Category Archives: Latest Blogs

How do you sell a classic car?

When it comes to selling cars, there’s a number of different ways to do it. The method you use to sell your car is entirely up to you, it depends on:

a) how soon you want the car out of the way
b) how soon you want the cash in your bank
c) how much effort you want to put into preparing the car
d) how much time you have to deal with prospective buyers

We’ve outlined the different ways to sell your classic car below.

Want some help selling your classic car? You’re in the right place. Find out more.

Selling your car privately – Pros and Cons

Pros – Complete control of the sale, the car stays with you
Cons – Lots of work to prep and photograph the car, people coming to your house, risk of bad offers and time wasters. Can you write…? Will your words and photos do the car justice?

For some classic cars, a small ad in the back of your owners club mag might be all it takes. For other cars, channels such as Autotrader and Gumtree will work, but be prepared to do all of the grafting yourself. This means cleaning the car, photographing the car and dealing with all the enquiries. Do you really want prospective buyers coming to your house, scoping out your garage and offering you half the asking price?

Some of these classified sites are free, and there are some good ones… though big sites that suit modern cars like Autotrader aren’t suited to classic cars.

We have had successes with selling cars privately this way, but we’ve also had some awful experiences. If your car is valuable and desirable, we don’t recommend it.

To get the most money for your car privately, you’ll need a good description and some excellent photographs. We can help with both.

Selling your car on eBay – Pros and Cons

Pros – eBay has a huge reach
Cons – No guaranteed sale, buyers coming to your house, lots of silly enquiries

eBay is an online auction website that charges a fee to list the car, then a final value fee. Buyers can bid online, but be warned… There’s no guarantee they will show up.

In our experience, eBay used to be great – but these days it seems to take 2, 3 or 4 attempts for an auction to finish and an actual buyer to turn up.

It’s not cheap to do, it’s stressful and can be down right frustrating. You’ll spend your evenings answering the same questions over and over, regardless of how much or how little you put in the description. It can be done with eBay, but honestly… We don’t bother anymore.

Still keen to sell your car on eBay? Contact us for help and we can guide you through it.

Selling your car at auction – Pros and Cons

Pros – Its easy. Just drop the car off. You set the reserve.
Cons – Expensive, fixed dates for sales might work against your timeline.

The buzz of the auction hall, the smell of cheap coffee and bacon sandwiches… The classic car auction is a great way to sell your car and guarantee you’ll get the money if it sells. With an auction, there’s no comeback for the buyer if the car blows up after a sale (use that as a buyer beware just as much as it’s an advantage!).

Most auction houses will do the description and photos for you, saving you the effort. Some are better than others at this, and also at marketing their sales. There are auction houses that we rate, and some that we hate, so ask us first! We won’t name names here.

When it comes to values, the auctioneer will discuss the figure he thinks your car will achieve, and where to set the reserve price. They will have a good idea for where the bidding will fall on the day for your car and it’s condition. Be wary though – remember they want cars in the sale just as much as you want to sell it, so watch for false promises. As we said previously, some auction houses are better than others.

Although classic car auctions are popular, the values of cars can go both ways. Sometimes a car will sky rocket past it’s estimate and get carried away with the ‘auction room buzz’, selling far higher than the market value, but let’s be honest… people attend classic car auctions to get a bargain. So expect to be slightly down on the ‘agreed value’ your insurance company thinks it’s worth.

For all of the benefits a classic car auction offers, you’ll pay handsomely. Expect to pay an entry fee for the car, as well as a commission on the sale. There’s also a Buyers Premium, so wherever the hammer falls, it’s the auction house that wins!

As a rough example, the last car we sent to auction came out as follows:

Auctioneers Estimate – £7000 to £9000
Top bid on the day – £6,250 (It was rusty…)
Price with Buyers Premium – £6,750
Entry Fee + Commission – £90 + (6% + VAT) = £450 = Total Cost of £540
Total Returned after fees – £5,710

Not sure if a classic car auction is for you? Contact us.

Want to read more about our experience with auctions? Like the time we bought a classic car the media had been hyping and due to a disastrous series of events got a check from Brightwells Auctioneers for just £60? Or the time we invested £4,000 in a Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG to end up with just £1,500? Or the time we got carried away, lost track of who has bought what and had to move 9 cars in an evening? Or the time we bought an Audi S4? Click here.

Still keen to sell your car at an auction? Contact us for help and we can guide you through it, and to choose an auction house.

Selling your car in a specialist online auction – Pros and Cons

Many auction houses have now adopted the eBay formula, operating online auctions. There are a number of operations that do this, and it does seem to be growing in popularity. You’ll pay a fee to list the car, but the best auctions will send a photographer to shoot the car, and assign a proper writer to describe it.

The auction will have a defined end date and start date, but you’ll coordinate viewings from your house, just like a private sale. Think of it like a private sale, but with no fixed price, and a whole lot more marketing.

With a physical auction you can wash your hands of the car as soon as you drop it off, but with an online auction like this, you risk having the buyer come back to you if there’s issues with the car. You’ll be doing the handover and the auction house still take the fees.

In terms of costs, expect to pay around 5% depending on the auction house. We know of a few, and more are popping up all the time. Want to discuss selling your car this way? Get in touch.

Pros – Reach a wider audience quickly, cheaper than a physical auction, likely to find a buyer if one exists, take advantage of large marketing reach of auction house
Cons – No seller protection, you’ll still be hosting the sale at home

Selling your car on consignment with a dealer – Pros and Cons

Pros – Professional marketing, achieve a good price, some dealers offer warranties
Cons – Can be expensive, no guarantee it’ll sell, car stays with the dealer (which is both a pro and a con – what if the dealer goes bump?)

As you browse through the pages of classic car magazines, you’ll see a huge range of classic car dealers offering cars for sale. Did you know that many of these aren’t owned by the dealers themselves? Instead these cars are sold on consignment, owned by a customer and sold on their behalf by the dealer.

This is a good way to sell a car if it’s valuable, but the fees can be hefty. A good dealer can charge anything from 5% up to 25%, depending on the car and the price. For some people, this is still a good solution. It means all you have to do is get the car to the dealer, and they’ll take care of everything – right up until the point you get a cheque (or more likely bank transfer). A good dealer should be able to put together a stellar car description, a professional set of photos and some superb marketing for your car, but a bad dealer will do none of the above. There are good ones and bad ones out there, so choose carefully.

Still keen to sell your car on consignment? Contact us, we know a few people who can help.

Ragley Hall Classic Car Show – Our Pick

We visited the Ragley Hall Classic Car Show, and this rare Ferrari Mondial in ‘Plum’ is our pick of the show.

I find it quite bizarre that these Mondials can be had for less than an approved used BMW 5 Series, between £20,000 and £30,000 – it seems like an incredible bargain for what is actually a genuine Ferrari with real classic car kudos.

The problem the Mondial had was being a bit too tame, for a Ferrari. Critics slated it for not being a ‘real’ Ferrari as it lacked the performance credentials necessary to compete with other supercars. Sadly, this is a reputation that the Mondial has never shaken… but that’s great news for buyers! After all, are you really going to use your classic car to storm the Nurburgring every weekend, or are you more likely to take it for a weekend drive, then rock up at a classic car show and get your deckchair out?

People get far too hung up with car reviews and reputations, many of which are written by journalists who use a benchmark for grading cars completely removed from the expectations of the average owner. You arne’t going to be driving your classic on the redline everywhere you go, and chances are, in any given year, you’ll probably only want to do a 0-60 dash at the ‘manufacturers quoted time’ on a number of occasions… and let’s be honest, you’re not going to get anywhere near the quoted top speed, even on a continental roadtrip!

All you really need to know is that a Ferrari Mondial looks like superb value for money right now.

 

From A to B: Tales Of Modern Motoring (1993)

Were you in this video, or do you know anyone that was?

We want to hear from you.

“First thing I do if somebody is up your tailgate, wanting to get past, you have a look in the mirror you can see it’s a Vauxhall Cavalier, you have a look at the bumpers, has it got colour coded bumpers, that means if the bumpers are painted the same colour as the car, then it’s something other than a base, so it’s gotta be at least a GL, so the chances are it could be a GLi, so you’re on a par with that guy. But if it’s got like headlight washers, you look in the mirror, and it’s got headlight washers, you think Oh My God… It’s an SRi it’s a CDi it’s a GSi, so you eat humble pie, drop the car down, put the indicator on and pull over, and you wave him thank you very much as he goes past, but there ain’t no way someone would go past in a base… not if they’re going to the same place as me”

Cars And Insurance: The Boring Stuff You Need To Know

Car insurance is obligatory and rightly so with the number of accidents there are and the fact that you could be involved in an incident that isn’t in any way your fault. However, many motorists pay way over the odds for their insurance, especially if they stay with the same insurer year after year. So, what exactly is car insurance and what else do you need to know?

Car insurance covers you when you’re traveling in your vehicle, insuring you at the very least for ‘third party’ costs associated with damage, injury or death to others in an accident that is judged to be your fault. Then there are other policies which cover your expenses, such as repairs to your vehicle or reimbursement if it is written-off or stolen. If you have an accident while you are driving and you don’t have insurance, not only are you breaking the law but you will also have to cover all the related costs yourself which can include the repairs to any cars or property damaged in the crash and any medical bills.

What sort of car insurance do you need?

There are three levels of car insurance available: third party; third party, fire, and theft; and comprehensive. Third party cover only pays out for damage to other people and their property caused by you and is usually the cheapest option. However, you will have to pay to repair or replace your vehicle if it is involved in an accident, stolen or damaged by vandals or thieves.

Third party, fire, and theft cover also protects you against fire damage and theft and then fully comprehensive insurance also covers damage to your vehicle caused by a crash.

What factors affect the cost of car insurance?

It is crucial to shop around to get the best deal, you should compare the policies available from a wide range of insurance companies. Get quotes, first of all, you can do this online, for example, have a look at a Progressive quote, or you can try comparison sites too.

The car you drive will also have an effect on how much you pay for your insurance as well as engine size, your age, the experience behind the wheel, claims history, occupation and your postcode and where you park your car at night.

What is the policy excess?

Excess is the amount that you agree to pay towards any claim and usually, the higher the excess, the lower the premium. If you are considering making a small claim, it may, therefore, be worth considering paying for any repairs yourself instead – especially if you stand to lose a no-claims discount.

What is a no claims discount?

Insurers reward safe drivers with no claims discounts which can generally be transferred from one insurance company to another. However, you will lose this discount if you claim your policy, but you can ‘insure’ your no claims discount so that you can make one or perhaps two claims in any given 12-month period.

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When you own a really tidy car, proper insurance is a must.

Good Shouts For Your Next Car!

There are some truly terrible cars on the market at the minute, we want to start by just saying that. The automobile world had changed a lot, that’s for sure. The focus has moved away from being about the engines and the raw materials of the car, and has moved more towards a technological and aesthetics era. Maybe it’s because car companies know that they’re targeting a different market entirely now, or maybe it’s because the whole world is now in the technological race, and car companies are just some of the people who are trying to keep up. But still, as well as there being some really terrible cars on the market, there are some really amazing ones. So to make sure that you get the perfect mix of a car, one that has all of the modern tech, but all of the old school essentials, we’ve put together the perfect list for you. Here are some really good shouts when it comes to cars, we hope you enjoy!

2019 mercedes s class

Mercedes A Class

Mercedes is one of the best manufacturers in the world. It’s a top tier car, and everyone is fully aware of that. But when you think about Mercedes, you automatically think about all of the costs that are involved with it. You’ve got the price of the car, the price of repairs, insurance, and everything else that you could possibly think of. But is it really as expensive as you think? No it’s not, especially if you go through the right dealer, and get the right make. The right make for that is definitely the A class, and the right dealer would be someone such as Derrick Wells. The A class is such an amazing type of Mercedes. It’s the hatchback king, but if you want to stay on the economical and lower end pricing, you should go for the 1.4 litre diesel. The economy is amazing, the interior comes with a leather package that we definitely recommend, and the design is just so sleek!

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Audi A3

This is Mercedes contender, and we why. When you look at both of the cars and compare them, they are similar in the way that they look and the way that they run. But audis are slightly cheaper at the minute, and there are big differences in the interior, and the drive style. Audis are a super smooth drive, and if you’re looking for your every day car that you want to get you from A to B, but in style, this is one of the best ones for it. The S-line is the best version to get. It still holds its economy, whilst giving the car that sporty edge it needs.

2019 Ford Fiesta Titanium X Ecoboost

Ford Fiesta Titanium X Ecoboost

One that might not freak a lot of you out as much as the other two. When you think Ford, you think affordable, and that’s exactly what this car is. But the ecoboost engine gives it that edge that other cars might not have, and that’s what we love about it. The 1 litre ecoboost engine is the best one to get. With models sitting at 140bhp, they pack a punch whilst leaving your pocket out of trouble!

Where drug smuggling and motorsport collide

The March 84G was built to compete in the now defunct IMSA GT sports car series. In 1981 the GTP introduced a class for Sports Prototypes. This 84G was championed alongside an 83G for the 1984 championship, driven by Randy Lanier and 1979 Le Mans 24 Hours winner Bill Whittington. It was this very car that helped Lanier, Whittington and the Blue Thunder Racing / Apache Power Boats team take the title that year.

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The 1984 season was hugely successful for Lanier and Whittington, taking the fight to professional racing teams and often coming out on top.

As Lanier defeated the heavily sponsored and factory supported Group 44 Racing Jaguar XJR-5 and Löwenbräu sponsored Holbert Racing Porsche 962, questions began to surface about how the small team was being financed.

Lanier soon found himself under investigation by the FBI, along with Bill and Don Whittington and Ben Kramer of Apache Power Boats.

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It was around this time that the full story began to unravel – Lanier had been using ‘Go Fast’ powerboats to bring narcotics into the USA since 1974, and had been working in cahoots with Ben Kramer (the owner of Apache Powerboats) and others as part of a multi-million dollar drugs empire.

Lanier was convicted of importing and distributing over 300 tons of marijuana, believed to be worth $68 million. He disappeared before shortly before he was due to be sentenced.

In October of 1988 he was caught, and both he and partner Ben Kramer received life without parole sentences on 4 October 1988.

The 84G was seized by the FBI in October 1987, then sold to Turky Burky’s Auto Sales the following year, who sold it on to Jim Briody. Briody and his wife were determined to unearth more of the history on the 84G, and that correspondence remains in the history file today. Not many top race cars can list General Services Administration Personal Property Centre, Kennedy Space Centre as a previous owner.

The car came to the UK in 2007, with a full rebuild happening in 2015.

Randy Lanier was released from prison in 2014 and is still involved in motor racing.

The car was listed for sale by a classic car dealer in the UK in the summer of 2018. It has now been removed from the website and it’s whereabouts are unknown.

Do you have further information on the car or the story behind it? Get in touch.

What is the Maserati 6CM, why was Hitler involved and how much are they worth today?

In 1932, in the aftermath of the Wall Street Crash, Ferdinand Porsche found himself unemployed having been laid off by Steyer where he worked as Technical Director.

Not willing to compromise, Porsche insisted that any new employer should also provide him with a seat on the Board of Directors. After he was unable to find a suitable position, he decided to launch his own company. Anxious not to let money troubles get in the way of his aspirations, he launched Hochleistungs Motor GmbH (High Efficiency Engines Ltd) and began work on a brand new racing engine.

Around the same time, struggling manufacturers Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer were in the process of joining forces to form Auto Union. The Chairman of the Board of Directors, Baron Klaus von Oertzen felt that a showpiece project was needed to bring fame to this new company – a racing car. Porsche had previously done some work for Wanderer and was commissioned to design the car. Motor racing drive Hans Stuck had been successful with Mercedes-Benz, and was acquainted with Adolf Hitler having met him on a hunting trip in 1925. Between Porsche, Baron Klaus von Oertzen and Hans Stuck, they had the formula to create a world beating race car, they just needed the finance.

hitler at the berlin motor show

During a turbulent 1933 in German, the Nazi party came to power. In February of that year, Hitler attended the Berlin Motor Show, where he promised to boost the German car industry with the announcement of tax benefits for car owners, a major road construction programme and state-funded motorsport events.

Porsche, Baron Klaus von Oertzen and Hans Stuck went to meet with Hitler. As part of his plans to grow the German motor industry, Hitler had already pledged 500,000 Reichmarks to Mercedes but Porsche was able to convince him to split the money between Mercedes and the newly formed Auto Union. Hitler also agreed to award £40,000 (around £2.5m today) to the company that built the best racing car of 1934. Porsche’s Hochleistungs Motor GmbH (High Efficiency Engines Ltd) was brought into the fold and the Auto Union team got to work. Mercedes-Benz were most unhappy with Porsche’s intervention and a great rivalry began.

So how does this short history lesson bring us to the Maserati 6CM?

With Hitler’s financial backing behind both Mercedes and Auto Union, the motor racing world overall became more competitive.

By the mid-1930s the German cars were dominating the Grand Prix circuit so Maserati decided to concentrate on the Voiturette one-liter class with the 4CM. Alfa Romeo had come to the same realisation, and at the same time the first English Racing Automobiles (ERA) cars appeared. With the renewed challenge from Alfa Romeo and ERA the 4 cylinder 4CM proved uncompetitive, so the 6 cylinder 6CM arrived.

The 6CM quickly proved itself on the race track, having strong seasons in 1936, 1937 and 1938 thanks to the supercharged six-cylinder in-line engine which produced around 155bhp. It weighed just 650kg giving a top speed of around 140mph. Just 28 examples were produced, and of these 28, one car was driven by well known Italian racing driver Carlo Felice “Didi” Trossi

maserati 6cm count trossi3

For the 1937 season Count Trossi had moved from the Maserati team to Alfa Romeo, although interestingly on 25 April 1937 took first place at Posillipo Park in the Voiturette 1500cc driving a Maserati 6CM…

It is chassis 1532, the ‘ex Count Trossi’ car that we discuss here. 1532 was a factory race car from 1936 to 1937, and initially fitted with engine no. 1532. Factory records show that this was swapped with engine no. 1561 from chassis 1562 (the car driven by Villoresi, Taruffi and Ascari), and “1532” still retains engine no. 1561 to this day. 1532 was in fact one of the first two cars made and is rare in that it is one of only four or five built with an external hand brake.

Count Trossi was an Anglophile Italian aristocrat from a banking family and had a passion for going fast, whether on the water, in the air or on the race track. Throughout his career he would race for three different teams: Mercedes-Benz, Alfa Romeo and, briefly in 1936, Maserati. He would go on to win the 1947 Italian Grand Prix and the 1948 Swiss Grand Prix with Alfa Romeo.

For the 1936 season Count Trossi championed a Masaerati 6CM, taking 1st place at the Nürburgring on 14th June, Milan on 28th June, Livorno on August 2nd, Lucca on 7th September and the sweetest of all, Modena on 21st September. He also placed 2nd at Pescara on 15th August.

For the 1938 season, when the works drivers introduced the updated 4CL, 1532 passed from the factory team to Edwardo Teagno, a wealthy privateer driver. On 30th May 1937 Edwardo Teagno took 3rd place at the Internationales Avus Rennen driving a Maserati 6CM, although we can only speculate whether that was chassis 1532. Teagno continued to compete in a Maserati 6CM through to the 1939 season, posting 9th place at Mellaha Lake on 7th May 1939.

Like many Maserati Grand Prix cars 1532 found it’s way to South America, returning to the UK in the 1960s. The car has since been restored to it’s former glory and appeared at various historic race meetings including the Chateau Impney Hill Climb,

We certainly hope we’ll see it at historic race meetings over the next few years.

Count Trossi Race Results, 1936:

14 June 1936

ADAC Eifelrennen, Nürburgring, Germany (Voiturette)

182.48 km (22.810 km x 8 laps)

1st Place – Carlo Felice Trossi – Maserati 6CM            

1h37m17.6, 118.63 kph

28 June 1936

Circuito di Milano, Sempione Park, Italy (Voiturette)

102.8 km (2.57 km x 40 laps)

1st Place – Carlo Felice Trossi – Maserati 6CM            

1h09m17.2, 89.02 kph

2 August 1936

Coppa Ciano, Livorno Circuit (Montenero Circuit) Italy

108.27 km (7.218 km x 15 laps)

1st Place – Carlo Felice Trossi – Maserati 6CM    

58m05.0, 231.32 kph

15 August 1936

Coppa Acerbo, Pescara, Italy

1st Place – Carlo Felice Trossi – Maserati 6CM    

154.8 km (25.8 km x 6 laps)

2nd Place – Carlo Felice Trossi – Maserati 6CM    

7 September 1936

Coppa Edda Ciano, Lucca

? km (? km x 30 laps)

1st Place – Carlo Felice Trossi – Maserati 6CM    

46m14.6            

21 September 1936

Circuito di Modena, Modena, Italy

? km (? km x 25 laps)

1st Place – Carlo Felice Trossi – Maserati 6CM    

47m13.2

Oh do like to M3 beside the seaside

No hyperbole today, no big story, no auction results, no ‘what to buy’, no comments…

Just some beautiful photos of a BMW E46 M3 Convertible on the beach.

Well, here’s a comment… Go and buy an E46 M3 before it’s too late.

Thanks to Cliff on Facebook for kindly letting us share his awesome photos.

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Natural Wonders It’s Worth Going A Little Further For!

There are so many different options available to holidaymakers. We can go somewhere warm, somewhere cold. We can go somewhere busy or somewhere quiet. A lot of what we look for on holiday depends on upon our personality. A quiet, shy person is unlikely to go to a crowded resort. Similarly, a devoted sunbather is not going to rush to a ski resort.

There are other distinctions too. Many people love to go to the major cities. The thrill of the metropolis is understandable. Big shops, lots of people, a whole lot of nightlife. Places like Dubai, New York, and Tokyo bring in innumerable tourists every year. But are they places you’re in a hurry to visit? Or would you prefer to go somewhere a little more natural for a change?

You see, our world is actually filled with places where you can look upon what nature has bestowed and realise something. Architects – as amazing as some of their works are – don’t have a monopoly on beauty. Sometimes, what’s been there for thousands of years can be as incredible.

Natural Wonder #1 – Niagara Falls

A holiday to the USA might be packed with visits to any number of cities. You can see the gaudy, but often undeniable, charms of Las Vegas. You could take a trip to New York and see some wonders there. But a better bet for a holiday in North America might be to head to the border with Canada, where you can see the Niagara Falls. An incredible testament to the power of water, and a truly picturesque destination.

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Natural Wonder #2 – The Northern Lights

OK, so what are the Northern Lights? You’ve seen some photos of them, but what’s so special about them? Well, this wonder of our world is an entirely natural phenomenon caused by charged particles from the sun. As they collide with particles in our own atmosphere, they create a moving glow in the sky.

It’s best seen above Iceland and other areas in the Nordic regions. And if you’re looking for a place to let your hair down and party, Reykjavik is hard to beat.

We went, and we reviewed our hire car while we were at it!

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Natural Wonder #3 – The Australian Outback

Where you head on a trip to Australia says a lot about your priorities. If you want to shop or have a rowdy journey, there are plenty of cities. If you like to sunbathe or surf, there are some of the best beaches in the world. But if you want nature to wow you, you’re best heading into the Outback – locations like Uluru in particular. The magnificent desolation on show here is something that no-one who visits it forgets.

One word of warning – there are areas of the Outback recommended for tourists, and those that aren’t. In search of authenticity, do not charge off the beaten track. You may not find a signpost back to comfort, and there’s a reason these spots are off the beaten track. Heading to less familiar areas will only make you harder to find if you get lost. Be wise.

Shunning the usual destinations in search of something a bit different really does have its compensations. Take the chance to see something special, and you’ll never regret it.

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