Experts come in many forms. When looking to purchase a home, whether it’s to be a main family residence or a weekend bolt hole in the country, we employ the services of a surveyor. No matter how perfect the place may look in your own eyes, it takes the opinion of someone else to actually point out that although it may look quaint and rustic, the chimney stack leans at an angle to rival the Tower of Pisa…
…the willow reaching down with majestic elegance into the duck pond is actually doubled over in pain, the sash windows are in desperate need of some paint, for which you will never have time nor inclination to do, and the gravel drive is hiding a multitude of cracks, some of which you could lose a small child complete with Tricycle.
Comparisons could be made when courting. Someone who seemed to be perfect wherever you meet, it could be at Cowes week or a local bar on a Friday night, perhaps may not be so. But who can advise then? The Citizens Advice Bureau doesn’t take on such dilemmas, nor do the Samaritans. So you then turn to the people who know you inside out; your friends. They are best placed being on the outside, without rose-tinted spectacles, to point out that this new love interest is just going to end in tears sooner rather than later.
For the better really, because they are more than likely to attend the company Christmas dinner, get blind drunk and make inappropriate comments to the highly important Far Eastern client who has been flown over especially for the weekend. They think that the Daily Sport is full of amazing but true articles and that H.Samuels is the epitome of elegance when it comes to gold jewellery, which they wear in quantities to rival Jimmy Saville and B.A. Baracus. You need these people to protect you from yourself at times; we may all be experts in our chosen field of work, but unless you’re a surveyor or a relationship therapist, these are just two examples where we need advice from someone who knows better than we do.
The same is true when purchasing a car. I’m not talking about a run of the mill Ford Focus or Vauxhall Astra, I’m talking about the cars we yearn after from childhood, that is supercars. With the constant contest from the big names such as Ferrari and Porsche, the choice for the supercar buyer has never been so great, but is also so fraught with dangers such as running costs and residual values. Why spend 100,000 on a car without asking an expert’s advice? 100,000 is about the bottom rung of the property ladder in the South East at the moment and for that you don’t get an awful lot of choice either, house with one bedroom or flat with two, that is about it.
Walk into the showroom announcing you have X (whether it be 100k or 1m) to spend on a car and the salesman will eagerly show you the example where he wants your money to go. They will not point out that a new model is due in three months time, therefore you will lose a fortune by the time it comes to resell the car, or that the reason they are rare is in fact because they are awful to drive, ugly and no one wanted to buy them new.
It’s now you need someone neutral to advise what is the best for your money, with inside knowledge of whether the car is going to be a good investment and the particular model’s strengths and weaknesses. Even to give you an indication of what that model may be worth in 6 months time. I hear stories daily from people who have bought what they have deemed to be a good buy, only to find that three months later when they have realised that the car is not what they really wanted, the people who quite happily sold them the car are now saying, Sorry sir, we don’t like buying those for stock or Ok sir, we will do you a favour and buy it back. Of course depreciation has to be taken into consideration. Does a 40% drop in value seem reasonable to you? You don’t believe me? It happens more often than you think.
So what would I consider to be a good purchase? If I was looking to spend a large sum of money on a car that was to used as a weekend toy, a baby wrapped up in dust sheets in a heated garage, I would currently take a serious look at one of the original supercars, the Lamborghini Muira. A beautiful car, well known to millions due to the opening credits to the original Italian Job film, solid residuals, and a V12 engine note sweeter than any bureaucratically muted equivalent. Pay as much as you can afford for one as parts and repairs can be expensive even by modern standards.
Perhaps a genuine English classic is more to your liking? The Aston Martin DB5 holds a special place in the hearts of many due to James Bond having one as his company car in the 1965 film Goldfinger. If the price for very nice examples is a little too strong for you, take a look at the DB6 where good solid useable cars start from a lot less, which I believe will only rise over the coming years as interest grows.
But what about what is perhaps the greatest supercar maker of them all? Ferrari has made dozens of models over its 60 odd year history, a lot of choice for budgets from 10k up to 10m. But the most fitting for Muria or DB5 money is the F40. A true Group C race-car on the road. 478bhp from its twin-turbo V8 engine, a top speed of 201mph and acceleration to match. I have dealt with a few of these and the right price tends to be around the 170k-200k bracket for cars that can be used without fear of adding mileage to a museum piece or breaking something costly under the louvred Perspex engine cover.
Any one of these cars makes a worthwhile investment. Their popularity is ensured due to them being so well known, whether through film, performance or capturing an era. Whatever it is, you can mention any of these to a self-respecting petrolhead and they will immediately know what it is and why it is so special. It is that which makes the car hold its value, the evergreen desirability is a trade off of the cars’ reputation that precedes them.
What I cannot emphasise enough, is that when you are considering purchasing a car, whether it is for investment purposes or a weekend or track plaything, the importance of unbiased, neutral advice is paramount. Otherwise you can easily end up making a purchase you will regret in the not too distant future.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.