Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow

AX201

How Do You Value Your Classic?

A great deal of attention is paid in the media today about the value of Classic Cars. Whenever a new high mark is realized at an auction, headlines are everywhere - and people naturally become curious. I would bet that every enthusiast has been asked, many times, "How much is it worth?" To the owner who loves his car, there is no ready answer. How can tangible values be put on a prized possession that provides so many intangible joys? How can you realistically quantify the worth of an object that has become a vital and integral part of your life? Well, I will try. I am a businessman and will use a business-like approach. My Classic car "balance sheet" might read as follows:

In an average year, I drive my Classic about three thousand miles. This represents about 75 hours. Driving a Classic is a rewarding experience for me. I feel it's worth at least £10 per hour, or a total of £750 per season.

About twice a month during the summer, I take my Classic to a car show, which is great fun. I talk about it to anyone who cares to listen. A real ego trip, this. I value it at £50 per day; roughly twelve times a year, and the total is £600.

Now to the cleaning and polishing. Admittedly hard work is involved here but the admiring looks from the neighbours make it well worth £20 per session. I usually clean my car every week during the summer; eighteen times at £20 totals £360.

At least six times a year I drive my Classic to a car club function. This experience is worth at least £50 per event, or a total of £300. Then there is the Annual Rally, the ultimate show for a club member - no better place to have your Classic seen by other Club members. At the Annual, you meet friends old and new, have your car judged by your peers, and hope to take home a trophy. The Annual Rally is without a doubt a £250 day.

Next come the local section trips away where we take our cars to wonderful scenic areas around the country. There is at least one such event a year. Motoring in Classics with your friends is great fun and should be worth at least £30 per hour, but there are factors that can cut the rate down. For instance, your wife looking at the fuel gauge and saying, "Are we running out of petrol?" or glancing at another gauge and commenting, "I think the car is getting hot because that little needle is wiggling all the time!" Plus such sensory perceptions as "I smell something!" or "I heard a funny noise!" And pragmatic pessimism like "I think you took the wrong turn, we're going to get lost and we'll never catch up with the rest of the cars!” All this cuts the rate in half. To £15 per hour. Total of six hours per day for five days and we have £450. But...driving is not all there is to a such an event. At the end of each days tour, there is a nice meal - the perfect time to brag about how great your pride-and-joy is performing. Every day for five days at £50 a throw equals £250.

Family time has to be counted too. Like driving around with children and/or grandchildren in the back. This is real quality time. Not much will beat this. At least £60 per day about six times a summer for a total of £360.

Sunday Brunch in a Classic? You bet. Another great opportunity to show off your car and meet a lot of nice people. This is worth at least £30 per Sunday, perhaps a half dozen times a year for a total of £180.

Touring a couple of times in the autumn makes for fabulous enjoyment as well. Seeing the autumn colours in your Classic surrounded by friends is worth at least £60 a time. £120.

And then there’s the autojumbles. The time spent there looking for parts or accessories for your Classic is the ultimate treasure hunt - three days, six hours a day at least £10 per hour, a total of £180.

Summary

If we add all this up, it totals £3,800. How about that! A £3,800 clear profit on my Classic for one year! Say the "book" value of the car is £20,000; that's a 19% return on investment. What other investment can match it? Banks don't even come close. And the stock market is known to behave erratically. A risk-free £3,800 profit!

But what about taxes? Won't Mr Osborne want his share? Wondering how much tax I would have to pay on this windfall profit of mine, I called my accountant. He contacted the ultimate authority for an opinion. I couldn't believe my ears. HMR&C determined the profit was non taxable. They don't say that very often!

So you see, the actual market value of any Classic - whether it is £2,000 or £200,000 - has little to do with its true value to the Classic car enthusiast. Every time you display your Classic or just look at it sitting in your garage or in front of your house, it makes a profit for you. And that profit is tax-free! Every time you drive your Classic, it pays you a dividend. Cynics like to say that romance is dead. Cynics obviously don't own Classic cars. Those who say the age of adventure is over have not experienced motoring in a Classic. And for sheer exhilarating pride? Just look at the face of a Classic owner when he gazes at his car.