January marked the biggest month in history for global collector car sales; a trend that will undoubtedly reflect in the South African market in 2023. This is the prediction from Creative Rides Auctions CEO Kevin Derrick, based on analysis of recent local classic car auctions and international data released this month by Hagerty Insider.
According to Hagerty, January 2023 was the biggest month ever for collector car auctions, with $600 million earned from live auctions (close to 7,000 vehicles) and online sales (approximately 2,000 cars) combined. In the same period, nearly twice as many private sales worth $700m were concluded.
Hagerty’s statistics reveal that the total value of worldwide collector car sales in January was a staggering $1.3bn – or R23.7bn in local currency terms.
Derrick says the collector car market is on fire because sharp value increases are coupled with bigger buyer pools. "Passion will always factor into classic car ownership, but investment-buying has escalated dramatically in the economic uncertainty of the past few years.
"Classic cars slot into the niche investment category of appreciating moveable assets. They’re like fine art and gemstones; you can keep them close and move them at a moment’s notice.
SA buyers cognisant of investors across the world
Creative Rides Auctions director and lead auctioneer Joff van Reenen witnessed January’s global sales boom first-hand at Barrett-Jackson’s collector car auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, which attracted 550, 000 bidders and spectators to the auction arena.
As a guest of Barrett-Jackson’s Lead auctioneer Joseph Mast, Van Reenen was privy to the inside track at the American auction spectacular that generated revenue of $192m (R3.5bn) in just nine days, from the sale of approximately 2, 000 collector cars.
"An emerging trend unequivocally confirmed in Scottsdale is the market appetite for modern collector cars.
"These cars were, in fact, the top sellers at the auction and the only ones to crack $1m (R18.3m)," says Van Reenen.
Top sellers at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction in January were:
1. A 1989 Ferrari F40 ($2.75m).
2. A 2005 Porsche Carrera GT ($1.595m).
3. A 2020 Ford GT Carbon Series ($1.32m).
4. A 2019 Ford GT Lightweight Carbon Series ($1.32m).
Van Reenen says collector car market trends are increasingly driven by changing buyer demographics.
"Until fairly recently, the classic and collector car market was dominated by Baby Boomers, whose acquisition choices were largely passion-based.
"But nowadays the buyer pool is bigger and broader, showing a growth trajectory in tandem with the investment profile of these assets.
"Millennial and Gen Z buyers’ appetites for modern exotics are also shifting market values, with higher demand pushing up prices of newer collectables."
Live and digital auction events
Van Reenen says the influence of younger buyers has extended beyond collector car values to the mechanism of auction sales as a whole.
"Generations born into technology expect sales to come to them, which is why Creative Rides Auctions has developed a platform to run dual-stream live and digital auction events.
"We’re giving the expanding market access to goods on the platforms they feel most comfortable trading, and it’s working. We see a lot of younger buyers at our viewings, then bidding via Creative Rides’ secure app, which was designed for the auction industry by South African tech start-up ChantLab."
Derrick says the expanding interest in classic and collector cars across the nation and the globe, is also the reason behind Creative Rides’ expansion into the Cape Town market.
"This Saturday we’re hosting our first Mother City auction event with a collection of some of the rarest cars in the world – and a good percentage of modern classics that will suit investors of all ages and all budgets.
"The fantastic thing about modern classics is that many of them aren’t currently expensive, but they’ll appreciate. They truly are assets.
"Car enthusiasts across the economic spectrum should be looking to classic and collectable cars as a wealth creation mechanism; something that’s especially important in South Africa.
"We’re hoping to see a lot of new faces at our sale on Saturday – buyers entering the market for the first time."
Derrick says the full auction catalogue can be viewed at https://creativeridesauctions.com/. The teaser auction preview reel, which has already been viewed more than 1.5 million times, is available at Creative Rides Auction | 18 March 2023 - YouTube.
"The catalogue is available on the Creative Rides app as well, which is a free download on both Android and iOS. Collectors who can’t be at the auction in person in Cape Town on Saturday, March 18, will be bidding on the app."
Registration for the auction is open. Registration can be done by contacting Creative Rides, or electronically via the app.
Public viewing of the more than 75 auction lots started on Wednesday, 15 March and ends on Friday, 17 March 2023 at the Creative Rides showroom at 185-191 Main Rd, Constantiaberg, Cape Town. Saturday’s live and virtual auction starts at 11am (Central African Time) at the same location. The auction will also be streamed to global viewers on Creative Rides’ website and social media channels.
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