Classic cars make classy investments

Published online: Fri, 12/08/2016 – 12:00 AlphaQ
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Alex Prindiville has three decades of experience in the prestige and supercar market acting as a broker with models including Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Bentley, Aston Martin, Maserati, Porsche, Bugatti and Rolls Royce. 

alex-prindivilleHis London-based eponymous firm Prindiville Cars sources, sells and stores luxury cars for the wealthy, not so wealthy and all those with a passion for quality vehicles. And it can be an investment, he says, citing Ferrari LaFerrari – which, just a year after it was launched for GBP1 million, was changing hands for GBP2.3 million.

Prindiville grew up with cars, restoring an E-Type Jaguar as a young man and starting his first car business at 18.

“Our focus is on sales and procurement and finding the rare and wonderful,” he says.

“Some customers are very specific as to make, model and colour and others say ‘I want a Ferrari but I don’t know which one I want,’ so we take the time to get them into the right sort of car.”

His clients range from the very high net worth, to people who have worked in the city and have a GBP20-50,000 bonus to spend on cars, or people who have earned money on the property market, through inheritance or savings.

“For some it’s an emotional purchase, others it’s because it was a poster on the wall and it meant something and for others it’s a monetary investment,” Prindiville says.

He dismisses the fear of depreciation in car prices. “The market is the market,” he says. “House prices are dropping but I haven’t seen a drop in the price of cars. Classic car prices are stable because a car is easily shipped around the world, which makes it more attractive than a particular house in a particular street. And apart from investment, it can be that you are adding to a collection.”

In terms of making a strong investment, Prindiville recommends buying the best car you can in terms of mechanics, bodywork, provable provenance and the service history. “Try to buy the low production runs in a rare colour with the correct speed and gear box. Make sure it is certified and free from accident history.”

In terms of returns, Prindiville says cars out perform gold, wine, art and the housing market. “Over the last 15 years classic cars have outperformed most things in terms of longevity,” he says.

The Historic Automobile Group International (HAGI) Index shows a 1.81 per cent year to date return in its Top index which covers all types of exceptional historic automobiles, and Knight Frank’s wealth report shows that in the ten years to March 2016, luxury cars were the top performers for investors.

Early Porsches, single mirrored Ferraris, Mark 2 Jaguars and Aston Martins are in the recommended buy list from Prindiville. “It’s across the board,” he says.

His firm offers insured storage and maintenance and will deliver the car to the owner in the event of it actually being driven at Goodwood or the Salon Privé at Blenheim.

Investing in classic cars doesn’t have to be for the ultra-rich, he says. “But it is for people who have a passion for cars and I would advise you to purchase something you like and which means something to you.”

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