My recent trip to the Pebble Beach week in California and a trip to the nearby Chelsea Auto Legends made me think hard about the way the classic car movement is heading.
Some years ago, I went on a rare trip to a well known hillclimb. Parked up at the back on the event was a Jaguar C-type, unpolished, original and almost carelessly abandoned. I was greatly impressed by such an effortless display of taste and style. My fellow race-goer took a picture and framed it for me as a Christmas present.
I remember another Sunday lunchtime in Hertfordshire, when I was riding in the passenger seat of an original 1973 Porsche 911 RS Touring. We came upon the owner’s friend, who was driving his original, unpolished AC Ace. Okay, even a decade ago these were not cheap cars, but they were the epitome of automotive good taste.
Today, however, things have changed. Cars like the C-type, Ace and RS Touring have become four-wheeled old masters. Prices have rocketed and they are now traded like any other work of art. For the collector, as Pebble Beach showed, the rarer the better.
A friend who buys and sells supercars simply buys models that were made in small in numbers and sits back while the price rises. Rarity is all. After all, there’s only one copy of Cezanne’s ‘Card Players’.