The Long Haul To A Fast Buck – Spear’s Magazine
From his base in East London, Alex Prindiville deals in supercars and high-end classics. Whether they’re looking for an investment or a car to enjoy, the wealthy knock on the 42-year-old’s door. And if he doesn’t have their car in stock, he’ll track one down using his black book of global contacts. Business is booming, despite political turmoil. ‘The market is very buoyant, despite Brexit,’ says Prindiville. ‘Our business is global, so we’re lucky in that respect. If the London market is quiet, it’s still healthy in Hong Kong and Malaysia, for instance, while the UAE is always good. I also have a diverse mix of customers everyone from a builder who wants to buy an Aston Martin or a young City trader, all the way up to Formula One drivers, royals and pop stars. `The UK market is especially strong for what for what I call “ultra” supercars like the LaFerrari. Ferrari and other manufacturers have realised that if they build cars in limited numbers they become much more sought-after. Cars such as a Ferrari 458 Speciale were originally £220-250,000 now they’re trading at around £350,000. Who would have thought you could go out and buy a Ferrari, use it for a year and make £100,000?’ Prindiville says his prob-lem is not selling these expensive cars, but sourcing them. The classic car market isn’t quite so healthy, having peaked in 2015. ‘What happened is that good cars set a strong price, then everything came out of the woodwork often without good provenance and flooded the market. So we’ve seen a lot of below-par cars trying to get the same price as the good stuff, and that’s when you get a correction. The very best cars will carry on rising because there are a finite number of excellent examples and there are still in-vestors out there willing to buy them:
He says there are two types of buyers: investors who just see cars as a commodity, and the people who enjoy them. ‘If you’re going to buy cars, then buy them because you like them, he advises. ‘If the car doesn’t mature at the rate you’d wanted it to, you can at least take it to events, share it with friends and enjoy it. Ultimately it’s going to perform better than the local currency in the local markets with the bank rates the way they are at the moment.. But if you want something that’s going to make you a lot of money instantly you’ll have to have a budget of £250,000:
All this is a far cry from Prindiville’s tricky start to life. He says he ‘never really got on’ at school because he suffered from dyslexia, so he left at fifteen to go to engineering college. From there he began restoring old cars, then he started a body shop before running businesses building automotive parts in fibreglass and carbon fibre. Then came the move to buying and selling prestige cars. He adds: ‘The reason I’m good at my job is because I can look at a car and understand what’s going on. Take the badge of a car and fundamentally I know what’s going on underneath and it doesn’t scare me. His company now boasts a multi-million-pound turnover and stocks some of the most exclusive cars on the planet. Prindiville plc has just launched a mini-bond, giving investors an opportunity to buy into the supercar market. The capital raised will be used to acquire stock of sought-after supercars and classic cars. ‘At the heart of the Prindiville proposition is our ability to identify and then source cars that will be in high demand, often at significant discounts to their market value, he says. ‘Our investors will be supporting a new and innovative British company. The demand is outstripping what I can keep up with I am turning busi-ness away because I haven’t got the capital. The Asset-Backed Prindiville Bond aims to provide a gross return of 7.5 per cent per annum, paid every six months, with a return of investors’ capital at the end of the five-year term. It has been designed for sophisticated investors with a minimum investment of £50,000, especially those with a passion for luxury cars. Those who put in £100,000 will have access to exclusive events at Prindiville’s showroom and will be able take part in track days, experiencing the thrill of driving the world’s most sought-after supercars. The bond is secured against Prindiville plc’s stock, which is projected to exceed 120 cars. Around twenty will be in the £200,000- £1 million range, including rare exotica and spe-cial classics, which offer the highest profit margins. The business is planning to raise £12 million from the mini-bonds and terms have been agreed in principle to move to a new, larger showroom once sufficient profits have been achieved. The classic and sports car market has offered investors a 467 per cent return on their investment over a ten-year period, according Knight Frank, out-performing all other equivalent asset classes. Meanwhile, limited-edition super-cars such as the McLaren P1 (only 375 of which were pro-duced) have more than doubled in value since launch — the P1 now sells for around £1.7 million. Prindiville is convinced he’s in the right place for his new venture. ‘People like doing business in London; they trust our way of doing things. An international buyer knows that if he does a deal through London his money is safeguarded, and our laws will make sure he’s well represented if something goes wrong. When you’re buying a car for £250,000 or £1 million it can become as complicated as buying a house: Married with children, he lives in Surrey, but his home for much of the week is a 6011 houseboat moored in St Kath-arine Docks. ‘I started looking at boats and none of them were fit for purpose, so because I make stuff I went out to find a boat builder in Sheffield. We built this wonderful boat and I thought, “Hold on, there’s a market for boats like this because we’ve got young people who can’t affiard to get on the housing ladder in London.” In effect, here we are with a £300,000 luxury apartment — a similar space in property would be in excess of £700,000: An insatiable entrepreneur, he saw the potential. Prindi-ville Marine was formed and twelve boats went into produc-tion in 2016. His two-bedroom floating home boasts ‘smart controlled’ central heating, hot and cold running water, a dishwasher, washing machine, solid wood flooring, log-burn-ing stove, granite worktop and power shower. Mooring costs are between £9,000-13,000 per year and, while moored, electricity and heating cost around £100 per annum. But Prindiville’s passion for cars is inexhaustible. If he had to choose a favourite it would be a `gullwing’ Mercedes-Benz 300 SL from the 1950s. Among modern cars, one stands heads and shoulders above the others: ‘The LaFerrari is a work of art — there isn’t an angle on that car that doesn’t work.’ His everyday car of choice, though, is a 100 per cent electric Tesla. ‘It’s faster than a Porsche, smoother than a Bentley, and it’s loaded with the best technology,’ he laughs.