You need knowledge and some luck to win the game.
After a strong runup of classic car prices, some people have oversimplified what’s going on today in the market. It’s refreshing to see a balanced piece of journalism on the subject from The Chronicle Herald, which focused largely on Jerry Seinfeld and Porsche.
The Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee star was in attendance for a private Porsche 911 Speedster launch event in New York City recently. Anyone who knows about the comedian’s car fetishes knows he’s a huge Porsche fan. He has reserved one of only 1,948 new 911 Speedsters and this year has auctioned off 16 Porsches from his personal collection this year. Even someone so well-versed in the market has had his failures as well as successes when it comes to classic car investing.
For example, Jerry Seinfeld had some legal trouble involving a 1958 Porsche 356 Speedster he sold. The buyer accused the comedian of misrepresenting the car’s authenticity. It sold for $1.5 million. In turn, Seinfeld sued the dealer which sold the car to him.
If you want to invest in old cars, you must go in with both eyes wide open. While some cars might suddenly balloon in value, others see their value burst like a bubble and plummet. And of course, there are classic cars which slowly but surely keep climbing in value month after month, year after year. How can you ensure you don’t take a hit when investing in cars?
As the article points out, you really can’t. Andreas Preuninger of Porsche even admits he can’t predict which models he works with will become ludicrous investments versus others which appreciate in value more moderately.
There are numerous factors which drive collector car prices. Rarity is a big one, but sometimes that’s not a function of total production numbers but instead is more a factor of how the cars are used. For example, the first-generation Porsche 356s are rare because so many owners raced and crashed their cars back in the day.
A shift is the market is happening as Millennials are growing up and have the cash to invest in cars. They want to drive what they fantasized about as kids, which is helping to inflate the value of models from the 1990s and early 2000s, including JDM vehicles.
One thing you can always look for is a well-documented and historically-significant car, which is the focus of Jay Leno and others. This requires doing research and knowing your stuff. As they say, knowledge is power.
See The Chronicle Herald article here.