Shannons Used Car Showroom

Shannons Classic Car Showroom | Source: Shannons Insurance

Investment Insight: The Classic Used Car Boom in Australia

The used car market in Australia is booming. Used car prices are on the surge representing the latest investment opportunity. According to Moody’s Analytics market analysis, wholesale used-vehicle prices are 37 per cent above the pre-pandemic high set in February 2020.

Wholesale used-vehicle prices across Australia continued their relentless path higher throughout the first quarter of 2021.

And the used car prices reaching new heights is driven by the demand for new vehicles outstripping supply. In some cases, the wait time for a brand new car could be over a year. According to CarsGuide, Toyota’s production has fallen by 40 per cent this year alone with the brand stating:

Due to the effects of lockdowns in various places, it is difficult to maintain operation

Elsewhere, Grays, an online marketplace and auction house, reported more than 1.3 million page views and nearly 200,000 unique visitors across its classic car category. Grays CEO Chris Corbin said the interest is unprecedented.

We are used to seeing strong demand for classic Australian cars, but we’ve never seen anything like this.

The ARB Corporation, a 4×4 accessory giant is also reporting surges in the used car market. In its half-year results, it released profits of A$54 million in just six months – an increase of 113.5 per cent on the same period last year. Chairman Roger Brown wrote to shareholders explaining:

The company experienced a pleasing recovery during the financial half year ended 31 December 2020 from the worst of the COVID-19 impacts encountered during the final quarter of the previous financial year.

On the lower end of the car scale, if you have a used Toyota RAV4, you may be able to secure A$30,000 from the sale. That’s for a vehicle that costs A$31,695 straight out of the factory.

2021 Toyota RAV4
2021 Toyota RAV4 | Source: Toyota

The real investment, however, is in the luxury classic used car market. With the market favouring sellers, vintage cars are now the prime opportunity for savvy investors.

And it’s mainly down to two things. Car enthusiasts are spending more time searching for their next purchase on the internet and people who’ve never thought about buying their dream car before are now considering it.

David Nankervis, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Trading Garage explains he’s been swamped with business.

What we’re seeing is people spending what you might call emotional money, perhaps to cheer themselves up or reward themselves. So you’ve got things like Volkswagen Kombis going for crazy money, Porsche money, to people who grew up wanting one, and have suddenly decided now is the time.

To score the most money in the sky-high used car market, these are the vehicles worth considering.

Volkswagen Kombi Van

The dream vacation van which hit roads in 1949, the famous Kombi maintains the middle ground of the market surge. Business magazine, The CEO Magazine, mentions rare versions are fetching far above what you’d expect.

Sale prices for the sought-after 21-window Kombi have been exceeding A$200,000, while even the less in-demand versions have fetched as much as A$145,000.

CarsGuide reported in February a rare 1960 Volkswagen Kombi Samba Microbus set what is believed to be a world record. The vintage used car fetched A$202,000 beating both a 1969 Falcon XW GT selling for A$135,000 and a 1968 Holden HK GTS Monaro 327 Coupe that sold for $96,000 at the same auction.

Holden

The long-standing staple in the Australian motoring industry, Holden closed its doors on 31 December 2020. It represented the end of an era that began in the early 1900s. Now though it’s proving to be a lucrative investment for any enthusiast who still owns the famed-brand car.

The very last Holden to roll off the Australian factory floor, a Holden VF Series II SSV Redline, went straight to auction in January this year reaching a top bid of A$750,000. That far exceeds its original retail price of around A$65,000.

Built-in October 2017 the Holden VF Series II SSV Redline is the last Holden ever framed, stamped and painted in Australia | Source: News.com

In February another legendary Holden made headlines becoming the most expensive Australian road car ever sold. The orange Holden HSV GTSR W1 Maloo Ute, one of only four made, sold for a staggering A$1.05 million.

The Holden HSV GTSR W1 Maloo Ute is powered by the monstrous LS9 engine producing 645hp | Source: CarExpert

Turning back time, classic Holdens are also a sound investment. In June this year, a 1977 Holden Torana A9X reached A$800,000 at Lloyds Auctions breaking records. Just two years previously a similar Holden Torana sold in 2018 at Lloyds for A$500,000 showing a significant increase in Holden values in only 2 years.

1977 Holden Torana A9 | Source: CarExpert

Ford

Alongside Holden, another Australian staple Ford, while still producing cars, also holds a fair share of the classic car market. In fact, an extremely rare 1972 Ford Falcon XA GTHO Phase IV is believed to be the most expensive Australian car ever sold according to seller Australian Muscle Car Sales.

Purchased by a collector for approximately A$2 million, the company said in an online statement:

We believe this to be the highest single price ever paid for an Australian made road car.

1972 Ford Falcon XA GTHO Phase IV is one of only three racing prototypes to change owners for the first time in 20 years | Source: CarsGuide

It follows on from a record-breaking year for Australian classic car sales including a February sale of a 1971 XY Falcon GTHO Phase III for A$1.15m via Slattery Auctions & Valuations. This was just weeks after the 2018 sale of the previously mentioned HSV GTSR W1 Maloo.

The iconic 1971 XY Falcon GTHO Phase III, selling for A$1.15m, won the GT Nationals in 1999 and 2003 | Source: Whichcar

Classic European Sportscars

Of course, names like Ferrari and Porsche have always attracted the interest of classic car collectors. This year however the vintage market continues its climb. If you’re lucky enough to be sitting on a rare Porsche such as the beautiful Porsche 356 Speedster, you could be looking at getting anywhere from A$750,000 to A$950,000 says Dutton Garage. Not bad for a car that started life at around A$1,500.

1955 Porsche 356 Pre-A Speedster
1955 Porsche 356 Pre-A Speedster is one of only three factory-made right-hand drive vehicles delivered to Australia | Source:

Other desirable collector Porsches such as the Porsche 944, which first launched at the 24 Hours Le Man’s race in 1981, now sell for a pretty penny. One of an estimated 87 1992 Porsche 944 Turbo Cabriolet’s sold for A$58,650 at Bonhams auction in 2017.

1991 Porsche 944 Turbo Cabriolet
1991 Porsche 944 Turbo Cabriolet | Source: Elferspot

Further increase in values includes classic Ferraris such as the Testarossa, Daytona and the cult classic Ferrari 330 P4 of Ford vs Ferrari fame. A rare classic model of these cars will almost certainly bring in six to seven figures.

One of the rarest classic Ferrari’s, the 1962 Ferrari GTO, sold at an auction in 2018 for almost A$66 million. A Le Man’s winner, the vintage used car racer is the most expensive public-listed car ever sold.

1966 Ferrari 330 P3 | Source: Ultimate car page

Typically luxury motoring manufacturers bring in the big returns. A 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 broke records for RM Sotheby auctions in August 2017 when one sold for A$30.7 million – a world record price for a British-made car.

1956 Aston Martin DBR1
1956 Aston Martin DBR1 | Source: Top Gear

To find out more on the staggering prices of some of the best classic used cars, have a read of the most memorable classic cars to sell under the hammer. And for fans of a two-wheeler, have a look at the expensive motorbikes going under the hammer.

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