Classic Cars in New Zealand and overseas

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I am frequently told when visiting a client for a valuation that they have seen a car the same for sale in the UK, Australia or wherever for such and such a price which means that their one must be the same value! Sorry, the world doesn’t work like that as no two cars are the same despite being of similar years’ , specification and mileage.

Classic vehicles delivered new in NZ will invariably attract greater value than a UK import or one converted to right hand drive. Few classics even those of a recent nature arrive without some vestige of the dreaded tin worm from the other countries . Folk tell me that they have a Californian car; “as there they have a dry climate”. Well it does rain and rusty vehicles still abound on the freeways and surface streets of Los Angeles!

Commonly I’ll be told a buyer has had it checked by an “expert” usually, someone that they have never met. Not so long ago a mate bought a car from the US under these sort of circumstances. Indeed, I knew the expert who had a good reputation but this didn’t stop the car when it finally arrived here to be in something of a lesser state than the buyer was lead to believe even with lots of images. It is just that the term condition tends to somewhat subjective and what is deemed ok over there is only passable in NZ.

A summary case that I was involved in went something like this; I am buying a 356 Porsche that has been in a garage for some years but the lady who owns the car is moving on and thus wants to sell it.  My response was; have you seen the car? No, but my uncle and aunty live across the road and they “know” the car and the seller well. My next response was; are they familiar with the Porsche marque? No, but they know etc…a repetition of the foregoing. I told them it is cheap to go to the US these days and there is no substitute for seeing what you are buying. Probably three or four months later I had a call from this purchaser which went ; I have bought the car and it has arrived here but it has rust here and rust there and the motor is a mess. What will it cost to fix? Without seeing the vehicle but based on having restored eight cars I quoted him a minimal ball park figure of $70,000. To state that he was speechless would be an understatement! I never heard any more from him after that or what happened to the car.

The fact of the matter is though that if you are buying something that is NZ-new there is usually a discernible history that you can access or locate. I would still suggest a pre-purchase inspection but at least pinning down any issues are a lot easier to resolve than trying to reach a resolution in another hemisphere. For what it is worth (and depending upon the marque and model) I would usually apply a 20-25% loading when it comes to a valuation factor for NZ-new. Original paint is also always well received even if the colour is not to everyone’s liking. Originality and provenance rate highly with me and the more they are prevalent the higher the value of the vehicle involved. As I said at the beginning no two models are the same even though many factors may be consistent.

Finally I welcome any feedback you have to my articles within this magazine and I’m always available at assist your client by providing valuations for their vehicles

Ian Nott @ RS Consulting

ian@rsconsulting.co.nz or 021 610 911

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