I could not agree more with the letter by W. L. Cullen in the August edition about vintage car prices, and am unfortunately a perfect example of what he means.
In the early 1960s I was bought in a very sorry state by an enthusiast for £80. After a period of restoration which was extensive, I was used very successfully in competition for a period of three years. At this point my owner found it necessary to part with me but another enthusiast was found and I changed hands for £400. My new owner, a beginner to speed events, also had a high degree of success with me and despite my being somewhat mechanically deranged in the middle of my nine-year association with this owner, I was carefully rebuilt and once again used enthusiastically.
However now we come to the crunch! In May 1976, my owner decided to part with me and mentioned that I was for sale to a few VSCC members. Almost immediately a member called with a friend posing as an “enthusiast”, and after a very cursory inspection a deal with done and I was exchanged for £2,000, a very reasonable price these days for a highly competitive very clean car. Within a few days I realised my new purchaser could not be a genuine enthusiast as I was being driven to an auction room in London. The bidding was “pushed” and I was withdrawn at over twice the price that had been paid for me. Since then things have got a bit hazy, but in August I found myself languishing in the glossy ads. of Motor Sport with a price tag of £5,400 round my neck together with the wrong year of manufacture. At these prices it now seems impossible that I shall ever get back into the hands of a genuine enthusiast of average means, and will probably end up in a show room or under a dust sheet.
An Over-priced Fiat
[Owner’s name and address supplied—Ed.]