Is There a Way to Stop This? Should We Care?
So I’ve been reading this morning about Classic Automobile Investment funds and it bums me right out. The worst part is that I don’t think there’s anything that can be done about it. The story is that there are investment groups creating funds and using these pooled investments to buy classic cars. What’s worse, there is more than one of these groups—virtually ensuring that their competition will artificially inflate prices in the vintage racing and sportscar world and put these cars outside of the reach of drivers who would use these machines for their intended purpose.
Maybe some of you view your classic car as an investment and maybe I’m insulting half of my readers here… and maybe (probably) I’m just naive… But it bothers me that speculators and investors who may or may not have any purer interest in their chosen investment are becoming an ever increasing percentage of the market for historic sports and racing cars.
I’ve long since come to terms with the fact that I’ll likely never own a 250GTO or 917 or Tipo 33—so I like to think this isn’t all just coming from a place of jealousy—but as this trend increases, even once affordable classic sportscars values are skyrocketing at a pace that puts even much more modest road-going sportscars out of the budgets of vintage sportscar fans.
I suppose I should have seen this coming in the wake of the Barrett-Jacksonification of the muscle car market. I would sit stunned and watch what seemed to me like fairly ordinary muscle cars change hands for stratospheric sums. It all makes a bit of sense, I guess. I’m sure there have been many, many vintage sportscar owners that have been more than happy that when it came time to sell their pride and joy that they could turn a tidy profit on it. Perhaps that profit would fund a new automotive dream. These profits were bound to be noticed.
Maybe I’m wrong on all of this and these automotive funds are buying these cars to be used. Sure, they see them ultimately as an investment, but there’s no reason it can’t compete at Goodwood or the LeMans Classic while they’re in our care. Even respected collectors who DO use their cars are on board. I can’t help but think though, that they’ll just be stored in vaults; perhaps visited by an occasional mechanic or significant investor or banker, hidden from the public. Not driven. Not owned by loving caretakers that will use them as intended.
It’s like hanging a Vermeer in an empty, unlit storage locker.
Am I being foolish? Or is this a real threat to our passion and community? What do you think?