Joe Macari: Dealer tips for buying a classic car

With the London Classic Car Show set to be a buyer’s paradise, we asked David Hayhow at Joe Macari Performance Cars, renowned Ferrari specialist and classic car dealership, for his advice to help show visitors make the right classic investment.

Look at age cycles

One way to predict what will be fashionable or collectable in the classic car market is to look at age profiles and cycles. The cars achieving the big sales figures in the noughties and early 2010s were 250 Ferraris, which were coming up to between 40-50 years old, with almost every variant sitting over the £1m mark. Last year, a Ferrari 250 GTO became the most expensive vehicle ever sold at public auction for £37.5m. Nowadays, we need to look back four or five decades and see what was popular then. What were the pin-up cars of that time for people in their teens and twenties that could be buying them today? Your Porsches, Ferraris and Aston Martins are all popular choices.

But we are seeing younger investors too, those with good budgets in their 40s, 30s and even 20s. For them, slightly younger cars hold strong appeal. We foresee the Ferrari F50 selling well in the coming years as the early models will soon turn 25 years old, making them eligible for US import, which typically supports an upturn in sales. Some of the slightly younger cars are well priced today, so make for a good investment.

Go quirky

Obviously, any special edition cars tend to be a safe investment, but if you’re looking to invest in a higher volume car, try to find one that has a unique element. Perhaps the specification is slightly different, or it’s an unusual colour – like a Ferrari that started life in a colour other than red. Or perhaps the car has had a celebrity owner. Anything that Steve McQueen has owned or touched has huge appeal, but check that the provenance can be proven. Celebrity owners tend to push prices up, depending on who they are and what they’ve done, but service history is still extremely important. On the whole, a carefully preserved car with a full service history tends to be more desirable than a neglected car with a star owner.

Get racy

Cars that have competition heritage are hugely popular. In particular, cars that were built for Group B homologation are a good option for investment. In the 1980s, sportscars were produced and sold to the public in small numbers – typically only 200 – in order for the manufacturers to meet the h

omologation standards for sportscar racing or rallying. One of my particular favourites is the Lancia Rally 037, which won the manufacturers’ world championship in the 1983 season of the FIA Group B World Rally Championship. It’s a stunning car.


Buy what you love

The adage goes: if you can afford a Ferrari, buy a Ferrari. But ultimately, you need

 to love your investment. Those investing in cars typically share a burning passion for them and they all have their favourites, so trust your gut and buy something you really like. You’ll get no joy out of a car that’s sitting in the garage purely for investment purposes. At worst, if you’re unlucky and it goes down in value, then at least you still have something you love. And use it and enjoy it if you can. Whatever your budget, that’s always the best way forward.

David Hayhow is a sales executive at Joe Macari Performance Cars, one of the most renowned names in the classic car business. Joe Macari Performance Cars has been selling and servicing Ferrari and Maserati cars for over 25 years. The London showroom features a huge collection of racing cars and supercars from throughout the decades and the company will be bringing its most desirable models for sale to the London Classic Car Show.