2020 is fading away, leaving behind mixed feelings. Granted, the classic car market has remained solid after the COVID tidal wave. Of course, this year had its share of beautiful surprises. Remember the astonishing sale of 3 Alfa Romeo Berlina Aerodinamica Tecnica prototypes from 1953-55 at RM Sotheby’s auction last October. However, we have suffered too. Deprived of meetings in clubs, and of most motor shows, we had to chomp on the brakes for many months. Classic cars have lost some of their magic in 2020. So what will happen in 2021? Here are five reasons for hope.
2021, year of economic rebound (?)
The classic car industry is heavily dependent on overall good economic health. Like the real estate sector, it needs investor confidence and a generous monetary policy. With the arrival of vaccines and the improvement of health protocols, the horizon should clear up leading to a significant economic rebound. The collector’s vehicle market should benefit from this newfound confidence. The financial crisis of 2008-2009 was hence followed by a surge in prices, such a scenario could reoccur from 2021.
Vintage nostalgia as a remedy for the crisis
Our interest for vintage cars is part of the nostalgia we have for the past. After having gone through such an anxiety-provoking and unprecedented period, it is quite naturally that we turn to our old ones. Reassuring and endearing objects, cars of the past are like remedies for our anxieties. Their power of fascination should therefore not weaken in 2021, quite the contrary.
The vintage car market has adjusted to the sanitary context
In practical terms, 2020 has highlighted the tremendous resilience of the sector. Most players have been able to adapt to the constraints of the moment by going all-digital. Spare parts stores have had to complain about longer delivery times but have overcome the obstacles by strengthening their online offer. The auction houses have succeeded in making good distance sales. The motor shows were more heavily impacted, but original solutions were also found. Thus, the Bremen Motor Show will be held entirely online next February. Last but not least, new players have appeared – such as online-oldtimers.com – which make it possible to offer classic cars at auction without any intermediary and without moving. The marketplace formula should contribute to the recovery in sales in 2021.
The youngtimer effect matures
Another positive lesson from 2020, youngtimers remain a locomotive for the vintage car market. Price convergence between oldtimers and youngtimers is therefore expected to continue in 2021, stimulating the market as a whole. Certain cars of the 80s thus seem to benefit from a still significant room for price increase. This is particularly the case for small sports cars of the GTI type (VW Golf GTI, Peugeot 205 GTI, Toyota Mr2 GTI …) and certain bodybuilt sedans (BMW M3 / M5, Mercedes 190 2.516V, 300E24V …) which should support the expansion of the market in the months to come, while the exceptional models of the time are already fully valued.
Here come the "fabulous nineties"
If we were to take just one reason for hope for 2021, it would be this one. The range of vintage cars is currently being enriched with exceptional models from the decade of the 90s. The cars produced two decades ago seem to embody the most accomplished balance between pleasure and high performance. It is indeed a time when neither OBDs nor ESP were compulsory in Europe. As a result, manufacturers expressed their automotive vision with a freedom that we no longer know today.
2021 should therefore see exceptional cars that have barely left the ordinary second-hand market draw much interest. There are the rising stars, already recognized by collectors (such as the Dodge Viper, the BMW Z3M, the Audi RS6 / RS4, Honda S2000, the Mercedes AMG C36, or even the Alfa GTV 3.0). There are also interesting and still relatively accessible vehicles, such as the Audi TT, the Corvette C6, the Peugeot 406 V6, the Clio V6…
We therefore have real reasons to hope that 2021 will be the year of the rebound. And above all, that we can once again share our passion for classic cars. It is our dearest wish for the coming year.