Auto journalist Guilherme Marques reflects on the appeal of investing in classic cars as the Algarve prepares to welcome the 11th Classic Festival
Over the last two decades, classic cars have reached a status of investment assets, in a manner similar to art, jewellery or watches.
The notion of cars as an artform gained new traction and collectors saw them as a way to diversify their portfolios and obtain gains that are not at the mercy of tax authorities. Naturally, humankind’s passion for cars since they replaced the wagon and horse helped a lot in the rise of this new reality where you can buy a car and sell it for more money — something that goes against the current logic of the automotive world, wherein products tend to fall victim to very significant devaluations. The idea of a car as an investment opportunity is decidedly recent.
With the numbers that make up this new business breaking records every year, the market itself has begun to set its own rules for what is valuable and what is not. First comes the level of rarity: the fewer units produced, the more collectible a model will be. Next, it is important to explore any competition pedigree — if there is any, the value will be higher since the history of that particular car is richer. Thirdly, the condition of the vehicle is an important factor in sensing its value and if there have been serious accidents in the past along with any restorations that have been carried out. Finally, the brand, of course. Just as new models fill the imagination of those who dream of them, so insignias like Ferrari, Porsche, Bugatti, Aston Martin, Mercedes, or BMW are the most popular.
Classics are also a great way for older people to pass on their passion for cars to younger generations, who are more detached from new cars than ever — studies actually show that today’s youths would rather have an iPhone than a car. This way, they can see an intrinsic value in an older car which they do not attribute to one which has just left the dealership. Thus aside from being a safer investment than many others, a classic car is a way for many families to have an excuse to take a weekend trip and enjoy each other’s company or go out with friends who share the same passion.
Portugal is a great country to invest in a classic model, as the Mediterranean climate means that, when there is no snow, there is no need to salt the roads to melt it. The dry weather helps keep rust at bay and the roads are great to enjoy your time behind the wheel. All over the country, there are fascinating collections, and the greatest national experts in classic cars even say that Portugal has everything, because the Portuguese are truly passionate about cars and, over the years, have preserved or imported cars from all over the world. If a certain model exists, one can be sure that there is at least one unit in Portugal.
The Algarve, thanks to its weather conditions, is perhaps the best place in Portugal, and one of the best in the world, to keep one (or several) classic models in the garage. It is also easy to see why the biggest classic car festival in the Iberian Peninsula takes place in the region. With a worldclass track — after all, the F1 is back to Portimão this year — the Algarve is the it place for historical vehicles in early November. The Algarve International Racetrack (AIA) has organised the Algarve Classic Festival since 2009. While the rest of Europe is dealing with the rain, the Algarve sunshine welcomes over 500 competitors and 300 teams from all over the world, whose journey to southern Portugal closes the classic car season in style.
“The Algarve Classic Festival is already a staple in AIA’s event calendar,” says Paulo Pinheiro, CEO of the racetrack. “After over 10 years, the registered adhesion for the event, from both of competitors and spectators, keeps increasing. Considered by many of the 500 drivers who parade through the AIA every year as one of their favourite events, it’s with great pleasure that I and the whole team will provide all visitors with the unique opportunity to revisit the evolution of automobiles and the beauty that sets them apart today.”
From November 6 to 8, and throughout the three days of competition, audiences will marvel at genuine races between some of the most iconic models in car history, such as the Ferrari 250 GTO, the Jaguar E-Type, or the Ford Mustang.