Classic cars vs classic boats: which is the better investment?

POSTED: 19th October 2016
IN: Personal News

With many conventional investment options starting to become less lucrative, we’re taking a look at two particularly glamorous investment opportunities that have been known to yield rather handsome returns.

Ever dreamt of cruising along the French Riviera in a classic Aston Martin DB5 Coupe? Or fantasise about gliding through the Italian Lakes on a vintage Riva motor yacht? Well, as it turns out, these luxurious pastimes can actually be more rewarding than you might think. In fact, if you’re lucky enough to stumble across the right boat or the right car at the right time, you could see the value of your motor skyrocket over a decade.

Investing in classic cars

Over the past 10 years, classic cars have become one of the most lucrative investment opportunities for enthusiasts, with the values of many classics catapulting since 2005. Historic Automobile Group International (HAGI) reported that compared to the beginning of 2009, prices had increased by an outrageous 163%, and as of yet, haven’t shown any signs of slowing.

At the top end of the market, there’s certainly serious money to be made. The most expensive classic car to sell at auction in recent months was a red 1957 Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti, selling in Paris for a cool €32m (£28.8m). Only one of four ever made, this particular model also took second place at the 1957 Mille Miglia, making it utterly unique.

However, for those of us with slightly shallower pockets, the best investment opportunities come from identifying and snapping up those cars on the brink of reaching classic status. For instance, if you’d bought a Lotus Europa Twin Cam in 1976 for its original price of just £2,708, the vintage motor would now be more likely to fetch between £25,000 to £38,000. Although, profiting from up-and-coming classic cars doesn’t always come with a 40-year time lag. The value of the 1977 Porsche 911 increased by 154% in 2014 alone, showing there’s serious money to be made by simply buying at the right time.  

So, where can you find these rough diamonds? Well, before you reach for your wallet it’s essential you do your research. Attending car shows such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed or the Tatton Park Classic Car Spectacular can help broaden your knowledge of the market and put you in contact with industry experts. Once you’ve got an idea of your budget and what you’re looking for, websites such as PistonHeads and Car and Classic are great places to keep an eye out for potential investments.

Yet, as with many non-traditional investments, there are a few extra expenses you need to factor in before buying. The cost of restoration, routine repairs, insurance and a secure storage space can quickly run into the thousands, if not more, and you also need to decide whether you even want to drive your car, or keep it safely tucked away in a garage. And then, there’s always the possibility your investment might not actually pay off.

Investing in classic boats

With classic cars already being a popular investment option, the competitive market has driven up the prices of even the most affordable vintage motors. So, how about putting your money in something a little more unconventional?

According to Al Schinnerer, a vintage boat restoration expert, classic boats are the new classic cars when it comes to investment opportunities:

“Collecting vintage speedboats is about where old car collecting was 15 or more years ago, and we all have tales of the cars we should have bought back then.”

As with classic cars, there’s plenty of money to be made at the top end of the market. Any pre-World War II traditional mahogany speedboats will have rapidly increased in value since they were first retailed. A 1940 23’ Chris-Craft, which would have originally sold for £3,260 is now worth up to £40,800, and even boats in poor condition can make money. In 1955, a Chris-Craft Cobra would have sold new for less than £4,900, but by the end of 1987 tatty models were selling at auction for over £24,500 and are presently on the market for around £61,200.

However, with classic boats being a slightly more niche venture, it can be a trickier investment to pursue. Websites such as are a great place to start, showing you what boats are already on the market and offering plenty of advice for first time buyers.

Yet, if you are keen on buying a vintage vessel, this particular investment also comes with some costly overheads. Classic boats are particularly rare, so restoration costs can be extortionate as many collectors struggle to source original parts, and then, again, there’s the issue of storage.

With both investment prospects, it’s safe to say there’s money to be made if you know where to look. However, there is one thing nearly all collectors agree on: invest in something you’re passionate about. Then, even if you don’t quite see a return on your investment, you can still bask in the pleasure of taking your motor out for a spin.  

Would you invest your money in classic motors? Join in the debate via Facebook or Twitter.

Photos courtesy of Wikipedia

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