Classical Gas

Posted on 25th February 2014
Classical Gas

According to the Society of Manufacturers and Traders, sales of new cars in the UK show a distinctly rosier picture than has been the case in the recent past, with more than 2.2 million sold during 2013 - a rise of 10% on sales the year before.

Butmore interestingly,amongst those whose passion is more focused on cars of the past,the classic car sector too isbooming.

There is an adage that says that the interest and value in old houses will always be strong as they are not made any more, and of course the same can be said of historic motor cars. 

But delve deeper and you discover there's much that drives the classic car market than pure rarity value…

A good barometer, and commentators on the market are classic car auction specialists, who are very much in the front line when it comes to the state of the market and movements within it.

It is clear from talking with the well-established auction house, Historics at Brooklands, whose Brooklands Museum base in Surrey is surely the most evocative of homes (as the birthplace of British motorsport and aviation)that the world of classic cars is actually driven by a cornucopia of passion, enthusiasm and sheer joy of ownership, beyond just rarity value.

Historics' Auction Director, Edward Bridger-Stille, says: "The  ownership experience of a classic motorcar has very little in common with that of a new vehicle. 

"In some respects", he continued, "the momentum in our market comes from the somewhat antiseptic nature of generic modern-day car design and manufacture. 

"Functionality, sustainability and efficiency have quashed individuality, pride of ownership and the sheer fun that's on tap from a classic car. And of course, there is a strong following for retro," he added.

Historics' very significant quarterly auctions, where they offer for sale some 125 high quality classic cars consignments, seems to have become almost a spiritual destination for classic car enthusiasts, sellers, owners and collectors.

What stands out most is that fact that the cars themselves, and those who are attracted to them, are impossible to label…

"People buy classic cars for all sorts of reasons and with different motives", says Edward. "Our clients include wealthy collectors to whom the car is principally an investment, passionate enthusiasts to whom classic car driving is simply a joy, tinkerers who love the ability to endulge in classic DIY, restoration experts and dealers to whom classic cars are their business… and many more besides."

One thing that is clear from viewing a Historics' auction is that it's immensely popular. The Auction Hall buzzes with anticipation from the many hundreds of people huddled round the cars due for sale,  all clutching their auction catalogue and awaiting the call to arms as the auctioneer gets the serious business underway. 

But what's fascinating is that it doesn't have a sombre, straight-laced business feel at all,in fact quite the opposite. The sheer pallyness of people who are bonded by their joy and interest in classic cars gives the auction almost a carnival atmosphere, but where cars and money change hands with a spirit of trust and bonhomie.

Even the business of bidding on a car, when you simply raise your arm aloft to show the auctioneer your pre-assigned 'paddle number', seems a relatively relaxing affair.  Bearing in mind that Historics market classic cars with values ranging from the equivalent of a weekend in Brighton to many hundreds of thousands of pounds - it's a fascinating dynamic to be part of.

But it is a safe bet to buy a classic car, we asked Edward? "Firstly, people are unlikely to buy a classic car as their only mode of transport," he says. "And more often than not, they will have done thorough research into what they want,the cars they are interested in and most importantly, how much they are prepared to pay.

"Encouragingly", he adds, "we also have lots of interest from relatively inexperienced and wannabe classic car buyers.  They are the future and will help the classic car movement prosper. 

"Consequently, we welcome giving impartial advice to anyone who is thinking of classic car ownership, so they are able make a measured, sensible decision". 

Sensible?....Buying a classic car is not just a rational decision.
If it were purely down to common sense, you would buy a new car. But the emotional triggers to ownership of a classic, with exquisitely expressive coachwork, an interior that reeks of old world charm, or an engine that will lift the hearts of even the most jaundiced, adds a refreshing dynamic which, for many, is hard to resist.

For more information on Historics at Brooklands, and their next major auction at Brooklands Museum, near Weybridge, Surrey on Saturday, March 8th, visit the website, For personal advice, call Edward Bridger-Stille and his team on 0800 988 3838 or e-mail:

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