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MG MGA - Classic Car Prices Tumbling

This one will possibly shock you. The oracle of truth - Daily Mail - reports that classic car prices are tumbling because ".... there are not enough old-fashioned mechanics to keep them at their best."

Figures from Coutts, the Queen's bank, suggest that their worth plummeted by 10.4% in the last year. Although this follows a 300% increase in value since 2005.

The Car and Classic website also reports prices have tumbled due to the shortage of skilled mechanics and doubts the future of classic cars as we know them.

Sounds like a good job opportunity for someone.

Steve Gyles

I don't know about over there, but prices haven't dropped around here. Most car collectors these days don't need mechanics, they need restoration shops. There is no shortage of those.

The future of these cars has been clear for a long time - cars sitting in fancy garages and museums getting looked at but not driven. Fortunately there are still plenty of people in the world who actually drive the cars.
Steve Simmons

Mike Moore

Of course, we could all convert to battery power.
Dave O'Neill 2

I'm not as pessimistic as that. I think that hybrids will continue to be popular, especially in commercial vehicles, agricultural equipment, military vehicles and large trucks. So long as there are hybrids, there will be fueling stations. Even if that fuel changes from gasoline to something else like hydrogen, there is the opportunity for alternate fuel conversions on classic cars and that could be big money for those who get ahead of the curve. Imagine a hydrogen delivery system disguised as a pair of SUs.

As for offloading a depreciating asset, blasphemy! I plan on enjoying mine no matter how little it's worth to someone else. ;)
Steve Simmons

Or convert to LPG ...
Chris at Octarine Services

I expect to have the Vikings funeral in mine!

But I guess I'll never know! Barry.
Barry Gannon

The overall market has been soft for a few years now, with more cars being sold at lower prices. However, the recent Sotheby's auction in Monterey CA brought in $133MM, a 12% increase over 2016. This included 32 cars in the million dollar plus category and numerous record breaking prices. A 1956 Aston Martin went for $22.5MM, a world record for any British car. I do believe that the general long term outlook for classic car sales is pessimistic, and instead of a sudden burst of a bubble, it will be a longer term slide in prices. High end, museum quality and rare vehicles will continue to be in demand, but the mid-to-low range vehicles will see a drop off in prices. The primary reason for this demographics: with the baby boomers ageing out, the demand for the cars from the 50's, 60's and early 70's will drop off. Do not see this happening in the near term, but its definitely going to be a slide downwards.
Nick Kopernik

The boom in UK prices started when the world's markets dived in 2008. I guess it mirrored gold prices as people invested in something solid rather than share certificates and savings accounts with next to nothing interest rates.

As the markets recovered then demand for classic cars decreased and values leveled out or even started to decrease.

I am assuming that the Daily Mail article I quoted was aimed more at the high end market where buyers do not get their hands greasy. They just want someone to store and maintain their asset. Down at our market level most of us store and maintain the cars at home and are less affected by the garage skills shortages noted.

Steve Gyles

See also

Not sure the range would be much good to us but plenty of room for batteries, unless, like a well-known contributor, all space is used for spares...

Prices seem to reflect the particular model of MG.
For instance the rarer models like the Factory MGBGTV8s have shown considerable rises in the UK in recent years.
As have the mga twin cam in Australia now reaching $90K for a good one.
The Triple M cars also show no sign of losing value.
Generally MGAs in Australia are showing growth unlike the MGBs.
Ian Prior

Ian's observations make total sense to me... Models like the Twin Cam and BGTV8 have the combination of performance and rarity that will always make them valuable to a collector. They made too many of the regular MGBs for them to ever really have high collector value or value as a restoration candidate. Even a lot of folks who would otherwise love to restore a B will take a pass, because only a relative few will want to put $20,000 give or take into a $2000 car, to make it into a $10,000-$15,000 car. (just pulling figures out of the air, I haven't really kept on on current values)

The standard MGA models occupy a better place, value wise. They made enough of them for spares to not really be a huge problem, but not so many as the MGB, so a nice example is going to bring more no matter what. Add to that the fact that the MGA is one of the best candidates around for an owner restoration, financially speaking. You're never going to make money at it, but a hobbyist can buy an MGA project car, put 20 or 30 grand into it, and if he does a nice job he can end up with a car that is worth about what he spent on it. He'll never get his time back out of it, but there are a lot of worse ways to spend that time, and most of us aren't in it for the money.

The rising values of the Twin Cams may also be pulling the values of standard MGAs up a little, more so than the factory V8 models will do for the MGBs. While it is possible to modify a standard MGB to accept a V8, it's not the plug and play operation that throwing an MGB 1800 motor into an MGA is. Neither one is technically original, but the 1800 MGA looks and works basically the same as an original MGA, and gives most of the performance of a Twin Cam without the price tag or other hassles.

D Rawlins

I am always amazed by the prices that Number Plates bring at Auction here in Australia.
The attached image is just one example.
It would appear that these plates are not being bought by egoists, but by investors seeking a capital gain on investment. Whilst prices of standard MGA's have risen over the last few years, the prices of these plates is verging on ridiculous.

I B Morris

I B Morris,
Did you notice the price that N.S.W. plate 4 got at the Shannons August auction, $2.45 million.
I Hazeldine

It's extraordinary how rapidly major technical revolutions have overtaken us in history. How long have we had things we now take for granted every day such as the internet, cellular phones, GPS ....etc etc?

I suspect the predictions of the demise of the internal combustion engine will be upon us much more quickly than even the most optimistic electric vehicle proponents currently predict. Likewise individual car ownership as well.
As a consequence, as alluded to, the petrol/gas stations we currently take as normal will rapidly disappear.

The cars and motorbikes we currently enjoy will become ever more the realm of the serious hobbyists. We'll be storing fuel at home or depots we mutually will fund, and carrying spare containers of fuel with us on our trips.

It's difficult to imagine that ultimately this won't impact on the value of these fossil fuel propelled vehicles.

I'm currently half a planet from my home (Vienna) and writing this on my iPad in a hotel room, so I hope the link I've tried to cut and paste works. But for those who have had the patience to read this far, I'd STRONGLY suggest you take the time to watch this presentation.
T Aczel

Try You Tube, Tony Seba, "Why energy and transportation will be obsolete by 2030", or very similar. I'm struggling flicking from screen to screen on my tablet.
T Aczel

I tend to go along with Ian Prior's comments about the the different models. My 79 Rubber bumper MGB is probably perhaps $1000 more at best than what I paid for it 16 years ago.

My neighbor said when I retire, I should do a restoration on it. I commented, "If I'm going to restore an MG, I'm not going to make the effort on a 79. I would do an MGA. It would be worth more in the end than the MGB."

I do not see a huge interest in many of these cars by a younger generation. I applaud Steve Simmons' comment:

As for offloading a depreciating asset, blasphemy! I plan on enjoying mine no matter how little it's worth to someone else. ;)


79 MGB
gary hansen

Delete "tumbling" insert "price correction".
(Whenever have the press got the story absolutely right)
Roger Walker

Someone pointed out to me a flaw in ownership of 100% electric vehicles. This is really only possible for those who have room to park the vehicle on their own property so that it can be safely charged at home. A cable going across the pavement to your car parked on the road is not going to be very safe if everyone in say terraced houses has a car. Those who live in flats ( apartments) would find it difficult to have a cable trailing out and if the block of flats had several hundred homes (most do) , I cannot see it being feasible to have that many charging points in the car park - one for every space. Similarly for car parks at work or in supermarkets or on motorways. This does not take into account the extra strain on the power stations that are already under pressure in the winter months.Of course the majority may want to use public transport instead of owning their own cars , as was the case prior to 1950 in UK. Obviously this situation may change gradually in the next decade as the infrastructure is built up - but hybrid cars seem to be the answer - so petrol will still be available.(Discuss!!)
Cam Cunningham

Interesting points, much more optimistic for a classic car owner than some of the earlier posts.
But sadly take a look at

And I guess someone might invent charging through the ether in some form of wifi charging system? (is that possible?)

There are no longer many coal merchants around, certainly not like there used to be. But I bet a steam engine, or one of those steam driven cars are worth a packet these days. So the interest and rarity factor shouldn't be ignored.
We may be running our cars off gas, or alchohol, but they will still be around.

As long as we continue to invest in them, to keep them in good condition, they will be valuable - at least that's what I tell her indoors!


Graham V

Dynamic wireless charging has been in development for some time.
Dave O'Neill 2

Graham - ca't see councils being happy at a company drilling cables under the pavements.
Dave - the wireless charging by induction is the answer - it would need a hell of a cable to cope with thousands of cars all taking a charge on a motorway though
Cam Cunningham

This thread was discussed between 03/10/2017 and 16/10/2017

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