Rising Prices

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Sir,

Now that the prices of genuine vintage and veteran cars have risen to such a level that few car-lovers can aspire to them, we are seeing a terrific increase of interest in what are now termed “collectors’ cats”. These, I suggest, could be defined as being specimens of viral-ally any type of car not made within the last fifteen years. As a scrutiny Of the advertisements in your own and in many other journalists will show, “upright” Populars are now “collectors’ items” while 100E models, whether contemporary or subsequent, are not.

My concern is that prices of such vehicles are showing every indication of going the same way as vintage prices have already gone, to the hardship and eventual deprivation of so many of us. How can an early thirties three-wheeler Morgan in need of restoration be worth £1,000? Why should old Austin or Morris Tens he worth £200 if not in absolutely super Condition? Why are Ford Pilots and Armstrong Siddeleys (a few years ago virtually valueless) now fetching £400/ £500?

Part of the answer must be found in the increase in the number of dealers in these vehicles, and in the manner of their activities. To ask a record high price for an item merely means holding on to it until prices have risen due to inflation and other causes or until someone somewhere is prepared to pay. Meanwhile that vehicle is out of circulation thus aggravating the scarcity of its type.

A further “nasty” is the entering of vehicles for auction with no intention of selling. Thus an unrealistically high reserve price is fixed, to which it is calculated no one will be prepared to bid—quite. But as the bidding rises over the previous norm (if the vehicle

is desirable) so new limits fix themselves in people’s minds, and so the upward spiral continues.

These things Should concern all those of us who wish to enjoy unusual or elderly vehicles. If we are not concerned about the future for car-lovers in general, we -cannot escape the effects of over-pricing Ourselves. Let us get into our minds that non-running decayed or rusted heaps of however illustrious,s origin cannot be worth More than a few pounds as a basis on which to start.

Luton H. A. Clark

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