The classic Ferrari market has been the most visible (and watched) segments of the classic car market over the last few years with some cars making enormous gains in price and value. The market has evolved in 2015, so we asked the team at Foskers – the UK’s oldest independent Ferrari specialist – to give us their view on the marque’s journey so far this year and what they expect in 2016.
Many thanks to Jeff Fosker, Tony Glynn and Ed Callow for their efforts and expertise.
How would we characterise 2015
In many ways it has been a year of contrasts in the classic Ferrari market. Certain models have done tremendously over the last 12 months, including the F355 (manual gearbox Berlinettas in Rosso Corsa/Crema leading the charge), 550s and 575s, and the rare Superamerica convertible in particular. The latter got off to a great start with RM Auctions in January, where a 950-mile HGTC pack F1 car achieved £339,000. Fast forward to December and Bonhams has just sold a left-hand-drive Superamerica with the six-speed manual gearbox (one of just 43 examples) for a whopping £661,900. F355s that were around £70,000 at the beginning of the year are now trading hands for six figures. The best examples are still in huge demand.
Not every model has experienced such amazing growth. By and large, Daytonas and Testarossas have shown only modest gains in 2015. A European-delivery twin-mirror Testarossa with just 960 miles on the clock sold with Silverstone Auctions in February for £202,000. 11 months later, RM sold a time-warp US-spec example with fewer than 200 miles from new for £213,000. Meanwhile, the best examples of the 365 GTB/4 Berlinetta, which many predicted would be trading much closer to seven figures by the year end, are still hovering around the £750,000 mark. This temporary stability in values is a natural market adjustment for certain models, but many others are still on the rise.
Trends/predictions for 2016
One of our predictions for 2016 is that we will see a purge of the large numbers of sub-par left-hand-drive Ferraris that have recently been imported to the UK. Many of these cars have been purchased cheaply in Europe with little thought or due diligence, as some non-specialist traders try to make large profits on the back of rising values in the market. In our experience, UK buyers aren’t interested in these cars, and are savvy enough to know that excellent UK-supplied right-hand-drive examples are much better buys.
Originality and ‘correctness’ will continue to be of major importance to buyers – especially with classic Ferraris from the 1960s and 70s. Modern classics are also being scrutinised in this way though. We have had a number of enquiries from owners of Testarossas, 328s and even late Berlinetta Boxers in non-original red paint, who are interested in restoring the cars back to their factory hues. As a broader comment – which is as true today as it was at the start of the year – the demand for the best cars remains as strong as ever.
Advice for buyers in 2016
It’s always best to buy what you like – not what the market suggests is the best investment (unless of course that really is your only priority – which would be a real shame!). If you treat a Ferrari purely as an investment, you’re probably missing out on the biggest and best part of the experience: driving it and enjoying it.
As far as practical tips go, we would urge buyers to pick up the phone in 2016 and talk to sellers; be frank and direct. Whether you’re looking for a Mondial or a 275 GTB, discuss the car in detail. Don’t be put off by POA or a price that you believe is too high – there may be good reasons why cars are listed in this way, and you never know when there is a much better deal available. You lose nothing by making an offer, so don’t be shy. We would of course always recommend buying a Ferrari from an established marque specialist, but if you choose not to, then at least make sure you get a detailed inspection from one. The cost is tiny compared to the potential pitfalls it may pick up in the car.
Finally, unless you are dead set on a particular model, consider various options and buy the best you can afford. If you have a budget of £70,000 for a F355, you’ll get a high mileage RHD car that probably needs quite a bit of work. On the other hand, budget £70,000 for a 308 GT4 and you’ll get one of the very best available.
Which cars/segments likely to grow the most in 2016
We think that cars in the £300,000 – £600,000 bracket may well see the most growth in 2016. Various models in this segment, including almost all Berlinetta Boxers and Dinos, are still hugely popular with buyers. Another trend we may see in 2016 is even stronger demand for the very best, totally restored cars, with buyers willing to pay a substantial premium to get a car that is fully sorted by the right experts. We know of special Dinos that have already traded hands for upwards of half a million pounds… so a £600,000 Dino can’t be far off for the very best example.
Which classic we’d buy with our own money (could be a non-Ferrari)
Our hot pick of the classic Ferrari market are the steel-bodied, carburettor-fed 308 GTB and GTS, most of which are still available for less than £100,000. These are still superb value, and offer a terrific mid-engined V8 experience. They look great, drive well and sound magnificent when used as intended. As a successor to the Dino 246 (now £300,000+), you can see why they look like such a fantastic buy to us right now.