Want to make money out of classic cars? Here's how...

Mike Brewer of Wheeler Dealers fame explains how you too could have fun and make some cash at the same time with a classic

1y ago

Investments these days can be tricky. One per cent at the bank, five per cent in the property market, and a few per cent for stocks is sensible, right?

But since 2008 when the world went fiscally 'pop', the smart people moved their money to more tangible assets like classic cars, and they have been winning ever since with healthy returns of 12–15 per cent.

People often ask me what’s the best bet to have fun and make some dough at the same time? Well the answer is broad and 11 years later its getting even trickier to navigate the collector car investment world.

Rule one: do your research

Finding the right car takes time and patience. Doing research really pays: I always say, fill your library before your garage, and that statement has never been truer as some cars these days may have been restored once or even twice in their life cycle. Knowledge is key: knowing what’s been done, by who and how well can insure a future investment.

Let’s take a good car to chase at the moment: the Austin Healey. Built in Abingdon, near Oxford between 1953 and 1971 these little Brits are making solid returns currently, but which one do you chase?

The BJ8 MK111 is the one you should go for

The BJ8 MK111 is the one you should go for

My suggestion is the hairy chested Healey, the Simon Cowell of sports cars, the BJ8 MK111, which was built between 1963-67 with the ‘big’ 3000 litre Healey engine wrapped by Jenson bodywork. These cars are magical.

Prices are on the accent globally, but there’s still the odd one tucked in a Granddad shed in the UK that can be snapped up.

What should I be wary of when buying?

Rust would be the main kicker as to the car's survivability but you really only need to be concerned on the deeper chassis parts as almost every piece is still made today and supplied in the Midlands by AH Spares.

Restoration wise, cars that need fabrication and paint should be done, and done very well. Pay more, get more. Cars that have original paint and little rust should be left, but detailed. Re-chroming the bright work adds a sparkle, and a engine restoration is a must. Poly bushes on suspension parts adds to the driving appeal and longevity of the car and are well worth doing.

The market also likes other upgrade items like side-draft exhausts, Weber carbs, electronic ignition – subtle modifications that could have happened back in the day that make the experience better and, crucially, don’t affect value.

How much?

Target price for a good clean rust free original should be around £50-60K.

A car that need fabrication and full repaint and restoration should be around £30-40K. That sounds expensive, right? Well, get the car right, with a good history and provenance and you could possibly see your Healey take you to six figures – a classic that ultimately gave you loads of fun, experience and it was free! There’s nothing more satisfying that banking your winnings at one per cent as you smile at the bank manager

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Comments (51)

  • Welcome to Drivetribe! I'm a big fan of Wheeler dealers and thanks to that show I discovered many interesting cars!

      1 year ago
  • Welcome to DriveTribe, Mike! You're absolutely right, it does seem like a lot more "smart money" is trying to make money on classics compared to just a decade ago. I think the biggest problem I'd have with buying a classic to make money is having too much fun with it and losing value... and I'd need a keen eye like yours to always know what to be wary of depending on the car. I need some discipline. Looking forward to seeing more from you!

      1 year ago
  • Nice to see you on DriveTribe Mike. Big fan of yours

      1 year ago
  • So great to see you on DT Mike! Can’t wait for the content to come!

      1 year ago
  • My dad leaned toward a Triumph TR6 over the Healey at the last minute back in the '70s. Which would you have taken Mike?

      1 year ago