Here at Trade Classics we love to put on our Mystic Meg demeanour and make our predictions between us. Because all we do is talk cars, and then some.  “I reckon the Mercedes W124 coupe will be worth a lot of money in years to come.” I’m guilty of this constant whine without taking action.

Equally we all reminisce and kick ourselves in our mind regularly. The one that got away.

I can’t believe I sold that 635csi for next to nothing only a matter of years ago; now look at them!” And yes, the curse of Mike Atwal strikes again. Lucky I had the brains to keep the BMW 840ci. Perhaps one day it’ll appreciate too.

Today though, we had a serious look. We even decided to review statistics to back up what we actually see taking place in our motoring circles, which span most of Europe.

Thanks to the Financial Times we saw that very recently in October 2017, new car sales fell by 12.2 per cent as a whole. Diesel sales dropped by 29.9 per cent and electric and hybrid car sales rose by 36.9 per cent, making up 5.2 per cent of the whole market.

We already knew from our network of car loving chums all over the globe that more and more people are taking the plunge with the likes of Tesla for pure electric thrills, and with mainstream manufacturers in the form of hybrids to enjoy 240 volts, but still keep a toe in the petrol engine world. Baby steps to new technology then.

It is absolutely no surprise that “dirty diesel” is in decline. Rising costs from taxes, parking permits, zone entry restrictions, less popular in colder climate countries, the original VW scandal and not to mention the most recent bigger nail being hammered down into the oil burning motor’s coffin; VW testing on monkeys and humans apparently.

The talks of banning purely diesel and petrol powered cars by 2040 with the exception of hybrids, may naturally push buyers towards investigating newer technology. After all, when diesel first emerged it was seen as a slow, smelly, noisy option and frowned upon to be linked with performance. Fast forward almost forty years and it is insane the performance and refinement a diesel offers in sporty elegant cars. But look where diesel is heading now!

When electrically propelled vehicles came onto the scene, we were faced with the G-Wizz. Tiny, plastic bubble on wheels. Slow, noisy, took ages to charge, batteries were expensive to replace and I recall wearing a helmet to drive one when I was forced to have a go. The helmet was not for safety, but to be seen! Seven years on from that I drove a Tesla. And more recently experienced a passenger ride in a BMW i8; WOW.

Staggering performance and refinement from both. All contained within a handsome stylish exterior that resembled a “proper car”. A rise up to the challenge then, almost like diesel did. Where next for electric tech? Onwards and upwards for now anyway. We think.

But perhaps it’s only a matter of time before a study says that electro magnetic fields from electric motors are harmful, battery disposal is highly detrimental to Mother Nature, as is polluting her lungs to produce the “green” car in the first place, and then subsequently charge it.

So what does all this mean? Well, it sort of backs up what we see happening around us. Older petrol cars are looking like more and more of an appealing prospect. We all know that many cars up to the early 90’s are already classics that are desirable, lusted after, engineered well and absolutely worth keeping alive. Even Mazda has begun to offer restoration of the humble all conquering MX-5. Is that not a cracking way to be good to Mother Nature? To not subject her and her loyal disciples to more “production”, but to simply make the most of the original harm done. Maybe, just maybe, another fifteen years of unleaded processed by a well serviced engine and exhaust system is less harmful than building a hybrid or all electric car from scratch, and then letting good old Mother Nature suffer again, albeit from other angles. We think there is a debate and investigation to be had on this point.

We could finish with an analytical based conclusion to the classic car market now. But we won’t. Let’s put it this way. The poster cars of the decades of the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and even early “naughties” are still desirable and always will be.

As posters died out and electronic photo frames have filtered in, perhaps cars worthy of posters are a thing of the past too. Can you think of a car from the last fifteen years that is really worthy of being on a poster?

Classic cars offer glamour with style and uniqueness. They are a tangible, audible and sensory pleasing piece of history. They can be restored, tickled and brought back to time warp condition. There will always be a demand for them.

And as we, the car worshipping population grow older and new car worshipping beings are born, the bracket that determines a car’s  “classic” status shifts with us.

We now wonder and ponder what Mother Nature’s most favourite cars are. Which ones have been the kindest to her?  We think it’s anything classic that is still on the road, doing the original birth pain she suffered justice with every mile it continues to cover. Such as the warrior of an M535i and the gladiator of a 930 Turbo that will soon be available to you via Trade Classics.

What’s your view point fellow car lovers? Answers on a errr…a postcard perhaps?

Mike

 

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MIKE ATWAL
This article was written and published by Mike Atwal.  Mike works for Trade Classics as an in-house journalist and copywriter and has many years’ experience in the classic car sector – for over 8 years he was the General Manager of the Classic Car Club in London and responsible for a fleet of over 100 cars worth multi-million pounds.

So there’s not much Mike doesn’t know about makes, models, maintenance and idiosyncrasies of these old cars. Mike’s a true petrol head with a deep passion for the classics and he loves to talk cars all day, so why not write a reply on this article below.

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David Stopforth
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David Stopforth

Interesting points of Mike and I have to say, I think your views should be taken seriously. I think the inexorable growth of EV sales will continue for a while but with the right servicing and maintenance support, classic British (internal combustion) cars can continue to be viable for a long time yet.

Adam
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Adam

Agree David. I wonder what the real environmental impact factor difference is between running say a 5yo car for 10 years vs a new ‘green’ electric car… I bet we’d be surprised. I mean count the real cost of everything to do with manufacture, e.g. people required to build it and the energy they consume to stay alive, proportionally allocate the energy required for tooling, transportation of parts etc… etc… Basically every small thing. Like I say… bet we’d be surprised. Interesting debate.

Mike Atwal
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Mike Atwal

Thank you David. I really would love to conduct a controlled experiment…but where to begin? So many variables!