Despite being gripped by Covid-19, there has been a lockdown classic sales boost with potential buyers tying the knot for classic cars based on description and reputation alone.
Over the weeks since the lockdown took a stranglehold of the economy, it’s been obvious that people don’t let go of their chosen hobbies lightly and the classic car scene is a perfect example. We’ve reported recently that many of our parts advertisers have reported demand at record levels, but it seems that a surprising number of enthusiasts are buying not just bits but complete cars. In a locked-down world, that means relying on photographs, descriptions and videos but clearly for many buyers the reputation of the well-known names in the classic scene is assurance enough.
At Classic & Sportscar Centre up in Malton, James Szkiler admits he didn’t quite know what to expect as he packed up his office late in March to begin working from home, but just a few days later was pleasantly surprised. “It went crazy,” he told us. “Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic we were already making 50 per cent of our sales online and had a good following of regular customers, but during April we sold 27 cars, followed by 23 in May. We had to bring our delivery driver back in from furlough!”
James admits that C&SCC’s reputation no doubt helped out when it came to buyer confidence but also points out that as well as their loyal returning customers they also found that over half of the buyers were new customers. With James’ father living on site, he was able to offer road test videos for potential customers too, meaning that despite staff being spread over a radius of six miles they were able to continue operating.
Since then business has shown no sign of slowing, something James puts down to buyers having time on their hands – those usually too busy in their working week to browse and buy classic cars now have the luxury of leisure time, while other buyers are simply looking for something to pass the time and of course many are looking to invest in classic cars as the value of other investments is decimated by the pandemic.
It’s a similar situation at Spinning Wheel Classics in Chesterfield, where business has been buoyant, especially when it comes to classic motorbikes, with all the purchases over the lockdown period being bought without a test drive or ride. The firm generally has over 100 bikes in stock and of course it’s easier to hide one more bike away from awkward questions from the other half…
Over in Norfolk, longstanding dealer Kim Cairns also reports that business has been good during the period, with a Mk2 Jaguar, Morris Eight Tourer, Triumph Vitesse and MGB among others finding new homes. In many cases, Kim reckons the customers simply wanted the car they’d been promising themselves for a while and the enforced home leave was the ideal opportunity.