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Letters to the Editor

Car pricing (or lack of it!)

I am about to complete the sale of a property I don't need or want and am vaguely contemplating putting some of the proceeds into a classic or vintage car, way above any sum I would normally have thought appropriate, but hopefully as a hedge against inflation/depreciation.

Why do vendors, (and that's mostly dealers), have such a phobia about putting prices in their advertisements? I don't know about other people but my immediate reaction is they have vastly over-priced the car and would be embarrassed to publicise the price as no-one sane would enquire about it? Certainly there is no way I would ever enquire about an unpriced car, just to afford the vendor the opportunity to make some patronising, snide and snobbish hint that  "If you need to ask the price you cannot afford it"?

Is there no way people can be forced, under threat of not publishing the ad perhaps, to put a price on every vehicle they sell? I don't go into John Lewis or Waitrose and have to ask how much an item is!! Yacht brokers selling similarly-priced yachts publish prices? Even estate agents, a breed if anything more deeply loathed than car dealers, publish at least a guide price if it's a seven figure price so you know where to start at least! What's the big problem?

I can see a case for a unique or very rare  multi-million Pound car of unimpeachable provenance priced at several million, but here we are only talking five-figure prices, less than £100k. Until such time I shall continue to enquire solely about cars with a price tag, preferably from private vendors (and thereby avoid wasting the doubtless "valuable" time of the sharp-suited  salesmen in the dealers offering these over-priced cars) or haunt the auction houses where similar, albeit less pimped-up cars, can be bought at a fraction of the price!!

David Scott

Editor: David, you should not compare the pricing of cars with that of houses, yachts or art. The car trade originates from the trade in cattle, more specific horses.  

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#6 2014-10-25 04:33
Reading these comments I'd agree that a car shouldn't be considerd as an investment but bought for active use and enjoyment. Having said that I think posting a car without an asking price is daft. I see no logic on advertising a car with poa ( price on application) - unless the buyer has something to hid or is a snob. I agree with David that the prices asked are often way too high - but a seller will find that out eventually ( unless he's waiting for a fool with too much money to come along)
#5 2014-04-28 11:28
David Scott seems to be contemplating buying a classic car for the wrong reason. He should buy one if:
he likes the looks;
he has some mechanical knowledge;
he is prepared to spend money on it;
Cars are not works of art - they are vehicles. They should not be stashed away safely but used. He could as easily lose money as make a profit.
#4 2014-04-18 16:44
Interestingly, the American car market is much more up front (if no less alarming in the prices asked!).
Obviously, much of the US trade is in post-war (well, post 1950!) classics and the prices between a drivable but not perfect model and a heavily restored collector's version are chalk and cheese.
Watching the Barret-Jackson car auctions from Scottsdale, AZ is instructive.
Collector's tastes are often ephemeral and a million dollar car will barely make half that only a year later.
#3 2013-11-06 16:12
Editor comments on David Scott's letter that houses should not be compared to 'yaughts' Does he mean 'yachts'?

Editor: Yes, I do.. thank you, I'll change this error.
#2 2013-11-06 16:10
David Scott is contemplating buying a classic car as an investment. He should first talk to those who did the same in the 1980s, most of whom seriously burned their fingers. You want a classic car? Then buy one because you want to use it and you won't be disappointed. As an investment? Forget it.
#1 2013-10-05 20:25
Dear david,
you are absolutely right, just don´t give those people a call, there are plenty of wonderful prewar cars around, properly priced. I myself don´t contact offers without prices and still have managed to get my garages full.....
However, buying cars as an investment is for me the wrong way. The only reason to buy a car is to remember something, and that can be most shabby VW split beetle meaning much more to me than a shiny Ferrari.

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