In defence of dealers


I write to take issue with your correspondent Mr. D. Lamborne (October 1976 "Morgan Mania"), not to disagree with his views on Morgans but to defend the "dealers" whom he blames largely for the inflated prices of old cars.

This is rather like blaming the politicians when the responsibility is with the public who elected them, and it ignores some fundamental economic facts, often overlooked by those who periodically deplore the prices of old cars.

There is no value of any car except that which a willing buyer will pay. Comparisons of worth merely illustrate that everyone has different opinions, and that someone is willing to pay a certain price for a certain car. The dealers advertising in Motor Sport can hardly be blamed for asking inflated prices as only very rarely do they indicate the prices in their advertisements. If they did not provide a service to buyer and seller alike they would not exist, and their very proliferation indicates that old cars are now regarded by many as "mobile antiques or works of art" (however unlikely this may seem to the immediate past owners)!

Furthermore, if such cars are to remain in this country, we in England must reconcile ourselves to a continuation of the price increases in direct proportion to the devaluation of our currency. For example a car "worth" say £1,000 in 1971 when the DM was 8.30=£1 is today (discounting UK inflation of 20% p.a.) "worth" £2,128 without the German buyer having to pay out one more Deutschmark for it—an increase of 113% in five years!

The rest of the affluent world is becoming more aware of old cars and it is reasonable to assume that scarcity and increased demand alone will cause the prices in this country to reach yet more apparently ludicrous levels, just as has occurred with paintings.

Finally, the world might turn to other investment media, the changing economic and social trends might cause the demand to cease and the bubble to burst, but to most enthusiasts fortunate enough to have such cars, the value is not the prime reason for having them, and come high or low prices they will continue to enjoy their most worthwhile hobby.

London SE3 C. A. MANN