Australia’s classic car market is booming in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic as motor enthusiasts and investors alike look for value with rose-coloured glasses.
Online marketplace and auction house Grays has reported “record” February numbers for its classic car category, racking up more than 1.3 million page views and nearly 200,000 unique visitors.
Grays reports unprecedented demand especially for Australian cars, given the death of local manufacturing.
“We are used to seeing strong demand for classic Australian cars, but we’ve never seen anything like this,” said Grays CEO Chris Corbin.
“Clearance rates have never been higher and we don’t foresee demand or prices falling in the near future.”
A recent sale by Grays saw the top four results all go to classic Aussie muscle cars, the highlight of which was a 1978 Ford XC Cobra complete with racing stripes that sold for $194,000.
Another oddity that proved the strength of the market was a period-correct 1963 Holden EJ Taxi, still with the original cabbie paint, beaded seat cover and taxi meter.
The marketplace reports buyer demand far outstripping that of supply, especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s not restricted to one auctioneer either.
A week ago Shannons reported a 97 per cent clearance rate and a combined $10.7 million worth of capital changing hands in its recent Summer Timed Online auction of classic cars.
The headline was a barn-find and rust-ravaged 1958 Porsche 356A. Pursued by two bidders, the complete car eventually sold for a spanner-spinning $230,000.
That’s more than $110,000 above what auctioneers predicted would be the high price for the vehicle.
Supercharged by the lack of travel options, many consumers are turning to vehicles as recreational holidays and weekend getaway machines.
Data from the Australian share market shows those who deal in used cars – or the periphery of car accessories – have benefited enormously throughout the pandemic.
In its half-year results, Carsales.com Limited reported an earnings growth of 13 per cent in Australia.
Those who performed even better was ARB Corporation, the 4×4 accessory giant who sells and fits everything from bullbars to snorkels to suspension lift kits for those wishing to transform their 4WD into a track-tackling monster.
In its half-year results, ARB reported a profit after tax of $54 million in just six months – an increase of 113.5 per cent on the same period last year.
“The company experienced a pleasing recovery during the financial half year ended 31 December 2020 from the worst of the COVID-19 impacts encountered during the final quarter of the previous financial year,” ARB’s Chairman Roger Brown wrote to shareholders.
“The recovery can be attributed to satisfying pent up demand created during the early lockdown periods, an increased trend towards local touring in many countries and the impact of governments’ financial stimulus on consumer demand and confidence.”
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