Mans 24-Hour Race in 1972, when a much modified 246 GT, chassis no. 02678, was entered by Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team, driven by Gilles Doncieux/Pierre Laffeach/Yves Forestier, finishing in 17th position overall and 7th in the Index of Performance category. Between 1969 and 1974 a total of 2487 Dino 246 GT models were produced, with 1274 246 GTS examples being produced between 1972 and 1974.

Midweek Snippets – Jalopnik FM, Tesla Safety, Petroliciously Pebble and Politics

Here are some of my best reads from the last few days of online automotive reading (and something from the fringe).

Jalopnik good

I don’t know if you’d call this list definitive, but it’s entertaining. Jalopnik compiled a list of the Ten Best Automotive Ads and there are a couple of Swedes amongst them – one each from Volvo and Saab. I’m not sure they picked the right Volvo ad (I prefer the one with the Lamborghini) but the Saab one was a favourite.

Not a real ad

Spotted, photographed and caption-added by my mate Turbin a few days ago.

There's only one JEEP

Jalopnik Bad

Jalopnik’s still on my RSS feed because once or twice a week you still get a story that’s worth reading (see the ads story, above). That’s maybe two read-worthy stories out of the 300-or-so they publish every week. Jalopnik’s entry rate is frenetic nowadays, which would be great if they had useful content. But Jalopnik’s style has regressed in the last 18 months and they’re publishing a heck of a lot of trash now.

I think it was around 1995 that it dawned on me how much I hate commercial FM radio. All those slick, contrived phrases delivered by silky, confected voices. It was evident even back then that they were in a race to the bottom in terms of delivering radio content that appealed to the lowest common denominator; something that’s only got worse with the passage of time and the emergence of the 24-hour media cycle. But the worst bit was the delivery method – slick, contrived humour that sounded slimy and eventually, got annoying.

Jalopnik is the automotive equivalent of commercial FM radio.

This was the most recent noteworthy example, from a post leading up to Pebble Beach:

There will be crashes and auctions. Weird fashion. Weird people. Unicorn cars. And some guy dressed head-to-toe in Ferrari attire even though he just owns a 308. We will love that guy.

“Even though he just owns a 308”

There are brands that I don’t have an interest in ever owning, but I’ve got plenty of respect for those that do. Yes, a guy willing to have his wallet hoovered and dress head-to-toe in Rosso will be eye-catching and maybe even snigger-worthy, but base that on his fashion sense, not because you think he drives a ‘lesser Ferrari’.

Any Ferrari, the 308 included (the 308 especially, if you ask me), is worthy of a car guy’s respect. For most that eventually do it, owning a Ferrari – any Ferrari – is a long-held dream. I don’t know about the situation in the USA (Jalopnik’s home ground) but here in Australia, the commitment one makes when buying even the most affordable Ferrari – which right now is the Mondial – is a massive one.

First, you have to save money like a madman and fork out more than many brand-new midsize cars just to reach that most accessible level of Ferrari ownership. The sheer fact that a 308 or a Mondial can be bought by the committed at a remotely ‘accessible’ price is something to be enjoyed while the situation exists. It’s not something to be sniggered at.

Then you’ve got to maintain it, which is not a simple or cheap affair.

What really irks me is those who sit on the sidelines with their wannabe cheersquads and take the piss out of those who commit their hobby time and hobby resources to really achieving what is for them, a dream. Sure, they’re not conquering cancer or teaching under-privileged kids how to read or anything – how many car guys or girls do? – but they’re pursuing for them what is quite likely the appreciation of a level of creativity, passion and craftsmanship that’s becoming less accessible as time goes on. Cars like these are, for many, a mechanical expression of human automotive passion.

To those who commit to caring for one of these cars, I doff my hat.

And yes, this is a little bit personal. Aside from the fashion sense, I am that guy (I’ll admit I’ve barely got any fashion sense, but enough to avoid ever spending much at a Ferrari store). I’d love to have a Ferrari one day, whether it be a Mondial or a 308/328. And incidentally, the only example of a 308 I’ve ever ridden in was owned and driven by former Saab USA chief Bob Sinclair. He’s a bloke I’d be happy to emulate.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest……

Pebble Beach

Petrolicious has put together a brief but memorable pictorial from Pebble Beach.

They didn’t go onto the manicured lawns and photograph the cars all perfectly parked. They waited outside and photographed the cars doing what they were made to do – they got the cars driving.

tour-delegance-5

Tesla goes 5-star+

I’ve thrown a few bricks at Tesla in the last 18 months or so – pun intended – but credit where credit’s due.

The Tesla Model S just got 5-stars in it’s crash test and if the scale went higher than five stars, there’s a good chance they might have reached higher, too. It’s being touted as quite possibly the best crash-test result ever achieved under the NHTSA regime in the United States.

A Tesla Model S isn’t for everyone, but for those who get one, it’s good to know they’re about as safe as a car can be right now.

Congratulations to Tesla.

Political Spin

And finally, for those who have made it this far……

We’re in election mode in Australia right now. Politicians are everywhere and we’re all sick to death of them. This, however, is a pleasure. And with 214,000 views on Youtube in 24 hours, you’d call it a success, too.

A cameraman for our national broadcaster also happens to be the bass player in a band. He used his Canberra-based job and connections to talk a bunch of our federal politicians in to appearing in his band’s film clip. The song is about the 24-hour nature of the political news cycle that he works in, so the pollies’ appearances were probably as cathartic as they were relevant.

The clip features the current Prime Minister (behind the newspaper) as well as the current opposition leader who’s after his job (spinning the bike wheel). There’s a bunch of other prominent Australian politicians and press reporters, too, one of whom is ironing his underpants.

Can’t imagine Obama, Cameron or Putin doing a clip like this. Well, maybe Putin.

Ferrari Auction Record Busted

As nice as it is, this is not the most beautiful Ferrari ever bought and sold at auction.

Right now, however, it IS the most expensive Ferrari ever sold at auction.

NART Spider 1This N.A.R.T Spider – the full official description has it as a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S N.A.R.T Spider – just sold for $25 million. Add in the 10% buyer’s premium and the total forked out by the new owner is $27.5 million. If you’re into heart warming stories (and/or dismayed that someone could spend that much on a car) then you’ll be pleased to know that the whole $25 million will be donated by the selling family to charity.

I once asked former Saab owner and car collector, Victor Muller, what the most important thing was to look for when considering a vehicle for purchase. His answer was quick and unequivocal – provenance. The car has to be genuine and its history has to be supported. Anyone familiar with my machinations over the Canberra Fulvia will now understand my dismay that its reportedly remarkable low mileage and history was completely undocumented, aside from an old 1977 registration sticker on the passenger side window.

NART Spider 2This N.A.R.T Spider was one of just 10 ever made. It has all of its matching numbers and it stayed in the same family its entire life. Every step of its life has been recorded and documented, right down to noting which original bits were temporarily removed and then reapplied during its restoration years ago. That’s provenance.

The owner was a guy named Eddie Smith. His is a rags to riches story, one of those American Dream tales of a guy pulling himself up by his own bootstraps. Born poor, he built a successful mail-order company in the 1950’s, got the car bug in the 1960’s and eventually owned a bunch of Ferraris thanks to a personal friendship with the importer. The only one he never sold was this Spider.

The full story is over at RM Auctions’ website and it’s a fantastic read.

NART Spider 3Eddie Smith died in 2007 and his family decided to put his beloved Spider up for auction this year, with the proceeds of the sale being donated to charity – a wonderful gesture from a blessed family.

The guys at Petrolicious did a feature on this N.A.R.T Spider a month or so ago, in the lead-up to this auction. It’s consistent with all their videos in that it’s beautiful to watch and shows the car of at its absolute best.

Take the time to watch and appreciate. This is the most expensive Ferrari to sell at auction and in this video, you might just get a glimpse as to why.

Petrolicious: The Hunter

Petrolicious is my new favourite website. It covers what I’d call modern vintage cars and it does it beautifully, with articles and beautifully shot videos that showcase why people love cars as well as the cars that they love.

I love older cars. They’re so much more interesting than 95% of the new stuff because they were made at a time when car companies had real, distinct identities. Car companies today are being beaten into conformity by the relentless pursuit of safety, fuel economy, and of course, the most important economy of all – economy of scale.

Modern cars with true individualism are rare. Affordable ones even rarer.

Petrolicious takes you back to a time where man and machine were close, a time when the only silicon chip to come between the two might – that’s might – control a fuel injection computer.

I saw this video on Petrolicious this morning and had to share it here. It’s called The Hunter and it features a man after my own heart (but with much greater means) who searches without remorse or relent for the next car-of-his-dreams.

Damn I love me a V8 Ferrari! And there’s a nice idea here for my mate Mats, too 🙂

Enjoy. And check out Petrolicious.

Classic Car Investments For Regular People

I was fascinated by a recent article I read on Classic Car Investment. Is it really possible to make a little bit of money on an expensive hobby like motoring?

It isn’t easy. Some would go so far to say it isn’t likely. But it IS possible.

If you actually select a somewhat exotic/unusual vehicle and then drive it, that could mean some serious maintenance costs. Think of those as rental fees for pleasure owning the car for a period and it makes the pill a little easier to swallow. Bottom line – pick the right car and it’s possible to buy, own and then sell a vehicle at a profit that’ll allow you to move on to something else.

The best resource I’ve found to help with this is Hagerty. It’s US-based so it won’t necessarily be completely relevant to your market if you don’t live there, but the trend might still be fairly close for the models Hagerty covers. At the very least, it’s an interesting way to pass a few moments/hours/days.

Hagerty has tools that can help you select your vehicle and track its valuation history. Just like stockmarket software, you can create a portfolio of cars and track/compare their valuations over time. They provide base indices, too. For example, are you curious as to how their basket of German Collectables has done over the last few years?

Here it is:

Hagerty German Collectables

The explanation: The Hagerty Price Guide “Silver Arrow” Index of German Cars is a stock market style index that averages the values of 21 of the most sought after cars from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche from the 1950s-70s. The list to the left (not shown here – SW) shows the cars that make up the index, while the graph above shows this index’s average value over the past five years. Values are for #2 condition, or “excellent” cars.

Let’s take a look at one of those German Collectables – the BMW 507 Roadster. It’s very rare, of course, and quite pretty. BMW made it in the late 1950s with a focus on the US market but it was too expensive so BMW cut the program after only 252 cars were made.

BMW made huge losses on the 507 but their loss can now be your gain – if you can a) find one, and b) afford it. Here’s the index for the BMW 507 since 2006. The colored lines represent vehicle condition:

BMW507values

A couple of things to notice here…

Even 507’s with some pitted chrome and cracked seats (the red one – Condition ‘D’) are still worth $750,000. That’s a lot of clams. Secondly, that graph starts a few years before the global financial crisis. As you can see, the GFC didn’t do much to hurt the value of this classic car.

Swade’s theory of classic car investment and ownership – The big money’s always been in genuine, recognised vintage classics from any generation. They will hold a certain amount of value for collectors, always. Think Mercedes Gullwing, Ferrari 250, etc.

Emerging big money classic car buys tend to be seasonal and a move with the age/generation that has the money.

The previously-accessible movers and shakers over the last 10-20 years, for example, are cars from the 1950’s and 1960’s, bought up by Baby Boomers who’d had their kids, made their money and decided to re-live a little of their automotive youth. Here in Australia, Holden Monaros and GT Falcons were relatively affordable 25 years ago. They went through a massive boom 10 years ago but have come down since. Right now, Japanese rotary-engined cars are doing particularly well.

The oldest Generation X’ers are turning 50 right now, which might mean some good news for 1970’s classics or undiscovered/overlooked 60’s cars.

Don’t have a million to splash on a rare Beamer?

Hagerty also has an Affordable Classics index, which is the one for regular guys like you and me. It’s this list that quite possibly shows where some of the movers and shakers of the future will be. Given that they’re not established classics, however, this index is a lot more volatile and cars from this segment DID suffer valuation falls during the GFC.

This list is also more US-centric, so caveat emptor. But it also includes some interesting models that weren’t just US sellers.

These are cars that might appreciate a bit more in the next 10 years either because they’re rare and they’re getting noticed a bit more, or because they’re widely liked and good examples are getting harder to find. They may not make that much money, but kept in good condition there seems to be a good chance they’ll retain their value or increase in value by a small-but-reasonable margin.

A few cars from the Hagerty Affordable Classic index and a few that I’ve chose out of my own field of interest:

Porsche 914 (Hagerty Affordable Classics)

HagertyPorsche914

Triumph TR6 Convertible (Hagerty Affordable Classics)

TriumphTR6Convertible

Volkswagen Beetle (Hagerty Affordable Classics)

VWBeetleHagerty

Ferrari Dino 308 GT4 (Swadeology pick) – the as-yet unloved Ferrari. The only one styled by Bertone instead of Fezza’s usual Pininfarina. The first Ferrari road car to use a V8, which became the basis for many of the Ferraris that followed it through the 1980’s.

HagertyFerrariDino

Porsche 911 SC (Swadeology pick) – the 1982 model has an average sale price of around $17,000. That’s an affordable classic and as you can see, it’s holding that value in good condition.

HagertyPorsche911SC

And of course, my current ride – the Alfa Romeo GTV6

HagertyAlfaGTV6

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The key to doing this, as with any investment, is buying low and selling high. There are a lot of things that influence a vehicle’s value and they’re infinitely variable and their relative weight will change with time.

Popularity – this is a supply and demand situation. The more popular the vehicle, the greater the demand. You can’t do much about this except try to track it and predict it. Blue Chip classics are regarded as being ‘Blue Chip’ because they’re more predictable. A Ferrari is typically always going to command good value. A Datsun’s a bit more hit and miss.

Condition – The better the condition, or perhaps the more original (and good) the condition, the high the value. Restored cars can be tricky because some people restore them to their tastes rather than to factory condition. A mint condition factory car should generally be favoured, but they’re very hard to find. If you’re going to restore, the best bet is to do it to factory specs or with original enhancements.

Provenance – If the vehicle’s history is known, documented and most of all, interesting, the vehicle can demand a higher value. The former Pope’s VW Golf sold for nearly a quarter of a million dollars 6 years ago. Your grandma’s Golf is unlikely to fetch as much, regardless of condition (unless she’s more famous than the Pope).

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Have fun over at Hagerty’s website.

I’m going to figure out how much I need to put away each week to get myself one of those Dinos – along with a house where I can garage it properly…..

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The Affordable Classics Gallery

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PS….. None of the above should be construed as financial advice. I’m not qualified to give financial advice. This is just an interesting topic. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions about whatever vehicles you might be interested in.

Have You Ever Made Money On A Classic Car Investment?

I just came across this in an article in one of our Aussie newspapers this evening:

Looking to splurge on an emotional investment that will quadruple your money in 10 years? Forget watches, stamp collections or even fine art. Buy a classic car.

Not just any old banger will do, though. According to the annual Knight Frank Wealth Report released this week, a ”truly investment grade car” bought in 2002 would have appreciated by up to 395 per cent over the past 10 years.

That makes cars easily the best ”passion” investment you can make, well and truly outperforming popular luxury items such as fine art (199 per cent), jewellery (140 per cent) and watches (76 per cent).

The most sought-after cars tend to be Ferraris, with a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa holding the world record of $US16.39 million ($A16.02 million). Classic Aston Martins, Mercedes-Benzes and some pre-war Bugattis, Alfa Romeos and Rolls-Royces can also fetch prices in the millions.

Going from that list, it seems the type of car they’re talking about is already out of my reach. It looks like you have to spend serious money before you can make even a little money back. There must be some makes and models sitting just under that imaginary line, cars that will be regarded as classics in the next decade. I have to confess that I’ve had some recent thoughts about spending more than I’d ever usually consider on something exotic. I’m pretty sure the car I’m considering would appreciate in value over time, but it might take a long time for it to really be in demand.

It’s a daunting proposition because exotics, even the ‘affordable’ ones, tend to be older. That means they’re possibly going to be harder to maintain, harder to get parts for (without selling a kidney, at least). We’ve all seen the Mid-Engine Challenge on Top Gear. They spell it out pretty well. “Yes, you can buy a mid-engined supercar for under £10,000 but for heaven’s sake, don’t.”

But what if you spend a little more than that…….?

Have any of you ever had experience with classic car investment? Ever made any money on a classic car? It’s obviously possible, but is it attainable if you’re not super-rich to begin with?

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Are Supercars Getting Too Vulgar?

I hate being Mr Negative-Pants, but some of the images I’m seeing at the start at the Geneva Motor Show are making me a little uneasy. I subscribe to the Richard Hammond theory that supercars are meant to be stupendous, they’re meant to be an event. But isn’t this going a little too far?

This is the new Ferrari, which is officially referred to simply as LaFerrari. True. I don’t mind the name at all, actually. What I’m having trouble with is the compartmentalised design:

LaFerrari

What am I talking about, you say?

It looks like the car has been designed in bits and then those bits have been added together, or something. The design doesn’t flow. It doesn’t lead your eye from one place to another in a ordered way. It’s like there are 10 different design elements screaming “Look at me!” all at once.

The front wheel arches, which house but seem to be a different element from the healamps. The V shape on the hood. The deep vented doors. That crease before the rear vents. It’s like the Mr Potato Head of supercars – all stuck together.

Here’s how a Ferrari should look:

FerrariF12

To me, the F12 Berlinetta flows. It’s got presence and power but it’s also got elegance. Maybe the LaFerrari needed a touch of madness in its design in order to command the crazy price they’ll as for what’s being talked of as their Enzo successor, their fastest car ever.

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Another offender, in my books – and I’m really loathe to say this because I know a lot of people already love this car – is the Lamborghini Veneno.

The looks aren’t the only thing that are slightly offensive with this car, but let’s start there:

Lamborghini Veneno Top

This is even more disjointed than the LaFerrari! It’s as if it’s made from smoothed-over Lego. There are just way too many hard edges and holes in this design.

Here’s another view. Is this a car or a super-expensive, giant cheese grater?

Lamborghini Veneno

Here’s what else is vulgar about this car. Ferrari have been mocked from pillar to post about their brand building and merchandising but Lamborghini deserve to steal their position as the #1 over-hyped supercar maker – and it’s all because of the Veneno.

They’re only making four of them and they’re only selling three of the four. They’ll keep the first one for themselves. They’re asking 3 MILLION EUROS for the car. Three-freaking-million and yet it’s only got just over 70% of the power of a Veyron or Koenigsegg.

Let me say this plainly – I don’t think it can do what a three-million-Euro car should do in terms of actually being a car. It’s theatrical, but it’s not a patch on some cars that sell for a third of the price.

That Lamborghini have sold all three of these is a masterclass in marketing, or suckerteering (a word I just made up).

But back to the looks – can you really say that you love this automotive version of Predator? Does it fill you with automotive passion or simply juice you up because you might induce some fear into some lowly Porsche driver? There’s a massive difference there.

Lamborghini Veneno

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I’m a little less sure about including this third car because I actually quite like it. However, this photo of the McLaren P1 in yellow has not done it any favours.

McLaren P1

Is it just me or does that look a little like a flouro basketball shoe from the mid-2000’s?

I’ll take mine in metallic grey, please.

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A supercar’s allure should be in its sense of theatre, not in its costume. The costume should add to the sense of theatre but it shouldn’t be the whole show. It’s up to the engine, the handling and the interior to add to that external design and complete the package.

I’m quite sure that all of these supercars are extraordinary to drive, but there’s something that’s just a little too brash about the way they present themselves. The most alluring always manage to hold something back.

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And yes, in a statement that people who know me will think is totally predictable, let me just say that Koenigsegg have got it just right with Agera. It’s a beautiful design that states its intent with purpose but also flows and is completely functional. The same goes for the Pagani Hayauararauyirara.

Here’s an example of Koenigsegg handing Lamborghini their own arse in terms of hyper/supercar vehicle design. The Koenigsegg Hundra has wheels made of carbonfibre – an industry first. The front wheels weigh just 4.5 kilos each (the rears weigh 6.5 kilos). The Hundra has been sold to an owner in Hong Kong. It’s a one-of-a-kind vehicle with over 1,100hp and it has been sold for less than half the price of the Veneno.

If you can sort out some logic amongst all that, please let me know.

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How do you think a supercar should look? I know that people paying this sort of money want to stand out from the crowd, but aren’t some of these taking things just a little too far?