It has become commonplace for historic cars to sell at auction for sums between £100,000 and many millions of pounds, and it has been our impression that values began to rise sharply in the 1950s, when the Motor Trade cottoned on to interest in old cars. This is borne out by a graph published in the 12/50 Alvis Register Bulletin which shows that, whereas you could have obtained one of these cars from an unmercenary source in 1950 for around £100, by 1970 it would have cost about £1000 and by 1980 could have nudged £10,000. We can assume that by the year 2000 these delectable vintage cars — their value perhaps encouraged by auction bidders — will not be available for much under £100,000!
We also know of a pre-war racing special which re-appeared just over three years ago and aroused some interest as a rarity. An enthusiast of our acquaintance offered £200 for it, as a curio, but was outbid by someone who wanted to use it as a source of spares for another car; he offered £750, but another chap went to £1500, only to learn that a fourth person who had a chassis appropriate to the engine was willing to pay £7000. This car eventually sold for £8000. It is now priced at £50,000, which it would seem reflects the cost of today’s restorations.
Or what of that much-publicised Bugatti Royale, auctioned for £5,000,000 in 1987, for which it is now hoped, according to the papers, to raise £8,500,000? And Nigel Lawson is trying to curb inflation!