BL17 FINAL - Page 65



PURSUITS
It’s not just the
enthusiasts going
the modern route:
so are those with
millions to spend
dessimoditas nimus as
dolum que nus es
invellut quaepro restiate
vit re voluptissim vere
sinverro ipisciisint
pliquo magnatibus as
cust, sim faccaborum int
Clockwise from
above: At the Bonhams
‘Bonmont’ sale in
Geneva, the Ferrari
La Ferrari and Bugatti
Veyron; the $8.2m
Lamborghini Veneno;
the Bonhams MPH
top-seller, a £49,500
1993 Ford Escort RS
Cosworth
Such classics have been the crux of my
motoring life. They were the only wheels
I could afford at first, and then became
the cars I chose due to their design,
their simplicity, the history behind
them and, probably, the fact that their
individual peculiarities are as charming
as they are inconvenient. Why would
anyone who liked to have their emotions
stirred choose a modern, characterless,
computer-controlled box instead?
B
ut recently I was travelling on a
dual carriageway in my 1970 TR6
– fuel being consumed at a gallon
every 18 miles, a refreshing breeze
blowing through the gaps in the soft top
and tiny modern shopping cars whizzing
past me – when it hit me that time might
be running out for ‘classic’ classics.
With 150 horsepower, sprightly
acceleration and a claimed top speed of
120 mph, the TR6 was once seen as a
hairy-chested sports car of impressive
performance. But I’m finally accepting
that it’s so far removed from the modern
automobile in every sense, that it barely
has a right to occupy the same road
space. In other words, such cars really
are, finally, becoming as obsolete as
dinosaurs, in terms of being practical
transport. Driving one is akin to using a
theodolite instead of sat nav, doing sums
on an abacus, or cooking on an open fire:
once the done thing, still fun now and
then – but not to be made a habit of.
And that’s partly why the definition
of a classic – or collectible – car appears
to have altered rather suddenly. In the
past five years ‘modern classic’ has
become the new classic, with collectors
willing to pay premium prices for
interesting cars made during the 1990s,
early 2000s and even during this very
decade.
The fact is, if you prefer driving to
mending, if you want comfort and not
hardship, if you favour resilience over
rust, then a modern classic is the way
to go. The sweet-spot era, many would
agree, falls between the mid-to-late
1980s and the early 2000s, a time when
performance cars were still made with
manual gearboxes, electronic nannying
devices had yet to replace driver skill,
corrosion was becoming a thing of the
past and reliability was built-in.
As a result, many relatively recent
cars are now appearing at ‘classic’
auctions, with some houses staging sales
specifically dedicated to them.
Most notably, Bonhams recently
65
BOISDALELIFE .COM
AUTUMN 2019
ISSUE 17
inaugurated ‘MPH’, a new strand of its
car department that aims to make classic
car ownership more accessible, more
affordable and, perhaps, more fun.
It’s based at Bicester Heritage, the
Oxfordshire centre for classic car
excellence that occupies the site of
Britain’s most complete WWII bomber
base. MPH’s first sale in September was
highly successful, the top seller being
a 1993 Ford Escort RS Cosworth that
drew £49,500, while other performers
included a 2016 Audi A4 RS6 for
£38,250, and £37,125 for a 2006 Renault
Clio V6 255 Sport.
But it’s not just enthusiasts with
£50,000-or-less to invest in an interesting
car who are going the modern route –
so are those with millions to spend, as
evinced by the Bonhams ‘Bonmont’ sale
in Geneva in October. A sell-off by the
Swiss state of cars seized in a corruption
scandal, it comprised virtually every
key supercar made this century, from
a LaFerrari at $2.1m to a Koenigsegg at
$4.6m, and a Bugatti Veyron at $1.3m.
The highlight was one of nine
Lamborghini Venenos made for the
marque’s 50th anniversary in 2013.
Now, it is sometimes said that,
regardless of age, a car can be described
as ‘classic’ when its pre-owned value
matches or exceeds its original retail
price. Those nine Venenos each cost
$4m when new; and Bonhams sold this
example for $8.2 million.
So that must make it a true classic,
then? Discuss...





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