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爛鐵變黃金 The history of classic car collecting


Published in March 2019 Classic & Sports Car Magazine | Written by Kenneth E Y Wong

KENNETH WONG 黃恩揚- Classic insider 創辦人,經營高級經典及跑車買賣。對處理高檔車種擁有豐富經驗。曾是香港首間經典車拍賣行的營運總監。經常參與高端古董及跑車的相關活動,貼近市場脈搏

世人為何會儲起老爺車?說到收藏經典車的源起,就要追溯至過百年前。不經不覺,汽車出現在人類歷史已逾一百年。最初的汽車是奢侈品,只有極度富有的人才買得起。相反,現在的汽車則是大量生產。亨利·福特(Henry Ford)於1908年創造Model T,開始了在汽車工業中第一部大量生產的車型,對後世影響極深。在Model T長達19年的生產週期中,共製造了超過1,500萬部。從經濟學來看,這只是一件普通工業品,不應該值這麼多錢。








最後一段時期就是2005年至現在。現今市場上的都是放眼全球的收藏家跟投資者。科技發展讓我們不論在世界任何一處,也能輕易地看到每部經典車的資料和歷史。而且人們發現經典車原來是能夠作為投資工具,吸引了愈來愈多人去玩經典車,更有人將這興趣變成一盤生意。例如不少做復修的車房因此變得出名,車廠們也開設特別部門,專門復修和照料自己品牌的舊車,如Porsche Classic、Lamborghini PoloStorico等,甚至連經濟報章也開始談及經典車。《金融時報》便是表表者。這份權威性報章在2003年時,首次談及經典車價格在十年內上升400% ,認為是件良好投資工具。今天,它們仍會探討經典車的投資前景。無他的,畢竟經典車是愈買愈少的產品。簡單的供求定律,當供應不會增加時,那需求自然會多,價格亦總會不斷攀升。經典車要由爛鐵變為黃金,過程絕非輕易。

For more than 100 years, cars have played a prominent role in human life. From being just a luxury good for extremely rich people, it became a mass product that anyone could enjoy. Henry Ford was the first to understand the potential of cars as something to manufacture using an assembly line. In 1908, the Model T was indeed the first mass manufactured car, counting more than 15 million vehicles after 19 years of production.

From an economic point of view, standardised industrial products should not be worth a lot, since many of them are supplied in the market. Moreover, if products are outdated and technologically obsolete, the market value should be close to zero. In fact, if we think of first mobile phones or house appliances, they are worthless nowadays.

Nevertheless, this does not seem to apply to classic cars. Of course the rarer the model, the more valuable it is, but usually rarity is not the only parameter that affects value. In fact, “it's a combination of things: rarity, technical sophistication, racing pedigree and continuing demand to own one that may lead people to spend from little money to a fortune on a car that has for sure better replacement in current productions.

The passion for cars has always been present in lots and lots of gentlemen since the invention of cars and, as the time passed, it transformed into passion for classic cars. A classic car represents a status symbol, a technical masterpiece, and sometimes also a design milestone. Some models, due to their importance or to their impact on society, are regarded as pieces of history.

According to my research, five major phases of car collecting over the years:

1 Aristocratic Collectors (Pre 1950)

Collectors were just very wealthy individuals, interested in hand built cars. The market was limited to a tight community of connoisseurs.

2 Exclusive Collectors (1950-1980)

Classic cars were still an interest of wealthy people, however private market circuits at local level started forming. Valuations were informal and variable even for the very same car.

3 Collectors and Hobbyists (1980 - 1995)

In this phase, the networks of the markets expanded, and the markets merged into regional clusters. This is the era where car club and associations became widespread and even non-high net worth individuals could afford to approach this world, as post WWII cars became classics. Owning a classic car was something that most of the middle class could have afforded. In the 80’s, automobiles from the 60’s were just old, not yet classic, and could have been a real bargain for enthusiasts.

4 Enthusiasts and Collectors (1995 - 2005)

In this phase, the market started to shape in the form we know nowadays. Once regional, it became national-wide, with larger access to information thanks to new ICT technologies. The market in Europe expanded also due to the recent creation of a common market and the elimination of trade barriers.

5 Global collectors and Investors (2005 - Present)

In present days, classic car market can be thought as global: access to information is total and immediate from everywhere in the world. People have realised the potential gains that could be obtained from classic cars and started investing.

It is clear that the time of classic cars as a minor and non-relevant market is long since gone, and that more and more people are orienting their business toward the classic car world. Famous restorers may be paid the total value of the car and even car manufacturers are opening special departments to take care of older models. FCA group and Lamborghini are only two of those that already did that. Jaguar pushed itself even further: six Lightweight E-types and nine XKSS’s have been built ex-novo, marking the continuation of the production terminated in 1963 and 1957.

Also important financial newspapers are becoming more and more involved in the classic car world. The Financial Time has issued several articles regarding investments in this collectible, the first ones dating back to February 2013.4 5 6 In March 2013, the same newspaper reported a growth of 395% in ten years according to Knight Frank’s luxury index and in May issued the first guide to invest in this world. Repeatedly the FT writes about classic cars as an asset class that has outperformed any other kind of investment, reporting data both form Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index (KFLII) and Historic Automobile Group International.

Thanks to modern technologies, that make information readily available and easily accessible, interest in classic cars seems to have spread over an always-increasing number of people. And due to globalization, classic car market attracts now investors from all over the world

However, supply remains scarce: contrary to cars that are still in production, classic car supply cannot be raised according to the market demand and, therefore, prices will rise accordingly.


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